End of an era for Collyweston nursery
A Collyweston plant nursery that was started in 1969 and is still located on the same site will close its doors for good at the end of December.
Hillfield Nurseries owner Arthur Scott, 65, has decided to retire after nearly 50 years of growing and selling plants in the village.
Arthur, who was born and grew up in Collyweston, said he would be winding the business down between now and Christmas.
“I will keep some of the greenhouses and dismantle the rest,” he said. “I’ll be growing for my own pleasure now.”
Arthur and wife Ann, 66, a retired teacher, plan to travel more too. The couple have been married for 43 years after meeting in Stamford.
“We have a bucket list of things we’d like to do and see because we just haven’t had the time before,” said Arthur. “It has been difficult to get away as the plants need a lot of care.”
Having completed a year at a horticultural college in Wisbech, Arthur first started growing Chrysanthemums on his father’s plot in 1969, which he sold as cut flowers to shops in Stamford.
“My father bought the plot just after the Second World War,” he said.
“He was a mechanic and also kept pigs and chickens and ran a mobile shop and would make deliveries around the village.”
Arthur grew up in the house with his siblings Martin and Mary.
“The nursery was not very profitable in the beginning,” he said, adding that he had worked on a farm to supplement his income.
It was during the mid 1980s that he decided to go full time and started growing bedding and hanging basket plants.
He and Ann also moved into his parents house where they then raised their three children - David, Andrew and Peter.
“The time to really expand would have been in the 80s but people like coming here because its just us and the plants,” said Arthur. “We specialised in hanging basket plants and annuals and some of our customers have been coming back for 30 years.
“We’ve offered a very personal service and our plants are of good quality.”
Hillfield sells around 1,000 hanging baskets a year and is staffed by Arthur, one other full time employee and two part time employees.
“Running a nursery is physically demanding and time consuming and you have to be an outdoor’s person,” he said. “I have enjoyed running the business and the customers have been lovely but its time to stop as I don’t want to be worrying and thinking about the plants all the time.”