Now producing one-million stems each year under 0.7ha of glass on the edge of Chichester, the business has become the largest grower of sweet peas in the UK. The crop is notoriously challenging to grow, requiring constant attention. The slightest change in the weather can cause over-production of poor-quality flowers or failure to produce flowers at all.
However, despite all these challenges, the business produces exhibition-standard flowers (five-to-seven flowers per stem) with exceptionally long stems and a wide range of colours.
The nursery maintains its own stocks of home-grown seed, bred from parent lines over many years. These are reselected every year to improve their quality, scent, colour and appearance.
Two crops are grown per year, a good proportion of which are sold to a large multiple retailer, accredited under the LEAF marque scheme. The business also has a very strong trade through Covent Garden and florists across the UK.
Many are dispatched as bouquets for next-day delivery via www.realflowers.co.uk. Direct sales come via www.sweetpeasdirect.co.uk.
New this year are trials of latest seeds and techniques learned during a research trip to Japan and potential plans to expand into a nearby nursery.