Here at Smith’s we have been growers and horticulturalists for nearly 80 years. In that time we have now progressed in to our 4th generation of the Smith family since starting with the company, E.W. Smith & Son, owned by Eric Smith (1st Generation) and Pete Smith (2nd Generation).
Our nurseries are split in to two with annual bedding production on one side of the garden centre and hardy plant production on the other. Our two nurseries ran by Ade and Matt feed the garden centre with incredible, British, homegrown stock.
From Violas and Pansies right through to Geraniums, Begonias and Marigolds we produce a product of stunning quality to add splashes of seasonal colour to your garden.
Bedding production will usually start off with Violas and Pansies during the colder months of the year to keep your garden looking happy throughout Winter. An endless supply of pots and trays are filled with professional growers compost and then fed in to the greenhouses ready for all of the tiny plant plugs to be grown in. As one batch of plants begin to grow, the next is started a couple of weeks later to stagger the growing periods making sure the supply of Violas and Pansies last the season.
As the Winter bedding production comes to an end, Spring is just around the corner. The focus shifts to Primroses and Polyanthus to help your garden look fabulous until May when the Summer Bedding production is well under way.
As Summer comes, usually a lot quicker than we expect, a vast array of bedding plants bloom in to flower. Summer bedding plants fill our bedding hall with a constant feed from late April right through to July and early August. These plants are used in hanging baskets, pots and borders which define the very meaning of Summer.
As another season ends, the tidy up begins. All of our greenhouses are swept through and treated for any pests and diseases to make sure our growing areas are kept immaculate. By doing so our growing conditions remain perfect and allow us to produce the highest quality product year on year.
Before you know it, the cycle repeats itself and the Violas and Pansies come back in to play ready for the colder months.
Matt and Sue are usually found on the far side of our garden centre tending to our hardy plant stock. The barebones of any garden will start with Matt where he produces alpines, shrubs, roses and trees that will give structure and depth to any outdoor space.
During the Winter, Matt and Sue will begin potting things like bare root roses and tend to hedging plants. As the sound of Spring approaches in the distance, the hard work begins. They work tirelessly to pot and care for all of the amazing perennials and alpines we sell during Spring & Summer.
As an independent garden centre, keeping our benches stocked with our home-grown produce allows us to control the quality of each plant. If plants struggle to come back from a pest or disease, we place them back in to the nursery to be cared for. Every time we do this we can reduce waste and even grow them on to be bigger plants for the next season. This process also applies to any stock that doesn’t sell. Unlike annual bedding plants that die off each season, hardy plants and shrubs will live year on year. This allows us to keep growing all the plants we have from the start which eventually leaves us with some much larger shrubs to give you instant effect in the garden.
After careers in the bank, Mick Smith enters the family business along with Wife, Tara Smith. Smith’s Nurseries evolves another step, serving commercial trade, landscapers, garden designers and the general public.
The introduction of growing annual bedding plants in large quantities begins and the opportunity to supply what was known as ‘The Royal Show’ with planters, tubs and hanging baskets helps the annual side of the nursery to hit the ground running. As the general public are continually impressed each year with the quality of the flowers, momentum picks up with customer hanging basket orders and the general sales of bedding plants.
With business growing each year, help was drafted in from the 4th generation of Smith’s, Luke & Kieran. They were always seen getting covered in compost and running round in muddy puddles whilst occasionally giving a helping hand to keep the nursery tidy.
2003 also saw the birth of Eleanor Smith, the final member of the 4th Generation. Until she was able to walk on her own, she was often seen strapped to the back of Tara Smith.
From 2010 onwards, big steps were made in entering the garden centre industry. Though still retaining our strong foundations as growers and horticulturalists, we were also selling sundries and tools to go along side the great collection of plants, shrubs and trees.
By this point we were now employing up to 15 garden centre staff to cater to our ever growing demand.
By the end of the decade, we introduced Granny Smith’s Cafe. The cafe was named with remembrance to our late grandmothers who were all incredible home cooks. Our cafe is now beginning to gain momentum with our customers who can regularly enjoy home baked goods, hearty English breakfasts and great coffee.
With the transition in to a new generation of the family, Luke and Kieran entered the business as Directors along side Mick and Tara. With their background in Graphic Design, Luke and Kieran relaunched Smith’s Nurseries as Smith’s Garden Centre with new branding to suit. This move helped to refine the garden centre and move it in a new direction.
“We aim to inspire the younger generations to get in to gardening whether it’s indoors or out. Our addition of house plants as well as home & gift in the recent months has helped us to attract a younger audience and we hope this continues to help nature thrive.”