Shoots of a new Tasburgh-based business

A businessman behind a new plant nursery in south Norfolk hopes that his formula of growing and selling plants will see the business blossom.

Paul Stevenson, who has run Foundry Nurseries in Morningthorpe for 35 years, decided to open the Foundry Plant Centre on a 10-acre site off the A140 after the lease ran out in Morningthorpe. The lease has subsequently been extended and his previous nursery has remained open.

He said that while he wanted to develop the site further, he did not want it to become a garden centre.

'Over 70pc of all plants we sell we grow ourselves. The growing area has now developed to one third of the site and we have over 1,000 different varieties of plants growing here. We are expanding all the time with new varieties.

'I want this to be a plant centre. That is my speciality. I have been in the job for 35 years. I want to develop this into a plant centre with good quality plants at competitive prices,' he said.

He said that by growing and selling the plants at Tasburgh they were able to keep their costs down.

The new plant centre kept the Foundry name because of its established reputation.

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As well as the Foundry Nurseries, Mr Stevenson also runs major plant sales at the Suffolk Show Ground and at other locations in East Anglia.

Mr Stevenson said: 'It took us many months to establish the site at Tasburgh. We built all the display stands ourselves from wood we imported. In fact everyone has admired them and some asked if we can build similar ones for them. The site is so different from other garden centres.' Mr Stevenson said it has been a difficult year for the plant industry because of the weather. 'It has been cold and windy and bleak. There have been so many people suffering and suffering really badly because of the weather. It has been against this industry. What can you do, you have just got to try and get through.

'We are not taking the money we should be,' he added. 'Being in the industry for all the years I know what you can and cannot do.'

The company currently employs around six full-time staff across the two sties, but it is expected to increase as the business grows.