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  1. January Gardening Reminders 2022

    January Gardening Reminders 2022

    Why not start your New Year in the garden? January is a great month to plan what needs to be done during the month and beyond, be sure to remember the birds this month as the temperatures drop and have your shears at the ready for pruning and tidying. Below are some January hints and tips put together by our Chairman and Horticulturist John Richardson.

    1) Bring inside bowls of bulbs as they show signs of growth.

    2)  Store shrubs arriving from nurseries in a frost-free shed with straw around the roots. Complete the planting as soon as conditions improve.

    3) Keep house plant warm (45-55deg.) with plenty of light. Do not feed until the plants start growing strongly.

    4) Annual surface growing weeds on light soils should be removed or buried at whatever stage of growth.

    5) Order new Gladioli corms. Unpack them on arrival into shallow boxes and check for disease. Young, high-necked corms with a small root base are better than old corms with a larger flatter root zone.

    6) Remove any recently fallen foliage from around alpines and lightly break up the soil.

    7) Continue pruning fruit trees and bushes; collect and burn the wastage once done.

    8) Treat wooden objects such as tree stakes, wooden wheelbarrows, benching supports etc., but do not use creosote as the chemical and even the fumes can cause harm if in close contact with plants.

    9)  Place a couple of forks of well-rotted manure on top of a mature rhubarb crown to produce an early crop of stems. Or do even better place an upturned dustbin or similar over the whole crown to produce those beautiful red and yellow stems we see in the greengrocers during the Spring.

    10) If the grass needs to be cut due to very mild weather, remove the grass mowings, as it is will be too cold for decomposition.

    11) If you want to make an early start to the gardening year, cover some areas with polythene or cloches to protect the soil from the hardest frost and the heavy spring rain. This can increase soil temperatures by up to 6 degrees.

    12) Have a walk around the garden with some paper and a pencil to identify those spots which need other plants, or just a change of species.  Have a look from the house window, identify the gaps, and plan for the year what you wish to change.

    13) If very hard frosts are anticipated, wrap tender plants such Agapanthus with straw or bubble-wrap and tie securely.

    14) Do you have enough winter colour? Plant willow and Cornus etc., together with coloured conifers and winter aconites for a brighter winter garden.

    15) Clean out all rainwater gutters from garden-related spouts and down-pipes to prevent blockages in Spring.

    16) Keep bird baths topped up and make sure they are not iced over. Also, keep food stores topped up for them.

    In need of more hints and tips? head to our solution page here

    Posted 21st Dec 2:24pm
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  2. The Growers Plantspo - Plants for December Interest

    The Growers Plantspo - Plants for December Interest

    We typically think of Holly varieties when we think of December, but there are plenty of interesting plants, including Skimmias, Cornus and Helleborus. Check out some of our favourite December varieties below:

    Cornus varieties such as ‘Midwinter Fire’, and ‘Sibrica’ 

    Cornus are known for their coloured stems that are revealed when their leaves fall. Shades of red, yellow and orange stems are available.

    ???? Position: Full sun – partial shade

    ???? Height: Up to 3m (depending on the variety)

    ???? Width: Up to 2m (depending on the variety)

    Soil:  moderately fertile soil

    Pot size: 2L, 3L, 5L,  10L ( subject to availability and the variety)


    Sarcococca confusa

    ???? Position: Partial – deep shade

    ????Flowers: December – March

    ???? Height: Up to 2m (depending on the variety)

    ???? Width: Up to 1m (depending on the variety)

    Soil:  fertile, humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil

    Pot size: 2L, 3LD, 5L,  10L  ( subject to availability and the variety)


    Skimmia varieties such as ‘Rubella’ and ‘Kew Green’

    ????Flowers:  April – May (depending on variety) flower buds are seen in autumn-winter.

    ???? Position: Partial – full shade

    ???? Height: Up to 1.5m (depending on variety)

    Soil: Moist-well-drained, acid soil

     Pot size: 2L, 3L, 5L, 10L (depending on variety and subject to availability)


    Viburnum varieties such as ‘tinus’ and ‘bod Dawn’

    ????Flowers:  December – April

    ???? Position: Full sun or partial shade

    ???? Height: Up to 3m (depending on variety)

    Soil: Fertile, moist-well-drained soil

     Pot size: 2L, 3L, 5L, 10L (depending on variety and subject to availability)


    Mahonia varieties such as ‘Charity’ and ‘Winter Sun’

    Are the perfect addition to a shaded spot in your garden as they prefer full – partial shade with spikes of yellow flowers from November through to March that has a fragrant reminiscent of lily-of-the-valley on dark green holly-like leaves. Prune in spring after flowering.

    ????Flowers:  November – March (depending on variety)

    ???? Position: Full sun – partial shade

    ???? Height: Up to 5m (depending on variety)

    Soil: Moist-well-drained, fertile, humus-rich soil

     Pot size: 2L, 3L, 5L, 10L, 20L (depending on variety and subject to availability)


    Helleborus varieties 

    Hellebores are compact, clump-forming perennials with dark green, leathery leaves and stunning flowers.

    A tremendous shade-loving border plant that will brighten up your garden when little else is flowering from December – March.

    ???? Flowers: December – March (depending on the variety)

    ????Position: Partial shade

    ???? Height: Up to 45cn (depending on the variety)

    Soil: Heavy, neutral to alkaline soil

    It would help if you planted in partial to full shade for best results and cut back old leaves in January – February to show off new flowers.


    Ilex varieties 

    ????Position: Full sun – Partial shade

    ???? Height: Up to 20m (depending on variety)

    Soil: Moist-well-drained, fertile, humus-rich soil



    Posted 20th Dec 1:26pm
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  3. Cycle to work and burn calories

    Cycle to work and burn calories

    Head of Production and Procurement, Jonathan Whittemore, will have achieved a whopping 10,000 miles + on his bike this year with an average of 18MPH, meaning he will have burned over 350,000 calories cycling. That’s the same as eating 9,344 burgers saving 356352 c02 emissions from not driving.

    Are you interested in joining the Cycle to Work Scheme? Cyclescheme is an employee benefit that saves you 25-39% on a new bike and accessories. You pay nothing upfront. Basically, the company buys the bike, and you pay the money back each month through a salary sacrifice, which means you save on tax. Over 2,000 retailers are working with Cyclesheme nationally, and it is available in most bike shops locally, although we would recommend York Cycle Works in York or Chevin Cycles in Harrogate. It is a great scheme, and if you need any more information, you can go onto the Cyclescheme website

    Posted 20th Dec 9:27am
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  4. The Employee Awards 2021 Winners

    The Employee Awards 2021 Winners

    Earlier this year, we asked staff to vote for their colleagues for our ‘Employee Awards’. The winners and runners-up were announced at the Christmas party at the end of last month with 13 award categories, including ‘The Neatest Nook’, ‘The Always Hungry’ and ‘The Biggest Smile Award’ below are this year’s winners. 


    Winner: Terry Cooper

    Runner-up: Tony Green

    Our System Support Assistant, Terry Cooper, scooped up the ‘Employee of The Year Award‘ with the majority vote. Terry is always on hand to help with IT issues that arise and supports our IT Manager, Darren Earle. He helps with regular upgrades, producing reports, has been fundamental in automating many of our processes and is someone who quietly listens to the problems being presented, working up a solution where he can.


    Winner: Isaac Onions

    Runner-up: Tom Chilton

    Isaac joined us via the agency in 2019, working outside on the Plant Centre and was taken on full time a year ago and most recently started working in sales, he is doing a great job and has a bright future ahead of him, well done Isaac.



    Winner: Adrian Price and Tony Green

    Runner-up: Rob Richardson

    We’d say well done, but I think this award requires more of a thank you, thank you for staying when you are required to do so and even when you are not. Thank you for going above and beyond each working day. We hope the nightcaps come in handy if you ever decide to take a nap under your desks when it’s past 8 pm…


    Winner: Chris Davis

    Runner-up: Eric Buckby

    I think we can all agree that Chris is our office rocket, almost sprinting from one task to the next. Thanks for all your hard work, Chris.


    Winner: Darren Fawebert

    Runner-up: Simon Harrison

    Darren had the majority vote for this one, with several mentions of the ice lollies he consumed during the summer, Darren, well done, but please leave some ice lollies for the rest of us next year!


    Winner: Steve Morton

    Runner-up: John Price

    Steve has been with us for over 23 years and was crucial during the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, he never stopped, worked additional hours and held his team together, we couldn’t have operated without him – Thanks, Steve!


    Winner: Martyn Osborne

    Runner-up:  Jason Dacre

    Martyn is one of the first on site at Johnsons setting up vehicles for the days work ahead when most of us are still in bed, he always goes about his day with a smile on his face whatever the weather and time, thank you, Martyn.


    Winner: Steve Morton

    Runner-up:  Luke Richardson

    Steve not only keeps his own department together but is the glue between many others, liaising with staff daily and keeping the business ticking.


    Winner: Chris Davis

    Runner-up:  Gary Sutton

    As the gloves say… our ‘Queen of Clean’, if only you could see her show home standard house, fit for a visit from the Queen.


    Winner: John Price

    Runner-up:  Charlie Gibson

    If John can’t fix it…no, one can! A big thanks for keeping all five nursery sites maintained – no task is ever too big!


    Winner: Wayne Atkinson

    Runner-up:  Paul Lamb

    He was nominated for his elaborate pranks and jokes, including sticking John’s face to a bollard on the A59! There isn’t a day that goes by without a joke.


    Winner: Ian Nelson

    Runner-up:  Elliot Green

    Has anyone ever seen Ian without a coffee and fag in hand?


    Winner: Katie Burlingham

    Runner-up:  Isaac Onions

    Katie can be seen throughout all seasons, time of day and weather conditions with a smile on her face – keep smiling Katie 🙂

    Posted 16th Dec 1:40pm
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  5. 35 years on, Mark Weatherill

    35 years on, Mark Weatherill

    A  big thanks to Mark Weatherill our Cattal Manager who has achieved 35 years service with us, Mark has worked within various different departments at the company and is now in charge of our Cattal site, he does a great job and is responsible for over 20 staff and the production of all our 5 and 10Lt pots. See what he had to say about his time at Johnsons below:

    1) What have you enjoyed most about 35 years at Johnsons?

    I have enjoyed working outside with plants and trees; it has also been good to work with friendly people who have the same goals of producing quality plants and giving a quality service for our customers.

    2) Did you work anywhere else prior to Johnsons?

    I worked as a swimming pool lifeguard, as a milkman and on a pick your own strawberry farm. The owners turned the farm into a nursery so I stayed to help them. This is how I got into horticulture.

    3) What was your first position at Johnsons?

    My first position was as a potting supervisor, we had a small potting machine that produced 2L and 3L plants, anything bigger was potted into a plastic bag.

    4) What has your greatest achievement been?

    My greatest achievement has to be the setting up of the Cattal site from being a barren field into a working nursery.

    5) Most memorable day at Johnsons?

    There are a few memorable days but one that sticks in my mind is when we used to get a helicopter to spray the nursery. Three of us were working near the tunnels in the main site so we sheltered in the tunnels when the helicopter arrived, not realising the tunnel sides were up so we got covered in spray.

    6) Looking back, if you didn’t work at Johnsons, what career path would you have chosen?

    I think I would have followed my dad into P.E teaching or something that involved sport.

    7) What has made you stay at Johnsons for all these years?

    The answer to question 1 is the reason I have stayed for 35 years. Also, every year seems to bring up new and complex challenges in the nursery, which keeps the job interesting.

    Posted 16th Dec 1:53pm
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  6. Well done Tom and Matt

    Well done Tom and Matt

    Congratulations to Tom Knowles and Matt Campey on passing their 7.5-tonne driving test. We look forward to seeing you on the road soon!

    Posted 15th Dec 5:10pm
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  7. Our Employee of the Year - Terry Cooper

    Our Employee of the Year - Terry Cooper

    Earlier this year, we asked staff to vote for their colleagues for our ‘Employee Awards’. The winners and runners-up were announced at the Christmas party at the end of last month with 13 award categories, including ‘The Neatest Nook’, ‘The Always Hungry’ and ‘The Biggest Smile Award’.

    Our System Support Assistant, Terry Cooper, scooped up the Employee of The Year Award’ with the majority vote. 

    Terry is always on hand to help with IT issues that arise and supports our IT Manager, Darren Earle. He helps with regular upgrades, producing reports, has been fundamental in automating many of our processes and is someone who quietly listens to the problems being presented, working up a solution where he can.

    IT Manager, Darren Earle said: “Since joining the IT Team Terry has expanded his skill set significantly. He has been the lead in a number of projects such as the automation of Sales Quotes, the Despatch Diary revamp and the Production Planning. This is alongside a myriad of smaller features and functions providing automation and time saving within various departmental processes. I could not be happier with the contribution that Terry provides both in terms of projects but also in the day to day support of users.”

    Terry Cooper added ” Having now officially peaked with this prestigious award, I look forward milking every last iota of recognition and prosperity from fame’s fickle zenith. From here there is only the slow inevitable descent into avarice, tabloid scandal, arrest, rehab and finally an underwhelming 2036 sequel starring Ryan Reynolds. Thanks, Everyone ????”

    Terry was rewarded with a voucher and certificate to thank him for all of his hard work and efforts this year – well done Terry.

    Posted 10th Dec 2:50pm
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  8. Ten years on, Kata Dacre

    Ten years on, Kata Dacre

    A big thanks to Kata Dacre, a fundamental member of our retail department who has achieved ten years of service with us. Kata has not been afraid to get stuck in since she joined us and has been involved in various roles before becoming the Retail Deputy Manager. Find out what she had to say about her time at Johnsons below:

    1. How did you come to work for Johnsons?

    Johnsons had a connection with the University I studied at in Budapest. In 2009 I had the chance to come and work for the company and completed 4-months of work experience to get my degree. In 2010, a week after I graduated from Uni, I moved to England and worked for JOW.

    2. Did you work anywhere before Johnsons?

    No, Johnsons is the first company I’ve worked for.

    3. What roles have you worked in previously at Johnsons, and what do you do now?

    The first time I worked on the Container unit, I lifted plants for Amenity, and after that, I drifted to the Retail shed and have worked there ever since, you name it, I’ve done it.

    In the past 2 years, I have been the Retail Deputy Manager. I’m responsible for: checking off the trolleys before they get loaded onto the wagons, monitoring and topping up colour label stock. During the winter season, I check off and help sort the incoming bare root products.

    4. Do you feel like much has changed in the past ten years?

    It has got much busier. I have more responsibility which I like a lot. I have made good friends in the past few years. It was very hard at the beginning regarding the language barrier, the new setting, first-ever job. Still, I’ve received so much support, good and not so good critics, educational opportunities that have made me grow into the person I am today.

    5. Your most memorable day at Johnsons? 

    During my work experience here, I met Jason, and the rest is history. We had our 10th wedding anniversary last month.

    6. If you could have chosen another career, what do you think it would have been?

    If I hadn’t moved to England, I would have spent more time in education. I would like to have become a Garden Designer.

    7. Favourite part of your job?

    Because I do so many different things, I never get bored. There are always challenges which I like.

    8. What do you hope to achieve in the next ten years?

    I’m open to anything. I’m not afraid to learn new things or do something different or maybe look after and run a unit one day.


    Posted 8th Dec 8:39am
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  9. Ten years service for Martyn Osborne

    Ten years service for Martyn Osborne

    A big thanks to Martyn Osborne for his hard work and commitment to the company over the past ten years. He works extremely hard and is also known as Johnsons ‘early bird’, setting up vehicles for the days work ahead when most of us are still in bed. He is a crucial member of the JOW team and can be seen flying from one task to the next. Find out what he said about his time at Johnsons below.

    1)Tell us about the last ten years at Johnsons; what roles have you previously been involved in, and what do you do now?

    The last ten years have flown by. For the first five years, I worked in retail for Steve Morton, the last five years Dave Barrett and the last ten winters Tony Green in Incoming Goods and Dispatch if needed.

    2) What did you do before working at Johnsons?

    I was a delivery driver for Oddbins.

    3) What have you learnt during your time at Johnsons that you didn’t know before?

    I have learnt so much about plants and trees, which has been very rewarding. As a delivery driver, you are isolated, so working with people and plants has been new to me.

    4) What has motivated you to come to work each day?

    I enjoy my job and want to do it to the best of my ability.

    5)Proudest career moment?

    Earlier this year, Covid wiped out the retail department and I had to step up while key managers were off ill, it was great that we still fulfilled the diary and order book and i enjoyed the challenge.

    6) As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

    A formula one driver

    7) Favourite plant variety?

    Salvia, there’s so many different varieties, shapes and colours. They come back stronger year after year. They are closely followed by Peonies. Both of which I have an array of in my garden at home.

    8) Favourite memory from your time at Johnsons? 

    While delivering plants to Inverness, I got to see the Northern Lights.

    As a thank you for his service, Martin has been rewarded with a certificate and £100 in vouchers.

    Posted 6th Dec 11:25am
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