On a daily basis, Nursery Workers, Team Leaders, Supervisors, Crop Protection teams, Growers and Maintenance staff carry out a wide range of nursery work. This includes pest and disease identification and control, grading to maintain quality, trimming, watering and testing irrigation, propagation, potting, despatching, maintenance and cultural work, many of which are described in more detail below. The images shown give a realistic view of the sorts of work staff would be asked to carry out as part of their daily role. Much of the work takes place outdoors, or in large airy spaces with plenty of fresh air and exercise, so the work is not only fulfilling, but much of it also contributes to maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. 

Visit our Behind the Scenes page to glimpse the skilled and complex work and machinery that goes into getting our high quality plants to a Garden Centre near you.

RAISING YOUNG PLANTS – Close to half a million plants are propagated at Walberton each year, and 2.8 million are either propagated or sown from seed at Binsted, about 50% of their combined total plant production. In addition, Fleurie sow approximately 8 million seeds each year, to produce 3.6 million potted plants and vegetable products. Several specialist propagators on each site undertake this work with additional support during our busy spring period. The humidity and temperature controlled Propagation glasshouses could accommodate up to 650,000 cuttings at any one time, as well as the 8 million seeds sown in Fleurie’s Hot Box facility each year. Propagation techniques utilised include cuttings, division and grafting, as well as seed sowing. Back to the top of the page

POTTING– Almost all of Tristram Plants 7.5 million plants are potted on one of 14 potting machines, a seeding line and a bulb topping machine. Potting rates vary considerably depending on the type of machine, plant, pot size, complexity and the number of people involved. Broadly speaking, teams of between 3 and 10 people would pot 4,000 to 6,000 9cm pots per hour; 1400 to 2400 1L to 3L pots per hour; seed 1305 packs through the seeding machine.

Fleurie Nursery purchased a seeding line in February 2015. The line has 27 drum configurations allowing the sowing of 8 million seeds per year in 17 different pack and pot size configurations.

Our growing media is peat-reduced with a minimum of 25% non-peat materials and is supplied in ‘big bale’ format. Mixes are tailored to meet crop specific requirements. Back to the top of the page

SALE – Once products are ready for market, Despatch teams lift it in bulk onto Danish trolleys. They are delivered to the Farplants Finishing Centre, accessed by internal road from three of our sites, using a tractor and trolley mover or carried by a haulier for the sites not bordering the Finishing Centre. Most of the product is ‘cleaned’ and a colour care card applied on the nurseries. ‘Cleaning’ involves removing any weeds, spent flowers and leaf debris, and perhaps some light trimming to achieve maximum impact on the Garden Centre. Where the nurseries do not clean, the Finishing Centre team does this for them, and also applies customer specific retail price labels. The bulk quantities sent into the Finishing Centre are quality checked one final time, then put down a series of conveyors to be sorted onto customer specific trolleys. On a busy day up to 430 trolleys may be delivered from Walberton’s sites into the Finishing Centre, 450 from Binsted and a staggering 1900 from Fleurie. Back to the top of the page

INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT – In 2020 DEFRA drafted a revised National Action Plan (NAP) for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides. One of the five key goals of the NAP was to support the development and uptake of integrated pest management.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) aims to address the challenges posed by weeds, pests and diseases through sustainable control strategies using a balance of appropriate physical, biological and chemical techniques. IPM encourages the production of a healthy crop with minimal disruption to the ecosystem and encourages natural pest controls. As part of the biological methods used by Tristram Plants we introduce and encourage an array of tiny insect predators and parasites to help us control a wide range of insect pests. For example, Aphidoletes aphidimyza is a cecidomyiid fly whose larvae eat aphids; the larvae of the Chrysoperla carnea (a species of common green lacewing) also feed on aphids; Steinernema feltiae are a microscopic, soil-dwelling, non-segmented worm that destroy over 230 different insect pests from the inside out, including vine weevils.

Tristram Plants are also trialling the use of new biofungicides and insecticides that rely on naturally occurring microorganisms and their by-products to control target pests and diseases.

Our commitment to IPM is regularly audited by OHAS and LEAF, two of the leading grower protocols in the UK. Back to the top of the page

GROWING & MAINTAINING CROPS – Alongside the more specialist areas of work described above, our 7.5 million plants need varying degrees of nurturing, monitoring and manipulation in order to produce the highest specification product for customers. Work will involve monitoring, watering, feeding, trimming, and the alteration of environmental factors in order to provide optimum growing conditions. All of this along with our other operations ensure products arrive in your local garden centre in top condition at exactly the right time of year. Back to the top of the page

MAINTENANCE – Our highly skilled Teams, comprising 5 permanent people across Walberton and Binsted, design, construct, maintain and repair many of the facilities and machinery required for the smooth running of our businesses. Examples of projects undertaken include building a new cold storage facility at Binsted and a bespoke Despatch loading bay facility at Walberton. External contractors are commissioned to carry out big building projects, such as construction of new glasshouses, but our teams are often on hand to assist. Back to the top of the page