Latest Stories

  1. Mental health garden takes gold at Harrogate Flower Show

    Mental health garden takes gold at Harrogate Flower Show

    We’re delighted to share the news that a project we have been involved with dedicated to mental health awareness has taken the top prize at this year’s Harrogate Flower Show.


    Taking the Gold Award at this year’s show, the Mental Health Garden, designed by Jo Manfredi-Hamer Garden Design, was created using plants supplied from our nursery. The garden was created in support of Leeds Mind, the mental health charity which provides help and information when people need it most.


    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. The clever design was created to represent the different aspects of mental health. We worked closely with Jo to select and supply a number of trees and plants for the award-winning garden.


    It featured different shades of pebbles to represent depression and improved mental health through counselling and support, with the focal point of the garden design being a semicolon, a symbol associated and worn by some mental health sufferers.


    Other features of the mental health garden represented self-harm, strength and activities often chosen to combat mental health issues.


    The garden 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 that represents inner strength.


    We are absolutely delighted that this stunning garden has been awarded one of the top prizes at the prestigious Harrogate Flower Show. As a company, we are thrilled to have been able to add to the impact of Jo’s incredible design.


    While awareness of mental health issues has improved in recent years, thanks to campaigns such as Time To Change, it’s vital that this remains in the spotlight so that people receive the help and support that they need, when they need it.

    Posted 26th Apr 4:05pm
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  2. Patio perfect Pieris varieties

    Patio perfect Pieris varieties

     Pieris, also known as Lily of the Valley shrubs, are looking fantastic right now with their generous bell-shaped flowers that emerge at the end of March through to May in an array of colours. Best grown in a sunny or partial shade position with slightly acidic soil, they would make a great addition to a pot on the patio. With thousands available on our current stock list, we are sure there’s a Pieris for your next design or planting plan – but which one’s for you?

    Pieris ‘Mountain Fire’

    One of our favourite Pieris varieties, known for its decorative foliage that starts off entirely red and matures to green with age. Clusters of white flowers against the blood red and green foliage creates a dramatic effect between March and May.


    Pieris Katsura

    A great, compact evergreen shrub that provides pale pink bell-shaped flowers similar to those of Lily of the Valley. The flowers emerge in late March and are followed by deep mahogany shoots.

    Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’

    A variegated shrub with silvery white edges and elegant white bell-like flowers that flower from late March right through until May. Wonderful in a shaded spot in the garden or in a patio pot.

    Pieris ‘Passion’ 

    This is an eye-catching evergreen shrub with generous pink red bell-shaped flowers from March to May growing in full sun or partial shade. It’s the perfect addition to a large pot on your patio.

    Posted 24th Apr 12:31pm
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  3. 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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  4. Bee keeping to help prevent a declining population

    Bee keeping to help prevent a declining population

    Bee keeping and plant growing go hand in hand, and it should come as no surprise we have an ever-expanding apiary onsite.


    Within the first few weeks of spring, we have grown our apiary with the addition of another 200,000 honey bees, with that set to increase once again to over 800,000 by summer.


    During a single pollen collection trip, a honey bee will visit anywhere between 50-100 flowers, making our nursery’s main 50-acre site the perfect home for bees. In the surrounding area, we have another 75 acres that will also be utilised by the bees as they have been known to travel over 2,000 miles to collect pollen.


    As we lead into the busiest time of the year on our nursery, we will have more and more plants for the bees to visit and feed from.


    Knowing about the declining bee population figures due to industrial agriculture and climate change, we contacted the Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association back in spring 2017 to help with increasing the growth in our area.


    We installed an onsite apiary where bee keeping could be managed directly from our site, starting with just a small number of beehives with the aim to increase this year on year. Since the launch of our apiary, we are delighted to have seen a substantial increase over the last two years, with thanks to beekeeper Keith Simmonds, vice president of Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers Association.


    Keith commented: “The mild winter has meant more colonies of bees have successfully survived through to the spring season. A mild spring will ensure that a good number of strong hives help the UK honey bee population to recover from the losses of recent times. Everyone can do their bit to help by ensuring that their garden, or planting scheme, includes something for the bees to live off.”


    We would like to remind everyone of the importance of bees; not only do they pollinate a third of our food, they pollinate 80% of flowering plants. Some crops rely on pollinators, for example blueberries are 90% dependent on bees, and most of all, honey must be produced by bees – all of which alone contributes millions to our economy.


    With the recent study that announced the decline to a third of the British wild bee and hoverfly population, we are very proud to be doing our bit for the environment and bee population. Our nursery is the perfect location for bee keeping, and we would like to encourage businesses with a similar landscape to create a home for bees too.

    Posted 23rd Apr 9:46am
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  5. Record-breaking trading figures: successful start to 2019

    Record-breaking trading figures: successful start to 2019

    Following the unpredictability of 2018’s weather, and the knock-on effect this has had on businesses in our industry, we have had an outstanding start to 2019 with our most successful half year of trading since the company was established almost 100 years ago.

    Over our three business sectors, Wholesale Commercial, Wholesale Xpress and Garden Centre Sales, our orders grew by 20% with sales totalling £8m between October and March, an impressive increase of £1.37m on the same period last year.

    More than 9,100 orders were placed and in excess of 3,000 deliveries carried out to locations across the UK.

    February, in particular, had seen a record number of orders, with both sales and top-up orders proving extremely robust.

    National infrastructure projects such as the redevelopment of the A50 trunk road in Staffordshire [link to blog] had given a boost to our clients in the landscaping sector, which in turn has benefited us here at Johnsons of Whixley.

    An early spell of good weather brought a brisk garden centre trade that saw order books swell by around a fifth competed to last year – despite the huge question mark of Brexit still hanging over the industry.

    We don’t know what’s on the horizon and as we are reliant on the economic and supply chain, Brexit has the potential to be catastrophic. It makes long-term planning very difficult for trading but one thing we can do is to invest in innovative new systems that will help us to retain the current buoyancy.

    One such system is a new plant retail line that will significantly improve efficiency for our team on the nursery. We have invested £70,000 in a new mechanical line capable of processing up to 7,000 plants a day while halving the number of workers required to perform the task manually – vital if Brexit has an effect on staff numbers. This equates to a saving of around 228 personnel hours a week, or £1,000 per day, at peak times.

    We are also looking to invest a further £100,000 in a substantial amount of covered growing and storage space at our Roecliffe site, to prepare for a Brexit eventuality that would affect imports of plants from Europe that we then grow and supply for our customers.

    Posted 16th Apr 8:31am
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  6. Recycling plant pots for egg-citing Easter activity

    Recycling plant pots for egg-citing Easter activity

    It’s that time of year where school children get egg-cited for some Easter-inspired activity, so this year we partnered up with local Tockwith Primary School by recycling plant pots for a fundraising Easter decorating competition.

    We donated and delivered over 200 two-lite plant pots to the local primary school, where children decorated them with a variety of designs, from classic Easter themes of chicks and eggs, to their favourite characters like Harry Potter.

    The pots were then judged by the teachers, and prizes were awarded before the pots to the children for their excellent designs. The finished pots were then sold at the Easter fair to raise money for the Parent, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA).

    The ‘cracking’ idea of recycling plant pots to raise funds came from a group of girls in Year 5, Chloe, Georgia, Mia and Orlaith.

    Justin Reeves, Headteacher at Tockwith School, said: “Thank you so much Johnsons of Whixley for donating 200 plant pots for our Easter plant pot decoration competition. Not only did this help raise more money for the school, it helped the creative juices flow in Tockwith with some children creating some awesome designs. Thanks again for supporting a local school.”

    We love being at to help local schools and charities with their fundraising where we can, especially when there is a chance to encourage the next generation of gardeners into the great outdoors to learn new skills. It’s especially lovely to be able to encourage children to recycle while they’re having fun.

    The plastic crisis has been one of the 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.
    As a company, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously, so we jumped at the chance to put 200 of our old and used plant pots to good use.

    Posted 16th Apr 8:23am
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  7. Hebe Magic varieties that really are spellbinding

    Hebe Magic varieties that really are spellbinding

    When we think of Hebes, we naturally think of Hebe ‘Pagei’, Hebe ‘green globe’ or Hebe ‘Mrs Winder’, which are all fantastic shrubs in their own right, but they aren’t as spellbinding as the fantastic Hebe Magic colours collection. Find out why we think so below:

    The Hebe Magic collection includes Hebe ‘Heartbreaker’, Hebe ‘Magic Summer’, Hebe ‘Frozen Flame’ and Hebe ‘Wild Romance’. All these plants change colour depending on the temperature and light intensity they are placed in. The plants can go from green, bronze and variegated in the summer, to wonderful reds, pinks and purples in winter – but which one tickles your fancy?

    Hebe ‘Heartbreaker’ was the first in the Hebe Magic collection, and it really is a fantastic variety that will put on a colourful display throughout the year. Its cream edged green leaves can be seen through spring and summer, with mauve flowers between June and August, followed by vivid pink displays when the temperatures drop.

    Hebe ‘Magic Summer’ has a grey green variegated leaf that turns a purple-red in winter and spring, which intensify as the temperature drops. It also has purple-blue flowers that will appear in early summer. This plant will look fantastic in a mixed border adding year-round interest to your garden or landscape.

    Hebe ‘Frozen Flame’ also offers year-round interest with subtle, pale green foliage that includes veins of cream and deep purple-pink. These colours then intensify to a deeper pink-purple as the weather turns colder. As a compact shrub, it would make a great addition to a patio pot.

    Hebe ‘Wild Romance’ is a great evergreen shrub that is ideal for beds, borders and containers – particularly when in a full sun to partial shade position. This hebe magic variety has dark green foliage that turns to deep burgundy at the end of each stem, that turns even darker going into the winter months.

    Posted 15th Apr 10:05am
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  8. Transforming spaces with recent plant supply

    Transforming spaces with recent plant supply

    Transforming spaces for a live-action show must include a varied and detailed plant supply to guarantee an impactful experience for the audience.

    A recently completed project saw our plant supply do just that, by bringing to life the myth and legend of the spectacular outdoor show of Kynren.

    Over 7,000 hedging plants and trees were supplied, along with thousands of planting sundries, including varieties such as Field Maple, Silver Birch, Hawthorn, Beech and many other fringe species. The plants have been used to help in transforming the space for the show, which will be performed during the summer by a 1000-strong case in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

    The producers of the show, Eleven Arches, had approached our team to fulfil its landscape plan with an order that would bring to life the story of Arthur, the son of a mining family, on his spellbinding journey through time on an enormous scale.

    ‘Kynren’ is the Anglo-Saxon word for generation – and organisers hoped that the show will bring together generations of families for years to come. Our chairman, John Richardson, had previously attended one of the Kynren shows last year and was in awe of how the space had been transformed to produce a fantastic show.

    Looking to delight and dazzle the senses, Anna Warnecke, director of Cavalry and Estates, commented: “As Kynren grows and the site expands to include other attractions alongside the show, our aim is to provide a visually stunning visitor experience with an abundance of flora and fauna.

    “Across the site we will feature many heritage plants, which will not only enhance our visitor experience, but also increase biodiversity value and create more habitats for wildlife.”

    Although our team are experts at transforming spaces with plants, working with the UK’s leading outdoor live-action show has been an incredible experience in seeing how our products have been used. We are extremely proud to be able to add such quantities of native trees and shrubs to reinforce Kynren’s environmental credentials.

    Fancy visiting this fantastic show? go to to book your tickets today.

    Posted 15th Apr 9:46am
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  9. Photinia ‘Red Robin’ VS Photinia ‘Carre Rouge’: which is best

    Photinia ‘Red Robin’ VS Photinia ‘Carre Rouge’: which is best

    We have been producing Photinia ‘Red Robin’ on our nursery for over 25 years, however, we are always on the lookout for new and developing plant trends in our industry for our team to test new lines. Over the last couple of years, we have trialled several of the new Photinia ‘Carre Rouge’ variety and found it to be a tidier, and much more compact plant, with stronger red colouring.

    So what are the highlights of both varieties, and what makes Photinia ‘Carre Rouge’ one to watch?

    Photinia ‘Red Robin’ is a versatile evergreen shrub that can be used for hedging, trained against a wall and even used as a ½ std tree once trained. It is happy in most fertile soils, in either a sunny or shaded position. If you wish to encourage its strong red growth and more flowers, it will be better planted in a full sun position. White flowers appear by April and into May once the plant is better established. We have found Photinia ‘Red ‘Robin’ to become ‘leggy’ over time if it is not properly maintained, and left to run away with themselves, they can grow up to 4m tall and up to 4 m wide.

    Photinia ‘Carre Rouge’ is a new compact variety that has blood red growth and smaller leaves reaching up to 2.5 m tall -nearly half the size of its mother plant Photinia ‘Red Robin’, – making it a much more appealing hedging variety, and an easily managed landscape shrub. Its red colouring is much more intense than that of ‘Red Robin’, while also being more tolerant of hard pruning and shaping. Similar to ‘Red Robin’, it produces white flowers come April and May if sited in a sunny position.

    Production Manager Designate Robert Richardson said ‘’Photinia ‘Carre Rouge’ stays red whereas Photinia ‘Red Robin’ fades to green. It is also compact where a ‘Red Robin’ tends to sprawl and become unmanageable. I believe it is a much more appropriate plant for most landscape and garden settings, and in time, I can only see its popularity increasing.’’

    Posted 9th Apr 10:10am
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  10. Jobs to do in the garden in April

    Jobs to do in the garden in April

    Spring is off to a slow start this year, which can mean the regular jobs to do in the garden in April might not be quite the same as last year. If you’re not sure what to do in the garden this month, here are our gardening reminders put together by chairman John Richardson.

    1) Plant evergreen trees and shrubs this month when soil conditions are good.
    2) A good time to move rhododendrons with a good root-ball.
    3) Hard prune Forsythia after flowering, along with Buddleia davidii varieties and Hydrangea paniculata and Chaenomeles varieties.
    4) Trim Lavenders to shape, but don’t cut back into the old wood.
    5) Propagate perennials by division such as Michaelmas daisies, Rudbeckias and Heleniums.
    6) Continue to dead-head spent daffodils, as well as other bulbs and winter flowering shrubs.
    7) Divide primroses when they have finished flowering.
    8) Tie in young shoots of climbing plants, including roses, ensuring their support structure is still sound.
    9) Build raised beds for easier vegetable production throughout the year.
    10) Mow lawns on a regular basis as growth increases.
    11) Remove the top two inches of compost on containers and replace with a fresh layer.
    12) Weeds will grow quickly this month, keep going around your space with a sharp hoe before they start getting too well established. Apply weed-killer to weeds in paved areas.
    13) Ensure any compost you buy has been recently manufactured and is not last year’s production. Check in Which? Magazine for recommendations on using the one for your needs.
    14) Make sure that all the old leaves have been removed from Hellebores.
    15) Ensure you have given herbaceous plants enough support in the form of canes or twigs, it is much more difficult the later you leave it!
    16) Be sure to ventilate greenhouses and cold frames on warmer days.
    17) If you have doubts about the condition of your soil, invest in a soil test kit from a garden centre, they are cheaper than you think and are easy to use!

    Posted 5th Apr 4:18pm
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  11. Landscaping with P1 Contractors on an iconic building

    Landscaping with P1 Contractors on an iconic building

    We teamed up with Edinburgh-based construction and maintenance firm P1 Contractors to supply thousands of plants for the landscaping of an iconic building originally known as Donaldson’s Hospital, Edinburgh.

    Since starting the project in 2017, we have supplied over £125,000 worth of plants to date, with varieties including 5,000 rootball Buxus (Box) for formal parterres, over 400 Taxus (Yew) rootballs for formal hedging, 7,000 shrubs and herbaceous plants, 83 trees, including 42 which were pleached specimens, and a large number of topiary boxed balls.
    The former Donaldson’s hospital site has been turned into luxury apartments with prices ranging from £250,000 to £1,625,000 making it one of the most expensive residential development in Scotland.

    The A-listed building was formally built as a hospital for destitute and vulnerable children and was opened in 1850 by Queen Victoria who is reported to have said that the building was more impressive than many of her own palaces.

    Residents of the new Donaldson’s development will enjoy 16-acres of private parkland which will include formal parterres, sweeping lawns and mature trees. Landscaping has also taken place in the chapel garden, morning and afternoon terrace, the park, the courtyard and parterre terrace.

    This is another fantastic project to be involved with in partnership with P1 Contractors. We’re delighted to see building that has stood derelict for 10 years transformed into accommodation in keeping with its impressive history.

    Richard McMonagle, Director of P1 Contractors Ltd, said: “Our client, City & Country place a lot emphasis on the landscape around their developments and this has been refreshing for us as a contractor. We are delighted to have been involved in this project which has seen us also secure the next three phases of the project for both hard and soft landscaping which gives us a long-term input.

    “Given some of the apartments in the development are on the market for over £1 million, the quality of the landscaping and plants must reflect this, so we turned to Johnsons who have again played a key part in achieving this.”

    Ellie Richardson, marketing co-ordinator at Johnsons of Whixley, said: “This is another fantastic project to be involved with via P1, a long-standing customer. It’s great to see a derelict building of 10 years be transformed into accommodation and in-keeping with its impressive history.”

    Posted 4th Apr 10:41am
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