Archive for February, 2011

New range of mixed native hedging

Our bare root mixed native hedging packs are huge sellers – but not everyone wants bare roots so we’ve recently added mixed native packs in cell grown and pot grown .  Cell grown are more expensive than bare roots but they are available all year round and they have minimal root disturbance whereas bare roots have considerable root disturbance. Pot grown are more expensive again but they are taller and bushier and again there’s no root disturbance and they can be planted all year round.

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We’ve also recently added Pyracantha cell grown plants to our range – lovely little plants, great price.

It’s been a couple of weeks of big changes for us

After many weeks of detailed planning, we’ve finally automated our order processing! It doesn’t sound like much but it’ll save us a huge amount of time – and that means more time with customers. For all their hard work on the automated processes, we’d like to thank Jamie Shipley in our office who’s had a sore head on several days puzzling out the details of how to automate what we do manually, and Andy at Codepath (www.codepath.co.uk) who’s done the behind-the-scenes clever stuff  – and all the rest of the team in the sales office and at the nursery who have shown patience, flexibility and teamwork through this period of change.

We’d also like to say a big welcome James Tomkinson to our sales team. He’s slotted in to the team really quickly and we won’t hold his allegiance to Manchester City against him.

Paul Horsfield, our despatch manager, has moved in to the sales office from the nursery office – to benefit from the automation – and so that the nursery team don’t miss him too much, part of his work has been automated too – our orders are automatically uploaded to our carrier’s system so we don’t have to type in customer names and addresses. Paul was absolutely swamped last spring but we hope all this automation will mean that he has a less stressful time this year, whilst coping admirably with a terrific increase in orders.

We’re feeling ready for the big March rush now – our new automated system will process orders every hour even during the night so our nursery team (who start at the crack of dawn in March) will be able to pack orders before the sales office has even opened!

It’s all go!

June

Watcher of the Skies

The weather continues to dominate all our conversations. You can’t be in this business without weather watching every day.  Interesting statistic for you – in 2010, there were 89.4 days of air frost (I don’t know what .4 of a day is!) – the highest reading for over 50 years.

On the one hand this means that demand for replacement plants is high, but on the other hand, there are plant losses in the nurseries (though we obviously work very hard to minimise frost damage to our stock) and the ground conditions aren’t great for planting.

So we wait and watch for mild, damp weather – we need enough rain to keep the soil damp without making it waterlogged – which isn’t great for planting either.

As well as harsh weather, we’ve got a harsh economic climate. The Horticultural Trades Association’s research shows that the retail garden market declined by 4.3% in 2010 and consumer spending on gardening has been pretty flat at £4.5bn since 2002 – that’s 10 years!   So, we’re absolutely delighted with growth in our business. December was poor because of the snow, but the autumn generally was good (up by about 50%) and we’ve had a cracking January.   We’re not a young business (5 years old) so it’s not just that we were tiny last year – we must be doing a lot right – thank you to all our customers for ordering and re-ordering – it’s so nice to see customers coming back again and again.

If you’re new to us, please be reassured that we’re as good as we say we are!

June