Latest Stories

  1. A budding relationship with the Department of Landscape Architecture at The University of Sheffield

    A budding relationship with the Department of Landscape Architecture at The University of Sheffield

    By PhD student María de Carmen Redondo Bermúdez
    Department of Landscape Architecture at The University of Sheffield | Grantham Scholar

    The Department of Landscape Architecture at The University of Sheffield and Johnsons of Whixley are leading organisations in the landscape scene in the Yorkshire region and beyond. Johnsons have supported the Department in a number of ways: hosting student visits, and providing high-quality plants to staff to use in their landscape projects.

    Being able to visit Johnsons and speak to staff behind the scenes at their facilities is hugely valuable for Landscape students, as it enables them to understand the ways in which plants of all types are grown and supplied to the profession, and provides insights into how to select and source plant material to meet the parameters of a particular project, which is a vitally important element of students’ learning and future practice. Moreover, plant specialists in the Department of Landscape Architecture have chosen Johnsons to supply many different types of plants for numerous projects.

    A recent example is BREATHE, a PhD research project funded by the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures that entails the construction and evaluation of a green barrier around the playground of Hunter’s Bar Infant School in Sheffield, to improve the quality of the air that children breathe by mitigating airborne pollutants from road traffic. Johnsons of Whixley have supported the school in its #GoGoGreen Campaign, donating plants and discounting prices, helping the school to acquire the plants that will totally transform the children’s play environment. The nursery has helped other community initiatives in the past, showing strong corporate social responsibility that aligns with the vision of The University of Sheffield to improve the Sheffield City Region, one of the reasons why the Department of Landscape Architecture have invited them to collaborate in this amazing grassroots project.


    PhD student María de Carmen Redondo Bermúdez with planting volunteers at Hunter’s Bar Infant School #GoGoGreen planting party

    Other important factors influencing staff choice of Johnsons of Whixley as a primary supplier include the high quality of their plants, their initiatives for the recycling of plastic containers and their strict ISO standards (9001 for Quality Management and 14001 for Environmental Management).

    Additionally, during the process of ordering plants for BREATHE we experienced the Johnsons of Whixley team as friendly, efficient and ethical, which really makes a positive difference when working with suppliers because it makes you feel supported and instils confidence and trust that they will deliver what has been agreed to a high standard. For example, the nursery team advised us on species selection, e.g. to ensure that the plant selection was child-friendly and to minimise the risk of any plant diseases developing. Their suggestions were always constructive and they were open to discussion to help us achieve the goals of the planting scheme. Also, as the #GoGoGreen Campaign intends to create environmental awareness of air pollution and related issues such as climate change, having Johnsons of Whixley so close to Sheffield helps reduce the carbon emissions and pollution that the Campaign tries to beat, especially because their vehicles conform to low emission standards.

    Department of Landscape Architecture at The University of Sheffield webpage:
    https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/landscape

    PhD student María de Carmen Redondo Bermúdez profile:
    http://grantham.sheffield.ac.uk/scholars/breathe-green-barriers-air-pollution/

    #GoGoGreen Campaign:
    http://bit.ly/HBIGoGoGreen

    Posted 5th Nov 3:09pm
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  2. Plant supply to luxury Scottish Highland hotel, The Torridon

    Plant supply to luxury Scottish Highland hotel, The Torridon

    Landscaping Project Introduction

    Our Wholesale Commercial department has recently made the scenic journey from Whixley to the Scottish Highlands, to supply our latest project, The Torridon, a luxurious five-star hotel.

    The plant supply, worth more than £5,000, formed part of the new ‘Arturcus’ Gin Garden at the award-winning luxury hotel where guests can relax and unwind while enjoying the Torridon’s own gin, ‘Artucus’. We supplied 460 Buxus Sempervirens (Box), that have been used for partitioning around the star-shaped pool and pergola, 1,500 herbaceous plants including Achillea, Alstroemeria, Crocosmia and Rudbeckia, and four Sorbus Aucuparia (Rowan) trees.

    The Perfect Location

    The hotel has a history of prestigious award wins including the Cateys Independent Hotel of the Year 2018, and has received five stars from both the AA and Visit Scotland.

    The Torridon was built in 1860 as a hunting lodge for William King-Noel, the first Earl of Lovelace, all materials for the building – including the soil for the two-acre Kitchen Garden – were shipped in specially from Ireland.

     

    Refurbs and Results

    A century later, the lodge became a luxury hotel and today also includes the traditional Torridon Inn, as well as the Boat House, a self-cartering option. Current owners are Dan and Rohaise Rose-Bristow who have completed a full refurbishment including a revival of the Kitchen Garden, used by head chef Ross Stovold to create fresh and unique tastes for diners that can be complimented by the hotel’s very own ‘Arturcus’ gin.

    “It’s wonderful to know our plants are making a difference in this stunning part of the world. Our drivers are already looking forward to the next scenic drive to the Torridon and we are really happy with the finished result. The gardens look beautiful and really compliment the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands. It’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a gin and tonic!”

    This isn’t the first luxury hotel we have supplied, we recently worked with Grantley Hall on their restoration project, as well as supplying the new Dakota hotel in Manchester.

     

     

    Posted 23rd Aug 1:28pm
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  3. Wholesale Xpress cash & carry celebrates its best trading year ever

    Wholesale Xpress cash & carry celebrates its best trading year ever

    Our Wholesale Xpress trade cash and carry division is celebrating its best year yet, following a 32% rise in revenue.

    The unit is run by a third-generation family member, Luke Richardson, and is a one-stop-shop for horticultural professionals in Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.

    The cash and carry have seen revenue rise by 32% compared to the previous year and experienced a significant increase in customers. To further support the impressive business growth, Johnson’s have employed an additional two members of staff to fulfil the surge in demand.

    With only one year in the role as cash and carry manager, Luke Richardson said: “Revenue saw its biggest incline through spring, following small incremental improvements made to our quoting system, tills and the general appearance of the store. We also increased our product offering by 29% which resulted in the sale of a further 134,311 plants.

    “With our sights already set on next year, our focus is firmly on consolidation, given the uncertainty of Brexit and its potential knock-on effect to our industry”

    The trade cash & carry is located 2.5 miles from the A1, Junction 47 and offers a one-stop trade shop to landscape contractors and gardeners, garden designers, tree surgeons, estates, hotels, wedding venues, caravan parks and universities in Yorkshire and beyond.

    Supported by the wider nursery business and with strong links to UK & European suppliers, the trade cash and carry unit boasts a wide range of products including shrubs, herbaceous, trees, hedges, climbers and seasonal lines to suit all.

    A recent plant supply by the cash and carry included an impressive order of plants to restore the grounds of the new 5-star Grantley Hall Hotel. Varieties included a number of large topiary, including Fagus (Beech) domes and Buxus (Box) balls, as well as thousands of herbaceous, shrubs and grasses used for decorative borders, large hedging elements were also supplied to create partitions in the Hall’s gardens.

    You can read more about the Grantley Hall supply here

    Posted 7th Aug 2:38pm
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  4. Garden visits with Helen Taylor Garden Design

    Garden visits with Helen Taylor Garden Design

    Earlier this month we joined Helen Taylor Garden Design for her annual Garden Visits Day to see recently completed gardens in the Ilkley area.  As a supplier to Helen, it was a great opportunity to see many of our plant supplies in their final destination and to see how they have been used.

    Sales Administrator of our Wholesale Xpress department, Alice Knowles, and Marketing Co-ordinator, Eleanor Richardson, attended the garden visits alongside other suppliers of Helen Taylor Garden Design with prospective & current clients.

    Growing produce, Burley in Wharfedale

    The day of garden visits started in Burley in Wharfedale, with a south-facing garden remodelled to create a space focused on growing produce. The design included raised hardwood beds filled with vegetable plants, and trained fruit trees growing against a fence. The garden also featured a  Rhino greenhouse, carrots growing in bins and hostas surrounding a pond.

    An enviable front garden, Burley in Wharfedale

    The second garden on Moor Lane had a large, front sunny bed edging the large driveway. The planting combinations by Helen Taylor Garden Design were just stunning, making use of some lovely combinations, with mass planting of Lavandula ‘Alba’ and Rosa Kent at the entrance to the drive, and the main border consisting of a soft mix of whites, purple and blue coloured perennials  including  Nepetas, Salvia Caradonna, Alliums, Agapanthus and Delphiniums, with the silvery Stachy lanata Silver Carpet as an edging punctuated by Buxus balls. It was great to see such a beautiful design incorporating so many plants from our nursery.

    Country garden design, Burley Woodhead

    The final garden of the morning was a terraced country garden on the edge of the moor. This private space included dry stone walling and newly planted cottage style perennials, including Erigeron which softened the dry-stone walls beautifully, Knautias, Astrantias, Lavenders, Astilbes and Erysimums.

    Impactful use of colour, Ilkley

    As the tour progressed, we visited a small town garden Ilkley with a contemporary style in the use of materials and plants. The garden was designed to include a lower terrace with a raised lawn surrounded with a hot colour pallet of plants. It had a fantastic impact on arrival, and a wonderful combination of plants including red Achilleas, Salvia Caradonna, Miscanthus Morning Light, Heuchera, Nepeta and Alliums.

    Subtle tonal colours, in Ilkley

    Our next visit was at the opposite end of the colour spectrum using a mix of tonal greens, whites and purples. The flagged courtyard included dry stone raised beds and grey painted trellis to complement the soft planting. The photos show the Brunnera Jack Frost and Astrantias, underplanting a purple Acer in a shaded area of the garden.

    A formal delight, Ilkley

    As the morning was drawing to an end, so was our time in Ilkley. The sixth garden we visited was also a personal favourite of ours due to the stunning design and use of space, paired with the plant varieties used throughout. Over lunch, we admired the views this large, formal, back garden that had its own tea house and grotto, as well as featuring a box parterre, a rose border and a woodland front garden with ornamental borders.

    Other plant varieties included David Austin Roses, lavenders, ½ std variegated ilex, a large number of herbaceous plants, ferns, and various specimen shrubs.

    Contrasting neighbouring gardens, Addingham

    At the next two gardens, we saw a contrasting pair of new cottage style townhouses in Addingham. These smaller gardens had roughly the same square footage, but it was great to see how Helen Taylor Garden Design had taken two very different approaches.

    The first had a symmetrical vegetable parterre with gravel paths and repeat planting that included varieties such as lavender, salvia and Buxus. At the end of the garden were large pleached hornbeams to provide screening and privacy from the houses behind.

    The second garden included a small lawn space, unlike the previous, and featured tidy borders, a rosemary hedge and a fantastic trellis screen and rose arch. Some of the plant varieties used included nepeta, climbing roses and lupins, with the bottom section of the garden through the arch leading to a shady summer house retreat.

    Established back garden, Addingham

    The final garden visit of the day was also in Addingham. This time we visited a well-established, back cottage garden. Enclosed by an old stone barn, it included a summer house, wildlife pond and a vegetable and fruit garden, along with Delphiniums, Astrantia, heucheras and penstemon plants.

    We had a truly lovely time being able to see first-hand the work done by Helen Taylor Garden Design, not only as finished gardens but seeing how the plants picked from our nursery have been used.

     

    Posted 26th Jul 12:12pm
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  5. Bees Needs Week Competition

    Bees Needs Week Competition

    Between 8-14 July is Bees’ Needs Week, and to celebrate our buzzing little friends we are giving away six bee-friendly plants. To enter simply like our Facebook page and comment on our giveaway post with a bee emoji 🐝

    1. The Promotor is Johnsons of Whixley Ltd
    2. Entrants must like the Johnsons of Whixley Facebook page and have commented on the post as requested to be in for a chance to win.
    3. The prize is open to all UK residents aged over 18 and above.
    4. There is only one prize available (six bee-friendly plants) with one winner of all six plants. The contents of which include: Lavender Hidcote, Monarda balmy rose, Achillea red velvet, Penstemon arabesque violet, Nepeta walkers low and Kniphofia lemon popsicle.
    5. Multiple entries from the same applicant will be discounted.
    6. The prize is as stated, no cash or alternative prize is available.
    7. The winner will be picked at random from all eligible entries.
    8. The competition will close at 12pm on Monday 15th July 2019
    9. The Winner will be announced on Thursday 18h July 2019 on the Johnsons of Whixley Facebook page.
    10. Winners will be asked for their details for collection.
    11. Winners will receive their prize on collection.
    12. The winners are allowed up to five calendar days to claim the prize from the date they are announced. If the winner fails to come forward than the prize shall be forfeited.
    13. Entries who did not win will not be contacted.
    14. Johnsons of Whixley will not take responsibility for any failure to the plant once the prize is received, replacements cannot be issued.
    15. If you are a winner, the Promoter may request you to participate in any publicity or promotion organised by the Promoter including promotional photographs.
    16. The Promoter reserves the right to withdraw this offer or amend these Terms and Conditions at any time without notice.
    17. In the event of any dispute regarding the Terms and Conditions, the conduct, results and any other matters relating to this prize draw, the decision of the Promoter shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.
    18. By entering applicants agree to the above terms and conditions

    Posted 5th Jul 11:28am
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  6. National Gardening Week Competition (27th April - 5th May)

    National Gardening Week Competition (27th April - 5th May)

    National Gardening Week Competition

    1. The promotor is Johnsons of Whixley Ltd
    2. Entrants must like the Johnsons of Whixley Facebook page and have liked and commented on the post as requested to be in for a chance to win.
    3. The prize is open to all UK residents aged over 18 and above.
    4. There is only one prize available (one hamper worth £30), the contents of which include: one pair of gardening gloves, one Johnsons travel mug, one Johnsons tape measure, one pair of secateurs, one Green Fennel, one Chamaecyparis Fernspray Gold and one Lewisia Rainbow.
    5. Multiple entries from the same applicant will be discounted.
    6. The prize is as stated, no cash or alternative prize is available.
    7. The winner will be picked at random from all eligible entries.
    8. The competition will close at noon on Monday 6th May
    9. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 7th May 2019 on the Johnsons of Whixley Facebook page.
    10. The winner will be asked for their details for collection.
    11. The winner will receive their prize on collection.
    12. The winner is allowed up to five calendar days to claim the prize from the date their name is announced. If the winner fails to come forward than the prize shall be forfeited.
    13. Those who entered but did not win will not be contacted.
    14. Johnsons of Whixley will not take responsibility for any failure to the plant once the prize is received, replacements cannot be issued.
    15. If you are a winner, the promoter may request you to participate in any publicity or promotion organised by the promoter including promotional photographs.
    16. The promoter reserves the right to withdraw this offer or amend these Terms and Conditions at any time without notice.
    17. In the event of any dispute regarding the Terms and Conditions, the conduct, results and any other matters relating to this prize draw, the decision of the promoter shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.
    18. By entering applicants agree to the above terms and conditions

    Posted 23rd Apr 8:00am
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  7. Fresh scenery for Darwin Escapes' Sandymouth Holiday Resort

    Fresh scenery for Darwin Escapes' Sandymouth Holiday Resort

    Our Wholesale Commercial team do like to be beside the seaside – especially when supplying plants for an award-winning holiday development close to the beach at Bude, Cornwall.

    Over a period of six months, the team supplied plants worth more than £75,000 for Darwin Escapes’ Sandymouth Holiday Resort including 9,000 shrubs, 8,000 hedging transplants and hundreds of herbaceous plants.

    Sandymouth Holiday Resort recently underwent a substantial modernisation process, resulting in facilities being extensively updated alongside the introduction of a Go Active programme offering family friendly activities.

    The complex has won the Family Fun Cornwall category in the Hoseasons Annual Awards. It includes a choice of luxury holiday lodges and static caravans, an on-site restaurant, swimming pool and an outdoor gym.

    We are proud to be associated with Darwin Escapes, a company which is noted for its luxurious surroundings and high standards.

    https://www.darwinescapes.co.uk/

    https://www.darwinescapes.co.uk/parks/sandymouth-holiday-resort/

    Posted 25th Mar 1:00pm
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  8. Why recycling in the horticulture industry is essential

    Why recycling in the horticulture industry is essential

    When Global Recycling Day comes around every March, we are reminded about the importance of saving the planet – and why it is essential that businesses in our industry join the battle against waste by putting in place a recycling scheme.

    The horticulture sector faces huge challenges when it comes to recycling, particularly in relation to the amount of plastic it uses.

    Our chairman, John Richardson, recently commented: “Despite being a ‘green’ industry, the demands of the trade, including the correct storage of plants, means that an incredible amount of plastic is used and then discarded. Making a positive contribution to the environment is at the heart of everything we do as a company and this is reflected in our recycling strategy.”

    The plastic crisis has been one of most high-profile items in the news throughout the past year, with figures showing that more than 90% – or 6,300 million tonnes – of plastic waste has never been recycled[1].

    As retailers of plastic packaging, we are required by law to pay the full cost of collecting and recycling, with an obligation to present a certain number of Packaging Return Notes (PRNs) to the officials at the end of the year.

    In 2018, our company reported a total recovery obligation of 348 tonnes, broken down into four tonnes of paper, 116 tonnes of plastic and 92 tonnes of wood, and costing them in excess of £18,000 in recycling costs.

    As part of our commitment to the environment, we are currently undertaking a year-long trial of recyclable plant pots. Made from 98% recycled plastic, the pots can be detected by domestic waste separation systems, unlike standard pots that are often used in the industry, which contain a carbon pigment that compromises recognition, resulting in a huge amount of pots ending up in landfill each year.

    Providing the pots have no impact on plant growth and quality, the project will be rolled out to all of our garden centre customers from 2020.

    In the meantime, our team makes every effort to recycle their own plastic pots, returning used or damaged items or pots to our supplier Aeroplas Ltd, who recycle them through their own production process.

    We have also invested thousands of pounds into additional recycling processes, including funding the separate collection of cardboard, paper, plastic, pesticides, computers and batteries. Waste food from the canteen is collected weekly by Harrogate Borough Council.

    We take our commitment to protecting the plant very seriously through implementing environmentally-friendly processes in the horticultural industry, and we are very proud of our ISO Standard 14001, setting the standard for Environmental Management Systems.

    Posted 18th Mar 12:47pm
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  9. A year on Laura, Terry and Alice

    A year on Laura, Terry and Alice

    We caught up with Alice, Laura and Terry to see how they’ve settled into their new roles here at Johnsons of Whixley, one year on from when they started.

    Let’s start by introducing you all:
    Alice Knowles (AK): I’m Alice, I joined the Cash & Carry team as plant centre reception and sales administrator after working previously at RHS Harlow Carr plant centre as a team leader.

    Laura Holmes (LH): Hi, I’m Laura. I joined last year as sales administrator in the sales team. Before starting here, I worked in a HR admin role at the City of York Council.

    Terry Cooper (TC) I’ve been at Johnsons of Whixley for 4years, but a year ago I moved to work alongside our IT manager as a system support assistant.

    How has your first year in your new role been?
    TC: It’s been great, really enjoyed it. Honestly can’t believe it’s been almost a year, it has gone by so quick! Is that a sign I’m getting old?

    AK: My first year at Johnsons has flown by and it really feels like I’ve been here much longer. It’s been very interesting, and great to learn about the business as a whole, especially how the Cash & Carry works alongside the nursery. I’ve also enjoyed working with landscapers and designers to achieve their designs, that has been very rewarding and great to see the results.

    LH: My first year at Johnsons has flown by too – it has been very educational. I’ve learnt so many new things, such as, memorising all the different types of trees and plants you can get. I wasn’t from a horticulture background, so all this was very new to me.

    What have you enjoyed the most about the last year at Johnsons of Whixley?

    TC: Learning fresh things each day and getting the chance to help people.

    LH: The thing I’ve enjoyed the most about my last 12 months would be obviously learning so many new things, but the people here are all so friendly and welcoming, it makes you want to come to work every day! Not forgetting the food days and Christmas party too!

    AK: I’ve enjoyed many different things since joining last year. Meeting new people who have helped me gain valuable knowledge has been great. Being able to work alongside the nursery has taught me more about plants and how they are produced in large numbers. The main thing I’ve enjoyed was contributing towards a great year for the Cash & Carry and implementing ideas which will hopefully see the continued success of the business.

    Have you experienced any challenges along the way?

    AK: Having never worked with bare root and root ball plants, the season from November has been challenging in learning new products during a busy period. Also, even though I have worked with larger suppliers before, having such a wide range available has been challenging to try and get the best products from the correct supplier.

    TC: We had a lot of fun when the new Cash & Carry Till software went full werewolf and tried to devour a sizable chunk of the database! We eventually managed to pry the data from its ravenous maw, sustaining a few scars in the process.

    Anything interesting you have learnt that you didn’t know before?

    LH: Everything to do with plants! From all of the names being in Latin, to the different sizes and varieties you can get.

    AK: Just how many plants Johnsons grow. It has been amazing to see one variety of plant in a batch of several thousand growing on the nursery. Also, the trends that appear in designs which are influenced by a client’s social media interaction.

    TC: Johnsons spelt backwards is snosnhoj, which sounds like a piece of Ikea furniture.

    How has the team at Johnsons of Whixley supported you?

    TC: Everyone has provided me with encouragement – it’s an environment supportive of progress and excellent mentoring.

    LH: Johnsons of Whixley has supported me in all sorts of ways. If I’m ever stuck on something someone is always willing to help and point me in the right direction. Whether it’s in the office or the yard, they always seem to know an answer and want to help.

    What does the future hold for you at Johnsons?

    AK: I am really enjoying my time in the cash and carry and look forward to helping its continued growth over a long period.

    LH: I hope to expand my knowledge further and customer base.

    TC: We have quite a few projects that will improve the efficiency, traceability, resilience, accuracy, usability and productivity of our customer-facing internal and back-end systems. Many of these we are hoping to see implemented in the next 12 months.

    Posted 28th Mar 12:46pm
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  10. Jobs to do in the garden this March

    Jobs to do in the garden this March

    Not sure what to do in the garden this month? here are some jobs to do in the garden this 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 1st Mar 11:40am
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  11. Gardening Reminders for the month of March

    Gardening Reminders for the month of March

    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 1st Mar 11:02am
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  12. Happy 80th birthday to our Chairman John Richardson!

    Happy 80th birthday to our Chairman John Richardson!

    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 revolutionized 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 1:51pm
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  13. Harry Gration helps unveil 'The spirit of the nurseryman' statue

    Harry Gration helps unveil 'The spirit of the nurseryman' statue

    Harry Gration helps unveil ‘The spirit of the nurseryman’ statue

    BBC Look North’s Harry Gration this week helped unveil a statue commemorating Chairman John Richardson’s more than 60 years’ service to the industry.

    The statue, named ‘The Spirit of the Nurseryman’, has been created by wire sculptor Derek Kinzett, and is sited inside the entrance to the business’s main building.

    Having recently celebrated his 80th birthday, and after last year receiving a lifetime achievement award for his commitment to Rural Excellence in Yorkshire, the receipt of a statue in his honour came as a surprise.

    He said: “I vaguely remember something being said at the time of my 80th birthday, along the lines of something special arriving in due course, but I had no idea beyond that. It’s a tremendous honour.

    “I think the statue looks very realistic in dress, attitude and stance and it will look good in front of the office. It’s very well made and realistic and you can appreciate the craftsmanship that’s gone into it.

    “It might take some getting used to, but I don’t think I’ll have a problem walking past it each day. I will appreciate my sons’ thoughts every time I see it, and I like the notion that I remind them of a working man.

    “However, along with every other person around the place, he looks far younger than me!”

    Harry Gration said: “It was a privilege to be involved in such a moving presentation.

    “It was clear to me just how much it meant to him, but, typical of the man, he said it was a tribute to the whole company.

    “That is what makes Johnsons so special.”

    Posted 25th Apr 5:16pm
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