Latest Stories

  1. We’re the Harrogate Advertiser’s ‘winning team’!

    We’re the Harrogate Advertiser’s ‘winning team’!

     We’re delighted to be the Harrogate Advertiser’s ‘winning team’ this week.

    Each week the newspaper selects a local business to be celebrated as its winning team, and this week the Harrogate Advertiser team chose our fantastic team.

    There are 100 people in our workforce, rising to 150 at peak times of the year. Our workforce includes 12 members of the Richardson family, from three generations, led by our chairman John Richardson.

    Commenting on being chosen as this week’s winning team our Group Managing Director, Graham Richardson, said: “We have an extremely loyal workforce, and many of them have been with us for 20, 30, even 40 years. That’s part of what makes them special – it’s a combination of experience and long service, and a genuine motivation for the product and what it brings to the environment.

    “We’re one of the very few businesses that can honestly say they make a positive contribution to the environment. We sell in excess of 10 million shrubs and trees annually, and they soak up an awful lot of carbon.

    Posted 31st Oct 4:42pm
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  2. November Gardening Reminders

    November Gardening Reminders

    Here are our Gardening Reminders for the month of November.

    1) Remove fallen leaves from herbaceous beds and lawns to prevent rotting and discourage slugs.

    2) Dig areas to be sown with annuals next year, leave it rough to be broken down by frost.

    3) Remove stakes from herbaceous borders, clean off and store in the dry.

    4) Put grease bands on fruit trees to catch female winter moths.

    5) Prune blackcurrants by cutting out about 25% of the older stems.

    6) Lift and divide rhubarb crowns ensuring each piece has a live crown.

    7) Hang out fleece in the rain, then dry off and store for next year.

    8) Give the grass a final cut with the blades set higher and collect the last of the fallen leaves.

    9) Thoroughly clean the lawn mower and sharpen or renew the blade.

    10) Prepare hedge sites and plant this month whilst soil is warm.

    11) Plant fruit trees and bushes ensuring stout stakes against prevailing wind prevent wind rock.

    12) Now is the best time to plant roses, heel then in if soil conditions are not suitable for immediate planting.

    13) Before planting trees and shrubs ensure roots are moist by soaking in a bucket.

    14) Plant winter bedding such as wallflowers, pansies, primroses etc.

    15) Protect pot grown tender shrubs with straw and bubble-wrap to prevent plant death and cracked pots.

    16) Prepare chrysanthemum stools, dahlia tubers and gladioli corms for winter storage.

    17) Prune soft fruit, shorten leading shoots by half, and side shoots to 5cm (2”) on gooseberries and red currants.

    18) Place a forcing pot or deep bucket over dormant rhubarb crowns to produce early young shoots.

    Posted 31st Oct 3:31pm
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  3. Our Chairman John has won a Lifetime of Achievement Award

    Our Chairman John has won a Lifetime of Achievement Award

    Our Chairman John Richardson has been named as one of the first recipients of a Lifetime Achievement Award in The Yorkshire Post newspaper’s Rural Excellence Awards.

    John received the honour at the inaugural edition of the awards, held at the Pavilions of Harrogate at the Great Yorkshire Showground on Thursday 12 October.

    He was honoured alongside Roger Nicholson, whose family operate Cannon Hall Farm near Barnsley, and agronomist Dave Clark, a pioneer of new techniques who was the first to advise on the use of fungicides for wheat, and use novel products to both control disease and improve grain quality.

    John’s own achievements in the horticultural industry span well over half a century, having purchased the business in 1964 with just eight full-time staff in 1964, and grown it to employ more than 100, rising to 150 seasonally.

    Under John’s reign, Johnsons has had continuous success. During the last 12 months, the business has delivered a turnover of just over £12m, representing our best ever annual performance.

    Today, Johnsons is a true Yorkshire family business, employing three generations of the Richardson family; John’s sons, Graham, Ian and Andrew serve as directors.

    Johnsons of Whixley chairman, John Richardson, said: “It was a tremendous honour to be shortlisted alongside such worthy nominees, and an even greater privilege to be named as one of the inaugural winners of the Rural Excellent Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

    “I’d like to congratulate Roger and Dave on their outstanding achievements in their respective industries. They have both proven themselves to be true pioneers and it is humbling to have been named in their company.”

    Posted 31st Oct 3:13pm
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  4. Bare root guide

    Bare root guide

    Check out our guide below for the bare root and root ball season

    1. Choose your hedging variety – Make sure you research the area that you are planting. What is it you are needing. Is it functional or ornamental? If its privacy plant Laurel, Yew, Leylandii or Thuja. For security plant Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Pyracantha or Berberis.
    2. Plant at the right time – planting between November to March is the best time for bare root and root ball plants ensuring the best possible start whilst dormant.
    3. Dig your hole – Dig the right size hole for your bare root or root ball. Aim to ensure that the planting depth is equal to depth of the ball or recognises the obvious planting band on a bare root plant.
    4.  Spread the roots and firm – Before planting gently spread out the roots or tease them out of a root ball. Back fill with soil and gently firm in to eliminate any air ensuring soil is in contact with the newly planted root.
    5. Water – Winter can be just as dry so ensure you water in well and monitor the soil moisture level thereafter. 

    Posted 31st Oct 2:23pm
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  5. Johnsons teams up with Children in Need to help transform community centre

    Johnsons teams up with Children in Need to help transform community centre

    Johnsons of Whixley teamed up with BBC Children in Need and the DIY SOS team to help a local charity in Swansea rebuild their community centre.
    We donated a range of large trees, hedging and shrubs as part of the redevelopment of the centre and its grounds.

    The centre is operated by The Roots Foundation, which has spent the last two years in a dilapidated wooden hut, and the lack of space and facilities was making it difficult for the team to provide its services to those who need it.

    The Roots Foundation provides help and support to young people who are leaving the care system and preparing for the challenges of the next chapter in their lives.

    The DIY SOS team was challenged to construct a new support centre from scratch, which is spacious and suitable for the users’ specific needs, in just 11 days.

    The new development includes a large youth club space, therapy room, kitchen for cooking classes and a Life Skills Garden. The build also included four self-contained apartments.

    ‘DIY SOS: The Big Build’ is the BBC’s flagship home renovation programme. It has been running for 18 years, and attracts up to five million viewers per episode in its prime-time slot on BBC One.

    The results of renovation will be revealed when the programme airs in November.

    Johnsons of Whixley group managing director, Graham Richardson, said: “Across our business, Johnsons of Whixley is involved in a diverse range of projects, of which many provide care and support to the local community.

    “We’re proud to have been able to give our support to a cause as worthwhile as The Roots Foundation, who provide such a valuable service to young people in their community.”

    A spokesperson for BBC Children in Need said: “DIY SOS completely relies on the support and generosity of the local community, tradespeople and suppliers to help transform the lives of truly deserving families.

    “It’s great to have Johnsons of Whixley on board for this – their donation is huge and is of great support to the project.”

    Posted 27th Oct 4:29pm
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  6. Fast growing hedging plants

    Fast growing hedging plants

    With the bare root and root ball planting season just around the corner here is our guide to some popular fast growing hedging varieties.

    1. Cupressus Leylandii – a very fast growing hedging variety that can grow up to 3ft per year with its eventual height reaching up to 12m tall. Great as a windbreak, general barrier and for noise reduction. Available in various different pot sizes and heights.
    2. Prunus Rotundifolia (common laurel) – A great fast growing dense evergreen hedging plant which can grow 2ft per year and is available container grown throughout the year or as a root ball from November – March.
    3. Prunus lusitanica (Portuguese Laurel) – A hardy evergreen shrub offering screening throughout the year with growth rates of 60cm + a year. Fantastic for screening, noise reduction and wind protection. Available container grown throughout the year or as a root ball from November – March.
    4. Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar) – a hardy hedging plant that will form a dense hedge and grow on average 75cm per year. Doesn’t require as much trimming as leylandii. Available as container grown throughout the year or as a root ball from November – March.
    5. Photinia ‘Red Robin’ an attractive garden hedge growing up to 2ft per year keeping its leaves in the winter. Characterised by its brilliant red new growth. Available container grown throughout the year or as a root ball from November – March.
    6. Ligustrum ovalifolium (Common Privet)– Growing 40-60cm per year this popular semi-evergreen hedging plant is known for its neat oval leaves that are pollution tolerant, great for screening and effective for noise reduction. Available throughout the year as a container grown plant or as a rootball come November – March.

    Posted 27th Oct 4:02pm
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  7. Autumn Interest

    Autumn Interest

    Autumn Interest

    Looking for trees with Autumn interest here’s a few of our favourites looking fantastic right now.

    1. Euonymus alatus – Dark green leaves that turn to a bright attractive red in Autumn. Once its leaves are shed you are left with its unusual winged stems and branches that create winter interest.
    2. Liquidambar styraciflua ‘worsplendon’ – Attractive Loped leaves that are green in Spring/Summer and go from yellow to orange and then red in Autumn before falling from the tree.
    3. Amelanchier lamarckii – A tree with lots of interest through the seasons from its white star shaped flowers in Spring with bronze leaves that turn to dark green and in Autumn turn orange and red.
    4. Parrotia persica – A fantastic tree with year round interest with its flowers in late Winter and early spring with yellows, reds and purples on the leaves come Autumn.
    5. Acer ‘Autumn Moon’ – Bright green leafs in Spring and Summer followed by dramatic pink, peach and flame colours in Autumn. Perfect addition to a Japanese garden.
    6. Parthenocissus quinquefolia – Known for its Autumn colour a vigorous climber that goes from green in Spring and Summer to a bright red and orange in Autumn.

    Posted 17th Oct 9:51am
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  8. Thousands of plants supplied to the National Memorial Arboretum

    Thousands of plants supplied to the National Memorial Arboretum

    Tens of thousands of plants we’ve supplied to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire are now in full bloom.

    A total of 38,000 plants, including a mixture of shrubs and herbaceous varieties, were supplied to the project as part of a contract grow in partnership with Grace Landscapes and landscape architect Andy Webster of Fira.

    Situated in Staffordshire, on the edge of the National Forest, the National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance.

    The site’s maturing woodland landscape is home to more than 300 memorials, which commemorate fallen soldiers and members of the emergency services, alongside charity and civilian organisation tributes.

    Johnsons of Whixley senior amenity sales manager Tony Coles said: “It was a privilege to be a part of such a prestigious and meaningful project, and help add an extra element of colour and beauty to an already picturesque setting.

    “Whilst the contract has since concluded, it is always pleasing to see the results of our work at a later date. It’s a truly magnificent location and we feel enormous pride at having helped to enhance it further.”

    Grace Landscapes head of estimating, Ricky Whiteman, said: “We were very proud to be awarded the soft landscaping package for such a prestigious and well-known site.

    “We were pleased to be working alongside Johnsons of Whixley for the plant supply, having already developed a healthy relationship with the business over a number of years.”

    Posted 13th Oct 10:11am
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  9. Our Chairman has been honoured with a prestigious nomination

    Our Chairman has been honoured with a prestigious nomination

    Our Chairman John Richardson has been shortlisted for a Lifetime Achievement Award!

    John recently celebrated his 80th birthday, and his achievements in the industry spanning well over half a century and have been recognised by The Yorkshire Post, who have named him on the final shortlist in the Lifetime Achievement category at the upcoming Rural Excellence Awards.

    Starting with eight full-time staff in 1964, and an annual turnover of £33,500, Johnsons of Whixley now employs more than 100 members of full-time staff, rising to 150 seasonally, and during the last 12 months has delivered a turnover of just under £12m, which represents one of its best ever annual performances.

    Richardson received Horticulture Week’s Individual Excellence Award in 2006, and The Royal Horticulture Society’s Associate of Honour Award and The Institute of Horticulture Award for Significant Contribution to Horticulture in 2003.

    He is also a recipient of the prestigious Pearson Memorial Medal.

    Johnsons is a true Yorkshire family business, employing three generations of the Richardson family, while John’s sons, Graham, Ian and Andrew serve as directors.

    John Richardson, said: “It is a true privilege to be shortlisted for such an award, and I’d like to congratulate the other individuals and businesses who have received nominations.

    “Having recently been named runner-up in the Yorkshire Family Business of the Year Awards, and following one of our best ever financial years, I am proud that the overall success of the business, which is testament to the hard work of its staff, continues to be recognised.”

    Posted 12th Oct 11:52am
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  10. Intruder proof your hedge this planting season

    Intruder proof your hedge this planting season

    Intruder proof your hedge this planting season with our intruder proof hedging range.

    1)Prunus spinosa – A prickly native hedging plant covered in thorns, great as a mixed native hedge with bright white flowers in Spring followed by green foliage and sloes which appear in Autumn. (Great for making Sloe Gin if you get to the sloes before the birds) Available as a bare root transplant at 40-60cm tall up to 200cm tall.

    2)Crataegus monogyna – A popular native hedging plant known for its large thorns which can be seen after its green leaves fall in Autumn. It is also known for its white scented flowers which can be seen in Spring. Available in bare root sizes from 40-60cm up to 200cm tall.

    3)Berberis varieties – Make a great intruder proof hedge due to its prickly thorns. They are available In 2L and 10L pots.

    4)Ilex aquifolium – An evergreen with attractive leaves with a prickly edge that form a dense hedge. Ideal for keeping intruders out and available from a p9 pot up to a 20L.

    5)Rosa canina – A prickly native variety that is fast growing with pale pink flowers in Summer. Bright Red rose hips come autumn, which are attractive to birds.   Available in bare root

    6)Pyracantha varieties – Known for their colourful berries available in yellow, reds and oranges which will last from Autumn through to Spring if left untouched by birds. Great against a back wall these Pyracantha will stop intruders. Available potted throughout the year.



    Posted 11th Oct 11:01am
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  11. We’re providing hardy horticultural solutions for the holiday park industry

    We’re providing hardy horticultural solutions for the holiday park industry

    We’re joining forces with caravan and static home parks from across the country to provide cost-effective horticultural solutions for the industry.

    Our business is offering a ‘one-stop-shop’ to parks, including the supply of plants, shrubs, hedging and trees, to enhance their look and feel, improve air quality and help create an overall greener environment.

    Recent satisfied customers from the caravan and static home park industry include Easington Beach Holiday and Leisure Park and Sandy Beaches Holiday Park, both located in East Yorkshire.

    The hardy nature of the plants we supply make them ideal for use in coastal areas.

    The range includes our trademark Griselinia littoralis evergreen hedge plants, which are currently being supplied at a special introductory price for new customers.

    Our regional amenity sales manager, Andrew Barker, said: “We offer a superb one-stop-shop for caravan and holiday parks. Our Griselina littoralis is a particularly great option for parks.

    “They can withstand strong gales and cold temperatures, they are tolerant of salty air, and they can be used to form a barrier to protect exotic, less hardy plants. We grow the trees in containers of a variety of sizes to suit all budgets. We’re extremely proud of the positive feedback we’ve received from our customers at Easington and Sandy Beaches already this year.”

    Easington Beach Holiday and Leisure Park director, Amos Larkham, said: “Working with Johnsons of Whixley enabled us to source plants, shrubs, hedging and trees from one place, saving us time and money, and they were also able to advise on which plants would be best suited to our environment.

    “We have been extremely pleased with the level of received and the overall quality of the products.”

    Posted 6th Oct 9:18am
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  12. Meet the Boss: Tony Coles

    Meet the Boss: Tony Coles

    Johnsons of Whixley’s Senior Amenity Sales Manager, Tony Coles, recently took part in the York Press Meet the Boss feature. Check out his interview below.

    What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

    It sounds daft but I would have liked to have been an Astronaut. I have always had an interested in space and the sense of seeing the earth from space is appealing. But, in reality, that was never going to happen, so I was very proud to instead serve in HM Forces before joining Johnsons of Whixley. I served in the Royal Navy for 14 years, and enjoyed every moment of that. Being part of a team that was defending your country was a great feeling, plus I got to travel and visit many places around the world.

    Greatest achievement?

    This is not an easy question to answer, but I have been lucky enough to have never been out of work. Since leaving school I have only ever had three jobs, and I have spent 22 and a half years at Johnsons of Whixley, doing a variety of roles during that time. I’m very proud of what I have achieved during my professional career.

    What makes you most angry?

    I think that would have to be those people you sometimes find who walk down the street looking at their mobile phones and not looking where they are going. I have to say that is something that really annoys me, and I’m sure other share my frustrations, especially when you’re in a rush!

    Biggest mistake?

    I’d say one of my biggest regrets was probably not working hard enough at school. I should have done better than I did, and then who knows where I might have ended up. But then I also think that the biggest mistake someone can make is not learning from their mistakes!

    What do you need to make life complete?

    Health is a very important factor for happiness, alongside feeling the comfort of knowing that I would not have to rely on anybody in my old age. You certainly appreciate the importance of overall health and wellbeing as you get older.

    Why do you make a difference?

    Not an easy one this, because I think we all make a difference to the world in our own small ways. I think the most important thing is to just do your best at what you do, whether it being in your workplace, at home or anywhere else. I believe that if you do that then you can certainly make a difference.

    Posted 6th Oct 9:16am
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  13. Our new Garden Centre Sales 2018 catalogue is available now

    Our new Garden Centre Sales 2018 catalogue is available now

    Our new 2018 Garden Centre Sales Catalogue is now available, featuring our largest ever range.

    The new catalogue features a wide selection of hardy plants grown and nurtured in the Vale of York, on which our 200-acre nursery is located.

    The release of the catalogue follows an extremely successful period of sales and the stock available aims to meet the growing demand of a diverse cross-section of customers.

    Our garden centre sales manager, Mark Reynard, said: “Finalising and distributing our annual catalogue is always an exciting time for the business, and this latest edition is our biggest and best yet.

    “It includes expanded 12L tree and climber sections, a selection of more than 170 promotions, which includes 29 new additions, alongside a wealth of new lines added to each of our four key ranges.

    “We strongly recommend those wishing to secure a promotion for the year ahead to place a reserve with us as soon as possible.”

    The 2018 Johnsons of Whixley Garden Centre Sales catalogue has been distributed to garden centres throughout the UK.

    To request a copy, contact Paul Lamb on 01423 332309 or email

    Posted 5th Oct 3:11pm
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  14. Our Chairman John Richardson celebrates his 80th birthday

    Our Chairman John Richardson celebrates his 80th birthday

    Happy 80th birthday to our Chairman John Richardson! John has been at the head of our business for more than 50 years and says he has no plans to retire.

    John first took ownership of Johnsons of Whixley in 1964. Under his leadership, the business has grown to become one of the largest commercial nursery businesses in Europe, and a trusted supplier of plants and trees to commercial projects throughout the UK.

    These days John’s role mainly revolves around the management of the company’s administrative tasks, including health and safety, quality and environmental requirements.

    But he has no plans to put his feet up, following a lifetime of working in agriculture.
    “Retiring is something you do when you go to bed!” he said.

    “I love my association with my work, the staff, our customers – and the plants! – too much to consider stopping.”

    John began life in the industry at an early age, working on a farm owned by his mother’s family, before going on to study for a diploma at Essex College.

    “During my time with the business, climate change and the impact of foreign holidays has revolutionised the range of plants now used in private gardens,” he reflected.

    “50 years ago, there were no plastic pots, no poly tunnels and no polythene bags, and there were fewer summer sales because nothing was in pots.

    “And as the industry has evolved it’s been extremely satisfying to see the business grow with the help of different generations of the family,” he added.

    “My advice to anybody starting their own business, either within horticulture or outside of it, would be to attack the project with fire and enthusiasm and gain as much knowledge as possible.

    “You will have one or two set-backs but skill, enthusiasm, personality and quick thinking will carry you through. No job will be as rewarding as working for yourself.”

    Posted 5th Oct 9:03am
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  15. Here are Johnsons of Whixley’s Gardening Reminders for the month of October.

    Here are Johnsons of Whixley’s Gardening Reminders for the month of October.

    1. Lift dahlias and other tender perennials when temperatures fall sharply. Store in a frost-free place
    2. Take cuttings of roses and other deciduous shrubs
    3. Tie in newly-grown stems of climbing and rambling roses to prevent winter wind damage
    4. Plant up containers with winter bedding such as pansies, violas, polyanthus, ivy and bulbs
    5. Move less hardy containers, such as figs, olives, bay trees and palms, under winter shelter
    6. October is a good month to lay turf on prepared, firm, and raked ground
    7. Lift, divide, and replant rhubarb crowns that have been in situ at least 5 years
    8. Apply grease bands around trunks of fruit trees as a winter moth barrier
    9. Wrap straw around the growing point of Gunnera and cover with its own inverted foliage
    10. Prune out fruited canes of blackberries and tie in new growth
    11. Start planting evergreen hedges into well prepared soil by the end of the month
    12. Lift gladioli corms and trim stems to half an inch before storage in a dry, airy, frost-free place
    13. Don’t plant tulips until next month due to possibility of tulip fire disease
    14. If you like to see berries in the garden, yellow ones are not popular with birds, such as viburnum, holly and pyracantha
    15. Remove glasshouse shading and clean the glass. Fit bubble insulation
    16. When planting new root-balled or containerised trees, tease some of the roots out of the root ball, but don’t cut them off! Soak root ball in water before planting
    17. Stake newly planted root-balled and containerised trees with a diagonal stake facing the prevailing wind
    18. Make sure your compost bin is empty and ready to receive this year’s crop of fallen leaves

    Happy gardening!

    Posted 3rd Oct 2:55pm
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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

Visit our 200 acre nursery

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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