Small in size but with a big reputation, Marchants is one of the UK’s best loved independent Garden & Nurseries. Grasses and herbaceous perennials are its forte, selected for their garden worthiness and appropriate to contemporary and traditional gardens alike. The varied range of plants offered are virtually all propagated on site, a rare thing nowadays and most can be seen growing in the Gardens at Marchants.
In 1997 the creative union of Graham and his partner, textile artist Lucy Goffin began. A year later following the purchase of a Victorian Cottage and accompanying two acres in Laughton, Sussex, Graham began the task of developing his own nursery, Marchants Hardy Plants.
Here with Lucy’s artistic support Graham has for 22 years devoted himself to raising plants and to breeding and selecting new varieties while also designing and developing the beautiful garden at Marchants.
Following an early career in classical music Graham Gough was deeply inspired by a trip to Sissinghurst Castle where his eyes were opened to the artistic and creative process of gardening at its highest level.
His career change was swift and by a stroke of luck he gained a job at Washfield Nursery working with renowned Nurserywoman Elizabeth Strangman. Here over 16 years Graham bloomed as a Nurseryman and propagator, and gained his formidable knowledge of plants.
Too few places get to know the plants they sell. At Marchants almost everything is propagated from stock plants grown in the garden, hence Graham knows intimately both the provenance and preferences of the many rare, unusual and familiar plants grown for the Nursery.
Graham’s horticultural experience has been further enriched by consultations, garden design, photography, talks and writing. A favourite pastime has been travelling to many countries to observe plant communities in the wild.
Graham’s most recent project is Well-Handled. Inspired by the classic kitchen knives of Sabatier and Roselli, but always hankering for something more individual, Graham started whittling handles using native hardwoods: Apple, Ash, Alder, Cherry, Laburnum, London Plane, Medlar, Pear, Oak, Walnut, Yew and many more.
Getting to know their individual grains and characteristics is fascinating and is a continuing process. Matching the handle to high grade carbon steel blades (including his own small bladed Santoku style knife forged in Sussex), Graham creates artisanal knives suitable for a number of kitchen and garden tasks.
An axe, a strong whittling knife, rasps/Japanese files, sandpaper and a power drill are his only tools.
Graham sells his knives from the Nursery, and has been invited to exhibit at various fairs including Beautiful & Useful: Craft at the Garden Museum in Lambeth, London.