Knoll Gardens & Nursery: 30 Years

2024 marks the 30th anniversary for Knoll Gardens, the specialist ornamental grass nursery and garden.

Neil Lucas, owner of Knoll Gardens ©Knoll Gardens

Under the caring ownership of Neil Lucas and his family, the nursery and four-acre gardens have evolved, leading the way in naturalistic gardening. The Dorset plantsman is one the UK’s leading experts on ornamental grasses, a pioneer in sustainable gardening and author of the much respected Designing with Grasses.

Originally a private botanic garden created by the passionate plantsman John May, Lucas bought Knoll Gardens in 1994. Following the principles of naturalistic gardening, the gardens have evolved to become a destination garden that thrives in our ever-changing climate, abundant with wildlife.

The nursery was set up as a means to provide funds and plants for the garden, but over the years has become a haven in its own right supplying professionals and the public, as well as acclaimed gardens such as the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, RHS Wisley, RHS Rosemoor and the Hillier Arboretum. Renowned for its grasses, the nursery has 10 Chelsea Gold Medals to its name and offers one of the most varied selections of ornamental grasses in the country.

Set up in 2008 and based in the garden, the Knoll Gardens Foundation charity works to better understand the relationship between the naturalistic planting style and the benefits to wildlife. The Foundation delivers a structured programme of walks, workshops and educational events encouraging visitors to get involved. By means of regular wildlife surveys, the foundation collects data which is shared with (local) wildlife organisations for conservation and to help shape future plans for the gardens.

Looking ahead Knoll Gardens and Nursery are expanding the scale and scope of their plant portfolio, building on their ever-growing knowledge of grasses, and continue to work on the vital relationship between gardens, gardening and the natural environment.