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  1. Nursery Jottings No. 11

    Nursery Jottings No. 11

    Moving from autumn to winter

    It’s November 9th and we’re experiencing the first snow of the winter. Still, we mustn’t complain after 10 weeks of really good autumn weather – we were down to 33mm of rain in October, only 40% of the average over the last three years.

    There is exceptionally good autumn colour this year due to a lack of frost, wind and rain, but as nurserymen we see the ground too dry when lifting field grown plants and the leaves are also hanging on too long.

    Demand for trees and shrubs is currently very high despite the dry conditions, and with an order book the highest we have ever seen we strive to keep our customers happy!


    Top tips

    Newly planted trees and shrubs will need watering a few times to guarantee success, but the soil is as warm as we could hope for in order to get quick new root growth.

    Providing that turf or grass seed has been watered, it has been an excellent autumn for laying a new lawn.  If there has been some shrinkage between rolls of turf, I would recommend filling the gaps with slices cut from left over turf or from the edges of the lawn and ensure you firm in well.

    Don’t be too hasty in removing heaps of stones, leaves or rotting wood from the garden, the colder weather over the last few days will have encouraged a broad cross-section of wildlife to go into hibernation and these areas are ideal for that purpose.

    Now is also a really good time to improve those drainage problems which become so obvious in February to April. Perforated flexible drainage pipe now makes the problem so much easier to rectify, and the digging keeps you warm on cold mornings!


    Did you know?

    • Did you know that American Indians had a totem plant related to their birthday which brings them into spiritual contact with all their cultivated plants? The thistle is the plant for October 23 to November 22!


    Nursery history

    Were you aware that by pure chance our current nursery is based on the same site as the Backhouse Nurseries which were established in 1816 and occupied our current 50 acre site, plus a further 100 acres on the adjoining level fields?

    Employing approximately 100 men, with all cultivations undertaken by horses, the nursery was the leading nursery in the North of England, with its own railway siding at Cattal Station.

    The nursery reduced in size in the 1920s, moved to York, and concentrated on the building of rock gardens nationally.  The nursery closed in 1955, but lives on in the name of Erica carnea ‘James Backhouse’ and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Backhousiana’.


    Looking forward

    Sales to landscaping projects continue at a level in excess of last year, both from small businesses and large-scale projects. Who knows what the impact of Brexit and Trump will have on our industry in the future – it appears impossible to read at this stage.

    The prevention of imported plant diseases remains high on our priority list and we recently attended a meeting in Oxford to try and reach agreement on the way we should monitor imported plants. It was agreed that whatever we do we should encourage all growers in the EU to take a similar stance, and not purchase plants from areas where diseases are known to be rampant.

    Even if the UK does not import any plants at all, we will still be in the path of European wind-blown spores and insects carried by birds and vehicles, packing cases etc.

    Global warming is helping to spread north the problems created by a warmer climate, and the reduction in available chemicals is dramatically limiting our ability to control these problems.

    Keep planting whilst we can!

    John Richardson

    Posted 16th Nov 10:20am
    Read more >

Opening Times for Deliveries and Collections

Monday 8am - 4.30pm
Tuesday 8am - 4.30pm
Wednesday 8am - 4.30pm
Thursday 8am - 4.30pm
Friday 8am - 4.30pm
Saturday 8am - 12pm
Sunday Closed

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Set in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, why not visit our nursery to discover what we have to offer?


Johnsons of Whixley Ltd

Gilsthwaite Ln,
Kirk Hammerton,
North Yorkshire,
YO26 8AQ,
United Kingdom

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