A potted history of Hedgehog Plants
We didn’t start out in horticulture. In fact, we (Simon & Jay) both spent many years in all sorts of jobs. Everything from working in a laboratory to selling houses (badly!) to running a packhouse on a farm. Eventually though, our passion for plants and the call of the great outdoors became too loud and we both decided that quality of life was far more important than a regular wage. (Feel free to laugh at our innocence)
So, with that in mind, in 2003 we both gave up our jobs and became “Hedgehog Gardens”, a gardening service in and around Hopton, Suffolk. We built a steady client base and gained a good reputation.
A change of direction
In 2007 a local hard landscaping centre offered us the chance to run their very small plant section and we jumped at the chance, becoming “Hedgehog Plants & Gardens” in the process.
Initially Jay ran the plant section having grown plants since she was ‘knee high to a gnat’ whilst Simon continued with the gardening side of the business. However, we both quickly decided that simply buying in the same old plants that you see everywhere and selling them on wasn’t for us.
Slowly but surely we began growing other, more interesting hardy plants and introduced them to our customers. This went well and in 2008 we did our first ever plant fair at Wyken Vineyards in aid of SWWAG – Stanton Woodland & Wildlife Action Group. A fair we still attend every year.
Firm supporters of British horticulture, we started, together with our friends at Fuller’s Mill Gardens, the Suffolk Nurseries Plant Fair which is held each July at Fuller’s Mill. The idea behind the fair is to make people more aware of both these beautiful gardens & of some of the fantastic independent nurseries we have in Suffolk.
The show bug bites!
In 2012 we did our first ever display in a horticultural marquee and wow, what a learning curve that was!
But in 2013 we bounced back and were awarded a large gold medal at the Sandringham Flower Show. All the while this was going on Jay was developing her passion for shade plants and Simon his for Viburnums & Cornus.
The plant area continued to thrive but the lack of space was becoming a serious issue and so the hunt for an affordable plot of land began.
Eventually in early 2015 we found a small garden centre for sale in Risby and, with a lot of help from our families, it became ours on November 1st 2015 and Simon finally got to give up gardening and join Jay full time.
Though still not huge, the extra space and man-power has allowed us to rapidly expand our range of plants and, hopefully, the ongoing renovations, re-organisations & our eldest son joining us part time will allow us to add even more!
2017 was a huge year for us, not only were we accepted into Gardener’s World Live for the first time but one of our heroes, the great Roy Lancaster CBE came to visit us in preparation for an article in the RHS Garden magazine (published in the August 2018 edition, please see link below). Also, the RHS accepted us and in 2018 we did our first ever RHS display at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show no less!
The BBC come calling
In March of 2019 we received a call which neither of us expected – it was from the BBC, they wanted to come to the nursery and film us in preparation for our first ever RHS Malvern show. Not quite believing it was real we, of course, said yes and then sat back and waited for someone to say ‘April Fools’. However, on April 10th a small film crew duly appeared at the gates to the nursery and proceeded to film our every move, both at the nursery and at Fullers Mill Gardens, for the next 10 hours.
Luckily, our crew were both patient and good humoured and we all survived the experience. The results were aired during the Gardener’s World Malvern special on Friday 10th May and the response has been truly phenomenal!
All of this has only been possible thanks to the continued support of our friends, family & customers. When a car crashed into the nursery in July 2016 we had so many messages of support and offers of help from both fellow nurserymen, the other businesses on site and villagers it was quite over whelming. Thank you to all
Here’s to warm days and rainy nights!
Simon & Jay