Everything must go at nursery garden

RICHARD PARR Garden lovers have a last opportunity to visit a traditional nursery garden within the grounds of a Norfolk stately home. For the old-established Holkham Nursery Gardens will be open for business for the last time tomorrow.


Garden lovers have a last opportunity to visit a traditional nursery set in the grounds of a Norfolk stately home.

Holkham Nursery Gardens opens for business for the last time tomorrow.

The lease of the six-acre site on the sprawling Holkham Estate has come to an end for proprietor Tim Leese who will stage an "everything must go" auction on October 16.

It is the end of an era for the popular nursery which has always operated on traditional lines, with all plants and shrubs grown on the site rather than being bought in.

Up to the second world war, the nursery was run as a traditional kitchen garden supplying Holkham Hall but fell into decline in the late 1940s and '50s.

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Its fortunes were revived when it was taken over by a retired army major, Stephen Youens, and it has gradually developed from that time.

Peter Gill, a partner in the business and his son Trevor have been involved in the nursery for 40 years and Mr Leese for the past decade. Trevor Gill intends setting up a new nursery at Gayton.

Mr Leese, who is to develop his work as a garden designer, said one of the great attractions for customers was that all plants and shrubs were grown on the site.

"People liked the idea that they could see the flowers and plants growing in the borders and see what they would look like in their own gardens. Nothing was bought in," he said.

Mr Leese said it was rather sad that the nursery was closing and loyal customers regretted its loss. He pointed out that as well as generating a tremendous range of plants, the walled nursery was also a haven for wildlife.

Holkham Estate land agent Richard Gledson said the nursery was being taken back "in house" because the lease had expired. Its future role was under discussion, but it was intended that the gardens should continue to be open to the public.

The auction on October 16 starts at 9.30am. The previous day there will be viewing from 2pm until 6pm.

There will be a sale for trade buyers and a second one for private bidders.

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