It was the end of an era for Hillier Nurseries after its 50-year veteran grafter Dave Roberts retired last month. Hillier is now using outside grafters to propagate trees.
Hillier chairman Robert Hillier said: “In the past few years we’ve been moving to source material from other specialist growers who still have these skills. It’s the end of an era for Hillier. The bigger nurseries used to do everything.
“Dave was grafting plants from A-Z but the marketplace has changed. Garden centres don’t require that range of trees and shrubs any more. It’s a change of fashion and culture. People want greater volumes of a smaller range.”
In a ceremony at the RHS Halls last week Roberts was presented with the RHS Medal to mark 50 years’ service with Hillier. He retired on 2 March after starting work in January 1957 at Hillier’s Chandler’s Ford Nursery under Harold Hillier and Vic Pawlowski, producing the widest variety of woody plants in Hillier’s history.
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