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Jamie Butterworth and Pedro Major preparing for RHS Chelsea

PUBLISHED: 17:03 18 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:03 18 May 2016

Jamie Butterworth and Pedro Mayor

Jamie Butterworth and Pedro Mayor

Naomi Slade

Naomi Slade meets two ‘young hort’ show specialists preparing for RHS Chelsea with something of a ‘sweet shop’ approach

When it comes to buying plants, it is easy to get jaded. Every high street hardware store and supermarket seems to want a slice of the pie, and what with the DIY sheds and big chains of garden centres all pushing small geraniums and gaudy petunias it is increasingly important to seek out independent plant-sellers with a bit of spark and who can offer something new.

One such is Hortus Loci near Hook, which, with RHS Chelsea now on the horizon, is up to its neck in preparation; keeping its two ‘young hort’ show specialists, Jamie Butterworth and Pedro Major busy polishing the plants for no fewer than four main-avenue gardens. There is also a separate area packed with fabulous seasonal perennials, from bog-standard Verbena bonariensis to fancy new Geum, that designers and landscape architects can dive into to fill gaps. “It is a bit like a sweet shop!” smiles Jamie.

Hortus Loci was set up four years ago on the site of a previous concern and they are expanding fast. A core part of their business is supplying garden designers and landscape architects, but through their on-site retail arm, Whitewater Garden Centre, they also make their range available to the public.

“We grow for some of the world’s leading players, so our range has to be design-led and cutting edge,” explains Director Mark Straver. “But on the first day of RHS Chelsea all the spare plants from the gardens that we supply there, will be available to buy from Whitewater. We will have some great specimens, like Prunus ‘Shirotae’, Dicentra ‘Aurora’, Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ and Magnolia ‘Shiraz’.”

While a large proportion of their plants are raised on site, they also scour Europe for fine specimens. “For example, we can supply trees from a 12-litre pot garden centre standard, to a five ton one-off monster, and everything in-between,” says Mark. The plants are good value, closer to wholesale prices than retail and the nursery has a dedicated planting team to deal with any large or heavy items. Indeed, they are particularly proud of the horticultural expertise that they are able to bring to bear and make a point of having an experienced team on hand to advise customers. 


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