Sourcing your own trees and shrubs – is it a level playing field?
It’s a regular scenario for us at allgrowth. We offer support and advice from the get-go when clients come to us to source their trees and shrubs for their gardens and landscapes. You want the right plant for the right aspect, purpose and location – but at the right price. So we’ll guide you as to what we have growing on the nursery that would suit, ask the right questions about what you’re looking for, where the plants will be planted, your budget, your timescales and your endgame. And if we don’t have it on the nursery, we’ll know where we can source it from our comprehensive professional network of nurseries and growers, UK and Europe-wide.
So off you’ll go, after our initial consultation. We all do it. “Let’s see if I can find this on the internet” – particularly at the moment when many of us are blessed with extra time on our hands. An online search – so much to choose from, we know – but you’re also being SOLD TO and this might take you in a different direction from your original specification. You search. You find. You enquire. And you get responses. And, guess what? BINGO. This nursery has just what allgrowth offered you – AND it’s a lot cheaper for what they say is the same plant…
But is it really what you’ve asked for? You’ll come back on to allgrowth (because you’re loyal, thank you!), tell us you’ve found it cheaper and give us the option to match the price. And you know what? Chances are, we won’t budge. Not because we’re stubborn (ok, maybe a little), but because our knowledge of the availability and suitability of stock across the spectrum is second to none. Chances are, you’re not getting the full story from your newly-found alternative supplier. Could be a smaller specimen, could be a speculative price, could be a lesser quality tree, could be other factors in the mix that haven’t yet surfaced. It could be an entirely different specification…
Just like a recent landscaper enquiry we received… went something like this.
LANDSCAPER LARRY: Peter, we’re after a couple of Photinia Red Robin – big specimens.
allgrowth: Right, let’s have a look. Aha. We’ve got just that on the nursery right now – I can do these for £X each. What say you?
LANDSCAPER LARRY: Hmmm. Thanks Peter. Leave it with me.
allgrowth: Sure – you know where we are if this doesn’t come off, OK?
[TIME PASSES. INTERNET SEARCH COMPLETE. NEW CALL TO allgrowth]
LANDSCAPER LARRY: Peter. Let me level with you. I’ve had a little look around and I reckon I can get these for 60% of the price you’ve offered. Can you match that?
allgrowth: …. afraid not. We’ll have to pass this time. Speak soon, right?
[TIME PASSES. LANDSCAPER CALLS allgrowth. HE HAS SOME NEWS]
LANDSCAPER LARRY: Peter. I’m in a bit of a pickle. Yes, the photinias were available – but they don’t have them on site. It’s going to be 10 days before they can deliver and I need to complete this garden this week!
allgrowth: Oh I see [knowing smile]. We can help – ours are still available. Can get them to you by this Thursday, if that’s any good?
LANDSCAPER LARRY: Phew. Much appreciated, as ever, Peter! Thank you.
A little tongue-in-cheek, granted. But this scenario happens on a regular basis. It simply wasn’t a level playing field. This time it was unforeseen delivery circumstances, another time it will be additional charges for delivery, a different pot size, a different height, girth or form – or the “alternative” just isn’t available.
Don’t be a Landscaper Larry. Ask yourself:
- Have I checked the specification of what I’m being offered against what I’m asking for?
- Am I comparing like-for-like?
- Is it deliverable in the time frame I need?
- Are there hidden costs or surprises I’ve not considered?
- Is this alternative really available, or will I get fobbed off with something that doesn’t fit my brief?
“Right from the initial enquiry, we want to get this right. That means the right plants, at the right price, for the right purpose, delivered at the right time. The support and guidance you get from us at the early stages pays dividends in the long run. Of course you’re welcome to do your own research – but please be sure that you’re comparing “apples with apples” – it’ll only come back to bite you later. “Peter Middlicott, allgrowth
Find out more
Ready to discuss the trees and shrubs you need for your next landscaping project? Contact us today.
Using trees to mask and separate
When considering property development on outlying land, one element that often not given enough consideration is the impact adjacent building works will have on the existing views from your own property. Of course, you may have considered the loss of distant views, but when the works are complete, the impact of overlooking buildings is, well…overlooked.
Selecting the best trees for purpose
All is not lost, however. An immediate solution is to plant large trees. Not only will their foliage and form ultimately screen and mask but you will gain a natural backdrop that will absorb sound and act as a natural windbreak – as well as looking pleasing from all aspects. Choose varieties with foliage and crown shape that suits height and aspect, or select pleached trees for maximum visual impact, coverage and the most effective use of aerial space above a wall or existing fenceline.
Tree screening options
All options are covered at allgrowth, and we’ll not only help to select and source the right trees to suit, we’ll supply, deliver and manage the project until the trees are planted and taking on their screening duties.
“We’ll visit your site to assess the issue, soil conditions and end goals then discuss options. Pleached or otherwise, allgrowth have stocks of large trees on their Bedfordshire nursery, ready to lift, swift and direct from the UK – maximum screening impact, minimum carbon footprint. Nothing overlooked here!” – Peter Middlicott, allgrowth
Find out more
allgrowth are collaborating with the South Cambridgeshire District Council in their new campaign to encourage the planting of trees across the region. The Three Free Trees Campaign offers every parish in the district a £60 voucher to cover the cost of purchasing three trees for subsequent planting on parish land. With five regional garden centres also participating, allgrowth offers the option for those with vouchers to put this towards a larger tree. This opens up potential for a bigger community tree statement; to dedicate the tree to a local community member or to choose a more impressive specimen for instant impact, right from the offset.
Promoting tree planting
Peter Middlicott, allgrowth’s Managing Director, liaised with Councillor Bridget Smith who is promoting the campaign to 103 parish councils in the District. He said of the company’s involvement:
“Of course, we’re wholeheartedly behind any campaign that promotes tree planting in the region and the more that the community gets involved, the wider the impact and the better the understanding of the role that tree planting projects have in improving our natural environment.”
Contacting allgrowth and presenting their voucher towards the purchase of trees from the Cambridgeshire-based 40-acre nursery, parish representatives can choose from an impressive array of large trees and conifers grown right here in the region. The nursery also grows and supplies topiary, specimen shrubs and hedging material for commercial, residential and private planting and landscaping schemes across the UK.
The Council, allgrowth and the tree partners are supporting the transition to zero carbon by 2050 and the “doubling” of nature in the region. Assisted by the publicity from the campaign, the Council hope to identify opportunities for tree-planting and habitat creation.
Cllr Smith stated at the first tree planting of the campaign in Fulbourn earlier this month:
“We hope that every village takes up our offer as it will mean hundreds of new trees are planted across South Cambridgeshire. I am hopeful that this modest project will be a trigger for much more extensive tree planting by parish councils, businesses, farmers and residents throughout our district, which has far fewer trees than most of the rest of the country. It would be great if people were inspired to make a new year’s resolution to plant more. I certainly intend to.”
Claim your Three Free Trees
There are full details of who can apply, how to apply at https://www.scambs.gov.uk/three-free-trees and further tree planting guidance at https://www.scambs.gov.uk/climate-and-environment/action-on-climate-change/guidance-for-three-free-trees/
The team at allgrowth have recently moved to a new larger premises in Sandy. Just around the corner from the previous base, the new offices at St Marys House are set in 8.5 acres of glorious Bedfordshire countryside. Operating the sales and administrative side of the business from this beautiful setting is just one of a number of expansions enjoyed by Peter and the team over the last 18 months. The 40 hectare nursery, home to over 1000 semi-mature trees, topiary, shrubs and hedging options, production, operations and logistics, remains within easy access of the new Head Office.
Growth and expansion
The office move rides on the back of two years’ exciting growth and expansion in the business and further solidifies the company’s reputation for technical and planting support, sourcing and supply services, provided by the allgrowth team to their private estate, commercial and residential landscaping clientele across the UK.
New allgrowth Office Address
Peter Middlicott and the allgrowth team can be reached at:
St. Marys House
Everton Road, The Heath
Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2YQ
Tel: 01767 650236
We worked with Horton Commercials just like that. We looked for commercially-available vehicles for our nursery needs: the right size and spec for us, not just the standard. Richard Hall at Horton got the gig because he got “us”. Our new vans – on the road since earlier this Summer – allow us to deliver quickly, to your site, when and where you need plants. Small drops of top notch plants and trees for top notch planting projects.
Like Hortons, buying from allgrowth is different. Buying plants in bulk isn’t always the cheapest option in the long run – double-handling, double-labour, double-downtime, double-hassle.
Imagine a different scenario….
A nursery that understands what you’re asking for. One that appreciates the constraints under which you are working. One that won’t just sell you what they’ve got but will work with you to supply you with the right plants for the job, the client, the location, the purpose. One who delivers when you want. In “manageable chunks” – smaller deliveries where and when you need the plants. In vehicles that give you flexibility of delivery and on-site access. That’s allgrowth. Has been for 10 years. Will be forever.
Why pay for plants AND hassle? Don’t. Read on..
Buy in bulk for the cheapest plants, right?
We always say the nursery trade, growing plants, trees and hedging for others, is a peculiar one. Yes, it is in some ways – who else still works by fax machine?! – but it has lots of the same bugbears we all experience in everyday life and trading.
It’s competitive. Yes, that’s a given. But are we competing on the same page?
Large nurseries can supply your plants cheaper
There, I’ve said it. BUT. Say you’re a landscaper awaiting a plant delivery to a private roof garden in Chiswick. You’ve bagged a bargain, the best price you could get – buxus for a low-growing hedge to fix up a parterre – and it’s on it’s way from the wholesale nursery. In fact, it’s just around the corner…only that’s just where it’s staying. The property’s access is down a narrow, alley with limited access and you’ve got to get the plants to the roof space. Never mind, you can offload the plants yourself and manoeuvre them to the point of planting, right?
So that’s Hassle 1 – how much will this cost you?
Pile em high, keep em keen?
The plants are rammed into pallets – you sure got a lot of plants for your buck – well done you. But “pile-em high, keep ‘em keen” means there’s quite a few damaged plants, and they’re not looking great, truth be known. Still, you can grade them as you go, right?
Hassle 2 – hmmm – factored this in at the outset?
Oh, and Hassle 3 – keep a note of the damages, you’ll sort those later with the wholesaler, yeah?
Woah, that’s a LOT OF PLANTS
You’ve actually only prepared one phase of the roof garden so far as the client can’t provide access to the remainder until further notice. Damn. You’ve offloaded 1200 buxus but only need 300 right now. Where the hell are you going to keep these till you’re ready?
Hassle 4 – you see where we’re going?! More time, more labour, more hassle, more COST.
Double-handling, double-labour, double-downtime, double-hassle
The buxus WERE cheaper. The exercise of having them delivered in bulk from a wholesale nursery in an artic load, in pallets…wasn’t. Not by the time you’ve added in your double-handling of the plants, your grading of the plants, your setting out of part of the delivery but storing the rest safely until a later date when you’re ready, your liaison with the wholesaler about the damaged plants and their replacements.
Imagine a different scenario….
A nursery that understands what you’re asking for. One that appreciates the constraints under which you are working. One that won’t just sell you what they’ve got but will work with you to supply you with the right plants for the job, the client, the location, the purpose. One who delivers when you want. In “manageable chunks” – smaller deliveries where and when you need the plants. In vehicles that give you flexibility of delivery and on-site access.
Pay a little more – get LOADS more (and then some).
Oh guess what? ***we’ve got new vans***
We worked with Horton Commercials just like that. We looked for commercially-available vehicles for our nursery needs: the right size and spec for us, not just the standard. Richard Hall at Horton got the gig because he got “us”.
We get “you” (and we have done for over 10 years – wish us Happy Birthday)
Great trees, great clients, great landscapes: 10 years on
Ten years since we pulled on our allgrowth boots and one thing remains the same – our aim to support, advise and offer the best options to our clients when they are considering plant selection for their gardens, estates and landscapes.
A heart in horticulture
We started our allgrowth journey in 2008. First and foremost, we wanted to put our own stamp on the world of plant supply. Too long we had seen growers and suppliers offload the stock they wanted to sell, clearing fields they continued to replant with the same species, forms and sizes they had planted since time began. Peter Middlicott, the helmsman at allgrowth, “retired” from the nursery business in 2007, leaving with a heavy heart and a head of disenchantment. But people very rarely leave horticulture for long and the news that the lease on an established nursery plot was up for renewal was an offer too good to miss – particularly when it was a plot that Peter himself had worked on in his previous tree life 25 years’ prior.
Finely-tuned array of trees
Fast forward a few years and the allgrowth tree hub in Sandy on the Cambridgeshire/Bedfordshire border – for it is less of a nursery and more of a “tree hub”, filled with a finely-tuned array of tree stock selected and specifically sought after by clients – has been consolidated, refined and refocused to house stock across 60 acres from its original 120 acre base. Semi-mature trees and topiary, in Airpots and field-grown, flanked by trees growing under contract for prestigious planting schemes on home soil and further afield; allgrowth is a truly unique tree company.
2018, ten years on and we await the arrival of three new delivery vehicles to replenish and expand our existing fleet. We are collating daily orders full of our own large trees and topiary, complemented by shrubs sourced from our tried-and-tested network of suppliers across the UK and Europe. Contract growing, sourcing, holding specimens at our partner site in Bedford, it’s a great opportunity to stand back…..take a deep breath…and marvel at how far we’ve come. And where we’re headed, bolstered by our specialist tree team and supported by our administration back at base, is a new phase of development with new clients, new prospects and an exciting avenue of private, commercial and estate landscapes in our scope of vision.
Who’s with us for the next 10?!
All too often, we hear of nurseries and plant suppliers simply offering the varieties and plants they have readily available in production rather than the RIGHT PLANT FOR WHAT THE CUSTOMER WANTS. At allgrowth, we apply plant logic from the offset. We look at the best plants for the end game, make sure they’re available in the numbers you need and at the price that fits. We don’t just push our own stock, either. If we haven’t got the plants that fit, we’ll source the ones that do. That’s pretty unique in this game.
Often a customer will make a certain plant request, assured that what they’re asking for is the right plant for the job. We would always query why that plant has been selected – why not? There may be other alternatives that are less expensive, better suited and more likely to achieve the end result quicker and more effectively. No harm in asking, right?
For example, we were asked recently for hornbeams for a hedge at more than 1.5 metres in height, ready planted into an instant hedge in troughs. Sounds perfect? Great. Except this option was REALLY expensive. We asked: Why at this height in troughs? Answer: Because that’s what’s been specified? OK. We made them think, we planted the seed of doubt. So, they countered with an alternative. What about cutting the cost by buying in 5 litre pots? Hmm. Just two things to note here: 1) YOU try sourcing this plant in a 5 litre in the UK; 2: A bigger plant in a smaller pot? It would fall over! Instead, we thought outside the box (or the hornbeam in this case!). Why not purchase 3 no. hornbeam in 3 separate 10 litre pots? End effect – the same: A bushy instant hedge. End price? A fraction of the insta-trough solution originally sought and widely available to source at a competitive price.
Always ask WHY.
Taxus topiary at its best
Selecting, prepping and nurturing our taxus topiary is never taxing. But it’s a precise business, shaping, trimming and lovingly fine-tuning our specimens ready for lifting and potting into airpots. This allows further healthy growth, ready for their selection as grand statements in any top quality garden over the next few seasons.
Across 60 acres, our topiary troops are sturdy, dense specimens, growing in sandy soil – some 3 metres high,ready for shaping, some already trimmed into pyramids, balls, cones, layers…..chairs. Our plant range extends into Airpots and with all plants containerised on site or supplied in rootballs, options are really endless.