About The Plant Library

A large proportion of The Orchard site is made up of the Plant Library. This is a unique and extensive educational resource for anyone interested in plants and planting design: whether they be visiting students of horticulture, gardeners, garden designers or school children.

The Plant Library is set out in a grid system which holds more around 1500 different varieties of mainly herbaceous plants, serving as an interactive catalogue and community of plants that can be walked through and studied from all angles. Varieties and species can be compared, and combinations of form, texture, foliage and flower can be observed and appreciated.

The Plant Library is organised into communities of plants that suit different conditions, logically graded along the gentle slope of the site. A large collection of drought tolerant plants from warmer, drier climates are situated at the top of the site, planted in half a foot of sharp sand to make our wet winters more bearable for them. The shady and comparatively damp lower end of the site is home to a community of woodland dwellers, with plants that prefer the more moisture-retentive clay soil. The middle of the site is made up of plants that suit more balanced, general conditions.

The Plant Library is an exciting ongoing experiment. Each grid square is numbered, with the name of the corresponding plant logged into a master list. The first plants were planted in autumn 2020 and spring 2021. The collection is constantly edited and curated, creating a stage on which to trial and experiment with more unusual plants. Each group has a QR code to help visitors identify over 1100 herbaceous plants and 400 varieties of bulbs.

Become a Member of the Plant Library

Joining Friends of Serge Hill Project also offers the option of becoming a member of The Plant Library, with access to a database of more than 1500 different varieties of mainly herbaceous plants. This is a unique and extensive educational and well-being resource for anyone interested in plants and planting design.

Benefits include

  • Free drop-in visits to The Plant Library every Friday afternoon
  • Access to The Plant Library database
  • Priority access to events at The Apple House
  • Priority access to seasonal guided tours
  • Subscription to newsletters from The Plant Library

Volunteering at The Plant Library

The development of the community garden is a team effort, with designers and volunteers coming together to create a space that will help people experience the mental and physical health and wellbeing benefits of gardens and gardening.

We are very lucky to have a small team of volunteers who are vital for the maintenance and progression of the project. If you are keen to get involved and help out with planting, weeding and keeping things healthy and on track, along with specific projects like the construction of new compost bays, then do get in touch. Please fill out the form below and we will keep you informed when suitable opportunities arise.