An award-winning designer has returned to his roots and taken over an abandoned garden centre where he had his first Saturday job.
Chelsea gold medal winner Peter Dowle has re-opened the garden centre which closed three years ago.
Peter says he wants Leaf Creative at Huntley to grow into something a little bit different.
“The big plant market is not covered this side of the country,” he said.
“We want to do something completely different and create a new style of retailing, rooted in design.
“People will be able to come along, see the plants and have the opportunity to talk to our people. They’re all trained in horticulture and design.
“Of course we will have some smaller plants as well. But there will be plenty there for people who do not want to wait 25 years for a bush or a shrub to grow.”
Leaf Creative Garden Centre joins nursery portfolio
Leaf Creative will be the retail arm of his well-known nursery business at Howle Hill near Ross-on-Wye and Ruardean. This part of the business is too far off the beaten track to open to the public.
When Mr Dowle’s father Julian worked there it was Huntley Garden Centre.
Peter had a Saturday job there around 1978 and his brother and sister went to the local school in Huntley.
But the garden centre closed around three years ago and fell into disrepair.
Mr Dowle’s teams have been transforming the garden centre since the summer. He now has plants and a coffee shop called the Ferns.
The centre sells everything from oaks and olives. There are plenty of plants to reflect Mr Dowle’s love of large shrubs and specimen trees such as Acers.
The garden centre is still developing. There are plans for a shop, large indoor plant section and ‘garden vignettes’ showing planting combinations.
Already, there are existing mature borders at the six-acre site on the A40 with some unusual plants.
Mr Dowle is a well known name on the show garden circuit for his exhibits and has twice won best in show at RHS Malvern.
He is also a regular at other RHS shows. He’s best known for his Chelsea gold-medal winning gardens for companies such as L’Occitane and Renault .
Although demanding, he says show gardens are essential to keep up with new garden trends and products and showcase their work.