Latest Stories

  1. Johnsons hosts senior politicians to discuss industry challenges

    Johnsons hosts senior politicians to discuss industry challenges

    Our Group Managing Director, Graham Richardson, Commercial and Business Manager, Jonathan Whittemore and our Production Director, Robert Richardson, recently met with MP Nigel Adams and Trudy Harrison MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defra) to discuss a number of challenges in the horticultural industry including the retreat from peat.  We ask that the government work with growing media manufacturers to focus on developing alternatives to the peat removed from growing media and to help the industry avoid the exposure to price inflation.

    The retreat from peat is a political ‘hot potato’ with recent announcements suggesting an accelerated timescale. It is estimated that between 1.7 and 2.0 million cubic metres of peat will have to be replaced with sustainable alternatives in the industry.

    The industry has been hit by several challenges in recent years, including Brexit, Plant Health constraints, the pandemic and now the peat ban, which have all come at significant cost to those in the industry.

    Group Managing Director Graham Richardson said, “It was an honour to host the minister and other key individuals to discuss the key Horticultural Challenges facing our sector, the importance of our sector was acknowledged, and the challenges that the ‘retreat from peat’ brings in terms of a practical growing media alternative (in sufficient volume) and the associated timings are better understood”.

    All parties who attended the meeting agreed on further dates for future discussions and consultation regarding the ‘retreat from peat’ and other challenges within the sector.

    Posted 24th Mar 9:33am
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  2. March Gardening Reminders 2023

    March Gardening Reminders 2023

    With spring on the horizon and frequent sunny days increasing, theirs plenty of tasks to complete in the garden during March, from pruning to giving the lawn its first cut and removing spring bulb flowerheads when they have finished flowering.


    Prune strong growing Buddleias down to about 45cm. for a good show in the summer. Prune down to 60-80cm for denser but weaker overall growth.


    Apply a moss killer to the lawn and lightly rake over to remove debris as the moss dies off. Cut the lawn on a dry day when conditions allow, the almost certainly second half of March, with the mower blades set high. Trim the lawn edges with a half-moon or a spade.


    Cut back to 30-40cm., willows and dogwoods which are being grown as a bush for their bright spring and summer growth. Use some of the prunings as hardwood cuttings and root them in pots or borders.


    Don’t plant out tender plants yet, the wind can be extremely cold, and temperatures can get low enough to cause a significant depth of snow with 5-8cm of frozen soil. On average, the Yorkshire region can expect 90 to 100 hours of sunshine in the month, and significant winds in coastal areas.


    In view of the apparent increase in the number of dry spells in recent years, it could well be to advantage to provide a 5cm. a mulch of compost or leaf mould to plants such as hydrangeas and newly planted trees and shrubs which may suffer from a lack of moisture.


    By the middle of the month, the water pumps for deep ponds could go back into the water, and begin to feed any fish you may have in the pond.


    Re-seed bare patches in the lawn. It is a good time to propagate shrubs by layering low-growing branches of choice shrubs to produce a significant young plant. A very satisfying exercise!


    Arrange to plant summer flowering bulbs when planting conditions are good.


    After late heavy snowfalls, knock snow off the conifers before the branches get bent over and broken. Most plants are better under snow in a hard frost as they are well insulated.


    When daffodils have faded, remove the flowerheads, but not the flower stalk, in order to prevent the plant from wasting energy on bringing seed heads to maturity.


    Propagate heathers by layering or heel cuttings, and remove perennial weeds before planting at 30-40cm. Spacing, incorporating peat and bone meal for acid-loving varieties.


    Hard prune shrubby Eucalyptus to 15cm. This helps to retain the good blue foliage colour and keep the shrub compact.


    In bad weather, finalise plans for garden improvements and order plants and sundries to enable you to start work as soon as possible.


    Hard prune climbers down to 30 cm. that have got out of hand include rambling roses, ivies, honeysuckle and jasmine.


    Finish pruning perennials which have not yet been cut back, don’t remove new green shoots. There is still time to lift and divide large herbaceous clumps. Replant or give away outer sections of the clump and destroy the older centre of the plant.


    Kill weeds on paths and drives with an approved weedkiller, and keep them clean with a total weedkiller. Remove moss from paths and driveways with an approved moss killer.


    Lift overcrowded snowdrop clumps out of the ground with a fork when the leaf tips are turning yellow, and replants immediately in a new site at the same depth.

    Posted 2nd Mar 11:09am
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  3. Johnsons host behind-the-scenes tour for students

    Johnsons host behind-the-scenes tour for students

    We recently opened our doors to The Yorkshire School of Garden Design (YSGD) for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour.

    Fifteen students and two lecturers from the accredited Society of Garden Designers (SGD) school visited our nursery on 22 February to gain an operational insight into a horticultural nursery, including its production and despatch functions.

    The students were given a full guided tour of two of the nursery’s sites, incorporating the potting shed, despatch yard and nursery beds. They were also given demonstrations and advice on how to shop with the trade nursery once they have completed their course.

    The visit culminated with a presentation on the history of Johnsons, which celebrated its centenary in 2021. Johnsons also provided gift bags, lunch, tea, and coffee for its guests.

    The Yorkshire School of Garden, based at Harewood House and 16 miles from our nursery, opened its doors to students in September 2022. Earlier this month it was granted ‘Educator Status’ by The Society of Garden Designers (SGD) in recognition of its high standards of garden design education and ‘best practice’ teaching. It is one of only two educational providers in the north of England to hold SGD accreditation.

    The School offers a Diploma in Garden Design, a Diploma in Planting Design from January 2024 and numerous short courses. Students at the School have access to over 100 acres of gardens filled with trees and plants from around the world.

    The School’s Founder and Principal Tutor Alistair Baldwin has lectured internationally, delivering courses in China, North America and throughout the UK. He has over 25 years of experience and an international reputation as a garden designer and educator. Alistair has worked with Johnsons throughout his career and has used their plants in numerous designs.

    Liz Rawlinson, principal tutor and garden designer at The Yorkshire School of Garden Design said: “What an amazing visitor experience the Johnsons team curated for the YSGD students! We cannot thank them enough.

    “Everything was supremely efficient, organised and professional, from our initial communication to the programming and the smooth running of the day itself. It really did feel like a tailor-made visit for the YSGD and we could tell just how much effort went into the logistics of our large group ‘interrupting’ a normal working day at an incredibly busy time of year.

    “The hospitality was very much appreciated, and we thank them for the personalised lunch boxes and gift bags. We especially loved the opportunity to pot up Pachysandra for the Peat Free Compost trial with Tom, it was a really lovely touch.

    “The students commented on the overwhelming sense of the scale of the operations at Johnsons and what a valuable and insightful visit it had been. They left feeling reassured they could approach Johnsons for potential future projects and more informed on how to go about doing so. “

    Eleanor Richardson, marketing and office manager at Johnsons, said: “It was a pleasure to host students and lecturers from The Yorkshire School of Garden Design. We gave them behind-the-scenes access to the nursery, and a better understanding of production, operations and despatch as well as knowledge of the company’s history.

    “It gave us the opportunity to sell our products and service to fifteen potential new customers. We wish them every success with their course and welcome their trade applications on completion.”

    Posted 2nd Mar 10:20am
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