A seasonal reminder
The weather has been very acceptable over the last month, although we had a couple of days of very heavy rain. The total for the month has been about average, but the rain together with the lack of frosts at night has ensured that the season is reasonably well advanced, with the sound of lawnmowers being frequent.
With this early spring growth, don’t forget the lawn fertilizer, or, if necessary, combined fertilizer and weed-killer. You may well need another application of a higher nitrogen fertilizer in another five or six weeks.
Springing into action
March is going particularly well for us, the weather has been kind, enabling us to keep working every day without a single pause due to frost or snow, and all our field grown stock has been lifted, and planting for next year in well under way.
Garden Centre orders are going well – they had an early start – we have more customers and they are requiring more repeat orders. The one downturn is the requirement for smaller but more frequent deliveries.
The Amenity sector is going really well, with big projects across the country and Northern Ireland, and Cash and Carry has also benefitted from the early start to the year.
We should certainly exceed our budget sales for the month, while planting and potting is also well up to target.
Knot our problem?
Japanese knotweed continues to be referred to every week as the cost of eradication increases. It was first introduced into the UK in the 1880s from Japan, where it grew on the sides on volcanoes. It was sent to Kew, but soon became distributed by nurseries. The plant is so aggressive that the smallest piece can root and spread with great speed and force its way through garden after garden, bursting through tarmac and concrete driveways with ease. It has become such a problem that affected gardens may well prevent the sale of the house or the prevention of mortgage facilities.
It cost £70m to eradicate it from the Olympic Park in 2012, and at present almost £175m per year is being spent on eradication. I have no idea where you would dump affected soil, as it will recur from 3m down. It has become invasive on large tracts of railway line, and created enormous problems for people who have adjacent gardens.
I understand that it would take several applications over many years to completely eradicate it. The moral is, ‘If you see it, don’t spread it, and inform the owners that it is a notifiable problem’.
Shrub deadline approaches
The weather is now warming up quickly and plants are tending to come into growth early in the north as we have had no seriously hard weather.
If you intend to plant bare root shrubs, please do so before April 7th. After then it could be too late, or you may need to use the more expensive container grown plants.
I take pleasure in seeing forced rhubarb in the shops at this time of year. I grew up on the family farm between Leeds and Wakefield and one of the principle crops was, and still is, forced rhubarb.
200 acres were grown for forcing in the third year of production and grown in the traditional rhubarb sheds so common in that area. They were established in that area because of the very cheap fuel available as a by-product of the many coke ovens supporting West Riding industry in the first half of the 20th century. Most of the rhubarb was pulled, packed, and sent to markets in London by train.
As a 17-year-old I enjoyed my job of taking three to five tons of rhubarb each day to be loaded on to the ‘rhubarb train’, which left Leeds station each evening.
One to ponder…
Finally, anyone got a bright idea as to how we will cope with Brexit in view of the potential for far fewer EU workers in agriculture and other lower paid sectors?
Posted 29th Mar 12:53pm
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We are proud to announce that we will be supporting and supplying plants to the largest ever show garden at Harrogate Spring Flower Show, as part of a project being delivered in conjunction with Help For Heroes.
The garden, which has been named ‘A Homecoming Prayer’, will serve as a memorial space for the 6th Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, who recently returned to the UK from Germany.
Following the Show, the garden will be relocated, in its entirety, to its final home at Dishforth Airfield, near Thirsk, where there are plans to construct a new Cenotaph as part of the garden
It is hoped that the garden will not only enhance the barracks, but also kick start wider gardening initiatives, including workshops for military wives and partners.
The garden is a collaborative effort, led by the 6th Royal Logistics Core, working with Help for Heroes, in support of wounded, injured and sick veterans around the country.
Members of the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) have helped to support the design and build of the show garden.
The 6th Regiment Logistics Corps formed in 1993 and has deployed on operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Cyprus.
They have approximately 550 personnel from around 27 nations based at Dishforth, North Yorkshire.
The regiment is responsible for delivering the right supplies to the right people at the right time, in times of war and peace, which means they have many members deployed around the globe at any one time.
Johnsons will supply plants including bamboos, grasses, acers, specimen conifers and trees, at a heavily subsidised rate as part of their sponsorship of the project.
Help for Heroes www.helpforheroes.co.uk supports those with injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the British Armed Forces.
The project is also being sponsored by HESCO, a globally renowned manufacturer of defensive barriers used to protect military personnel overseas and to save homes and businesses from flooding.
Posted 23rd Mar 2:15pm
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We will be supplying more than 12,000 plants as part of the retail and leisure development on the former Arla Foods site in South Ruislip.
We were selected ahead of other bids following a competitive tender process and will supply a range of shrubs and herbaceous plants as part of the project.
The contract, agreed with landscape construction and maintenance company Whiting Landscape and landscape architects Macgregor Smith, is worth more than £30,000 and is our latest ‘contract grow’ project.
The development will include a new 11-screen cinema, family restaurants, a new Asda supermarket and petrol filling station, and create more than 530 new jobs.
Work commenced on site in October 2015 and it is anticipated that the facilities will be open to the public this summer.
Johnson of Whixley senior amenity sales manager Tony Coles said: “It is a privilege for Johnsons to be making such a significant contribution to a project that will not only revitalise the site, but also create new jobs and opportunities for local residents.
“Johnsons has a proven track record of meeting the demands of large, high-volume projects and delivering plants to a high-quality and at an attractive rate.
“We’re proud to be working alongside Whiting Landscape on this project, and eager to see the wider project unfold in the months ahead.”
Posted 20th Mar 10:42am
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We are pleased to be supplying plants to Chris Myers’ RHS Cardiff Show Garden, which this year celebrates the story of ‘Bloudeuwedd’.
The garden, which is open between 7th and 9th April at the RHS Show Cardiff, will feature ferns, ivys, blackthorn and oak provided by Johnsons.
Chris is a guest blogger on the Johnsons website and his relationship with us stretches back almost ten years.
He is best known as the presenter of Channel 4’s Wild Things programme, for his RHS Gold Award Winning Show Gardens, and as an ‘off grid’ gardener in the wilds of the Yorkshire Dales.
Chris’s Garden for 2017 is named ‘Blodeuwedd’, and inspired by the legend of the Welsh mythological character of the same name.
Chris’s woodland and water garden incorporates elements of the couple’s fateful story.
The story of Blodeuwedd is truly magical. According to the myth, Blodeuwedd was a woman created from flowers, and the wife of the hero Lleu.
While her husband was away, Blodeuwedd fell in love with a neighbour and together they hatched a plan to kill Lleu while he bathed.
But Lleu thwarted death, and transformed into an eagle to flee, before returning to human form.
As punishment, Lleu turned Blodeuwedd into a tawny owl and she was banished to live a solitary life in the woods.
Different elements of this magical story are represented in the garden.
A thatched canopy above a bath marks the scene of the attempted murder, blossom and wild flowers bloom along the banks of the river represent Lleu’s life, while the sculpture of an owl looks on.
Posted 17th Mar 9:43am
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Johnsons of Whixley is a supplier to DIY chains, independent garden centres and amenity projects across Europe.
We’re proud to enjoy strong relationships with such a wide range of clients, and the service we provide reflects the requirements of our customers in trade and amenity sector.
It’s important that our customers understand how this works in a trade environment and, more specifically, that we are unable to sell to customers of registered trade account holders shopping independently, even if they have the permission of the account holder.
Members of the public may only visit the site accompanied by the registered account holder and plants cannot be sold directly to non-account holders.
As a wholesale company, we are not rated for retail sales purpose and so it is a legal requirement that we do not sell directly to the general public.
This means that an invoice can only be prepared in the account holder’s name, and payment can be taken from the account holder only.
We are unable to discuss prices, provide planting advice or accept payment from anyone who is not a registered account holder with ourselves.
We hope that our customers are not offended by requests for proof of trade, or if we ask you to verify your account details.
The measures will protect our customers’ ability to invoice their own customers at their discretion, reduce the chances of us providing contrasting or conflicting advice and, ultimately, allow us to provide genuine trade customers with the best possible levels of value and service.
Posted 14th Mar 5:06pm
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Johnsons of Whixley has enjoyed a vibrant and successful second month of 2017.
Across the business, close to 1,500 orders were processed and more than 750,000 plants were sold in February.
This includes more than 3,000 stock variants, requiring more than 600,000 litres of bark / peat blend compost.
In total, we served 425 customers – many who we have worked with over a number of years, and benefit from our expertise and high levels of customer service time and time again.
We are one of the largest commercial nursery businesses in Europe and a trusted supplier of plants and trees to the amenity sector in the UK.
Our Wholesale Xpress cash and carry serves a range of local businesses including garden designers, tree surgeons, landscapers and many more.
We also have the retail section of the business which sell to garden centres up and down the country.
We’re proud to be able to offer stock ranging from the smallest seedling, to extra heavy standard trees.
Posted 14th Mar 5:05pm
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My latest blog post veers towards the self-indulgent, but I hope you’ll forgive me on this occasion!
Two weeks ago, I clocked over another year with Johnsons of Whixley, and I am now within touching distance of the State Pension – despite my best efforts to live an unhealthy life of cigarettes, pies, beer and other recreations!
But I’m going for counting in weeks rather than days.
And I find myself musing about whether or not I could use the potter’s wheel, or whether or not I’d look completely stupid in front of an easel set up in some well-known beauty spot.
I previously viewed these activities as either pretentious or time-filling, but now I’m less sure.
The irony is that my fervour, intensity, passion, energy for work is stronger now than ever before.
This may be borne out of a fear of ageing, and possibly at the risk of inducing a heart attack by becoming super wound up.
Or more likely it’s just my drive to achieve things accelerating as the time-frame narrows.
It’s such an interesting time for nurseries – with living walls, green screens, health and well-being valuation of plants, better understanding of flora / fauna relationships, better varieties and a new generation of home-owners warming to green environments (excluding the loons who prefer having a front garden of flags and cars!).
Opportunities are there, for sure, but the tie-in between producer and client remains hard to establish.
I can recollect the times when the Parks Departments, who were pretty much the custodians of public green space, and the nurseries, were in direct contact with one another.
Now the situation is much changed.
I could at this point go off on a tirade on Thatcherism, and its practical and mind-set consequences, but that might be unreasonable, and meaningless, to anyone under the age of 55.
But who are the custodians of public green space, now, when it is most needed?
I’ll leave you to consider!
Posted 14th Mar 12:00pm
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Check out these plants, that we’re sure your mum will love!
While they’d make the perfect Mother’s Day present, these plants will bring joy throughout the year.
Posted 10th Mar 4:15pm
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We’ve secured a contract worth £122,000 to supply the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland.
The new planting scheme is part of a £48m revamp of the hospital, which cares for patients with mental health problems, after a new state-of-the-art facility was granted the go-ahead in 2014.
External work has so far included the removal of shrubbery, trees and other debris, the demolition of the Scottish Ambulance Service building, as well as the development of a therapeutic garden activity area.
A large landscape contractor selected Johnsons of Whixley to supply two phases of the project.
The initial phase, which we secured in November 2015, involved planting for the internal courtyards and the second phase, won in August 2016, was to supply the external planting areas, which is due for completion in April 2017.
In total, 280 specimen trees up to 25-30cm girth and 45,000 container shrubs are being delivered to the scheme, with over 70 different species.
Posted 7th Mar 10:23am
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We’re working alongside The National Trust of Scotland to add vibrant colour to the newly re-modelled entrance to Culzean Castle, and the surrounding country park, on the Ayrshire coast.
The Castle, and the 600-acre park that surrounds it, is The Trust’s second most popular property and attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year.
P1 Contractors appointed Johnsons to the project to ensure the exacting specification was met or exceeded.
This included the supply of 150no multi-stem betula, specimen azaleas, instant hedging, 1300no rootballed taxus, specimen taxus balls, ranging from 30cm to two-metre diameter, and ground cover shrubs
We’re working in conjunction with P1 Contractors. The total value of the contract is in excess of £70,000.
Posted 7th Mar 10:22am
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We’re celebrating 30 years of being in business with Wentworth Garden Centre.
Over the years we have established relationships with clients from across a number of sectors through its amenities, garden centre sales and cash and carry services.
And our work with Wentworth Garden Centre, near Rotherham, is one such relationship with roots tracing back three decades.
We initially worked alongside one other in the Garden Centre’s first months as a business, providing high-quality stock at attractive rates.
The relationship has continued since then, and we recently supplied Yew (Taxus Baccata) to the Garden Centre as part of the renovation of their ‘Millennium Maze’.
Posted 7th Mar 10:22am
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We were pleased to present Robert Mason of Sturmer Nurseries with an exclusive Johnsons of Whixley beer gift pack at the British Plant Fair following his latest order.
Johnsons enjoys a great relationship with Robert and Sturmer Nurseries and we were pleased to be able to show our gratitude for their continued custom.
Sturmer Nurseries is a Garden Centre and Tea Room located in Sturmer, Essex.
We offered our beer gift packs to all Plant Fair visitors and distributed a total of ten on the day.
Enjoy the beer, Robert!
Posted 6th Mar 12:00pm
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In my previous blog I told you a bit about how life as a child shaped me into a lover of nature with an addiction for the outdoors, but what took to me from enthusiastic child/teenager to modern day designer?? Money!! Yes that’s right….my parents had brought me up to appreciate that I had to earn my privileges in life and I wasn’t long into my teens before pocket money was stopped and I was encouraged to work for my pennies! Naturally I took on the paper round & milk round that many teenage boys had, but I was keen, and it wasn’t long before I was doing odd jobs in local gardens.
Strangely it was golf courses that came next. After several family holidays abroad staying with an Aunt and Uncle who managed swish foreign courses I thought I might have discovered a way to earn good money by being outdoors, and get to ride about on fancy tractors to boot… But after studying an amenity horticulture course at Askham Bryan College for three years, I lasted only four months in my first job as a green keeper. Long term sitting on a lawnmower and going round and round just wasn’t for me. Boring!!
A job as assistant head gardener on the Duke of Devonshire’s Bolton Abbey Estate followed. I was out of the world of grass and into a rich world of plants, landscape and being outdoors. There was no looking back. Four years later I moved on to become head gardener on a private 40 acre estate.
It was at this point that I got involved in the world of Show Gardens, working with some green fingered residents of Gargrave, North Yorkshire, we won my first Gold (and best in show) at Gardener’s World Live 2004 for the Waterscape.com garden. We even built a life sized canal as part of this showpiece. The success of this, my first design, spring boarded me into a career as a self employed designer and it wasn’t long before I’d formed a team and we were building my designs full time.
Since then I’ve gone on to win further acclaim and prizes. The ‘Garden of Natural Goodness’ at Gardener’s World Live 2009 earned another gold as did my Bodgery Garden in 2011. My home patch inspired gardens ‘At A Dales Pace’ & ‘YDMT HayTime’ won silver gilt at the RHS Tatton & BBC Gardeners World Shows. It’s these grassroots and a love of my home turf here in Yorkshire that I keep returning to in design work, which I now do full time for a string of private clients.
All those years spent rummaging around outdoors now play a key part in the kind of gardens I like to design. Mother Nature continues to amaze me. So, taking a bit of Yorkshire and a bit of nature into the formal setting like Hampton Court or Tatton remains my quest, and trying to work with the wild side continues to be my daily challenge. After all, I am a man who loves nettles and I’m not afraid to use them.
I’m currently producing a show garden for this year’s RHS Cardiff Flower Show, something I’ll tell you about next time
Posted 3rd Mar 4:33pm
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There is currently a road closure in place from Whixley crossroads to Cattal bridge until Tuesday 7th March, access will be given to staff, customers and transport the business is open as normal.
Posted 3rd Mar 10:05am
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Set in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, why not visit our nursery to discover what we have to offer?