Morton Nurseries, near Retford, is celebrating after winning a Premier Gold Award at the Autumn Harrogate Flower Show. The judges were wowed by their display of shrubs and perennials.
Gill McMaster and Gayle Penman own the established horticultural nursery, which re-located nearly four years ago to an open field near Babworth and set up a shrub and perennial nursery, complemented by a developing garden.
For many years the nursery was only open by appointment so most of their custom was at shows in order to survive. Having relocated and now open to the public they now cherry pick the shows to suit them, applying for Chatsworth, Tatton Park and Harlow Carr, which are RHS shows. Gardeners’ World Live, Southport Flower Show, the Spring and Autumn Harrogate shows are also good venues.
They aim to stay at shows in the Midlands and North of England, apart from Wisley in Surrey which bucks the trend. Choosing to show in the Floral Marquee takes advanced planning so Gill and Gayle are now playing with ideas and deciding what to grow for 2018.
Gill said: “We always strive for a gold award and are greatly disappointed at anything less. We endeavor to encourage ideas and make our displays fun for the public, being inventive with vintage galvanized containers, antique travel trunks, hat boxes and old wicker items used as containers and chunky shipping rope to create borders. We grow a wide range of choice and unusual garden plants.
“Building a display has its challenges as we may have grown certain plants for showing that have flowered too early due to a warm spell or not flowered in time due to a cold spell. Plants grown may not be used as they don’t meet the quality that the judges require.
“The judges’ criteria include plant quality; free from pest and disease; plant names and spellings are correct, which can be a tall order with some of the Latin names! Finally, plant interest and the amount of effort in creating the display are also considered by the judges. The awards are bronze, silver, silver gilt, gold, large gold/premier.
“There are only two of us to run the nursery so a flower arranger friend Sheila Clarke kindly offers to help with the display at some of the shows. Shiela has a good eye for the aesthetics. We have been on the show circuit for over 20 years. It’s a great way to meet keen gardeners and plant enthusiasts. Plant fairs are also another way that we meet plant hunters.
“Lots of our customers travel a fair distance to visit the nursery after seeing us at shows. Flower Shows are a great day out where you can get ideas and buy anything and everything for your garden. Our nursery and garden have evolved using lots of ideas that have been picked up from the shows.”
To find out more about the nursery visit www.morton-nurseries.com or call 01777 702530.