Binsted Nursery was founded in 1978, as a partnership including Rosemary and David Tristram, to grow garden plants for wholesale to retailers, starting with herbs, alpines and bulbs, as part of the Farplants co-operative. It had started with Rosemary and her friend Janet Whiting growing some herbs to sell to raise funds for repairs to Binsted Village’s 12th-century church, at a ‘Herb Festival’ including recipes and produce. The venture was so successful they decided to become professional herb growers, starting the Binsted Nursery site in a nearby field. It also led to the formation of the village’s traditional Strawberry Fair at which donated Binsted herbs and other local produce continue to be sold for charity.
Mike Tristram joined Rosemary and David in the business in 1989, soon after which Rosemary retired to spend more time with family. From the 1990s Mike, together with Paul Bennett as General Manager and Martin Emmett in product development, worked to grow the business.
In 2001, construction of a new purpose built garden plant site commenced at Lake Lane, Barnham. In the 20 years to 2015, production had grown from 300,000 to 3,000,000 plants a year, and had diversified to include perennials, garden succulents and autumn container plants.
In 2015, the model facilities at Lake Lane were enhanced with a reservoir and flood-pond, and in 2016 a cooling shed for bulbs. In that year also, Marc Jones became joint Managing Director of both Binsted and Walberton Nurseries, and the businesses entered a new phase of development as part of a larger venture.
From 2019 to 2021 a number of improvements were implemented across Binsted’s main growing sites, for example cloche and thermal screen upgrades in the Propagation unit at the original Binsted Lane site; revitalised outdoor areas to increase growing capacity and improve water efficiency, a new loading bay and a new germination room at the Lake Lane site.
2021 saw 9cm herb sales break through the 1.4 million pots mark for the first time, with targets set to increase for 2022.