Latest Stories

  1. Johnsons help transform Growth Corridor

    Johnsons help transform Growth Corridor

    We are helping transform a major trunk road linking the East and West Midlands.

    Thousands of plants have been supplied for a new junction on the A50 in Staffordshire, created as part of a £40m regeneration project in Staffordshire. The Growth Corridor project is managed by Staffordshire County Council and aims to reduce congestion and improve safety.

    Working with contractors ATM Ltd, we supplied 12,000 bare root hedging transplants, including native and non-native varieties. More than 7,000 Crataegus monogyna were included in this first phase of the landscaping, expected to be complete by autumn 2019.

    Phase two will see more varieties being planted while the entire 80,000 square metre site will be grass seeded.

    The A50 Growth Corridor project is funded by the Government and aims to reduce congestion, improve road safety, support local businesses and create jobs.

    Ellie Richardson, Johnsons of Whixley’s marketing co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to be part of this major landscaping project that will make journeys quicker, easier and safer in addition to benefitting local employers.

    “The mix of varieties perfectly complements the scenery around the area and this scheme shows our ability to meet large orders and deadlines for our customers.”

    Matt Harston, ATM Ltd Contracts Manager, Said: “ Its Great to see this site taking shape! Atm have been involved from the start with the initial De Vegetation of the site and all of the Fencing which is all for the Priciple Contractor, Tarmac Group. To have won the Landscaping and Maintenance contract direct for Staffordshire County Council is the icing on the cake as we get to put the finishing touches to the project. It’s been a great example of all the services that ATM Ltd can provide and the high standard of workmanship we deliver.

    Posted 28th Mar 1:34pm
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  2. 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.


    Posted 25th Mar 1:00pm
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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. Growing plant Trends for 2019

    Growing plant Trends for 2019

    Growing plant Trends for 2019

    As one of the UK’s leading nurseries we are always looking into growing plant trends and themes in our industry by trialling new and exciting lines. Below are just a few of the new product lines our production team are trialling before they are ready to hit the market later this year, but will they make it through the tests of production manager Ian Nelson?

    First on our plant trends list is the fantastic Helenium salud series that flowers from July to October. Some of its great characteristics include being drought-tolerant, heat-tolerant and pollinator-friendly.
    So far, our trials of growing this plant have gone well and the Helenium’s have retained fresh foliage through to November.

    Hakonechloa ‘All Gold’ is the second on our list. This popular grass has been around a while, and we are seeing an increasing demand for it across the market. It looks spectacular if grown in partial shade but does burn if subject to a lot of sunny summer days. This plant is fantastic in large numbers as it softens edges of pathways or borders, and it also works well in a patio planter.

    The third of our growing plant trends is Senecio ‘Angel Wings’. A favourite of ours as it is also a plant that won a Glee new product award for when grown by Wyevale Nurseries. It is known for its dramatic silver white round, silver white coloured leaves. It will make a great premium potted plant that is sure to look great alongside others. Our production manager, Ian Nelson, put this plant to the test over winter, finding that it withstood horrible weather and soil conditions.

    Cornus ‘Magic Flame’ is our final plant on trial. Although it will be difficult to beat the wonderful Cornus Midwinter Fire, known for its fiery coloured stems, its magic flame could offer a more intense hue through winter. Only time will tell, and with a small number on trial, we will see how it goes.

    Production Manager Ian Nelson said: “We are always on the look-out for something new and attractive but durable. Appearance alone is not enough – the plant has got to be a ‘do-er’. Only when we’ve trialled it thoroughly in different environments and soils am I happy to say it’s a good one. We were punting Photinia Carre Rouge at the end of 2017 which is really starting to prove popular and is an excellent plant.”

    Posted 12th Mar 4:06pm
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  6. 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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  7. Mental Health Garden at Harrogate Flower Show 2019

    Mental Health Garden at Harrogate Flower Show 2019

    We are delighted to have sponsored the trees and plants for a display dedicated to mental health awareness at this year’s Harrogate Flower Show.

    The Mental Health Garden has been designed by Jo Manfredi-Hamer Garden Design and is proudly supporting Leeds Mind, the mental health charity which provides support and information when people need it most.

    In addition to trees and plants, the 7.3m x 5.2m garden includes different shades of pebbles to represent depression and improved mental health through counselling and support.

    A semicolon, sometimes worn by mental health sufferers, has been incorporated into the design, along with features to represent self-harm, strength and activities often chosen to combat mental health issues.

    The garden also includes Kernel, a design by the award-winning sculptor David Harber. A beautiful polished stone sphere, Kernel has a mirror-polished stainless steel wedge cut into it to reveal a shiny core of oxidised steel, representing inner strength. Also involved in the garden’s creation are Marshalls and Stone Warehouse.

    Among the plants we have supplied are carex oshimensis, stachys byzantine ‘Silver Carpet’, Lamprocapnos spectabilis ‘Valentine’, Myosotis sylvatica and Choisya ternata sundance. Several Skimmia × confusa Kew Green were included in the supply, along with Tiarella Sugar and Spice,

    Helleborus x hybridus Pretty Ellen Red and four pleached trees.

    Designer Jo was inspired to create the garden after seeing the impact of mental health issues on someone close to her and wanted to highlight the issues whilst communicating a message of positivity.

    She said: “There is help available and, with help and support, people can learn to manage their mental health.”

    Research shows that gardening can be extremely beneficial for people with mental health problems. It improves communication with others, teaches practical skills and enhances concentration.

    Gardening is the ultimate feel-good pastime – it gets people out in the fresh air, it’s great exercise and it allows them to express their creativity – therefore it seems fitting that we support this project.

    The Harrogate Flower Show runs from April 25-28, where the Mental Health Garden can be viewed, with garden construction commencing on April 15.

    Posted 6th Mar 11:26am
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  8. New trees for Spinning Acres conservation area

    New trees for Spinning Acres conservation area

    We worked with client Brambledown Landscape Services to supply plants and trees for an exclusive £40m development within a secluded conservation area in Leeds.

    Spinning Acres, at Far Headingley, has transformed the six-acre former Tetley Hall University of Leeds site. Originally, the area was a prime location for wealthy mill owners who built impressive villas within glorious landscaped grounds.

    We worked with Brambledown Landscape Services and Smeeden Foreman Landscape Architects to supply four large trees and plants worth £5,000 for the first and second phases of this prestigious Spinning Acres development.

    Brambledown installed high specification timber fencing and gates to all the gardens, turfed front and rear lawns and planted trees and shrubs around communal areas of the development.

    Johnsons supplied a total of 1,250 shrubs for the project, including a mixture of 1L, 2L and 5L plants in addition to the trees.

    Developers Pickard Properties will offer the properties for long-term rent. Phase one of the scheme includes a range of four-bedroom homes, an imposing five-bedroom semi-detached option and a two-bedroom converted stable, in individual designs.

    Phase two is the transformation of the Cloth Halls into 31 one- and two-bedroom apartments, retaining the Victorian architecture and using Yorkshire stone.

    A third phase is currently in the planning stages and involves the conversion of existing stone-built villas into private apartments. The final stage will see other building conversions as well as new-build accommodation, all of which will be available to rent.

    We were delighted to be involved with this highly acclaimed scheme and to play our part in transforming the grounds of this development to their original splendor.

    Nick Rogers, assistant contracts manager at Brambledown Landscape Services, added: “This has been an exciting project to be part of, working alongside Smeeden Foreman Landscape Architects, who have been involved with the development from its early stages. Brambledown are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Pickard Properties and Johnsons in the future.”

    Posted 1st Mar 4:32pm
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  9. New sensory garden for Henshaw’s Arts & Crafts Centre, Knaresborough

    New sensory garden for Henshaw’s Arts & Crafts Centre, Knaresborough

    We have teamed up with local garden designer Lorna Batchelor to supply plants to a new sensory garden at the Henshaw Arts & Crafts Centre in Knaresborough.

    The new sensory garden will create a safe place for students to learn and explore and includes nearly £4,000 worth of plants with scented varieties such as Sarcococca confusa, Hamamelis mollis and Viburnum bodnantense, grasses for sound and touch with varieties of Stipa, Carex and Phormium included. Around 60 Rhododendrons and Azaleas give a splash of colour in the woodland garden with Ferns and Acers creating a tranquil area around the new waterfall.

    The waterfall was taken from Lorna’s Gold Award winning garden ‘Eden’ at the Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2018 and was put together by stone mason/ sculptor Jonny Clasper.

    Henshaw’s is a northern charity supporting people living with sight loss and other disabilities for over 180 years, its college provides specialist education for its students, supported housing, community centres and an Arts & Craft Centre. The Arts & Crafts Centre was formerly Knaresborough Zoo. It is open for the public to enjoy and has extensive gardens, workshops and a café.

    Eleanor Richardson, Marketing & sales coordinator at Johnsons of Whixley said: “It’s wonderful to be involved with a charity so close to home, working with our customer and local garden designer Lorna Batchelor to provide a garden that will really benefit the students at Henshaw’s for years to come”

    Lorna not only provided the design but was hands-on with the planting too.

    Lorna said “I have visited the Arts & Crafts Centre with my family for many years and it is a place close to my heart. It has been a joy to help redevelop the gardens for the people of Knaresborough to enjoy. Thank you, Johnsons, for all the lovely plants!”

    The garden will re-open to the public on Mother’s Day (31st March)

    Posted 7th Mar 2:13pm
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