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!

Xmas1Xmas2

Happy New Year!

What a wonderful Christmas we all had here at How Green! We kicked off the holiday in great style with our annual Christmas party. The dining room was turned into a Winter wonderland, decorated beautifully and Christmas carols filled the air!

As is the tradition here at the nursery, there is no turkey with all the trimmings, not even a Christmas pud! This is through choice however and our loyal workforce unanimously vote in each year without fail……. fish & chips!!! Christmas crackers, hats and jokes aside, it’s then off to the very welcoming Henry 8th pub in Hever for liquid refreshment!

To nurse the sore heads, staff are given plenty of time off over the festive period. We’re now all refreshed and ready to crack on with the coming season.

We’re working flat-out, potting up perennials and seed sowing ready in time for Spring. This year our stock range has again increased by over 400 plants, bringing to total nearly 4000 different plants. These can all be seen in our new 2013 catalogue available on request right now.

Sales have started positively with our quality potted bulbs leaving to garden centres in our area. The photo below shows a great order heading out to our good friends at Coolings Garden Centre at Knockholt.

bulbs awaiting despatch

Reflections on the Year that Was

It’s amazing to think another year has passed and never has the saying ‘how time flies’ been more relevant! This year has flown by! Looking back on 2012 it’s been a very difficult year in the horticultural world.

The year started with great promise, with garden centre and garden designer sales very strong up to March. It was a month which saw temperatures in the mid-twenties and nursery staff in shorts and T-shirts. Our 30th anniversary season looked as though it was to be a vintage!

All positivity was then dashed in April when local authorities up and down the country implemented hosepipe bans for domestic and at some point professional users. Two very dry years subsequently lead to these measures as reservoirs and aquifers began to run dangerously low.

Then the irony!! No sooner had the hosepipe ban been put in place, the heavens opened and it didn’t (hasn’t!) stopped raining since! The phrase ‘driest drought on record’ started to be used in conversation! The combination of the ban and bad weather throughout what should have been our busiest months was disastrous!

The team at How Green Nursery

There was a mini revival with the Queens jubilee and of course the Olympics. Colour schemes were all the rage with red, white and blue plants selling like hot cakes! We end the year on an up-beat note, with very strong sales throughout the Autumn. We will take this positivity forward into 2013 and hope we all have a bumper year!

We have expanded our business again this Winter and will be offering over 500 new plants next season and in greater numbers. Look out for our bumper new 2013 catalogue, being printed as we speak and available on request from January. We now have a new storage/dispatch depot, a new tunnel in the pipeline and more standing grounds.

We are hosting a series of public open weekends again which proved very popular this year. Check our website for further details. We will also be running a series of events for the landscape/garden designer trade with special offers and discounts.

So from us all at How Green Nursery, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for the coming season! ****Be sure to checkout our Christmas quiz! Download our current availability from this website and find it there. Put your brains to the test (or Google!), relax with a tipple of your choice and conquor the 70 questions posed. Prizes galore!!****

Working in a Winter Wonderland

This week the weather has taken a real turn as Britain is gripped with ‘The Beast From the East’! Sub-zero temperatures down to -7˚C has made life difficult at How Green. Bulbs frozen in the sand and perennials like blocks of ice, finding work for our staff has been hard!

So the last couple of days we’ve undone the work shackles and started to make the nursery look all Christmasy! The tree has gone up in our tea hut and it is festooned with really bling tinsel and decorations! Our staff have also been working really hard on our Christmas potted arrangements. All tastefully created using high quality wicker baskets, bulbs and moss.

Mother nature has done a fantastic job of decorating the rest of the nursery! The hoar frost we’ve had the last few days has been nothing short of spectacular! The surrounding trees and landscape have looked wonderful. Our grasses show why they are so architecturally pleasing at this time of year if not cut down until Spring.

Be sure not to miss next weeks special Christmas instalment! Get involved with our Christmas quiz extravaganza that you will be able to download from our availability.

Hoar Frost on grassesSpring bulb baskets

Spring is in the air as bulbs come out of hiding

We at How Green are very particular when it comes to the quality of our plants. Great care and attention is given to get our plants looking as best they can for you! No more so than our potted bulb range.

We adopt the traditional method of growing our bulbs in sand beds. As can be seen from the photo’s below, we place 4-5″ of sand on top of the bulbs. This ensures lovely tight, even growth. It is a very labourious, time consuming method that is rarely employed these days, but we stick to our principals! We also treat our bulbs with a fungicide for disease free plants.

The bulbs are placed in their cosy sand beds in early September. They take a couple of months to root through and develop shoots. We then take them out of the sand in November. At this point the shoots are white in colour as they have been devoid of light. To ‘green them up’, we bring them inside for a few days and treat them to some basal heat.

We concentrate on the Christmas market with Hyacinths and Narcissus, with the rest of our range following in the New Year. To get in the Christmas spirit, we decorate our Hyacinths with moss, a Christmas tag and Holly. We also have a range of beautiful Christmas planters to buy as gifts!