Latest Stories

  1. Why bees are so important to us

    Why bees are so important to us

    Why bees are so important to us

    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 4:34pm
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  2. Keeping your garden green is more important than ever before

    Keeping your garden green is more important than ever before

    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 neighborhood
    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 4:29pm
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  3. Johnsons helps National Trust at Studley Royal restore its 18th c garden

    Johnsons helps National Trust at Studley Royal restore its 18th c garden

    Johnsons helps National Trust at Studley Royal restore its 18th c garden

    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 27th Jul 12:48pm
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  4. Horticap’s students gain industry insight from nursery visit

    Horticap’s students gain industry insight from nursery visit

    Horticap’s students gain industry insight from nursery visit

    Students and staff from the charity, Horticap, enjoyed a tour and hands-on work experience at our nurseries 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 2:18pm
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  5. Honey is in sight as bees get to work at our nursery

    Honey is in sight as bees get to work at our nursery

    Honey is in sight as bees get to work at our nursery

    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 200-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 utilizes 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 2:13pm
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