Seiont Nurseries is planning to expand after Lovania Nurseries bought the North Wales-based liner producer earlier this month. All staff have been retained and Neil Alcock will continue to manage the business as usual. Owner Paul Hummel is retiring.
Alcock said Seiont will continue to serve its customer base. "There will be no real change on the face of it," he added. "The investment is to carry the business forward. The first thing is improving the quality and service then looking at growth - there's certainly room in the market for a lot more because several growers have dipped out in the last couple of years.
"We're split between plug and liner production. Plugs have increased massively over recent years and production of premium shrub liners is increasing as well. We plan to do more, do it better and do it bigger."
Alcock said Seiont hopes to increase exports, which are now 12 per cent, despite the strong pound versus the euro. Exports are mainly bespoke and new varieties, often for European production of US plants. Seiont also works with European, Australasian and Japanese breeders.
The grower has taken on a new propagator and is seeking a new grower/manager as well as a sales office assistant.
Alcock added: "The key to the nursery is propagation - that's what we're about. Our key remit is we still have to look after all our customers. We're not becoming a production site for Lovania. We're here to serve our current customer base. We're not being internalised."
Seiont Nurseries will exhibit at the National Plant Show, the Four Oaks Trade Show, the South West Growers Show and GroSouth in 2016.
New for 2016 is Seiont's Buddliea Dreaming series, which has two semi-trailing forms that are suitable for baskets. The plants will be available through Wyevale Nurseries, Lovania Nurseries and Sarah Raven via mail-order. For next year there will be UK-bred heuchera from Plantagogo and Seiont is in talks with Perennial about new plant launches.
Timeline - Recent acquisitions and changes in the liner market
June 2015 Eagle Plants bought by Newey Group. Dummen Orange acquired Florexpo.
July 2015 Volmary bought Delamore. Northern
September 2015 Delamore acquired Botany Bay.
January 2016 Seiont Nurseries sold to Lovania Nurseries.