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  1. Christmas Gift Guide 2019 - Plants

    Christmas Gift Guide 2019 - Plants

    December is the month of giving where millions of us spend £100’s on our loved ones for Christmas so we decided to put together a ‘ Christmas plant gift guide’ for all the plant lovers of the world looking for something extra special to gift this Christmas.

    A pair of Buxus cones

    A fantastic Christmas gift for a doorway, entrance or patio with its rich green, evergreen foliage providing year-round interest.

    Position: Partial – Full shade

    Available in various heights and pot sizes, please enquire with the dimensions you require.

    A Skimmia rubella

    Would make a fantastic addition to a patio during the winter months providing great winter interest from their dark red flower buds that will open to delicate white flowers come spring. Why not pair this with a Chelsea style pot to provide a patio perfect gift.

    Flowers: April – May

    Position: Partial – full shade

    Available in a 2L, 5L, and 10L pot. 

    Helleborus niger

    Also known as the ‘Christmas Rose’ provide bowl-shaped pure white flowers from mid-winter to early spring. They are happiest in shadier spots with well-drained soil and would make a great centrepiece on a Christmas table which could then be planted on in the garden to provide winter interest for many years to come.

    Flowers: December – March

    Position: Partial shade

    Available in a 2L pot.


    Viburnum tinus

    Another great gift for a patio paired well with a slate pot. This plant is full of bud and flowers this month – March. A great plant that will brighten up a dark area of the garden when little else is flowering.

    Flowers: December – April

    Position: Full sun – partial shade

    Available in 2L, 3L, 5L and 10L pots. 

    Sarcococca confusa

    Commonly known as ‘Christmas box’ provide creamy white vanilla-like scented flowers from December- March with dark green leaves. A perfect plant for a deep shaded border or woodland garden. Plant at the front or back of a house to enjoy its vanilla-like fragrance.

    Flowers: December – March

    Position: Partial – deep shade

    Available in 2L and 5L pots.

    Posted 11th Dec 11:15am
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  2. Plant supply to new multi-million pound Hospital in Aberdeen

    Plant supply to new multi-million pound Hospital in Aberdeen

    Aberdeen based landscapers, Landform Ltd, recently teamed up with us to supply plants and complete the soft landscape contract element of the new £163.7 million pound hospital and cancer treatment centre in Aberdeen, Scotland.

    The new ‘Baird Family Hospital’ will replace the existing ageing Aberdeen Maternity Hospital with additional services, including breast and gynaecology services.

    The new ‘ANCHOR centre’ is the first of it’s kind in Scotland providing modern and high-quality accommodation for the delivery of co-ordinated Oncology and Haematology day patient and outpatient services.

    Landform Ltd working through main contractor Graham Construction secured the soft landscape works, manufactured and installed all stainless steel railings, resin bound paths, timber crib support walls, wildflower areas and a new pedestrian steel and timber bridge.

    Plants supplied by Johnsons have beautified the grounds at the new hospital and centre with tree varieties supplied including Betula Jacquemontii, Magnolia ‘Galaxy’, Magnolia ‘Sundew’ and Prunus ‘Cheal’s Weeping’. Shrubs included 100’s of Euonymus fort. ‘Emerald Gaiety’, Lavandula angustifolia, Sarcococca humilis, Hebe ‘Sapphire’, 800 Calluna vulgaris varieties and over 400 Vinca minor ‘Atropurpurea’.


    The new hospital and centre will help provide quality care to those in need in the Aberdeen and surrounding areas with high quality, modern facilities.

    Landform Ltd’s Director, Jake Dickie said: “As a premium contractor in all sectors we work in it is vital our suppliers match our quality standards, ethos and attention to detail. We have sourced our plant material through Johnsons of Whixley for many years now and our relationship has been built on their similar ethos to ours. From their customer service, plant sourcing, supply and premium delivery service direct to site, this enabled us to complete our soft landscape project to the specification and quality standards set out by our client. “

    It’s great to see the progress of this new development, Landforms landscaping works and our plant supply plays an essential part in the visual aesthetics of the hospital and centre… We hope the plants are enjoyed by the staff and visitors for many years to come. We look forward to seeing the project completed later next year.

    This isn’t the first hospital we have supplied in recent years, in 2017 we supplied Maggie’s Centre in Oldham with herbaceous, trees and screening plants and most recently we helped turn ‘Donaldson’s a former hospital into luxury apartments.

    Posted 3rd Dec 2:43pm
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  3. New Cattal Deputy Unit Manager - Tom Watkins

    New Cattal Deputy Unit Manager - Tom Watkins

    Congratulations to Tom Watkins who has taken on the ‘Cattal Deputy Unit Manager’ role and will be working alongside Cattal Manager, Mark Weatherill. Here’s what he had to say about his new role:

    1.Within a year you have gone from ‘trainee manager’ to a ‘Deputy Manager’, how does that feel?

    I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I got promoted to deputy manager. I have had my sights set on a role like this since I started at Johnsons, and I have been working hard to improve my skills and knowledge to fit this kind of role. Now I feel I can really hone in my skills as a manager and a grower.

    2. What did your previous role include?

    As a management trainee, I was moving around the different departments at Johnsons and spending up to a couple of months in each one. Up until moving to Cattal, I spent time at Roecliffe, Whixley, Newlands – Incoming Goods, Amenity Sales and Retail Operations. Working in each department involved understanding procedures, but also evaluating them and trying to see how we could improve them. Alongside this, I was working on trials and projects which were supported by management in various departments.

    3. How have Johnsons supported you? and how has this helped you get to your new position?

    Each department I have worked in has been great for my personal development because the managers I have worked with have all been really enthusiastic in showing me how they manage their units, and how the units are run efficiently. I have always been free to make suggestions and ask questions. As well as this, my enthusiasm for working in production horticulture has always been recognised and supported.

    4. What will your new role include?

    I’ll be assisting Mark in managerial duties; managing potting, lifting and cultural activities. I’ll also be inducting and training staff on site. As well as this I will be in charge of spraying and irrigation on the site. This will involve routine checks and repairs, crop walks to asses plant health and research into potential new products we can use.

    5. What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

    I look forward to growing crops throughout their growth cycle, from potting to dispatch and improving my growing methods each time around. That is where I find the most enjoyment in horticulture and is what I look forward to most in this role.

    6. What do you think the challenges will be?

    Cattal is a large nursery, which poses challenges both from a growing and management aspect. We have a lot of plants on-site and all have different growing requirements. As well as this, we usually have a few staff on-site and, although we have a great team at Cattal, I can’t spend all of my time with the plants!

    7. Are there any specific courses you will be attending?

    I have just completed my PA2 spraying qualification, which will go alongside my PA1 and PA6. This will mean that I can operate the boom sprayer. In the future I will also be looking at taking courses on pesticide/fertiliser use.

    8. And finally, how will you celebrate your new role?

    I’m treating myself to a trip to Athens over New Years.

    Chairman, John Richardson, commented on Toms recent success: ” Such a pleasure to read Tom’s comments, you know that someone is going places when they are motivated by hard work, ambition, education, success and goodwill, he joins so many of our senior staff in these attributes.”

    Posted 8th Dec 8:32am
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  4. Jobs to do in the garden this December

    Jobs to do in the garden this December

    Not sure what to do in the garden this December? Check out our garden hints and tips by our chairman and horticulturalist, John Richardson.

    1)   After a month of November rain, fallen leaves have become a congealed mass In many garden corners.  Try and clear them away to the compost heap before they start to rot and affect different plants such as herbaceous, alpines, low growing shrubs and plants in containers. This also applies to the lawn!

    2) Any plants which are now too big for their location or ‘in the wrong place’ can be safely moved,  the soil in December is usually warm enough to stimulate the production of new roots. Stake tall new plants to prevent wind rock until well rooted, and reduce their size if appropriate.

    3) Ensure that house drains and run-off areas from the garden are not choked by leaves.  A time of year when water can often be found backing up in the most surprising places! We have just had the roots of a 10 yr. Scots Pine fill a 4” pipe from drain to soakaway absolutely solid for 15ft.

    4) We are now in for regular frosts and snow,  make sure your bird feeding stations are clean and regularly refilled.  The same applies to an accessible water supply.  Remember, cooked food as opposed to birdseed may well attract vermin.

    5)   with long periods of rain to be expected, don’t forget to put a glass or plastic sheet over your alpine plants to keep off the majority of the rain. Plant Cyclamen coum for good winter colour.

    6) Place tender plants under cover which have been overlooked earlier in the autumn and ensure that such plants growing in the ground are wrapped in straw and hessian, polythene is not the best material as it prevents air from getting to the plant.

    7) Ensure that outside taps, and taps in unheated buildings, are well insulated for the winter months. Turn off the stop-taps if this is possible to prevent the potential for them freezing.

    8)   Take the opportunity on dry days to treat fences and sheds with a form of creosote which is not harmful to plants.  If you have to remove climbers from the wall, take the opportunity to prune them whilst you have full access, and also check for damage to the fence or wall.

    9) If you intend to get on with the winter digging, cover a suitable area with polythene so that the ground is not waterlogged when you wish to dig. Leave the dug surface as rough as possible.

    10) Clean moss and lichens from paths and walls.  There are several commercial brands of cleaner available, but bleach is equally as good.  A power washer will make light work of the job, which is impressive when completed! Move container bay trees to a sheltered area.

    11) Cut back the long shoots of ornamental vines, thin them out and then cut the side shoots back to two buds. Check the greenhouse heater is still working!

    12) Check apples and other stored fruits for signs of rotting and throw out damaged fruit for the birds. Remove mummified fruits from the apple trees.

    13) Trim the lawn edges for a quick lift.

    14) Take the opportunity to cut back overgrown hedges, either mechanically on deciduous plants or by the use of a saw or secateurs on large-leafed evergreens such as laurel or rhododendrons. Wait until growth starts in the spring before pruning conifer hedges.

    Interested in what plants look good this month, head over to our latest blog post ‘Our monthly favourites, December’ 

    Posted 2nd Dec 3:09pm
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