Avon Bulbs is a family-owned company with a strong customer base that supplies bulbs and plants by mail order to anywhere in Great Britain or the Channel Islands.
The company has been operating from its nursery near South Petherton in Somerset for many years and produces two catalogues a year - autumn and Spring. Avon won 30 golds at Chelsea up to 2018 and gold medals at RHS February Show, Malvern, Birmingham and Hampton Court.
Owner Chris Ireland-Jones said he plans to retire in April after taking over in 1987.
He said: "It is not a sale out of necessity – we are making a reasonable return and are profitable but several factors have conspired in a short while. Alan Street (who had been head nurseryman for 40 or so) years died of cancer 18 months ago and I should have been training someone up for that role for years, but in a very small team that is tricky. Other staff are also feeling their years and I realised that I didn’t have five years left in me to train the next cohort of staff – and I do not have the horticultural knowledge (or time) to do that task as well as run the business."
So Ireland-Jones is keen to pass the business on so his loyal customer base can continue to find the specialist plants they like. This is something he feels is becoming more difficult as specialist growers retire. He hopes the snowdrop side will find a home with a specialist and the rest of the business will find a sympathetic buyer. He added that since telling customers he has received many messages of thanks and support. The nursery site could go for housing in the future.