Latest Stories

  1. April Gardening Reminders

    April Gardening Reminders

    Here are our Gardening Reminders for the month of April

    1) Prune early flowering shrubs after flowering is over.
    2) Prune foliage shrubs when cut foliage is required later in the year.
    3) Mulch shrubs when weather begins to warm up, but not deeply into the centre of
    the shrub when growing from a stool.
    4) Continue to divide herbaceous plants if necessary.
    5) Plant evergreen shrubs, mulch and water in well. Continue to water if dry.
    6) Cut off dead hydrangea flowers.
    7) Mulch fruit trees and bushes.
    8) Plant Raspberry canes.
    9) Rake lawns to remove worm casts, twigs, and old grass.
    10) Apply spring fertilizer dressing to lawns as weather warms up.
    11) Apply grass seed to thin areas of the lawn and rake in. Cover with fleece for a few
    days if there is a problem with birds eating the seed.
    12) Lightly trim lavenders (but not into the old wood) to stop them getting leggy.
    13) By mid to late April soil should be warm enough to sow hardy annuals directly
    where you wish them to flower.
    14) Towards the end of the month collect woody twigs to use as supports for perennials before they get too long and straggly.
    15) Keep up with weed control, concentrate on Dandelions, bindweed, cleavers, creeping yellow cress, and hairy bittercress as they seed and germinate so easily.
    16) Cut back Lavatera hard to carry this summer’s flowers.
    17) Check stakes and ties of trees planted in the last 2 years, stakes to be still sound and ties not strangling the tree.
    18) Make sure you planted your Magnolia in a site which is not exposed and does not receive the morning sun, as these conditions may cause May frost damage.
    19) Reversion occurs in a number of variegated trees and shrubs, foliage becomes green and the shoots grows strongly. Cut out these shoots as soon as possible, and as close to the stem as possible.

    Posted 30th Mar 10:47am
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  2. Chris Myers’ guest blog: Making plans for 2018 and the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

    Chris Myers’ guest blog: Making plans for 2018 and the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

    Chris Myers is an RHS Gold Medal-winning designer, TV presenter and off-grid gardener

    Together with my team of merry helpers, we build the gardens I design, as well as helping to maintain and develop other gardens of varying maturity.

    The period that not long ago I was referring to as ‘after Christmas’ and ‘in the new year’ is now well and truly upon us and, for me, it always seems to be the most manic and somewhat diverse time of year.

    Just like the weather, and often influenced by the same, what I find myself doing seems to vary massively.

    To ensure work carries on through winter, I always try and save specific jobs that suit this time of year better than most, including tree work like maintenance and planting, and timber work, like decking and fencing.

    On top of that, while the weather is at its worst, I try to do as much of the design work and planning for the year ahead as I can.

    The outcome always seems to be the same – so much to do in so little time, and this year is no different.

    With a satisfying amount of work already booked in for the year ahead, I have found myself spending much of my time designing and planning landscaping schemes, including a really exciting woodland garden project, as well as what could be the highlight of my year – a show garden for the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

    From 6th to 10th June, the Royal Horticultural Society’s newest show returns to the magnificent 1,000-acre Chatsworth Estate.

    The show is set to be filled with exciting new horticultural wonders, including a river of 12,000 Cosmos, and more than a hundred varieties of orchid.

    It’s quite fitting as, during Joseph Paxton’s time as head gardener, the Chatsworth Estate boasted one of the most extensive orchid collections in the UK.

    But the highlight of any flower show has to be the Show Gard

    ens, and I’m so chuffed to be producing one at Chatsworth.

    The garden will be a real celebration of the Yorkshire Dales – with a meadow of wildflowers, a pretty little cottage, and a garden adorned with herbaceous perennials, lavender and roses, all nestled within the surroundings of a native broadleaved woodland.

    It’ll be lovely, even if I do say so myself!

    The garden will also serve as a promotional tool for the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) and ambassador for their Hay Time project, and I’m really pleased that this is the case.

    The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust is an independent charity with a mission to support the environmental, social and economic well-being of the Yorkshire Dales.

    Over the last 20 years, they’ve helped deliver diverse and inspirational projects worth more than £28 million.

    Their hard work has brought opportunities to people from communities, both inside and outside the Dales, helping them access, understand and benefit from the area.

    The YDMT supports economic life in the Yorkshire Dales by providing training jobs and volunteering opportunities, and they help deliver projects that enable the people and communities of the Dales to live and work sustainably in this protected landscape.

    It’s all good if you ask me, but the Yorkshire Dales isn’t where it stops. Many of their projects now involve work that connects the Dales to its surrounding area.


    Sometimes, it’s hands-on practical work, like expanding habitat networks for wildlife, while other work helps connect with people and communities outside the Yorkshire Dales, in order to ensure that everyone can access, enjoy and value this area.

    I’m often asked “why do a show garden?”.

    The reason is that, thanks to the support of the RHS and associated sponsors, something way more than just a garden is created.

    A show garden is a marketing tool that sends out messages on various levels.

    For example, my garden at this years Chatsworth show will not only give the audience (expected to be

    more than 80k) something pretty to look at, but also allow the YDMT to demonstrate how many of their projects actually work.

    The garden will also allow the associate sponsors, including two of Britain’s top nurseries and an award-

    winning drystone waller, to display their products to a wider audience.

    And then there’s me! I get to show my skills as a plantsman and designer, while my team demonstr

    ate how good they are at turning what’s in my head into reality.

    My show gardens often look like a natural landscape rather than a garden, which, in all honesty, limits the number of potential clients to be gained from the display


    But I don’t let that bother me, because the PR that comes off the back of it ensures that I get plenty of exposure, which works for me!

    Now I just need the weather to become a bit more spring-like, so my team and I can get cracking – hopefully that will be soon!
    I’ll keep you posted on how things develop over the next few months.

    And if anyone fancies coming along and having a look, the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show will run from 6th to 10th June.

    Tickets can be bought at


    Follow Chris on Twitter – @digchrismyers



    Posted 22nd Mar 4:46pm
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  3. How to attract butterflies to your garden

    How to attract butterflies to your garden

    Want to attract butterflies to your garden?

    1) “Butterflies like a lot of sunlight”! Be sure to choose plants that do well in full sun like Echinacea, Verbena and Lavender.
    2) Do choose native and non-native plants to encourage different butterflies to your garden
    3) Try to provide nectar throughout the butterfly season choosing early and late bloomers.
    4) Prolong flowering by deadheading flowers, this will encourage a second lot of flowers – meaning more nectar for butterflies!
    5) Do try to plant along a fence, building or hedge to protect butterflies from the wind.
    6) Place a rock in a sunny spot for butterfly basking and resting.

    Posted 20th Mar 6:50pm
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  4. Plants for Butterflies

    Plants for Butterflies

    To celebrate butterfly week we thought we would share some of a butterflies favourite plants. It is said that 70% of the UK’S butterfly population are in decline. By planting some of these you could help save butterflies from any further decline.

    1) Just one Buddleja in your garden is enough to attract a hoard of butterflies, after all its known as the ‘butterfly bush.’ Buddleja is full of nectar which is a butterfly’s primary food source.

    2) Scabiosa were very popular with butterflies last year, flowering from June to September they provide a good amount of nectar for butterflies throughout the season. These plants thrive in full sun as do Butterflies!

    3) Lavender is full of nectar which means it’s never short of a butterfly or two, three four etc. Lavender will do best in a sunny position and fill flower from July to September.

    4) Last summer our Escallonia ‘Pink Elle’ were full of butterflies from June through to August. Escallonia’s not only look great in summer but their dark glossy foliage looks great throughout the year.

    5) It’s no wonder Echinacea are attractive to butterflies with their large cone shaped flowers, they prefer full sun and will flower from July to September.

    6) Verbena bonariensis are sure to keep butterflies happy in late summer when they flower from June right through to September they will do great in full sun.

    Posted 12th Mar 6:07pm
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  5. International Women’s Day

    International Women’s Day

    To mark International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the women in our business and are exploring the role of women in horticulture today.

    International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March every year to commemorate the movement for women’s rights. This year’s theme is #PressForProgress, which aims to motivate and unite communities to think, act, be gender inclusive and progress gender parity.

    At Johnsons of Whixley, we are proud of our 100-strong workforce made up of three generations of the Richardson family, many colleagues with 30 years’ service and employees of different nationalities, who all combine decades of experience in horticulture. We offer equal opportunities to all of our members of staff and really value each and every one of our employees.

    Some of our female colleagues have shared their thoughts on the role of women in horticulture today, how it’s changed and what the future might hold.

    Vicky Newell has worked at Johnsons of Whixley for 11 years and is responsible for key customer accounts in the North East, North West and Scotland.

    As part of her role as Amenity Sales Area Manager, Vicky provides day-to-day account management, as well as overseeing incoming orders and providing estimates for new projects.

    Prior to joining Johnsons, Vicky completed Level 1 and 2 RHS qualifications in Horticulture, which has contributed to her understanding of plants and the industry as a whole.

    Outside of work, Vicky is the deputy chair for Jubilee Allotments in Knaresborough and also creates and distributes their monthly newsletter.

    Vicky said: “I have seen more women working within the office environment since I started working at Johnsons of Whixley 11 years ago. However, I think the industry is missing a trick by not having more women directors or managers. We have different opinions, but surely a variety of ideas is how we will compete in the challenging times the industry is seeing at the moment.

    “I enjoy working in the horticulture industry because I find the products interesting and I like to see how they change through the seasons. I enjoy visiting our plants when they have been installed to see how they can improve the environment and people’s lives. It makes you realise that this is quite a nice industry to be part of.”

    Claire Horner has worked at Johnsons of Whixley for 19 years. In here current role as Wholesale Plant Centre Sales and Operations Supervisor, she ensures there is a range of plants available to satisfy customers’ requirements all year round.

    Claire joined Johnsons of Whixley as a nursery worker, where she was based at our Ryther site for the majority of the year and spent the winters at our Newlands site. She then moved across to the retail department as a lifter for a short while, before moving to stock. Claire had the role of Stock Auditor for five years, before being promoted to her current role as Wholesale Plant Centre Sales and Operations Supervisor.

    Claire said: “I have not encountered any negative stereotypes during my time at Johnsons of Whixley. When I joined at the Ryther site, I was the only woman there working alongside eight men and I was never given a task based on my gender, only on my ability.

    “The trend I have noticed the most for women in horticulture is the increase in women in prominent roles. There are now more women who run their own nursery, who have their own business, and there are more women designers now, many of whom are doing this to an award-winning standard.”

    Claire added: “The horticultural industry has lots to offer women. Whether they want to nurture plants, show their artistic flare, educate others or simply work with nature and feel the soil under their fingernails.

    “I think young women need to be made aware of the potential career opportunities available to them – that you can be a successful woman, run a business and have great opportunities to flourish. I also think the horticulture industry needs to raise its profile so it is not just seen as a hobby for women who like gardening – it should be seen as a positive career choice.”

    Sandra Grayson has worked at Johnsons of Whixley for 17 years and currently works as a Payroll and Tax Administrator. She said: “The horticultural industry is still male dominated but there are more women coming into the industry in different sectors such as business, science, technology and engineering.

    “I would like to see more women in senior management roles in the industry and I think in the future more key positions will be taken up by women.”

    Chris Davis, HR Coordinator and Admin Manager, has worked at Johnsons of Whixley for 18 years. She said: “I think the industry is changing slowly. It is still male dominated but there are now more female faces on TV gardening programs.”

    Posted 8th Mar 11:29am
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  6. Congratulations Terry

    Congratulations Terry

    Congratulations to Terry Cooper who has taken on the system support assistant role and will be working alongside IT Manager Darren Earle.

    Where did you work prior to Johnsons?

    I’ve done quite a bit, worked as an engraver with my uncle for a few months, which seemed interesting but I only really scratched the surface whilst there. I also worked at a guitar shop in York but had to quit as there were just too many strings attached. I have also been a call centre android, supermarket vegetable wrangler, construction site high visibility statue and a chef.

    What was your previous role at Johnsons?

    I have been working in operations, generally ensuring all orders are processed and allocated correctly,before that I was outside on the nursery, mainly with the plant production team at Cattal.

    What will your new role include at Johnsons?

    It’s quite a varied role, but mainly I will be involved with providing direct user support, some development and System testing, Cyber security,
    General monitoring, Maintaining and updating of the Company’s IT Hardware and Software, I will also have to buffer the calibrated pixel-layer memory matrix to ensure that the quantum-core kernel correctly defrags the encrypted data mainframe and vector-cache.…and of course the classic turning it off and on again.

    Have you always had an interest in IT ?

    Yeah definitely, us early ‘millennials’ were kids during the time the internet became widely accessible and it was hard not to be influenced by such a fascinating communications revolution.
    I also remember getting in trouble at school for repeatedly changing the homepage from askjeeves to google, despite it being the superior search engine.

    What are you looking forward to in your new role?

    The opportunity to acquire knowledge of a constantly evolving progressive industry sector and seeing tangible benefits where I.T improvements have been implemented.

    What do you think the Challenges will be?

    Without a doubt remembering what all the acronyms/initialisms stand for, MAC, HTTP, DBMS, DHCP, DNS, TCP/IP, SMTP…. The list is endless!

    Is there any specific courses you will be attending to help with your new role?

    I have enrolled with the exclusive Darren Earle School of Information Technology which is fantastic, i will also be ‘attending’ various webinars on database administration and SQL, working towards a Microsoft accreditation.

    IT Manager Darren Earle said “Seeing Terry’s involvement in a few projects he has worked on in his old role I recognised that he had a flair for IT. Coming from a User role into a Systems role will provide a great benefit to developing new projects. I’m looking forwards to working together”

    Posted 6th Mar 11:17am
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  7. March Gardening Reminders

    March Gardening Reminders

    Here are our Gardening Reminders for the month of March

    1) Prune strong growing Buddleias down to about 18” for a good show by summer. Prune to 30-40” for a denser but weaker overall growth.

    2) Prune decorative Cornus and Salix to within 5cm of the old shoots to encourage next year’s coloured winter stems. Don’t prune ‘Midwinter Fire’ types too hard.

    3) Feed roses with a general fertilizer and remember to do it again in summer.

    4) Arrange to plant summer flowering bulbs when planting condition are good.

    5) Finish pruning perennial which have not yet been cut back, don’t remove new green shoots. It is still time to lift and divide large herbaceous clumps. Re-plant or give away outer sections of the clump and destroy the centre of the plant.

    6) When daffodils have flowered, remove dead heads to conserve energy.

    7) Hellebores are now very popular, lift seedlings around parent plant and pot up.

    8) As the weather improves, weed growth will begin in earnest, hoe off seedling weeds with a really sharp hoe and treat perennial weeds with Roundup.

    9) Use fleece to cover delicate leaves when frost is imminent. Seedlings can be protected in the same way, hold fleece down with stones or tie to the pots.

    10) New shrubs and herbaceous plants can be planted when soil conditions are good.

    11) Finish pruning soft fruit bushes by mid-month and give a high nitrogen feed.

    12) Lay fleece or polythene on bare soil to warm it before planting or sowing seeds or vegetables. Remember to apply slug pellets.

    13) Consider mowing the lawn towards the end of the month, brush off worm casts if necessary as these blunt the mower. Apply a balanced fertilizer or combined feed and weed-killer.

    14) After heavy snowfalls knock snow from upright conifers before branches get bent over. Most plants are better under snow in hard frost as they are well insulated.

    15) In bad weather finalise plans for garden improvements and order the plants and sundries to enable you to start work as gardening conditions improve.

    Posted 6th Mar 10:20am
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  8. Employee Appreciation Day

    Employee Appreciation Day

    To mark Employee Appreciation Day, some of our members of staff have shared with us what they enjoy about working at Johnsons of Whixley and how the business has supported them in their career.

    Group Managing Director Graham Richardson said ” In a largely manual industry we remain very reliant on our employees for every aspect of what we do. The level of motivation and commitment never ceases to amaze us and it couldn’t be more apparent at times of extreme weather or hard-ship. To the team at Johnsons – “thank you all”!

    Today is Employee Appreciation Day (2nd March), what do you enjoy about be-ing an employee at Johnsons of Whixley?

    Bev Elsworth, Senior Nursery Worker, said: “I love seeing the colourful flowers and foliage of the variety of plants.”

    Darren Earle, IT & Systems Manager, said: “I enjoy the variety of work that I get to be involved with. Also the people I work with make it a good environment to be in.”

    Jason Clement, Senior Wholesale Plant Centre Assistant, said: “I enjoy being an employee at Johnsons because I’m working outside in the fresh air, the work I do is appreciated, I work in a stress free and friendly environment and I learn new things most days.”

    Matt Campey, Despatch Team Member, said: “I enjoy how every day is different and you are always kept busy – the days fly by.”

    Describe a typical day at Johnsons of Whixley.

    Andrew Barker, Sales Account Manager, said: “Usually very busy, quoting new work, making sure that orders go out and are not delayed and dealing with any issues that arise.”

    Eric Buckby, Deputy Manager Container Unit, said: “Setting up the potting machine for crops we intend to pot that day and when the team arrive, and organising what everyone is doing throughout the day.”

    Sara Szabo, Retail Senior Supervisor, said: “Quality control, final checking of orders, watering glasshouse, sorting orders for garden centres, deputise for the retail line manager, and sorting out delivery notes for wagons to give to despatch.”

    What previous positions have you had at Johnsons?

    Bev Elsworth, Senior Nursery Worker, said: “I first started working on the retail line, then I moved onto the amenity orders.”’

    Nige Crowl, Maintenance Operative, said: “I was a HGV delivery driver and before that I worked at Johnsons as a general nurseryman“

    Sara Szabo, Retail Senior Supervisor, said: “I used to work at the Cattal site with the potting team but had many other tasks including tying and trimming.”

    How has Johnsons of Whixley supported you in your career?

    Andrew Barker, Sales Account Manager, said: “I have gradually increased my responsibilities and Johnsons of Whixley have provided further training where required.”

    Darren Earle, IT & Systems Manager, said: “When I have expressed an interest to be involved in specific areas, I have been given the opportunity to do so. I have had the chance to develop systems in the ways I want which has provided new experiences whilst being the best fit for the business.”

    Paul Lamb, Assistant Retail Sales Manager, said: “I have had a number of roles in my time at Johnsons of Whixley, whatever I have done I have never doubted that I didn’t have their full support.”

    Tracey Richardson, Receptionist, said: “Johnsons of Whixley have provided me with in house training, and have helped with time off for child care during Summer holidays.”

    How does working at Johnsons of Whixley compare to previous jobs you’ve had?

    Andrew Barker, Sales Account Manager, said: “It is surprisingly similar to the food industry supply but with not as many cakes!”

    Eric Buckby, Deputy Manager Container Unit, said: “When I was farming I was working and on call seven days a week and any holiday was a rarity.”

    Matt Campey, Despatch Team Member, said: “Different, At Johnsons on the despatch unit we work as a team, whereas in other jobs I have mainly worked on my own.”

    What do you think is the best way to make an employee feel appreciated?

    Bev Elsworth, Senior Nursery Worker, said: “Talk to them, explain what’s going on, don’t leave them left out, understand what they are going through, look after them during difficult times.”

    Jason Clement, Senior Wholesale Plant Centre Assistant, said: “I think communication is important and being thanked for your hard work is always good.”

    Paul Lamb, Assistant Retail Sales Manager, said: “Still keep paying them is a good start! Seriously, it is just the simple things like saying good morning, knowing your name and the fact you’re not a number, and thanking you for your effort.”

    What’s your proudest career and personal achievement?

    Bev Elsworth, Senior Nursery Worker, said: “Getting 100% in my Spray certificate, teaching myself the different varieties of plants.”

    Eric Buckby, Deputy Manager Container Unit, said: “Being appointed as Deputy Manager and always trying to improve output and quality of the team.”

    Nige Crowl, Maintenance Operative, said: “I passed my HGV test first time and I have never really fallen out with anyone.”

    Paul Horner, Junior Supervisor, said: “Being promoted from nursery worker to supervisor and I met my wife Claire at work.”

    Tell us a random fact about yourself

    Andrew Barker, Sales Account Manager, said: “We once had a pet chicken called ‘Nuggets’.”

    Bev Elsworth, Senior Nursery Worker, said: “Working here is like doing a work out everyday, no need to go to the gym! Also, I enjoy springboard diving at the Hydro in Harrogate.”

    Matt Campey, Despatch Team Member, said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to work abroad in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.”

    Tracey Richardson, Receptionist, said: “I would love to be an 80s DJ.”

    Posted 2nd Mar 8:56am
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  9. Snow closure

    Snow closure

    The business will close at 12pm on Friday 2nd March due to the ongoing impact of heavy snow, low temperatures and a very challenging working environment.

    The cash & carry will also be closed on Saturday 3rd March. We will re-open on Monday 5th March as normal.

    Posted 1st Mar 11:40am
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  10. The bare root and root ball ‘clock’ is ticking

    The bare root and root ball ‘clock’ is ticking

    The bare root and root ball ‘clock’ is ticking – only a month left to go!

    Here are our reasons for planting during the bare root and root ball season:-

    1) 9 out of 10 times a bareroot & root ball hedge or tree will be cheaper than it is in a container.
    2) Planting a hedge provides a home for insects and birds, some varieties provide a source of food.
    3) Planting a hedge can stop intruders, especially varieties like Hawthorn, Blackthorn and Pyracantha.
    4) More hedging varieties are available during the bare root & root ball season in various different sizes.
    5) Planting between November to March is the best time to plant a hedge, you will have a better success rate then planting a container in Summer.

    Posted 1st Mar 11:34am
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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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