Web site update: 29th March 2020
Over the past fortnight the covid-19 status has changed radically on a daily basis. We do not know what the position will be on the first of May, our planned opening date. We will comply with the law.
If we are well, and allowed to open, we will do so on the first of May or anytime thereafter into June. Currently we would not be allowed to open, even if it is possible to enforce social distancing on the premises.
Novel ideas are being considered, however possibilities are limited. The enormous obstacle of delivery logistics is too much for us to contemplate. Even the big supermarkets are unable to fulfill customer requirements, despite their superior resources of manpower and expertise. Obviously we know you are eager to make the most of your garden this year, as it will be a heavily used and much appreciated sanctuary.
At present we are busy pricking out seedlings and potting up rooted cuttings etc. Everything here is watered by hand, and will require additional ongoing care to keep in good condition as the plants grow too big for their pots throughout May and June. Mr. Smith senior continues to grow his vegetable plants, a crop which we realise is now in big demand. The world beyond our boundaries changes too rapidly for a meaningful statement about our future, but it looks grim.
We will try to stay healthy so that we keep the plants growing and neither us nor our plants die.
If we cannot work the plants die.
If we fall ill while trading the place closes down.
Good wishes to you all over the difficult times ahead.
Scroll down this page to see video of us potting up early in the season.
Updated late February 2020
We are growing some Impatiens walleriana Beacon – a downy mildew resistant Busy Lizzie which should be very similar to the old box bedding Impatiens which we stopped growing seven years ago due to disease problems. This is the plant we have all been impatiently waiting for the plant breeders to produce. We will no longer grow New Guinea Impatiens as we hope you will be pleased to plant the Beacon busy lizzies in your pots and flower beds.
Our selling seasons have been impressively short in the last few years so we will grow fewer large Geranium in 3 litre pots.
In most other respects our production range of summer bedding plants will be similar to prior years.
Now Sold Out and Closed after a final days trading on Friday 31st May. Our closing sale and fundraising for the British Lung Foundation took place on 30th & 31st May.
- Our generous customers donated £383.12 at our charity patch clearance and throughout the open season in collecting tins. Many thanks to you all.
- A few left over Begonia (sold in aid of the local Scouts) were available on the plant stall at the St. Johns Village Fete on the afternoon of Saturday 15th June at St. Johns Lye.
Final Day Friday 31st May. Hurry along for last minute bargains. We still have some super plants including:
- Upright and trailing Geraniums (red or orange) in 10cm pots
- Trailing Begonia (white) in 10cm pots
- Few Begonia Dragons Wing
- Begonia semperflorens in range of colours in boxes
- Charity Patch giveaway continues for the British Lung Foundation
- Everything must go today
Last few days – Closing soon – Updated Tuesday 28th May – Sale starts Thursday 30th May PLANTS HALF PRICE plus British Lung Foundation CHARITY PATCH (cash donations)
Something for the bank holiday weekend? Updated Saturday 25th May. Our range and quantity is now limited, but the quality is generally very good. We can recommend :
- In the show house: Big Geranium in 3 litre pots or hanging baskets in plastic pots (wide choice of plants)
- On the outside benches: Lobelia (compact & trailing) and cardinalis, Verbena bonariensis & Endurascape, Scabious.
- Big pot bedding glasshouse: Calibrachoa dark blue only, Diascia pink, Bacopa/Sutera Snowflake, Bidens yellow, Verbena, Surfinia hot pink, Osteospermum Magic Sunrise, Begonia Dragons Wing, richmondensis, Illumination (trailing) red or white, Fuchsia Winston Churchill or new Millennium, Ivy Geranium Red or dark red, zonal Geranium Red, orange or pink.
- Box bedding glasshouse: Geranium Red or white, Begonia semperflorens (good colour range)
Updated Sunday 19th May – end of day. Our range is diminishing fast. We still have some excellent quality plants in pots and boxes, but perhaps not in your first choice of colour. Good selection of Petunia Surfinia, single flowered Calibrachoa, Nemesia (basket plants), Verbena, Sutera Snowflake, Begonia Dragons Wings, Fuchsia (upright & trailing), Geranium (upright & trailing and boxes), Begonia (boxes), Petunia (boxes). Few Marigolds, Red Salvia, Begonia (pots of upright & trailing).
- Large Geranium in 3 litre pots at £6 each available now.
- Petunia Surfinia hanging baskets ready now.
- Everything now moved up to sales areas. No further stocks available.
- sold out as follows: Calibrachoa (double flowered), Dahlia (pots), Coleus, Cosmos (pots & boxes), Salvia farinacea, Antirrhinum (boxes), Erigeron, Argyranthemum, Scaevola, Mesembryanthemum, Euryops, Cineraia silver leaf, Ageratum, Nemesia (in boxes), Heliotrope, Coreopsis, Zinnia, Mimulus, Lupin, Gaura, Foxgloves, and Lofospermum.
It is now time to plant out your bedding plants, risk of frost damage is minimal. Soil conditions are drier than optimal, but waiting for rain is unlikely to be adequate; you need to water in well after planting.
Updated Thursday 16th May. Final batches out. Almost all plants up for sale now, with very little more in stock. Once they’re gone, so are we. Each day we are now selling out of something.
A fortnight after opening (updated Sunday 12th May) everything has been selling briskly. The initial customer flurry has subsided as chill, showery weather predominates. Yesterday a heavy hailstorm has shredded the leaves of plants in our outside sales areas. We still have a few large hanging baskets, with plenty of plastic ones available. Half of the Fuchsia and Geranium in pots have gone, but there is still lots of choice and quality is good. Begonia in pots are selling fast. Box bedding is selling strongly. Full range of Petunia looking good and available now. We have more stock of Begonia, Geranium and Lobelia which will be moved up for sale while we are closed on Wednesday; for best choice call in on Thursday. A good selection of basket plants is available with lots more in stock. Calibrachoa have been particularly popular. Verbena bonariensis are selling fast, not many left.
- Our final batch of Cosmos (in pots) are now up for sale, with white sold out.
- Petunia Surfinia, Calibrachoa and Fuchsia in plastic hanging baskets are now available.
Re-opened Saturday 27th April: Huge numbers of our loyal customers flocked in on our opening day. There was nowhere to park by 10.15 am and the queue at the checkout did not subside until 11.30am. Fortunately our new mobile router enabled the card machines to work faultlessly, so no problem taking card payments this year. Update: Disappointingly I have been proved wrong; the 3 network occasionally let’s us down. It took hours to tidy up at the end of the day with benches and beds devastated by the onslaught. Verbena bonariensis, Lophospermum and Calibrachoa have proved particularly popular. Our Begonia in pots are not really ready, but have also sold strongly.
As we open in late April you will find plenty, but not all, of our plants ready for sale. The hot Easter has caused a flush of growth. Ready now: many basket plants, Geraniums in pots and boxes, in 14cm pots: Cosmos, Argyranthemum, Lophospermum, Euryops, Osteospermum etc. Leave the Begonia and impatiens n.g. to grow under glass for a while longer.
We have brought forward our opening date this year to the last Saturday in April. It has become clear that demand is consistently highest at the beginning of May, and we aim to please. Visitors at the end of April/early May will have the widest choice, however you should bear in mind that some of our plants will benefit from growing a bit bigger before leaving the cossetted environment of our heated glasshouses.
Production is now progressing well. Scroll down to see a video of our potting machine in action.
Last year many of you experienced lengthy delays when making card payments. This was due to a decline in mobile network coverage in our locality. Phone coverage is still very poor here, so we have installed a mobile antenna. While we will never achieve the superfast payments found in supermarkets we are optimistic that a reasonable speed of PIN card payments and contactless card payments (only under £30) will work for you in 2019.
Mr. Smith senior is busy again growing his vegetable plants.
We close down when we sell out. In recent years this has been end of May or early June.
On Tuesday 1st May 2018 our opening day dawned white with frost, however temperatures rose rapidly and the sun shone down upon us. Plenty of customers once again returned to buy our popular annual plants. The growing season had featured enormous variability as the weather ranged from winter wonderland to scorching summer suns. We rapidly sold our stock throughout May, closing on Friday 1st June 2018 with a few plants helping to raise a modest sum for the British Lung Foundation.
As spring became summer temperatures rose rapidly, watering was no doubt a challenge for many to ensure good plant establishment. It is really important to get your bedding plants well established after planting, warm weather is great, but must be combined with adequate water availability. Once growing on well outdoors your plants will toughen up, although the bigger the plant, the more water it uses. We hope you all enjoyed the record hot summer – people and plants.
For us 2017 was an overwhelming success with another early sell out. Remarkably our busiest sales day was our opening day. Half of our large planted wire hanging baskets sold on the first day. We are seeing a change of peak sales now at the May Day bank holiday instead of late May during Chelsea week. Global warming is leading to earlier spring sales; or perhaps there is a desire to buy while we still have our widest range of plants available. The place certainly looks at its best before we let the public in! Customers without glasshouses are taking some risk with the weather, however most bedding plants stop growing rather than die if they get too cold. Traditionally the bulk of the bedding season is over by Derby Day and we were glad to close on Derby Day, by which time we had very few customers and lots of empty glasshouses. Plant quality generally remained satisfyingly high throughout our short selling season, however some plants were too small when sold and would have benefited from remaining with us for a little longer. We regained quality control once the second batches of plants were moved up for sale because we kept them in our growing houses until just right. It was gratifying to sell our last box of perfect pink Begonia knowing that they were even better than the first. Our thanks is extended to those who support our little business by buying our plants.