From passionflower and honeysuckle to Mandevilla, Bougainvillea and Aristolochia; if there’s a wall, fence, pergola or trellis in need of a colourful hardy or tender plant, they’re the people to speak to.
Royal Horticultural Society gold medal winners Jane Lindsay and Toni O'Connor are the holders of no fewer than four National Collections, with their Somerset nursery housing hundreds of stock plants from which the pair bring on cuttings to sell to their customers.
If you're looking for climbers, you'll find them at Tynings Climbers nursery, the UK's largest collection of climbing plants. From the Mexican flame vine, to the Parachute plant, Tynings specialises in climbers and boasts a huge range of indoor and outdoor varieties.
Run by Jane Lindsay and Toni O'Connor, Tynings are the holders of the national collection for Jasminium and Passiflora, as well as numerous RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold wins.
Based in Tickenham, North Somerset, with views over the Mendip Hills, Tynings started life as a market-garden business in 1963 run by Jane's grandfather. After his passing, Jane returned to the family business with new ideas, transforming it into her own dream nursery.
Open to visitors by appointment only, the best time to purchase something from their award winning collections is at their exhibit at one of the national flower shows, or by mail order from their expansive catalogue.
Over the years they’ve amassed 340 cultivars of passionflower, along with scores of Mandevilla, 70 different members of the Jasminum (jasmine) family and 45 Thunbergia, some of which might have died out without their care and attention.
Other unusual and often rare plants they cultivate include Aristolochia, commonly known as Dutchman’s pipe; Abutilon and Hoya. Tynings Climbers also stocks a wide selection of Clematis.
Jane’s interest in climbing plants dates back to her teenage years, when she moved from her father’s market garden that produced vegetables, flowers and soft fruit to work for Passiflora specialist John Vanderplank at his nursery in Kingston Seymour near Bristol.
“I went for a year’s work experience but stayed for 17 years because I enjoyed it so much,” laughs Jane. “Back then John’s passionflower collection was very much in its infancy: it’s phenomenal how Plant Heritage (the plant conservation and research charity) has grown in that time.”
Climbing plants have enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years, something Jane puts down to the general trend towards smaller gardens.
“People are looking for plants to grow against fences or walls, and these don’t necessarily have to be large climbers, so long as they’re kept to a nice shape,” she explains. “There’s a greater understanding nowadays that climbers only have to be pruned once a year.”
Along with plants to grow outdoors, Jane and Toni have plenty of specimens to enjoy inside the home, such as in conservatories and humid bathrooms and kitchens.
And they’re keen to correct the belief that tropical or sub-tropical plants need huge pots and plenty of food and water to flourish when it’s actually the opposite that’s true.
“They benefit from being potted into larger pots gradually, and don’t need to be fed while they’re going through their growth stages,” explains Jane, a member of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Tender Plants Committee. “They flower far better if their roots are restricted. They need minimal watering, which means adding more moisture when they’re dry. The biggest problems come from overwatering and people being too nice to their plants.”
Tynings Climbers is a familiar sight at garden shows and Jane and Toni’s nursery in Tickenham, near Bristol, is popular with designers and keen gardeners alike. There’s also a mail-order service.
“We have all sorts here,” laughs Jane. “It’s phenomenal how many plants we have acquired over the years, with hundreds of different varieties. I think this is a testament to the gardening world, with people loving to share plants and advice and that’s a tradition we seek up uphold here.”
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