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  1. Supporting National Children’s Gardening Week

    Supporting National Children’s Gardening Week

    For this year’s National Children’s Gardening Week, we were eager to help inspire young pupils and their parents.


    Wanting to educate a younger audience on the opportunities our industry has to offer and to encourage the next generation of gardeners, our team recently visited Tockwith Church of England Primary Academy with a little gift.


    In support of National Children’s Gardening Week, we paid the school a visit with a donation of 180 lavender plants, with one for every pupil. After learning about how to plant and care for them, the pupils were encouraged to take a lavender home to plant with their parents over half term.



    During our time there, the pupils also learnt about how plants and trees play a vital role in attracting bees, and why bees are so important to our food chain. It is estimated that around one-third of the food we eat every day relies on pollination by honeybees, such as avocados, broccoli, celery and squash.


    The school itself is home to a colony of honeybees, that in their first year provided a 40lbs crop of honey that was sold to make £111 towards new bee suits for the children. All Year 4 pupils have lessons in beekeeping and observe the colony in action.


    And to support the bees that inhabit our own nursery, we launched a Trees for Bees initiative earlier this year, planting trees, wildflowers and shrubs at the company’s apiary.


    In the height of summer, up to 800,000 bees inhabit the company’s grounds to collect pollen; however, we wanted to encourage bees to continue to visit this later into the year when many species stop flowering.


    We are delighted to be supporting National Children’s Gardening Week for the first time and we hope that by giving each pupil something to take home and grow, we can capture children’s enthusiasm at a time when plants will grow quickly in the warmer weather.


    We are always keen to spread the message about the vital help that bees give us and to encourage a better understanding of how we can help to boost the bee population.

    Posted 27th May 9:49am
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  2. Environmentally friendly garden tips and recommendations

    Environmentally friendly garden tips and recommendations

    Environmentally friendly garden tips and recommendations

    World environment day is being celebrated this June on the first Wednesday of the month, and it’s the perfect time to remind ourselves how important it is to encourage others to protect our environment.

    To do our part in raising awareness we have come up with some tips on how to create an environmentally friendly garden, from conserving water to growing your own vegetables.

    Limit your use of water 

    Limiting the use of clean water is important for the environment, so why not recycle natural sources that can be used to water plants in any garden by installing a water butt.

    To preserve your water, we recommend directing the supply to the roots of plants without wasting it on the leaves or flowers. Removing weeds will ensure the water is going towards your plants and is not being wasted further.

    There have been several hosepipe bans in place across the country during the warmest periods of the year. You can help conserve your water usage by using a watering can in its place, and to consider the time of day; watering during the warmest part of the day would mean the water is more likely to evaporate in the heat and be ineffective. Prioritise young plants and seedlings over more established plants as these will survive longer periods without water.

    Use drought-tolerant plants

    Opting to use drought-tolerant plants, that require less watering, will be better for the environment in helping to save water.

    There are plenty of options for any garden. If you’re looking for plants that do well in full sun, we’d recommend shrub varieties like lavender, rosemary and buddleia, or herbaceous varieties like Iris, Kniphofia and salvia. Alternatively, there are drought resistant plants that do well for shaded areas, such as Sarcococca, Hypericum, Euphorbia and Digitalis.

    Plant a tree

    When it comes to purifying the air, and helping to reduce air pollution in built-up areas, we recommend planting a tree to decrease carbon dioxide levels. Choose varieties with larger leaves and wide crowns to maximise photosynthesis. Trees can also provide additional benefits such as providing a home for local wildlife and reducing noise pollution.

    Introduce pollinators

    One-third of our crop supply in the UK relies on bees pollinating our plants. By introducing stock that bees are highly attracted to helps encourage them, and other pollinators, into your garden.

    Protect wildlife habitats

    Looking after our environment doesn’t just mean caring for the space itself, but also giving nature helping hand. The colder months of the year can be a struggle for local wildlife, but by building birdhouses with feeders, log piles for hedgehogs or even insect hotels, we can provide a safe space for them all year round.

    Make organic compost

    Having an environmentally friendly garden means having a space where you are largely self-sufficient. Make your own compost by using recycled elements from your garden or home, including leaves, grass cuttings, branches, natural debris, leftover fruit peels, eggshells and old newspapers.

    Grow your own fruit and vegetables

    Growing your own food is not only cost effective but rewarding. The fresh fruit and vegetables taste great while helping to reduce the environmental impact the shipping and plastic waste has from produce sold in supermarkets. Start with something easy to grow, such as carrots, potatoes, apples or berries, before tackling more challenging produce.

    Posted 29th May 10:33am
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  3. Adding colourful plants in May: Rhododendrons and Azaleas

    Adding colourful plants in May: Rhododendrons and Azaleas

    Adding colourful plants in May: Rhododendrons and Azaleas

    May is the month where we see Rhododendrons and azaleas bursting into life as they produce their characteristic, brightly coloured flowers. With a choice of tubular, funnel or bell-shaped flowers, available in pinks, purples, yellows and oranges, there really is a Rhododendron and azalea for everyone.


    Known for its spectacular flowers, Rhododendrons make a fantastic addition to an area of the garden where a pop of colour is needed during spring.

    When it comes to planting, we would recommend ensuring they are placed somewhere that has dappled shade. They thrive in a woodland setting as well as growing well in sunny areas, provided it is sheltered and accompanied with well-drained, moist soil with a PH level of 4.5-6. Avoid planting in full shade as this will result in a limited amount of flowering.

    For the best results, place your Rhododendrons in areas of high rainfall and plant in moist soil, using mulch to stop the plant from drying out.

    Rhododendrons are fairly low maintenance, and require little pruning, other than the removal of dead wood and the deadheading of spent flowers.


    Azaleas belong to the Rhododendron genus, and therefore are very similar plants. Smaller in comparison, but just as bold in colour, azaleas have beautiful flowers that can last for several weeks during spring.

    For best results, we recommend planting azaleas in a cool, lightly shaded site to avoid burning the leaves. They can also be planted in the full sun as the leaves will be deprived of oxygen in heavy shade. Azaleas can work well in containers too, provided these are of the compact variety.

    For best results, use an acidic soil with a PH level of 5-6 and choose an ericaceous compost when planting.

    To maintain a more compact appearance, or to encourage a bushier growth, trim azaleas and cut their branches after their blooming period has finished as this helps to promote new growth.

    Top picks available from our Cash & Carry

    Rhododendron Golden Gate

    Dark green leaves with beautiful, apricot pink flowers with a dark pink margin. Loved by bees, these plants would grow best in partial shade or full sun if sheltered.

    Flowers: May – June

    Position: Full sun – partial shade

    Height: Up to 120cm

    Spread: Up to 120cm

    Rhododendron Kabarett

    A pretty variety with purply pink flowers and a burgundy red marking that appears in May, this shrub is moderately vigorous and will grow up to 1m high.

    Flowers: May – June

    Position: Full sun – partial shade

    Height: Up to 100cm

    Spread: Up to 150cm

    Azalea Jolie Madame

    Trumpet-shaped, pink scented flowers with an orange blotch in the centre that look fantastic against their glossy green leaves. The perfect addition to an acidic border with a height and spread of 150cm.

    Flowers: May – June

    Position: Full sun – partial shade

    Height: Up to 150cm

    Spread: Up to 150cm


    Azalea ‘Golden Eagle’

    Large trumpet-shaped, orangey yellow flowers bloom in May, with a lime green foliage that takes on a shade of bronze and purple in the autumn.

    Flowers: May – June

    Position:  Full sun – partial shade

    Height: Up to 200cm

    Spread: Up to 150cm

    Posted 22nd May 1:40pm
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  4. Beautifying new £5m Gypsey Race park

    Beautifying new £5m Gypsey Race park

    One of the greatest things about our business is being able to lend our products and services to beautifying parks visited by the local community. We have worked with Ashlea Ltd over many years, and our team were given the opportunity to team up with them once again to enhance the new Gypsey Race park in Bridlington.

    The work undertaken for Gypsey Race was partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Its location is an idyllic setting as it follows the banks of a stream that runs through the town centre of Bridlington, providing new walking and cycling routes, a play area and improved habitats for wildlife.

    Our team supplied over 6,000 plants and 180 trees that have been grown on our nursery, including Ulmus ‘New Horizon’, Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’, Prunus ‘avium Plena’ and Pinus sylvestris.

    Managing Director Wayne Dand from Ashlea Ltd said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this project. As always Johnsons Of Whixley have excelled themselves in working closely with the construction team in supply and delivery.”

    The project is an important part of the regeneration plans for Bridlington, where a second phase will introduce more woodland areas and see a revised transport plan in place for locals and those visiting the coastal town.

    New signs will be fitted throughout the park celebrating the heritage of those who have worked and lived along the Gypsey Race, as well as providing information about the wildlife in the park.

    It’s great to see our plants bring this new £5m park project to life for the community to enjoy for many years to come. This is one of many parks we have supplied plants to over recent years, with other notable projects including Saughton Park in Edinburgh, Brooke Park in Ireland and the Valley Gardens in Harrogate.

    Posted 20th May 10:20am
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  5. Award recognition for our Variety Big Build donation

    Award recognition for our Variety Big Build donation

    Our joint Big Build donation with Bettys & Taylors Group to Springwater School, a special needs school in Harrogate, was recognised with a big build award at this year’s Variety Big Build Award at the annual Yorkshire Property Awards.


    Over £5,500 worth of plants were donated to the school for a special new, interactive and sensory-stimulating playground for its pupils aged between 2-19 years of age. To activate the sense of smell, a number of plants with an arousing aroma were used, including varieties such as lavender, mint and rosemary.


    The awards evening was hosted by Martin Bayfield, where over 1,000 guests attended the event to celebrate the many achievements of businesses in the Yorkshire commercial property sector.


    A three-course dinner was served at the black-tie evening, alongside the awards presentation with various fundraising activities throughout.


    A grand total of £250,000 was raised at this year’s annual awards for Variety, the children’s charity, that helps sick, disabled and underprivileged children across the UK.


    Our marketing co-ordinator, Eleanor Richardson, attended the evening to collect the award recognition on behalf of our company. It is great to have our contribution to Springwater School recognised, but most of all, we’re delighted to see the great impact our donation has had on the school already. We look forward to getting involved with the next Big Build project.


    This is one of many donations Johnsons of Whixley has made over the past few years, including a donation of £5,000 to BBC Children in Need and the DIY SOS team where they helped redevelop a community centre in Swansea with trees, hedging, shrubs and herbaceous.

    Posted 16th May 8:30am
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  6. Landscape supply to Cosco’s warehouse site

    Landscape supply to Cosco’s warehouse site

    Industrial and commercial spaces aren’t known for their greenery, but over recent years we have been more involved in beautifying these somewhat sparse landscapes. We are very happy to have been involved in a landscape supply for Costco’s new warehouse site in Leicester to do just that.

    Teaming up with Sheffield-based, Spa Landscaping Ltd, we were briefed to enhance the grounds of the new Costco site to make them more visually-pleasing, as well as improving the local environment.

    Using over £9,000 worth of plants that have been grown on our nursery in the Vale of York, this landscape supply was designed to not only improve the attractiveness of the area but to help add some privacy with hedging.

    To successfully achieve this, the plants chosen were 5L Carpinus Betulus and 10L Grisellina Littoralis to create a hedge border, complemented with a large number of shrubs and seven Tilia cordata ‘Greenspire’ rootball trees.

    Alex Anthony, managing director of Spa Landscaping Ltd, said “For the past three years we have developed and maintained many sites for Costco across the UK. The professional finish and quick turnaround times we provide wouldn’t be possible without our trusted suppliers, which is why we work closely with the team at Johnsons of Whixley. We can trust that they will deliver quality stock, on time, this allows us to carry out our work with no hold ups.”

    It is always a great experience for our team when working with Spa Landscaping, and it’s wonderful to see how our plants have been used to enhance a space such as this one.

    Posted 7th May 4:17pm
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  7. Jobs for the garden this May

    Jobs for the garden this May

    Not sure what to do in the garden this month? Here’s a list of jobs to put together by the chairman and horticulturist John Richardson

    1. When staking weaker growing herbaceous plants, use pea sticks about 12-18 ins taller than required, so the tops of the sticks can be bent over the clump to provide better support to the plant stems in the centre of the clump.


    1. Tall iris can easily become top heavy in wet weather; use thin 3ft canes to which iris can be tied separately.


    1. Make sure that all mulching is completed this month in order to conserve moisture in the months to come.


    1. Adjust the mower to the summer cutting height. Complete the sowing of any lawn areas that need re-seeding.


    1. Propagate greenhouse plants, particularly foliage and climbing plants. Increase shading as necessary but watch out for that odd late frost.


    1. Complete the planting of root-balled hedging this month and ensure that previously planted hedges have not been displaced by wind. Water if necessary.


    1. Thoroughly water newly planted trees and shrubs as a really good soak is better than more frequent small applications. A general balanced feed will help newly planted trees and shrubs in mid-May, followed by a mulch to retain moisture.


    1. Clip established privet, Ivy and lonicera nitida varieties and give topiary a quick trim if it appears unkempt.


    1. Slugs will be out in force this month, with so much young, fresh foliage around. Control by picking off by hand or using a biological control such as Nemaslug or chemicals based on ferric phosphate.


    1. Tie in clematis, roses, climbing hydrangeas and other fast-growing climbers.


    1. Plant up and locate hanging baskets which may suffer from frost if placed outside too early. Add water-retaining gel and long-release fertilizer for a good show!


    1. When the weather has warmed up and frosts are over, purchase and plant bedding plants (check when your local parks department is planting).

    Posted 1st May 8:00am
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  8. Johnsons team up with Bettys & Taylors Group to beautify special needs school grounds

    Johnsons team up with Bettys & Taylors Group to beautify special needs school grounds

    We have teamed up with Bettys & Taylors Group to provide over £5,500 worth of plants to Springwater, a special needs school in Harrogate.

    The Harrogate based day school provides education to children between the ages of 2-19 years that have a range of complex life-limiting and learning limited conditions. The school also provides an Outreach service within North Yorkshire mainstream schools for pupils with learning difficulties.

    Samantha Gibson from Bettys & Taylors Group, said: “As a business we have a long history of working with Springwater School over the last two decades. With this background we were delighted to be able to be part of this project through our Trees for Life initiative in revitalising their sensory garden. “

    1,430 plants have been provided and donated for it’s new interactive and sensory stimulating playground that will allow children with disabilities to safely play alongside their friends. This is the second phase of the big build project which will really compliment the new state of the art sensory room and soon to be complete sunken trampoline for rebound therapy; phase three of the project. Plants have carefully been chosen with sensory varieties such as Lavender, Mint and Rosemary included in the planting plan.

    Managing Director Graham Richardson from Johnsons of Whixley, said: “I can think of few projects that are as deserving as ‘Springwater’ and our business is pleased to help in a small way. Our team up with Betty’s has worked particularly well, both being local employers with 100 or approaching 100 years of operating in the locality!”

    The ‘big build project’ was launched by Children’s charity Variety on the back of their visit to the school in 2017 when Yorkshire Regional Development Director of Variety, Charlotte Farrington recognised how restrictive the school was for the children. Variety managed to enlist numerous local businesses that attend the Yorkshire Property Awards each year to get on board with donations and services to help give the school a much-needed makeover.

    Johnsons and Bettys joint donation will be recognised with a Variety Big Build award at the Yorkshire Property Awards on Thursday 9th May at Rudding Park Hotel, Harrogate.

    Posted 7th May 11:19am
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