Old Court Nurseries and The Picton Garden

Old Court Garden Design and Consultancy


Design ServiceCreating contemporary gardens with a traditional flavour


With 30 years of combined experience in horticulture Ross Barbour and Helen Picton have acquired a wealth of knowledge for creating and maintaining gardens of all shapes and sizes.


An in-depth plant knowledge enables us to create interest at any time of the year, and we always work with nature in mind to create a good natural balance.




Ross Barbour

Fully trained in horticulture (H.N.D) I began my career by working on large estates. Learning all the essential basic skills and then moving on to the next 'Big House' to expand my knowledge and hone my techniques, just like a traditional Journeyman.


By the age of 27 I had become head Gardener at a Large C17th. Pallaidian Hall where I was able to reshape this rather neglected 10 ha garden.


After clearing and cutting back decades of undergrowth and self set trees I was able to develop and create smaller gardens producing a diversity of habitats and achieving a natural balance with horticultural interest for every season. These gardens include a new contemporary Rose Garden, Meadow and Prairie Garden, and a fantastic Winter Garden bringing cheer to the winter months. A new Alpinum was completed in 2012 and my impressive alternative annual bedding schemes burst with interest every spring and summer.


Helen Picton

I was practically raised on the potting bench at Old Court Nurseries learning from my father as he learnt from his and so it falls to me as third generation to carry on the business. In addition to this rich knowledge I also received a degree in Botany from Reading University. Managing the Picton Garden and the Nursery I have found a true passion for horticulture, in particular plants.


I am an expert in Michaelmas daisies but I also love bulbs and alpines which you can see in the planting schemes of the Picton Garden.



Design Service


Plant led design

We offer a comprehensive range of services from a one off consultation or a tuition session to a full design service. Offering you not just a new garden, but the confidence to maintain and take your garden forward.




Whether you want to create a new garden or just reinvent an existing area we can help you, from large estates to a humble trough at your back door.
After an initial meeting we can discuss your requirements and tailor a plan to suit you and your specific needs.




An initial meeting will cost £100, which includes a two hour consultation and travel expenses (within 50 miles).
During our consultation we will discuss the design process and together form a clear idea of what you hope to achieve with your budget. I will photograph the area and get an idea of its aspect and its ambiance.


I will then put together a brief of the project in writing, including a proposal and costs.





Design ServiceWe offer tutorials in every aspect of garden maintenance. These practical guides aim to give you the confidence to maintain your own garden with ease, and guide you forward with its development.


Gardens are ever changing, constantly advancing and therefore need us to control and temper them to our own vision.


Maintenance of a garden can be a daunting prospect but with some professional practical advice you can quickly master these technical routine jobs, easily allowing you to spend more time to enjoy your garden.


Individual plants can quickly out grow their situation and then either need proper pruning or dividing to keep them in scale and good health, or sometimes the decision has to be made to remove them and plan for their replacement.


We are here to give you the confidence to make these decisions.


Examples of tutorials available:



Please enquire about your individual requirements.


COSTS: £50 per hour for a one to one tutorial (+ travel). £70 per hour for a group session, max. 12 people (+ travel)


For a portfolio of completed work and projects: Click here


For more information contact Ross Barbour on 07896309494 or email oldcourtgdc@btinternet.com