Me & My Job - Hilary Collins, co-owner, Grafton Nursery

Hilary Collins, co-owner, Grafton Nursery - image: Grafton Nursery
Hilary Collins, co-owner, Grafton Nursery - image: Grafton Nursery

How did you get started in the industry? We came to Grafton Flyford in 2008 and are in the process of renovating and developing the site. We already have a couple of tunnels in production and crops to offer. Over the next few seasons, we will be expanding our range, but at present we have 36 varieties of garden hardy ferns, the disease-resistant dwarf hedging Buxus 'Faulkner' and 20 varieties of garden hardy eucalyptus. Steve and I manage the company with 25 years experience in growing tender and hardy ornamentals. We both have degrees in horticulture from the University of Bath.

What are you working on currently? We been growing eucalyptus for four or five years and that's how long it took to get the trees to the right height. We've only just got specimens coming online. It's not like growing other plants - this is the single most challenging thing I have ever grown.

What is the hardest thing about growing them? They need to be grown in air pots and the timing has to be right. Getting the right quality and having them at the right size at the right time of year for marketing have been the challenges.

What is the best thing about growing them? We grow for logs, the floristry side and also hedges. We almost sold out of hedging varieties on the first day at Gardeners' World Live. Some varieties bush from the base. They're not just trees. You can use them for chicken bedding, for instance, because the oil deters red mite.

What exhibitions have you been attending and what are your plans? The Malvern Spring Show had a cancellation so we got in and then we did Gardeners' World Live. We may do the Malvern Autumn Show too. It's been an exciting time. We're looking to sell to specialist nurseries in a marketable size of three-litre pots.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next



These versatile, evergreen shrubs can flower from October right through to the end of May, Miranda Kimberley finds.

Business planning - cash-flow management

Business planning - cash-flow management

Wider market volatility can have a big impact on cash flow but there are ways to avoid problems, Neville Stein explains.



These compact, brightly coloured flowers can be very attractive for impulse sales, notes Miranda Kimberley.

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Blue Planet II eloquently showed the rich tapestry of life in the oceans. It also focused public awareness on plastic pollution damaging wildlife.

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

British horticultural firms and organisations have not been the best at working together to promote our industry.

Opinion... A wish list for unblinkered thinking among our politicians

Opinion... A wish list for unblinkered thinking among our politicians

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive ranking of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover. 

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles