Seasons Greetings to You All!

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Prosperous New Year from us all at How Green!

It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago, we were penning these pages for Christmas and looking back at 2013 – how time flies!

Here at the nursery, with Christmas just over a week away, the excitement has started to build for the festive season! The staff tea hut has been lavishly decorated with highly flammable tinsel and an appalling fake tree, making for a winter wonderland! Waist lines are already expanding and all roads lead to the staff Christmas party in a few days time!

Staff are like Santa’s little helpers, busily creating Christmas wicker planters and lovely decorated Hyacinths which make wonderful Christmas presents. It’s still not too late to place your orders with us. ****We also have a special treat for you! Open our availability lists opposite and you’ll find the How Green Nursery Christmas quiz! 100 green fingered questions to get sunk into over the festive period. Put your brain cells to the test and send us back your answers via email. There will be prizes in the form of vouchers to our public open weekends next year for those with the most correct answers!****

We’ve had a great season here at How Green, with trade brisk throughout the year. The Winter of 2013 was the wettest on record, but the weather broke in February and we didn’t look back! A decent Spring for the first time in many years was then followed by a good Summer. Garden centres were busy and with an upturn in the economy the garden designers/landscapers followed.

There was never a dull moment with our trade and public open days, with many old friends and new customers paying us a visit. The tea and cake flowed and our stocks took a good battering!

We put together two show gardens of our own, as well as growing for prestige show gardens at Chelsea, Hampton Court, Malvern and Blenheim. Our crowning glory was Chelsea where we grew 90% of the plants for the Dial A Flight sponsored Potters Garden designed and put together by Nature Redesigned. The reward for their hard work was a well deserved gold medal – not bad for their first attempt at Chelsea!

We had a busy year on the social calendar, with many talks to garden societies held at venues as well as here at the nursery.

We look forward to 2015 and have some plans that will become apparent on these pages in the weeks to come, so keep tuned! All we have to say is Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all  and thank you for supporting us this season!

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Merry Christmas from all at How Green Nursery!

Wishing all our customers old and new a very merry Christmas and best wishes for the year ahead!

We find ourselves a week away from Christmas day and we’re left wondering, where on earth did that year go?! Here at How Green we are busily beavering away like Santa’s elves to prepare Christmas potted arrangements. We use high quality wicker trugs and a choice of bulbs including Hyacinths and Narcissus, all then lovingly decorated with natural moss and a Christmas tag. (See our plant of the week pictures). We also have a special treat for you! Open our availability lists opposite and you’ll find the How Green Nursery Christmas quiz! 100 green fingered questions to get sunk into over the festive period. Put your brain cells to the test and send us back your answers via email. There will be prizes for those with the most correct answers!

We take a look back at the 2013 season and reflect on what has been a rollercoaster of a year! It started disastrously for us and everyone connected with the industry. A prolonged Winter with snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures made for less than favourable gardening and growing conditions. March and April, which should be two of our busiest months were a right-off . Coming off the back of a very difficult 2012 (where it didn’t stop raining), the situation was bleak.

Spring

Then in April came our first of three public open weekends. Oh how we rejoiced! The weather behaved and gardeners gave us renewed confidence by coming to the nursery in their masses! Plants were sold by the boot full and the tea and cake flowed! This was then followed by a calm spell with sun and warmth. Our stock which at one point was six weeks behind in growth caught up and it was like flicking a light switch! This was extra relief with How Green growing for a major show garden at Chelsea Flower Show for the first time! Our good friend Roger Platt’s M&G sponsored garden deservedly won gold, and we breathed a sigh of relief!

Garden centres and garden designers stepped up through the gears and suddenly the 2013 season was underway!

Summer

The fantastic weather then carried on into early Summer and further open days, both trade and public proved a hit. Our show gardens and plant stand at Penshurst Place were warmly (hotly!) received. The long Summer days continued and got the nation out into their gardens. The smell of BBQ’s hung in the air and pots and borders that had not been tended since the Summer before, were revitalised! Again, we grew for two gardens at Hampton Court Flower Show.

Autumn

Then into Autumn. Late September saw our most successful Trade Open Day to date. Gardeners, designers and garden centres took advantage of our special offers on the day and the networking opportunities were phenominal! Business cards and numbers were exchanged and our cake and biscuit tin took a real battering! Usually a time for us to grow for the following year, but something amazing happened! Our loyal and ever increasing band of garden designers took on the challenge of some major projects. This in turn left considerable holes in our stock leading to our best Autumn sales ever!

Winter

And so to Winter! A time to reflect and do maintenance round the nursery. As you can see from our last post, we are in the throws of constructing a new office and sales area. Also in the pipeline, a new Lavender tunnel. Our 2014 catalogue is being lovingly put together by the amazing Natalie Seal at Ginger & Fig in Tunbridge Wells. She’s a whizzo graphic designer and website designer, specialising in anything horticultural. The catalogue has over 300 new plants on offer to you next season, so our stock of over 4500 plants looks very exciting indeed!

Other plans for the 2014 season include more Public and Trade Open Days (dates TBA – check website for details). We are also in the process of organising some guest speakers here at the nursery. These may be evening/weekend events, or we might tie them in with our open days. We already have talks and nursery tours booked in from numerous gardening clubs and societies. Contact us for further details.

Literally hot off the press, we have been asked to grow for a Chelsea garden again next year! If we say who, we may have to kill you – details nearer the time!!

All that’s left for us to say here at How Green is Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all! We leave you with some scenes from our staff Christmas party last year!

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Winter Jobs

As the days grow shorter and our plants start going into hibernation, it’s a time of year to catch up with maintenance jobs around the nursery!

This year is no exception and with a very busy Autumn of plant sales we’re already behind with our chores! We have around two acres of glass houses which regularly need time spent with renovations. This past fortnight has seen the tedious task (not to mention dangerous!) of cleaning the glass. Over the year, algae build-up on the glass can cut light levels quite significantly. This is turn can affect the growth of the plants underneath.

Armed with a broom, a hose and a head for heights, we’ve set about them to make sparkle! No chemicals are used, as the waste water is harvested into tanks ready to water the plants.

Also our wood working skills are being plied to create our new office/sales area, ready for the 2014 season. There’s never a dull moment at How Green! We leave you with some scenes of our office being built and one particular stunning sunset whilst cleaning the greenhouses!
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Autumn – Hillcroft Revisited!

Seven months after our extensive planting project at Caterham on the Hill, we paid the site a visit, to see how it looked!

Back in March, we were approached by Caterham Parish Council to deliver a new planting scheme at Hillcroft Corner, in the middle of Caterham on the Hill high street.

The brief was simple. They wanted all the old woody shrubs replaced with something that would be very low maintenance, no watering and would look great all year round!

We settled on a gravel style bed, we a membrane to supress weeds, but would allow water through. The plants used would also have to be tough, especially with water at a premium. Plenty of grasses to add height, movement and contrast with flowering perennials to give a naturalistic look.

Throughout the bed are Alliums and early flowering perennials, to give interest all year round. Even during the Winter months, the grasses will sparkle with frost and still add height. We also used some new weathered sleepers, on end in the ground to act as features for the plants to grow up and around.

A few evergreen shrubs and Phormiums also help in the darker months ahead.

The planting will hopefully come into it’s own next year, but we were pleasantly surprised how well the plants had established in such a short space of time!

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Heavenly Heucheras!

As Autumn approaches and many plants start to fade, give some time and space for a Heuchera or two! Being evergreen, they are a perfect perennial to plant now to give some colour through the gloomiest of months!

We here at How Green have a thing for a Heuchera and their versatility is second to none. They work very well in pots and containers, either alone or used in a combination with other plants. They are equally at home in the border and are a great contrast with different coloured Heucheras or again with other plants.

As a general rule, they are a shade loving plant, which can be handy for those difficult spots in the garden that need livening up. There are however many varieties that are equally at home in full sun. The main draw is for the plants foliage, which not only come in many different colours, but also different shapes and textures. There are giant, miniature, scalloped as well as serrated edged leaves to give a depth of variety available.

The flowers should never be over-looked. In Spring and early Summer, a mass of foam-like flowers emerge above the foliage again in a range of colours. Most are white, but some have a tinge of pink whilst others are bright red.

This Autumn we are offering 46 different varieties, including some brand spanking new additions, as well as the trusted old favourites. To check out our extensive collection, come visit us at the Penshurst Craft Fair this coming weekend, (Friday 6th, Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th September) held in the grounds of Penshurst Place. We have a plant stand and show garden in conjunction with Chilstone of Fordcombe.

If you can’t make this weekend, why not pay the nursery a visit the following weekend for our last public open weekend of the 2013. We’re open Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th September and our entire stock can be viewed and purchased! Nearly 4000 different plants to choose from and delicious home made tea & cake will be served in our wonderful Summer house!

Top left Heuchera ‘Penelope’, top right ‘Renoir’, bottom left Paprika & bottom right ‘Galaxy’.penelopeRenoirpaprikagalaxy