Keeping your garden green is more important than ever before.
With the rise of low-maintenance gardens, and plant-free drives, it is important to remind ourselves just how important our gardens and green fronts are.
Johnsons of Whixley’s Ellie Richardson shares eight reasons why you should be like us – and keep you garden green!
1) Trees and plants help prevent flooding by absorbing water
2) Gardens increase a feeling of wellbeing
3) Trees and plants filter air pollution
4) You will attract bees and butterflies, even if you don’t have a large garden
5) You will increase the aesthetic appeal of your neighbourhood
6) Your trees and plants give nature a home
7) Your hedging and trees help create a sound barrier
8) Porous drives soak up 50% more rain then tarmac or paving
Posted 27th Jul 2:24pm
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We’re helping The National Trust at Studley Royal & Fountains Abbey near Ripon, North Yorkshire, to restore an important element of its 300-year-old Georgian garden.
Since 1983 we’ve been supplying specimen container grown hedging plants to the World Heritage Site to replace its yew ‘bosquet’ hedges which have become overgrown causing them to lose their formal appearance.
The work is part of a massive programme of works that has been taking place at the Studley Royal water garden. Since taking over the site from North Yorkshire CC in 1983, the estate has invested millions of pounds in its work to safeguard this unique garden which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1987.
A bosquet is a group or plantation of trees and shrubs, often planted in straight lines or geometric shapes; they can be but not always are surrounded by formal hedges (green walls) or paths of gravel.
Influenced by late 17th century French fashion for formality the garden makers at Studley Royal used bosquets throughout the water garden using English yew as their favoured hedging plant.
The current overgrown, and in some places dying yew ‘bosquet’ hedge which is just over 800 metres in length, will be removed from the garden in autumn/winter 2018 and replaced with specially selected 125cm specimen container plants, which will be planted in the garden in 2019.
The specimen container plants, which were planted in October 2016, are currently growing and being nurtured at our Newlands nursery, and have already started to take shape. At the end of April the plants were shaped and another trim will be undertaken later this year.
If required, stock may be transferred into air pots to stimulate root development and returned to our Thornville site.
Group director Graham Richardson from Johnsons of Whixley, said: “We’re delighted to be working again at Studley Royal & Fountains Abbey, and are excited to be helping to restore such a beautiful garden which has so much of Yorkshire’s history behind it.
“We have a long history of working closely with the National Trust and a proven track record of delivering to a precise specification that produces an effective result.
“Growing large hedges is a genuine horticultural challenge where attention to detail is critical throughout the process.”
Head of Landscape at Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, Michael Ridsdale, said: “The yew bosquet is a key feature of the landscape here in the water garden. We’re pleased to be working with Johnsons of Whixley to grow new yew trees specifically for the project we have in mind, it means we can grow them to an appropriate size off-site before planting, which significantly reduces the impact of the work on the landscape.”
Posted 26th Jul 5:03pm
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Johnsons of Whixley Xpress Cash & Carry customer, garden designer Helen Taylor, invited staff members Clare Horner and Dave Wicks to visit six gardens she has designed in the Harrogate and Ilkley area.
The selection included contemporary and formal gardens and a mixture of small and large-scale projects.
All of the gardens featured shrubs, trees and perennials that had been sourced from Johnsons of Whixley.
The day of visits began with a contemporary house and garden on Moor Lane, with its mass planting of grasses, lavender and specimen trees.
Then they headed to a large country garden in Manor Park, which slopes down to the river floodplain, and features perennial planting, raised beds, ornamental shrub borders and fernery.
In Ben Rhydding, the group visited a small front garden to a Scandinavian-styled house, with new soft planting, including grasses, white and purple flowers and grey foliage.
Up next, a large formal back garden in Ilkley, with box parterre, rose border, grotto, tea house and shady woodland borders, as well as a recently-planted front garden with ornamental woodland borders.
The group visited a new courtyard-style town garden with cedar slat fences, grey flag paving and raised beds in Harrogate, before rounding off the day in Timble, with a visit to a pretty cottage garden, featuring a new Chelsea summer house and associated paving and planting.
Posted 26th Jul 12:09pm
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Long-serving staff member Mally Billbrough will be taking his retirement in August.
He’ll be missed by all of us at Johnsons, and, before we let him go, we asked him to share some of his favourite memories of working for the company:
“I started in 1999, so I have been with the company for 18 years in total. Previously, I worked at RE Inghams Farnham as a workshop supervisor, and growing up, I’d actually always wanted to be a mechanic.
“I started working as a van driver from the Wilberfoss site, and in my first week Iain had me driving to Scotland, where I had never been before.
“I thought ‘If Iain wants me to go to Scotland and back in a day then he must be joking!’
“I worked as a driver for five years, and have worked as a despatch supervisor for the 13 years since then.
“I have made some good friends over the years, especially at Wilberfoss. When I first started, it was smaller and we were all like a family. I will also miss the winters, spent lugging rootballs, or not!
“The business become more hectic as the Johnsons operation has grown busier over the years, but I’ve relished the challenges that the changes have brought.
“I do have a few plans for when I do finish. One of my daughters lives in Australia, so I will be going out there for two months; she is due her first child.
“If I’m lucky, I might even watch some cricket or go to the allotment when I’m back.”
Posted 25th Jul 5:16pm
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Life is sweet at our nursery as colonies of bees have been busy creating their first batch of honey.
We installed an apiary at our 220-acre nursery three months ago as part of a project in partnership with Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association, which recognises the crucial role bees play on our eco-system.
We installed the apiary to help the UK’s bee population and are now very close to seeing our first batch of honey.
Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association has been visiting the nursery fortnightly to check up on the bees. We’re looking forward to trying the first batch once the honey is ready.
Honey can be used for a variety of purposes; from medicinal use such as treating wounds and allergies, to beauty purposes such as hair conditioners and lip balms. And of course, it can simply be used to sweeten up food such as toast and pancakes.
The British bee population has declined at an alarming rate in recent years, by a third since 2007.
Contributions to the decline include recent wet summers, which have prevented bees from searching out pollen, and environmental changes, such as the increased use of pesticides in farming, alongside the depletion of natural habitats.
Bees are a vital part in the world’s food production as studies have revealed that around a third of the world’s food is pollination dependent.
Our group managing director, Graham Richardson, said: “We’re excited to see that the first batch of honey is almost ready and we’re looking forward to trying it!
“Our nursery is an ideal location for bees as it utilises the many varied plant stocks grown at Johnsons of Whixley and provides foraging within the surrounding countryside.”
Keith Simmonds, Vice President of Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association, said: “The bee colonies at Johnsons of Whixley have made good progress following a slow start to the year and I am hoping for a good first harvest from them.
“Honey bees have many problems to face in their short lives, with the loss of wild flowers and the increase in the various external factors effecting their survival, a site such as Johnsons which offers so many nectar and pollen producing plants will help the long term survival of the honey bee.
“I would encourage as many people as possible to offer sites for bee colonies and I would like to say a big thank you to Johnsons of Whixley for providing an apiary site.”
Posted 21st Jul 2:52pm
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Hours: 39 hrs per week
Monday to Thursday 7.30-4.00, Friday 7.30-3.00 but flexibility required
Salary: £20k – 23K dependent on experience.
We are looking to recruit a Despatch Assistant Manager who can take a pro-active role in assisting with the smooth running of our Despatch Unit.
The successful applicant will have:
If you have worked in a despatch team before that would be an advantage, but it’s not essential.
Due to the nature of our operations, the ability to work flexibly, both within the standard working day or week, and beyond, and to participate in additional working, as and when it is required, is essential.
The duties of the job will involve regular lifting of heavy items, bending and twisting.
Please email your CV to Christine Davis email@example.com by Wednesday 2nd August 2017.
Posted 19th Jul 1:26pm
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We are proud to announce that Johnsons of Whixley’s Garden Centre Sales enhanced its reputation as one of the UK’s top growers with the receipt of a Silver medal at the New Plant Awards.
Our Veronica Moody Blue Sky Blue was awarded the Silver Medal in the Herbaceous Perennials category at the New Plant Awards, held at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st June.
Hosted by the Horticultural Trade Association, the National Plant Award show is recognised as the UK’s largest horticultural show for garden centre plant buyers.
The silver medal follows a Bronze in 2015 for our Berberis Thunderbolt, and Silver last year for our Geranium Miss Heidi.
This latest award follows our achievement at The Family Business of the Year Awards, where we were named Runner-Up in the Yorkshire category.
Our Garden Centre Sales Manager, Mark Reynard, said: “Once again, we had a brilliant time at the New Plant Show in the company of colleagues and friends from across the industry, and we’re proud to be coming home with our third medal in as many years.
“The event provided a great opportunity to renew acquaintances and build new connections, while admiring some of the excellent plants produced by talented people from across our industry.”
Posted 19th Jul 9:25am
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Students and staff from the charity, Horticap, enjoyed a tour and hands-on work experience at leading horticultural nursery Johnsons of Whixley on Wednesday 12 July.
Horticap’s qualified staff and team of volunteers provide adults with learning difficulties with training in horticulture, allied crafts and rural skills.
The group enjoyed a visit to the board room and a guided tour of the Johnsons nursery site and gained a first-hand insight into operations in the Xpress Cash and Carry division of the business.
The tour was hosted by Johnsons of Whixley chairman John Richardson, who celebrates his 80th birthday in September, and who still plays an active role in the running of the business.
John said: “We were delighted to welcome the students from Horticap, alongside their excellent supervisors, Phil and Erica, who were also keen to pick up production ideas which might be useful at Horticap.
“I always enjoy talking to visitors, particularly when they are young and motivated by growing plants, and the delight and surprise on the faces of these youngsters as they saw the volumes and variety of large scale production, was wonderful to see.
“As youngsters they were keen to see inside one of our big trucks, which was about to leave for Scotland, and insisted on having their photos taken in the driving seat. It was a totally new experience for all of them.
“Horticap is a truly admirable organisation, and they need, and truly deserve, the support of all our horticultural friends.”
Horticap assistant manager, Phil Airey, said: “We were made to feel so welcome by Johnsons of Whixley. Our students had a great time and learnt a lot about the industry.
“One of our student said afterwards said it was one of the best days he’s had, so we are grateful to Johnsons for hosting us, and for being so supportive of our efforts in general.”
Johnsons of Whixley has provided empty pots to Horticap for many years, whilst also supplying plants and other horticultural products to their charitable projects.
Based in Harrogate, Horticap’s students complete work under supervision throughout their local community.
The charity also raises funds by selling gardening accessories and gifts, as well as perennials, bedding plants and shrubs cultivated by Horticap’s own students and staff.
Posted 17th Jul 4:34pm
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Based upon information currently available from DEFRA, APHA and other sources globally, Johnsons of Whixley Ltd will not knowingly procure any stock directly from or originating in an area that has had a confirmed outbreak of Xylella spp.
Currently the areas included in Johnsons of Whixley Ltd.’s procurement exclusion are:
• Italy – all regions
• Spain – all regions
• France – Provence Aples Cote d’Azure (PACA), Corsica
• Principality of Monaco
• Germany – Saxony and Thuringia
• Czech Republic – all regions
• Switzerland – all regions
This statement is subject to amendment, if deemed appropriate, in light of further information or legislation.
Should you have any questions in respect of Xylella and Johnson of Whixley’s position then please direct enquiries to Senior Procurement Manager, Jonathan H. T. Whittemore.
Posted 14th Jul 4:51pm
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Isn’t working outdoors great? Well, I think so!
Even on the wet days, I’d rather be feeling the elements on my face than sat in an office!
One of the things I love most about spending my days outside is how the seasons move on, and with that how the landscape changes.
As a garden designer, I find this helps immensely when it comes to inspiration.
The Yorkshire countryside is never far away and I often find myself reaching out to it for help.
Even in the most contemporary urban garden, there is always room for a feature stolen from ‘Gods own county’; be it a bit of drystone wall or a natural looking stream running through.
We are so lucky to have places around us where wildflowers thrive, and I can’t deny that this serves me as a useful data bank.
As the seasons change new flowers appear, I often find myself using this ever-changing pallet as I come up with planting schemes.
As winter moves towards spring we see colours begin to emerge, the wild daffodils of Farndale and the North Yorkshire Moors.
Nature has spring bulbs in her garden, too , and reminds me that a garden needs bulbs in it, for that early colour, when everything else is still asleep.
Then wood anemones, like those in Strid Wood, Bolton Abbey, appear.
They always look beautiful and there are many varieties of anemone available for the garden. I like to plant pockets of blue Anemone blanda.
The wild garlic that emerges on the woodland fringe reflects the many different alliums that appear in gardens.
One of my favourites is Allium ‘purple sensation’ – it looks great over the fresh foliage of lavender.
And, with our native bluebell under threat from hybridisation with the European thugs, it’s good to see them every year in the countryside.
Planting a swathe of them in a garden adds colour and helps protect one of our most iconic of flowers.
May and June sees wood and water avens in flower; these are Geums and I like to use them in my planting schemes.
July is peak time for wildflower meadows, and the ones in upper Swaledale are stunning.
Species including wood cranesbill and ladies mantle are closely related to the Geranium and Alchemilla I use in gardens.
One of my favourite plants is Yarrow, which is often seen as a splash of white in meadows and on roadside verges.
Its relatives are often seen in the garden. Achilleas warm the summer borders with their colours of fire and earth.
As the seasons move on, the canvas of the countryside continues to reflect the changes we see in our gardens.
Cherries that blossomed in spring and field maples turn into an inferno of colour as autumn arrives – just as flowering cherries and Japanese maples do the same in our gardens.
With winter comes the berries, including holly and sorbus, which can be found in the wild and in gardens
While pyracantha and cotoneaster put on a show to outshine the brightest of fairy lights.
Our countryside is a special place and harbours many of the ancient species of plants that those in our modern-day gardens were bred from.
As the human population expands, we will inevitably lose areas of countryside to development and food production.
So as designers, gardeners and landscapers, it’s up to us to make sure that the gardens of Britain are full of plants – both native and their descendants!
Ensuring their survival and the survival of the birds, bees, bugs and butterflies, and perhaps our survival as well…… perhaps…!
Posted 11th Jul 5:19pm
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The 10th of July marks the wonderfully named National Don’t Step on a Bee Day, which encourages members of the UK public to cherish and help protect our stripy neighbours.
To celebrate the occasion, Johnsons of Whixley’s Ellie Richardson dedicates this edition of Ellie’s Eight to the contributions bees make to the economy and our overall lives.
1) Every third mouthful of food we eat relies on pollinators.
2) Approximately 250,000 species of flowering plants depend on other plants to help them pollinate.
3) Broccoli, Asparagus, Cucumbers, Apples, Cherries, Almonds and Watermelons are among foods that would no longer be available if bees ceased pollinating.
4) Bees pollinate 70 of the top 100 food crops we eat.
5) By keeping flowers pollinated, bees help floral growth and provide attractive habitats for other insects and birds.
6) Imagine a Summer’s day without flowers. Bees help beautify our planet.
7) Honey bees help contribute to our economy. Inn 2008, the British Bee Keepers Association estimated that they contribute £165 million annually. 8) And last but not least, bees are the only insect in the world that produces food eaten by man (honey).
Posted 10th Jul 4:05pm
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The days may now be getting shorter, but there’s hopefully still plenty more pleasant weather to come in the weeks ahead. As we head into July, Ellie Richardson of Johnsons of Whixley provides your monthly gardening reminders.
1) Arrange for pots to be watered when on holiday
2) Prune Pyracantha to two or three new leaves (make sure you wear gloves!)
3) Provide water for wildlife
4) Water vegetable patch thoroughly once a week
5) Take lavender cuttings
6) Trim hedges if there are no nesting birds in situ using shears or hedge trimmer for small leaved hedges, use secateurs for laurel and holly
7) Pot up seedlings of self-sown herbaceous plants
8) Cut back hardy geraniums, alchemilla and nepeta for second flush
9) Put pots full of straw on canes to stop earwigs shredding dahlias
10) Tie in shoots of climbers horizontally for best flower results
11) Cut back side-shoots of trained apples and pears
12) Complete summer pruning of plums and cherries
13) Leave grass clippings on the lawn when dry, to act as a mulch
14) Dead head roses and other large flowered shrubs
15) Watch out for greenfly attacks on a whole range of plants from beech hedges to roses and vegetables. Use soapy water or proprietary insect spray
16) Divide and replant iris every third year.
Posted 3rd Jul 4:37pm
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As we settle in for two fantastic weeks of Tennis in SW19, this edition of Ellie’s Eight focuses on eight fantastic white flowering plants, to match the immaculate uniforms of the world’s best at Wimbledon.
1) Salvia ‘Snow Hil’ is a great perennial that is perfect for a sunny summer border with clean snowy white flowers which bloom from May to July, attracting bees and butterflies.
2) Philadelphus ‘Belle étoile’ is a medium compact deciduous shrub with scented white flowers blooming from June to July – a low maintenance shrub perfect for a sunny border.
3) Need ground cover? This Geranium sanguineum ‘albulm’ is perfect for the front of a sunny – partial shade border and will give you white flowers from May to June.
4) Echinacea ‘White Swan’ is one of our favourites and will flower from June through to September giving you fantastic daisy like big flowers. Great in the middle of a border – it will attract hoards of bees and butterflies.
5) A late flowerer Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ flowers from August to October and will do best in partial shade. A Great addition to a shady corner of the garden.
6) Why not plant these delicate Dicentra ‘Alba’ to add a splash of white to your garden between April and May? It will thrive best in full sun or partial shade.
7) Lupinus ‘Gallery White’ is the perfect addition to a cottage garden border, flowering from June and August and adding strong vertical interest.
8) Nepeta ‘Snowflake’ is a white flowering clump forming perennial flowering from May to September – great in full sun or partial shade.
Posted 3rd Jul 11:42am
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Set in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, why not visit our nursery to discover what we have to offer?