With Christmas rapidly approaching, I’ve been asking some of my nursery friends what’s on their list to Santa.
Talk to any gardener and it won’t be long before you start discussing the weather. Whether it’s been too hot or too wet, it’s rarely just right.
Sisters Liz Nicklin and Kate Phillips, who run Harrell’s Hardy Plants, are hoping Santa will help them get the perfect growing conditions.
“We would like a gift voucher for the weather of our choice for a month – at least!” says Liz.
Failing that, they’d like something a new hose for watering the perennials they grow at their Evesham nursery.
“Please, please, could we have a non-kinking hose? No matter how much you spend they all kink and usually about as far away from the end as possible.”
Watering is also top of the list at ShadyPlants.com. Sylvia and Tony Marden grow hundreds of shade-loving plants, including ferns, unusual begonias and podophyllum at in polytunnels and glasshouses their home in Painswick and are regulars at Rare Plant Fairs across the region.
“We would love an automatic watering system that can tell which plants need watering in a mixed collection,” says Sylvia, adding “Tied in a big red bow!”
You could be forgiven for thinking that Christmas has come early for the team at Fibrex Nurseries.
When I caught up with Heather Godard-Key the family business near Evesham had just taken delivery of a new greenhouse for their wide range of plants – Fibrex holds the National Collections of pelargoniums and ivies, as well as a huge number of ferns.
Yet, Heather has her eye on something to display their beautiful plants.
“I’d like a really beautiful pot from Whichford,” she says, “or two – but that’s wishful thinking.”
Perhaps, Santa will oblige.
Of course, it’s not just a busy time of year for him, at The Nursery at Miserden Christmas is also pretty hectic.
The nursery near Stroud stocks a range of perennials, roses and shrubs but this month it’s Christmas trees that are centre stage and preoccupying owner Julie Dolphin.
“We’ve got hundreds of them to be de-netted, displayed and netted again for the customer!” says Julie. “And that’s what I’d like – a de-netting and re-netting robot that also takes the tree to the customer’s car!”
Also on her list are new pots: some that are totally disposable.
“We reuse ours but it would be great for the planet if every pot could be compostable. We grow our herbaceous in peat-free compost so I’d like to think we do our bit but this would be a wish come true.”
• Something I’m sure is on every independent nursery owner’s list is the wish for more customers in 2018. If you would like to support our fabulous British growers, you can find details at the Independent Plant Nurseries Guide.