Garden designer revives plants business

A GREEN fingered entrepreneur from Suffolk has revived a horticultural business in his village.

James Collins, 22, is celebrating his first year in business as Collins of Cotton Plant Centre, at Cotton, near Stowmarket.

The site, opposite Finbow’s Yard, was home to a successful plant business, but the previous tenants decided to move on and it lay empty for about 18 months.

Mr Collins, who trained in horticulture at Otley College, was working as a freelance garden designer but decided to use his talents to set up a new horticultural business on the site.

“I was principally a garden designer,” he said.

“I had been since I left college. With the old recession kicking in, the work went very quiet. I thought I’ll use my skills doing something I love, still working with the plants,” he said.

“I previously worked here when I was a trainee at college. I was their weekend help, so I knew how the business worked and how to deal with people and I was really gutted when it closed down.”

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Mr Collins, whose father is a self-employed tree surgeon and whose grandfather was the village mechanic, has now signed a lease for another year for the site.

Although the site is small, he tries to stock a wide range of plants, from trees and shrubs to flowers and vegetables. Villagers and customers from further afield have started to come back.

“It needed an awful lot of work and a lot of money and a lot of time spent on it,” he said.

But he added: “It has been brilliant, very good.”