Latest Stories

  1. 40 years on - Tony Green

    40 years on - Tony Green

    Congratulations and a huge thank you to Tony for his hard work and commitment to the company for the past 40 years, we asked him about his time at Johnsons, here’s what he had to say below:

    1) What have you enjoyed most about your 40 years at JOW?

    I played in the Johnsons cricket team and scored my one and only goal in the 5-a-side team. It was scorcher from just inside the halfway line. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

    2) Did you work anywhere else prior to JOW?

    I had six months on a youth opportunity scheme working on a farm. Previous to that I worked at Johnsons and other local farms during my school holidays.

    3)What roles have you had within the business?

    When I started, you did a bit of everything. I had some time doing most of the spraying on the container unit. Along with the irrigation, we had a lot of large aluminium pipes, which we moved about the beds. Then I took responsibility for lifting orders, which was probably the job I enjoyed most, the challenge of getting everything lifted for the end of the day. After that 2 – 3 years on the potting side before becoming manager of the incoming goods and getting my first experience of the bare root and root balls. That’s where I have stayed for the last 22 years.

    4) Tell us something you remember from your first ever day:

    My first day was spent lifting orders with Mandy Woolly. We had an electric milk float which we took around the beds collecting plants for orders

    5)  What has your greatest achievement been at JOW?

    Still being here after 40 years.

    6) Tell us a funny story from your time at JOW:

    There have been many. Before the days of Dave and Terry and health and safety. I thought I was the Stirling Moss of tractor driving, when coming back from the compost heap late afternoon foot to the floor on the fastest Massey Ferguson 135 we had. The trailer is attached with a wood box and a terrified passenger holding on for dear life. I took the corner just past tunnel 15, heading down to the potting shed (cash and carry office).When I got there, the c.u. manager did not look impressed. I retraced my steps and couldn’t find the trailer or passenger, only the trailer pin. On my way back to the yard, I saw my passenger, who told me what happened. As I took the corner at tunnel 15, the trailer pin jumped out, and the trailer box and passenger came to a halt by what is now H1. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and nothing was damaged. Although the passenger was probably scarred for life and never rode on the back of a trailer again when I was driving. He has gone on to be one of the directors. Should I do an incident report Terry?

    7) If you hadn’t chosen a career at Johnsons, what would you think you would have done?

    Formula one tractor driver on some farm or another.

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

    I got married and bought a house in the year I started, so back then, it was the money and security. I have had different jobs within the business to keep me on my toes. And, of course, it goes without saying all the many interesting friends, colleagues and characters I have worked with over the years.

    Posted 11th Jan 4:06pm
    Read more >

  2. January Gardening Reminders 2023

    January Gardening Reminders 2023

    January is the perfect month for planning out your garden activities and planning ahead for 2023; it is also an excellent month to do your winter pruning and planting while roots remain dormant.

    Prepare the ground for planting roses; if the ground is wet or sticky, delay planting until conditions improve. ‘Heel in’ newly purchased bare root roses until conditions are suitable.

    Check stored dahlia tubers, and place them in a bucket of tepid water overnight if they have shrivelled. Cut out rotten areas of the tuber and treat wounds with a dusting of flowers of sulphur.

    Thin out dead and diseased branches from established trees and shrubs. Winter prune wisterias by cutting back young shoots to within 7.5cm of old wood.

    Continue to plant new fruit trees and bushes when conditions allow and apply a 12cm thick mulch of well-rotted compost to the root zone, allowing a 10cm space between compost and the trunk or stems to prevent future stem rot.

    Do not let ice form on the surface of concrete pools, as it may expand when thick and could damage the pool sides.

    Take root cuttings of a wide range of plant species by lifting the root system and selecting a few roots the thickness of a little finger and 8-10cm long. Cut the top horizontally and the base diagonally to prevent confusion. Plant in the compost a couple of cms below the surface and cover with approx 2 cm of sharp sand—place in a cold frame or frost-free glasshouse for the rest of the winter. New shoots should begin to appear in early spring.

    Mid-winter is the best time to take chrysanthemum cuttings as they root easily.

    Prune-established fruit trees other than damsons and cherries. Prune newly planted fruit trees to shape and reduce leading shoot leaves by half.

    Dead-head winter flowering pansies to ensure they continue to flower freely.

    If you need to move a shrub which has outgrown its space, dig around the plant with a vertical spade to a depth of 45-60cm and then use the spade to cut under the roots from all sides until the rootball is free. Ease a piece of thick polythene under the root system and drag it out of the hole to its new location. Once firmly in place, fill back the space around the rootball, firm the soil by treading it in, and water thoroughly to eliminate air pockets.

    Spray fruit trees and bushes with a tar-oil winter wash to kill overwintered aphid eggs. This also kills moss and lichen. Do not spray in frosty or windy weather, and protect evergreens or lawns in the area with ground sheets as they are subject to being burned by the spray.

    Prune out old fruiting canes on autumn fruiting raspberries down to soil level. Remove a quarter of the old branches to the base to encourage strong new growth.

    Before clearing leaves or forking over bare areas, check for bulbs that have started growing and are just below the surface.

    Check the plant labels on plants around the garden; many will have faded or broken.

    Now the garden is bare, take an objective look around from all angles and consider if an ornament, seating or a structure of some sort would add interest.

    If hard weather is forecast, wrap up tender plants such as Agapanthus in bracken or straw for added protection.

    Mark areas where bulbs come into flower with twigs so that future cultivations can be made safely. They will be easier to find if you wish to move them at a later date.




    Posted 11th Jan 3:45pm
    Read more >

  3. The Employee Awards 2022 Winners

    The Employee Awards 2022 Winners

    In December 2022, we asked staff to vote for their colleagues for our end-of-year Employee Awards’. The winners and runners-up were announced at the Christmas party at the end of last month with ten award categories, including ‘Always In a Meeting’, ‘The Team Player’ and ‘The Bright Beginner award’.

    Each employee received a certificate and prize. below are this year’s winners.


    Winner: Tony Green

    Runner-up: Simon Harrison

    A huge thank you and congratulations to Tony, our Incoming Goods Manager, who was our 2022 employee of the year in his 40th year at Johnsons.


    Winner: Frances Whyte

    Runner-up: Chris Edgar, Darren Smith

    Frances joined us in February 2022 as our HR Administrator and has been an asset to the company with a bright future ahead of her.



    Winner: Martyn Osbourne

    Runner-up: Fillipo Pellizon, Vicky Newell, Kirsten Morgan, Jason Dacre

    Martyn always goes above and beyond, whether that be by starting early before the working day, staying later or completing tasks he has been asked to do with a smile.



    Winner: Simon Harrison

    Runner-up: Katie Burlingham, Steven Morton

    Simon is very selfless and is always on hand to help other departments, putting himself forward for tasks and overtime – he is a true team player.



    Winner: Adrian Price, Tony Green, Fillippo Pellizon

    Runners up: Steven Morton

    Three winners with equal votes, all contributing significantly to the company in 2022 and beyond.



    Winner:  Marcin Czajkowski, Peter King

    Runner-up: Katalin Dacre, Terry Cooper

    You can always rely on Marcin and Peter to get the task done.



    Winner: Steven Green

    Runner-up: Jonathan Whittemore

    We asked Steve to comment on this, but he was in a meeting…



    Winner: Matt Campey

    Runner-up: Dmytro Orlov, Simon Harrison

    Johnsons very own grazer…



    Winner: Katalin Dacre, Tom Watkins

    Runner-up: Sarah Greenwood, Tony Green

    Kata juggles multiple roles and still finds time to help where needed.

    Tom does a great job of managing our Cattal site alongside Mark and will bounce from task to task.



    Winner: Dave Nicholls

    Runner-up: Isaac Onions, Sarah Greenwood

    Come rain or shine; Dave is rarely without a smile on the nursery.

    Posted 5th Jan 10:22am
    Read more >