30 Years of Edulis Nusery

Edulis Nursery is situated in a 300-year-old Walled Garden that was once part of Bere Court Manor House in West Berkshire. Some of the original fruit trees remain. It all started with the hope of making our Planet a better place by growing plants for a sustainable future. Today that all sounds very cliche, but in 1993 very few nurseries were growing perennial edible plants. Prior to 1993 the Nursery, situated in an old Walled Garden in the heart of Berkshire, had been growing organic vegetables for the local restaurants.

The inspiration for growing Perennial Edibles was a man called Bill Mollison. Bill formulated the Permaculture Movement in Tasmania. Permaculture is better known these days and is sustainable design theory for human settlements. To quote Wikipedia: Permaculture is an approach to land management and settlement design that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystems. It includes a set of design principles derived using whole-systems thinking. To implement Permaculture & Forest Gardens in the UK someone needed to grow the plants. This was the plan… and that is what we did!

The Nursery collected and grew from seed temperate edible plants suitable for the UK climate from all over the world. There was a catch, as a business model… it didn't work. Nobody implementing Permaculture Projects had any money in the 90s. As result Edulis diversified into growing rare plants for its own design projects as well as selling at Rare Plant Fairs. Soon the range grew, with seed collecting trips from countries like Greece, Ethiopia, India, Chile and numerous other countries. Edulis became known for offering plants that weren't offered elsewhere.

Eventually Edulis drifted into exhibiting at RHS shows like Hampton Court & Chelsea that resulted in some Golds and Silver Gilt Medals. With the Nurseries profile raised, it concentrated increasing the range on offer. Since 2010, Edulis has concentrated more on Shade Loving Plants & Snowdrops alongside the Unusual Edibles. This has led to a large range of both.

The Nursery has been featured on BBC Gardeners World, and magazines such as The Garden, Gardens Illustrated and The English Garden.

Our customers include Buckingham Palace, The National Trust, RHS Wisley, numerous top designers, public parks and botanic gardens. We regularly grow plants for exhibits at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Today Edulis attends less shows but now offers the large range of unique plants you can buy in our online plant store.

Peat-free Growing

The potting compost journey has been a long and interesting one. Originally Edulis started using peat-free compost predominantly from Fertile Fibre. The Nursery persevered with this coir-based compost for over a decade but finally it was decided that the plant quality was suffering and we designed our own bespoke peat-reduced compost that was supplied by Petersfield. The plant quality had never been so good. Since 2010, we have been peat-free again, still using Petersfield. We have not had any issues with this and the plants love it. We feel the key ingredient is loam. Compost is bought in bulk bags to avoid excess plastic. Waste compost is recycled in the nursery and used on the borders.

Pollinators & Birds

From the onset, Edulis, aimed to be organic. We wanted to create a thriving ecosystem in the Walled Garden, where birds and bees were coveted not persecuted. No chemical pesticides were used. Instead we went down the biological control route. Today we have found that the ecosystem is so diverse that we rarely have problems with pests. Vine weevils are kept to a minimum by avoiding growing their favourite plants. Pollinators thrive with bees, solitary bees, wasps, hoverflies and numerous beetle species. Humming bird hawk-moths and dragonflies hum along the stock beds. Birds are fed and nest everywhere. We even have dunnocks nesting on the benches in the polytunnel. Kites and kestrels are frequent visitors. Robins sit on the potting benches and blackbirds scratch out the pots. Flocks of long-tailed tits sit in the apple trees. Frogs and toads hop through the pots. Even hedgehogs and grass snakes live in the borders. We even have common-spotted orchids as weeds in our pots!

Buying Plants from Edulis

When you buy from Edulis, you are supporting a family owned enterprise that puts the environment first and commercial efficiency last. Feel free to arrange a visit to this quiet green corner of the Berkshire countryside.