About the garden
Knoll Gardens is known for its spectacular plantings of ornamental grasses, yet when owner Neil Lucas arrived more than 25 years ago it was the wonderful woody shrubs and rare trees that attracted him to this secluded Dorset garden. Over the years he has created a stunning naturalistic garden that thrives in our ever-changing climate and being low maintenance, is environmentally friendly too. The grasses now undoubtedly steal the show, as well as providing a fabulous foil for thousands of ﬂowering perennials.
Neil’s informal plantings create a calming and mood-enhancing garden. Grasses appear to flow alongside winding paths and tumble over borders to provide a layered transparency to this seemingly natural space, forming a wonderfully immersive garden based on the way plants co-exist in the wild. Height and further interest come from the mini arboretum of rare and unusual trees that also provides further habitat for Knoll’s wildlife.
Based in the garden, the Knoll Gardens Foundation charity works to better understand the relationship between the naturalistic planting style and its beneﬁts to wildlife. The Foundation delivers a structured programme of walks, workshops and educational events encouraging visitors to get involved. The Foundation carries out regular wildlife surveys and the data collected, as well as being shared with local wildlife organisations, helps to shape future plans for the gardens.
Neil is the UK’s leading authority on ornamental grasses and his planting style, centred on the principle of ‘right plant, right place’, is central to the garden’s continuing development. Shady beds, sunny borders and gravel gardens all provide practical planting ideas. Created in 2020, the dry meadow and rain garden are flourishing and give welcome insight into using the right plants that will cope and thrive in challenging conditions. Renowned for its grasses, Knoll’s Chelsea Gold Medal-winning nursery offers planting advice, the website lists year-round events and practical information to help you recreate Knoll’s relaxed style and bring a flavour of the natural world into your own garden.