Plant nursery shortlisted for major award
The owner of a Devon nursery growing pinks says she is "thrilled" to be shortlisted for a major international growers award, writes Sarah Pitt.
Family-run wholesaler Whetman Pinks, based in Dawlish, will take on growers from Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada for the title International Grower of the Year, to be announced in early September.
As well as cultivating garden pinks, the nursery has developed hybrid dianthus, the plant family to which pinks belong.
Managing director Carolyn Bourne said the nomination was particularly welcome as staff at the nursery had endured tough growing conditions over the past few years.
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"Naturally everyone on the nursery is thrilled to receive the NFU's nomination after winning the Grower of the Year Award," she said.
"It is a great honour to be acknowledged for demonstrating good business practice, investment in staff, equipment and development of new varieties of dianthus. We have experienced such highs and lows over the past 18 months – the worry and frustration that two cold wet springs have wrought on the industry, contrasting with the euphoria of winning several awards, including the Queen's Award for Enterprise for outstanding contribution to International Trade.
"We very much hope we can bring home the honours for the UK at the International Grower of the Year."
The winner will be announced next month at an event in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Whetman Pinks, specialist breeders of garden pinks and hybrid dianthus, was nominated for this prize by the National Farmers' Union after winning several awards at the UK Grower of the Year event in March.
NFU horticulture adviser Chris Hartfield said he was "absolutely delighted" that Whetman Pinks had made final shortlist of four for the prestigious title.
"It is always a pleasure for the NFU to be able to put forward a UK nominee for this international competition."