Owners of garden centre near Horsham take over neighbouring nursery

A garden centre nursery near Horsham is celebrating its first season post-Covid back in family hands – and business is booming.

Nursery manager Michael Esposito with Kate Foy
Nursery manager Michael Esposito with Kate Foy

Old Barn Nurseries at Dial Post was started in 1991 by the Spears family but was taken over by a national chain.

However, the family-owned and run Tates of Sussex group bought the garden centre from Wyevale in 2018. And now they are also running the neighbouring expansive nursery.

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Managing director Jonathan Tate said: "Acquisition of the commercial nursery was a natural progression once we had rescued Old Barn Garden Centre next door where we have made substantial investment to bring it up to modern standards."

Nursery manager Michael Esposito with some of the plants

The nursery covers four acres and is set to produce more than 200,000 plants a year which find their way to outlets across the county, not just the four Tates garden centres in Sussex.

Nursery manager Michael Esposito said: "By raising and nurturing the plants here in Sussex, we can guarantee that they will thrive in customers' gardens locally since they will be most suited to the area’s conditions.”

Michael has worked at the nursery for 18 years and oversees a dedicated workforce which cares for the plants until they are ready to be dispatched.

“With sustainability to the fore, it’s vital that we keep plant miles as low as possible which we achieve by growing here in Sussex and shipping locally,” Michael said.

“We also avoid the dangers of importing pests and diseases which is always a risk with plants grown abroad.”