West Pinchbeck nursery making our Christmas green

Katie Hogg and Hayley Willerton (right). Photo: SG011214-109TW
Katie Hogg and Hayley Willerton (right). Photo: SG011214-109TW

Nothing is wasted as The Alpine and Grass Nursery at West Pinchbeck produces the natural greenery we like in our homes at Christmas time.

The nursery, run by Stephen and Hayley Willerton, has been producing Christmas trees on about two acres since it opened about 14 years ago.

The couple plant seedlings and have trees at various stages of growth, from young plants up to large ones. At one time customers were able to cut down their own trees, but health and safety regulations have put paid to that.

Hayley says their customers also like to have potted trees so that they can be put in the garden afterwards, and the nursery has about 3,000 potted trees of various size.

When the bottom leaves are removed from the trees, it produces unused greenery which, with surplus foliage from other shrubs in the nursery, is being put to good use.

Hayley said: “We are making the foliage into wreaths and we can make them bespoke to people’s designs, because some people like it natural with orange slices and some like their wreaths bright, with big bows. It has also become fashionable to create your own, so we can supply an 18 or 20-inch metal base and people can add their own things to it.”

Nevertheless, many people prefer to buy a ready-made wreath and Hayley and her team of four seasonal workers brought in to help each year made several hundred in preparation for the busy buying time. Other wreaths will be made as they are needed, says Hayley.

As with many nurseries, Christmas is a busy time for them, and in the warmer weather they are producing specialist drought-resistant alpines and grasses.

The couple propagate their own plants from cuttings and seed, concentrating on rare and unusual varieties where possible, and grow over 100 different varieties of alpines.

Hayley says they are also developing the mail order side of their business.