Highfield Hollies was established in 1992 to grow large hollies for gardeners who were looking for an instant impact. The business expanded to growing hollies of all sizes and also a great variety of cultivars and we served a large cross section of the public, from Royalty to cottage gardens. However, the business has had to reinvent itself since the recession and we are now able to offer group visits and hands-on supervised topiary courses, working with large specimen trees, lollipops, cake stands and other interesting shapes.
Collections of other interesting trees have been planted among the holly groves, mainly North American Oaks, Liquidambars, Cornus and Magnolias and we are always adding to the tapestry of plantings. Walks, talks, light refreshments and Christmas wreath-making are on offer to groups, or the choice of wandering at leisure to enjoy the Romantic layout of the gardens, groves and woodlands.
The hollies have recently received National Plant Collection status, through the NCCPG’s Plant Heritage organisation. Although we are not attempting to operate as a nursery, our specialist growers hold plants descended from our stock, and as a result we will be able to offer container grown hollies for interested parties to grow on, and also propagate the rarer cultivars and species to order.
We have a small collection of rare breed poultry, plus three small groups of rare breed sheep. The latter are an important element to the landscape, bringing the fields alive and most importantly keeping the meadow grasses and wild flowers in balance. No artificial fertilisers are used.
We have recently started breeding Pekin Bantams, in a variety of colours. These charming, friendly little birds can be kept safely in gardens without destroying everything in sight, and are wonderful pets for all ages, laying small but protein rich eggs. They now have their own dedicated website at www.harlequinbantams.com
Highfield Farm, consisting of 18 acres, was once part of a larger estate where two 19th century owners planted a wide collection of native trees, including our magnificent beech Avenue, and also conifers for under-planting with species rhododendrons. The latter, sadly, are mostly lost, but we have planted some interesting replacements in the woodland.