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 the scene of Tonto the nursery dog festooned with a cracker hat at our staff Christmas party last year!
public events news
Last weekend saw How Green make a rare public outing with our plants! We only attend three shows per year, two of them being at Penshurst Place for their Spring and then Autumn craft fairs. We have a strong working relationship that goes back nearly thirty years with Penshurst Place, as we stock their plant stand on a weekly basis and hire our topiary for weddings in the great Barons Hall. Coupled with the venue only ten minutes from the nursery, it’s natural for us to make the annual pilgrimage! We arrived on Thursday in blistering heat, exceeding 30oC, to build a mini show garden in conjunction with Chilstone from Fordcombe. To celebrate Chilstone’s 60th anniversary, we created a diamond shaped garden around one of their fantastic fountains that acted as the centrepiece. A local copper artist also showcased his art with a wonderful contemporary garden chair and…………..a bath! We here at How Green have never been asked to base a show garden around a bath, but there’s a first time for everything! The planting plan used a variety of grasses and late flowering perennials to create a naturalistic, prairie style of planting. We used plenty of Echinaceas, Agastaches, Salvias and Nepeta. Within minutes of setting up the garden, it was awash with bees, hoverflies and butterflies – a truly magnificent sight! We also attended with our own plant stand, with lots of our new plants for 2014 on sale. Our display looked wonderful with our Heucheras, displaying no less than 46 different varieties! The old saying ‘ how different one day from the next can be’ couldn’t be more apt at the show! Suffering from sunburn and dehydration from setting up the garden, Friday slapped us in the face with……Autumn! Rain, wind and only 16oC! thankfully the weather improved on Saturday and sales were great. Sunday was again changeable, but it was great to see so many enthusiastic gardeners out there, eager to get their gardens into shape for Autumn! This week sees a busy time at the nursery with a trade open day on Friday 13th (hope it’s not a bad omen! – see side bar) and then our last public open weekend of the year. We open our gates on Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th and a warm welcome to all to browse our strictly wholesale only nursery. Our nursery is at capacity and full to bursting with plants for the 2014 season. Many new additions on offer. If plant shopping gets all to much for you, relax in our Summer house with an array of tasty home made cakes and teas!
How Green Nursery opened its doors to the public for the first time this year and how amazingly wonderful it was! From the popularity of last years series of open weekends, there was some apprehension this time round, due to the awful Spring weather. As if by magic, the sun shone bright and triggered gardeners to come out of hiding! How Green was packed for two days, full of eager horticulturists, desperate to get gardening after twelve months of dreadful weather! Visitors were met by enthusiastic staff and wagging tails from the nursery dogs! Trolleys and wheel-barrows were filled to over flowing, with cars leaving fully laden. After a hard stint of plant shopping, visitors could relax in the summerhouse and take in some fine home made cakes and tea! Roll on the next open days in June!
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.
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! 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!!****
Last week we welcomed back the Fordcombe Amateur Gardening Society to the nursery. The end of October can be a little tricky for seasonal interest, but with our grasses at their peak we made the most of them! Grasses can be so versatile and can be used in many aspects and situations. There are grasses for full sun and arid conditions, there are grasses for shade, for moist conditions (and marginal) and there are perennial and annual grasses. Plant them in the border on mass within a naturalistic scheme, or maybe a few under the base of a tree. They also work well in containers and even hanging baskets. We discussed the subject in depth and looked through the grasses on display, followed by a question and answer session. If this all sounds like hard work, we all retired to the Summer house and enjoyed a fantastic spread of home-made cakes and tea! See you next year!
Public Open Weekends 2020... sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know.
We are a wholesale nursery, growing and supplying plants to the horticultural professions. However, we also hold a series of open weekends, just three times a year, where we are open to the general public. These events are usually in April, June and September.
On these open days all are welcome to view and purchase plants and enjoy tea and cake in the garden.
In addition, we also host regular talks and group visits. Please check our Public News page or subscribe to our Public Events Newsletter.