History of Perfect Perennials
I spent 15 years after leaving school working on the family pig and arable farm in Earl Stonham before deciding it wasnt for me. Dirty, smelly creatures, and the dust wasnt doing my lungs any good, so i decided to develop my hobby of growing plants.
A year or two before deciding to go it alone we had started growing plants for the garden from seed, but what do you do with the excess plants because a gardener always grows too many. Well you have bought that packet of seeds so you sow them all, and then they all germinate, and you only need half a dozen plants. So we converted an old wheelbarrow from the farm into a plant trolley, which was wheeled up to the road every morning with an honesty box. The plants just flew off the trolley and the money helped to buy more seeds, The idea of Perfect Perennials was beginning to form.
Left and below: A very slim Darren at the opening of Perfect Perennials March 2005.
Having visited many garden centres and plant nurseries in the past i felt there was a gap in the market for a real nursery specialising in perennial plants.
I also felt there was a lack of information for the customer. Even if there was a label in the pot, did it belong in that pot? What were those two small leaves going to turn in to? How tall was it going to grow? What soil and aspect does the plant need? Thats why i came up with the idea of the picture info cards.
So the aim of Perfect Perennials is to offer good quality, affordable, well rooted, hardy grown perennial plants for the customer to buy and take home. Safe in the knowledge that not only will their plant perform well this year, but for many more years to come.
2004 was spent developing the site (a piece of land loaned to me by my father) Sowing thousands of seeds, erecting the polytunnel and fence. Laying hundreds of paving slabs, barrowing tonnes of pea shingle, growing the hedges from cuttings off a neighbours hedge, planting the native hedge plus trees for shade. Battling with Mid Suffolk District Council, paying a fortune for the dropped kerb. All good fun and totally worth it! Even my sister got involved in the set-up by designing the logo.
Finally everything was ready and i opened the gates on Good Friday 2005.
14 years down the line and the nursery is still growing. Our collection of plants has grown from 50 different varieties to 300+ with more new ones planned for next year. The hedges are certainly still growing, needing 3 cuts a year. My knowledge is growing all the time as is our customer base. I always smile to myself when someone comes in for the first time, they almost take a step back in amazement at the view. Its a great feeling when someone comes in and finds a plant that they have been searching for.