What Make's Us Different?

Our Plants- You will be pushed to find another grower who has the same range of plants that we have to offer you. We completely understand that not everyone needs a full trolley of heathers every week. You want two trays of 9cm heathers? Not a problem….with all our other products available, we can complete your order in no time and all from one supplier, which you know means less paperwork and more time for you to look after your customers, staff and plants. The vast majority of our propagation material comes from well established mother plants here on our site. This enables us to manage these plants to maximise the material available, ensure that they are disease free and as importantly, true to name.  We grow everything we sell, we are nurserymen not traders. Included in our site is approximately six acres of open ground in which we not only grow our rootstock stems but also a proportion of our container grown stock has spent a whole year in this ground as well. These include; Hamamelis, Viburnum, Magnolia, Taxus and some of the Chamaecyparis types. These should not be confused with root-balled plants….these are fully rooted container grown plants which have had the benefit of having already spent time in the ground and still have Herefordshire clay on their roots! We are not in every garden centre, and with respect, you will not find our plants in DIY stores or supermarkets. We believe that it doesn’t benefit anyone if two neighbouring garden centres sell the same products. In our efforts to reduce our labour usage, we have come up with some rather smart machines which not only reduce labour but also help us to get a much more uniform plant in the process.

Our People- There is two directors John and his wife, their son Paul is the Nursery Manager, this enables decisions to be made very quickly, we don’t have to wait for the next board meeting. Working with us are a group of highly experienced and motivated people who take their job seriously, without them, none of this would be possible. Our drivers’ can assist you with anything you need as they are our own people, driving our own vehicles. We currently have 30 staff, 18 of these are Polish, some of which have been returning to us for the last twelve years, each one helping to support the local and wider UK economy. Our other full time staff are made up of local people. There are some other growers’ out there who are very protective of their people, sometimes you don’t see any pictures of their staff in their catalogue or on their websites! Well if they’re shy we must be very outgoing as we like to shout about ours and are happy for you to meet them as we are very proud of them. Okay so our people are good, but our plants are not bad either…we would very much like you to visit us and we will show you our wonderful stock and what makes us different. Please give us a call and we will arrange for you to experience a great day out.

We are a compact business made up of people who are friendly, helpful, and professional, who you can easily build a relationship with.

Our Services- We use our own transport to deliver our stock, meaning that most customers will receive delivery the same week, some may have even experienced our ‘same day’ or ‘Saturday’ service. We want to send you fresh plants for you to sell…..remember this is our own transport, driven by our own drivers, they represent John Richards Nurseries so can help you with anything during your delivery. Also available to you is a sample van visit (a bit like the mobile library but a lot more fragrant, and a lot more to look at than you can fit in the boot of a car!).  Aaron will arrange to visit your centre and show you the stock that’s looking good or can take your reserve orders, which then guarantees your stock is held for you. Our Plant Buyers’ Events are now a firm fixture in our calendar, they are a must for your diary as well proving very popular with our customers, they provide a covered, lit environment where all the products are available to view and buy.

Our Principles- To offer you a quality professional service which is backed up by efficient aftercare by people who you know and who care. To minimise our impact on the environment by the responsible use of pesticides, water, fertilisers and peat. To find viable alternatives to reduce our peat usage, we are the only nursery in this country who grows, harvests and incorporates a beneficial product which we add to our mixes, most importantly, all here on our own site, come and see us, we’ll show you how.

We will always work with you to resolve any problems you may have, we appreciate that sometimes things don’t go as planned.

Ensuring that we look after our workers by employing fatigue reducing measures when there are repetitive jobs to do, we will happily show you these when you visit, we don’t think that sitting on a crate to weed plants is the way forward!

Our Site- We have an on-site cold storage facility which allows us to sell you winter hardy plants, and to give our stock a ‘winter’ inside when we don’t have one outside! We start to fill this around November and empty it when the last frost has passed, set to 2 degrees centigrade, means we can send you truly hardy plants early in the year. We are one of a very few number of nurseries in the UK who utilise a bio-bed. This is an covered pit which contains a mixture of loam, straw and peat in which a very course grass grows. Whenever we have any pesticide or herbicide washings, they are emptied into this bed and are naturally removed by bacteria, transpiration and evapotranspiration, there is no outlet from this bed, therefore no pollution, now we think that’s pretty clever and forward thinking as regulation still allow us to pollute our own land with this waste.

Water usage- We are entirely self-sufficient when it comes to irrigation water, we have our own ‘closed system’ reservoir, this means that everything we take out of this goes back in, every drop of rain which falls on our site is captured, initially in a 1 million gallon ‘lagoon’ which is great for capturing a flash flood and then through a reed bed filter before resting in the main reservoir which has capacity to hold 5 million gallons, more than enough for us if we had a calendar year without rain.  All our water treatment processes (and there are quite a few) are either completely natural or mechanical, we do not use any form of acid to treat our water. All the toilets at the nursery use this water to flush with, this water then enters the system and in time is used again. The only mains water we use on site is for washing and drinking.

Pot Sterilisation- Due to the nature of our business we have a few pot sizes which we only use during the production cycle. Without sterilisation we would only have two options, throw them away and replace with new each year or risk spreading diseases. Our steriliser uses only hot water at 80 C, we stack the pots on specially designed crates and they are lowered into the tank of hot water for 1 hour, this process kills all know pathogens. We have been using most of the same pots now for the last 10 years. Ah, yes that’s all well and good I hear you say, but what happens to all that filthy water afterwards? That’s a job for those amazing little bacteria in our bio-bed who can’t get enough of this stuff, pretty soon that contaminated water will be…..nothing.

Waste Recycling- Just like all industries we create waste, we all know that everything seems to come wrapped in plastic! There are a percentage of our pots which don’t make it, so along with all our other plastics we send these to a local recycler (6 miles away) who turns them into imitation timber street furniture or maybe garden centre display benches. All the packaging which our peat comes in is baled and returned to them for re-use. We segregate all the cardboard from our general waste, and use the local authority as our waste carrier, not a nationwide giant, helping maintain our local economy.

Sustainable living- In February 2016 we finished work on the Nursery Manager’s house. The local authority were very understanding of the need for a house, but also mindful of the fact that we are located within an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) The brief to the architect was to design a low environmental impact house which was sustainable and low maintenance. All the external surfaces are very low maintenance, either aluminium or untreated Western Red Cedar. All effluent either sewage or rainwater is collected and reused, the toilets all use recycled water to flush. The finished product is an air-tight, well insulated and bright house which requires minimal energy to heat, a ground-sourced heat exchanger pre-heats or pre-cools (dependent on the time of year)the fresh air as it is drawn underground into the house. 

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