National plaudit for independent nursery
A FAMILY-owned plant nursery down a single track lane in Suffolk is celebrating a national accolade. The privately-run Ladybird Nursery in Gromford Lane, Snape, scooped fourth place in a BBC Gardeners' World magazine competition to find the country's best garden centres and nurseries, as voted for by its readers, after nurturing a strong customer base.
A FAMILY-owned plant nursery down a single track lane in Suffolk is celebrating a national accolade.
The privately-run Ladybird Nursery in Gromford Lane, Snape, scooped fourth place in a BBC Gardeners' World magazine competition to find the country's best garden centres and nurseries, as voted for by its readers, after nurturing a strong customer base.
National chain Wyvale came top in the contest, and Woodbridge-based Notcutts scooped sixth place.
Nursery owner Bob Booker, who runs the business with wife, Maggie, said they had done “remarkably well”.
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“What's interesting is we are a nursery. All the other people who came in top are chains of garden centres,” he said.
“It speaks volumes about how our customers feel about us because we are growers really. We are growers who retail, but we are growers and it's reflected in the quality of our product. We are a reasonably-sized nursery. We have approximately one and a half acres covered but we are down a tiny little lane in Snape.”
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Nearly everything the nursery sells is grown on site and includes bedding plants, plants for hanging baskets, herbaceous plants, trees and shrubs.
Their most far-flung customer comes over to visit them from Denmark, emailing them in advance with what he wants.
“We don't sell barbecues and garden furniture and trinkets,” said Mr Booker.
“All our customers come to us because we sell good plants. For years people have been saying to us: 'You are the best nursery I have ever been to' - they have had the opportunity to put that down in practice.”
Mr Booker said they were amazed when they found they had done as well as some of the multiple outlets.
Mr Booker's parents came to the site in 1960, and Mr Booker and his wife took over the running of the business in 1999, having been with it for a number of years. They now employ five full-time and eight part-time staff.
Mrs Booker said: “We are very pleased, I think, very proud that the customers took the time and trouble to go through quite a lengthy questionnaire to actually give their support to us. It just shows what customers we have really. They are very loyal, very complimentary.”