Haul Of Vintage Trophies Unearthed At Spear & Jackson’s Sheffield Site

A collection of vintage trophies has been unearthed at Spear & Jackson in Sheffield. The trophies, which were discovered in the warehouse on Atlas Way, date from 1930 to the mid 1970s.

Warehouse and Distribution Manager at Spear and Jackson UK, John Gardiner, stumbled across the haul while clearing out some roof space. His daughter, Laura, who works for the local History Archives and Museum in Rotherham, kindly restored the trophies to their former glory.

The trophies are now on display in Spear and Jackson’s reception, however staff remain none the wiser about their origin and are appealing to the public to help solve the mystery!

“Although the purpose of the 14 trophies and two shields remains unclear, we are sure that they are an integral part of the Spear & Jackson Group’s heritage, and we’re desperate to find out what they were for and to whom they were awarded,” said John.

“It has been suggested that the trophies may be associated with the social club formed at the old Spear and Jackson site at Wednesbury, and now the trophies are clean, some reference can be seen to the Earl of Denbigh.”

If anyone can help to identify the trophies, or has any clues that might help to unravel the history behind them, we’d love to hear from you.

Please contact JGardiner@spear-and-jackson.com if the trophies look familiar to you.

Spear & Jackson Group To Cycle 570 Miles For Macmillan Cancer Support

During the week of the 10th – 14th July, employees from the S&J Group corporate office, Eclipse Magnetics and S&J UK businesses will be taking part in a sponsored virtual cycle ride, raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Coinciding with the Tour de France, this will be the Group’s very own Tour de S&J, covering a massive 570 miles, which will see us virtually travel the distance between all S&J Group UK sites, from the most northern location in Bradford, to the most southern in Burgess Hill and all the sites in-between.

A team of 55 employees will complete 30 minute slots over the course of the week to complete the challenge by mid afternoon on Friday 14th July.

Team S&J Atlas in Sheffield are raising vital funds for the Group’s nominated 2017 charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Please sponsor the team and help us reach our fundraising target.

Nutscene – Jute Products from the Field to the Factory

Nutscene Twine – I’m sure if you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest you will have heard of us! For nearly 100 years we have manufactured the highest quality of garden twine, whilst always looking at the bigger picture and reinvesting into product development. After all, the world doesn’t stay still, irrespective of the fact that we still use the same machinery used in 1922!

Nutscene are a company of first’s. We have reinvented the twine industry over the years and we were the first to bring coloured twines to the market. We have introduced crafting twines, garden twines, baking twines and chunky twines. Furthermore, we continue to innovate our products to ensure the highest quality of user-experience for our clients – both trade and private. Innovations such as the Tin of Twine and the Reclaimed Mill Bobbin have changed the way the user interacts with the product and has ensured tangle-free convenience for gardeners across the nation.

Subsequently, a number of firms have attempted to emulate the Nutscene formula – attempting to put their own unique spin on our famous twines, but all have failed to stand the test of time and quality like Nutscene have, and somewhat ended up in a spin themselves! To this day, Nutscene continue to push forward, breaking boundaries! As we say… often copied, never equalled! 

 Our twines are world famous. We currently export to over 23 countries and we can proudly say that our product is both sustainable and vegan friendly. Yes – no wool or synthetics used here! The sheep can keep their coats! With more and more of us conscious about the welfare of animals, Nutscene can genuinely say that no animals are exploited nor used within the manufacturing process of our twines. It all comes from a rather special plant – JUTE! From plants for plants… 

The Jute Plant that we use is harvested in Bangladesh and we import the yarn and reprocess it to our own unique specifications. Jute is responsible for a significant portion of the Bangladeshi economy; Bangladesh is the largest exporter of raw jute in the world and the nation also provides the highest quality jute too! The mill that we are in partnership with employs around 5,000 people and they are continually praised nationally for their efforts in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), winning numerous awards regarding exportation and how their employees are treated and cared for. It is for these ethical beliefs that our partnership with this firm continues to blossom.

Raw jute is a plant that grows at a rapid pace. There literally is no better product on the  market to safely tie back your stems. There will be no contamination, bruising or damage to your plants with Nutscene twines. Soft, strong and lives fairly long – there is no substitute. That is our promise

Everyone these days talks about sustainability when describing their products, but few actually give reference as to how they are sustainable. Its almost become a buzz term whereby business owners feel they can exploit their clientele by talking about how they have addressed their ethical concerns. For example, animal products such as wool may appear sustainable, but the use of this in products is to the detriment and exploitation of the animal. Further research revealed that as the sheep get older, they produce less and less wool and are subsequently likely to be sent to the slaughter at a younger age. All this so we can profit from the natural resource of the sheep? Doesn’t seem fair… That is just one example – we are not saying that all sheep are treated in such a manner but what we are trying to say is that Nutscene products are friendly for vegans and those who feel strongly about animal welfare. By all means, excess wools should be utilised to provide clothing etc, but at the same time, animals should not be treated unfairly purely for human gain.

Nutscene are proud to disclose that the jute plant takes around 120 days to harvest after sowing. 120 days from being placed in the ground to harvest… wow! Now for a plant, that is lightening quick, especially if we consider the strength that the plant grows to in such a small space of time!

Jute is a natural resource and is available in Bangladesh all year round, growing especially fast during the monsoon season due to the increased rainfall. The Ganges River Delta is at the centre of jute production and it is here where ‘the golden fibre’ thrives, largely due to the perfect growing conditions for the plant. 

Additionally, by choosing to import raw jute, Nutscene contribute to the UK economy in the form of import taxation. This tax is fed back into the economy and is why the government encourage the importation/exportation of goods. Nutscene have been praised in their efforts in global trade, and we pledge to continue to venture further and further afield! After-all, how long is a piece of string…!? As long as you want it to be.

Right – enough of the formalities as what we here at Nutscene have, is a product steeped in history. The story of our brand dates back to 1922 when we patented the original Nutscene greentwist twine, somewhat the crown jewel of our quickly growing archive. At that stage, Nutscene were based in Dundee, a city renowned as the home of ‘jute, jam and journalism‘, but have since changed location to Forfar, a short ways up the A90. From here, we operate a medium sized factory and employ a local workforce that specialise in the reprocessing of the jute that we import. We employ 12 people who perform various duties within the factory and offices – from manufacturing to marketing, the whole team is involved in and plays a pivotal role in the legacy of a proud and prestigious company. From the field to the factory if you will! 

Its all the more impressive if you consider twine as an unlikely spin-off from the famous juteopolis movement in Dundee. Its quite incredible that the founders had the foresight to establish a business based on garden string, yet the business has since gone from strength to strength! Our ties to the Great British manufacturing industry are stronger than ever, especially as many skills are lost due to the emergence of new machinery and industrial technology. Nutscene continue to manufacture quality twines the original way, passing on skills that would otherwise be lost in the midst of time, all the wile ensuring that our products are priced fairly within the market. After all, we actually care about the welfare of the environment! 

The Future? So what shall it bring? If we go back 100 years and asked what the future would bring I think we would get a very different answer! Our twine products have been used in a variety of projects – from fashion to parcel packaging. Our product has also been utilised by 2017 New Gen award winner Nicholas Daley. Nicholas was so taken by Dundee’s jute industry, that he created his own fashion range – The Juteopolis collection, as part of his fashion label. This range has been critically acclaimed and has since been at the forefront of the London fashion scene. It bears special relevance to Nicholas due to family ties within the Dundee area.

Nonetheless, in order to move forwards, sometimes it’s necessary to have a glance in the rear-view. Nutscene are the last remaining jute processing company that was born in Dundee. We truly are the innovators and curators of twine. With our centenary on the horizon, there is no doubt that there soon will be a celebration of all things twine, but in the meantime, we will continue to travel the globe, spreading the word of the famous old Nutscene twine. Some things change – some things don’t. The quality of our product is one of those and it will never be compromised. We pledge to continue on as guardians of the slender stems.

Job Vacancy – Spear & jackson UK Purchasing Manager

Spear & Jackson UK are looking to recruit a Purchasing Manager to head up their busy Purchasing team in Sheffield. This is an exciting role offering the successful candidate great levels of variety, challenge and the opportunity to drive the S&J UK business.

Reporting to the S&J UK Managing Director, the Purchasing Manager’s main focus will be to ensure the timely & cost-effective delivery of factored products and required materials, which enables the company to operate at maximum efficiency by planning, directing and coordinating the activities of those directly involved in the planning and purchasing of factored products, materials and services (including buyers and planners etc.).

The Purchasing Manager will manage the Supplier Development and Quality functions through planning and coordinating the activities of those directly involved in all aspects of supplier liaison, quality assurance and product rectification / re-work, whilst communicating with the warehouse function to ensure the smooth flow of product to and from the warehouse.

This role will contribute to and oversee the planning of factored products to be purchased, the maintenance records of goods ordered and received and the preparation and processing of work orders for the internal process of products, whilst controlling the department budgets and managing the day to day activities of the team. It will be the responsibility of the Purchasing Manager to analyse market and delivery systems in order to assess present and future material availability, resolve vendor or contractor grievances and claims, and represent the company in negotiating contracts and formulating policies with suppliers. The role may encompass involvement in Group purchasing from time to time.

The successful candidate will have a good understanding and knowledge of company purchasing process, with work experience is a similar role. Strong analytical skills, with an excellent standard of numeracy to analyse facts and figures, along with excellent relationship management and procurement skills are essential. The ideal applicant must have good influencing, persuasion and negotiating skills, with the ability to make responsible decisions. Candidates with self-confidence, flexibility, adaptability, commercial awareness and an excellent work ethic will be considered.

This is a full time role, working 37-hours per week, Monday-Thursday 7.30am-16:00pm, Friday 7.30am-12.30pm with a daily 30-min lunch break. However some level of flexibility will be required to meet the needs and requirements of the business / role.

Please apply in writing sending your CV and covering letter to: Gemma Wheatley, HR and Recruitment Advisor: gwheatley@spearandjacksongroup.com

Deadline for Applications: Friday 30th June 2017

Hawkesmill Are Double Winners At The National Plant Show

The Hawkesmill Nurseries team are proud to announce that their brand new and exclusive Salvia ‘Pink Lips’ and also their Viola ‘Bridie’, which is from the Victorian Viola range, have both won silver at the HTA National Plant Show in the New Plants Awards ‘Herbaceous Perennials’ category.

The Warwickshire based family business, who offer retailers a wide selection of plants such as perennials, alpines, grasses and wildflowers, have chosen to offer these amazing plants this year to compliment their extensive herbaceous collections.

Salvia ‘Pink Lips’ is a pink form of the immensely popular Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ and is exclusive to Hawkesmill Nurseries.  Available from June and throughout the summer in bud and flower, this stunner is supplied in 3 litre pots. Attractive to bees and butterflies, ‘Pink Lips’ also has a superb aromatic foliage and a height and spread of 90 x 60 cm.

Viola ‘Bridie’ is one of the superb flowers from the Victorian Viola range, ‘Bridie’ will be available from Hawkesmill Nurseries in 2018. The range has a rainbow of colour options, with many varieties also being scented.  This abundant collection of flowers has superb ‘staying power’ from April through to September, and as hardy perennials, they will continue to flower year after year.

Richard Evans, Sales Director said ” We are so pleased to have won awards again this year after having won a gold last year for the amazing Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’. We feel that both the winning Salvia ‘Pink Lips’ and Viola ‘Bridie’, are not only beautiful, but also have many added benefits for the end consumer. Once again the time at the National Plant Show has been exceptional for our team and we look forward to next years show!”

Hawkesmill Nurseries is a family run business with over 40 years growing experience – providing quality seasonal plants to Retail Nurseries, Garden Centres and also more recently to Landscapers and Garden Designers too.  They are based in the heart of the country having their own satellite nurseries all within a 25 mile radius of the main production and dispatch site.

Garden Retailers can contact Hawkesmill Nurseries for more information about their plants, as well as general availability on 01676 532334 or by emailing sales@hawkesmillnurseries.co.uk

Malus sieboldii Aros takes best in show at New Plant Awards

Malus sieboldii Aros from Frank P Matthews has been crowned this year as Best in Show at the New Plant Awards on the opening morning of the HTA National Plant Show. The show, sponsored by Hortipak, takes place today and tomorrow (20 and 21 June) at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry.

The New Plant Awards, sponsored by the RHS, are the beating heart of the show and create an area bursting with inspiration for our visitors.

Judging Panel member Tim Upson, Head of Horticulture at the RHS comments, “Malus sieboldii Aros really stood out as a true winner. Whilst purple leaved trees are not uncommon this one has a particularly strong colour and good habit.

He adds, “It has a wide use in different garden situations and with its compact nature is particularly suited to small gardens and patios. With its long season of interest and colour this tree will have wide appeal to many customers and has great potential as a really good seller.”

The winners are:

Gold and Best in Category – 
Silene hybrid ‘Sl 11 04-61 Sparkling Rose from Kernock Park Plants Ltd

Herbaceous Perennials
Gold and Best in Category –
Adenophera White Blaze from Darby Nursery Stock and Fairweather’s Nursery

Gold and Best in Category – Gloxinia sonata pink spot from Javado  and Batchmere Ltd

Shrubs and Climbers
Gold and Best in Category –Passiflora Riverside Snow Queen from Newey PPL                                                 

Trees and Conifers
Gold and Best in Category – 
Malus sieboldii Aros from Frank P Matthews                                                     

This year’s judging panel included Tim Upson (RHS), Ian Hodgson (Garden News), Marcus Cousins (Aylett Nurseries), Ken Cox (Glendoick Garden Centre) with HTA’s Martin Simmons overseeing.

All the entries were validated by Joy of Plants.

In addition to the formal announcement in the New Plant Awards area on the opening morning of the show there was also a seminar session for visitors highlighting the award winning plants and the benefits that they bring to help bolster plant sales.

All New Plant Award entries can be viewed at the show and visitors too can have their say by taking part in the Visitor Vote Awards, sponsored by Floramedia. The winner of the Visitor Vote Award will be announced on the afternoon of Wednesday 21June.

The HTA National Plant Show takes place on 20 and 21 June at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. For more information and to register in advance please visit www.nationalplantshow.co.uk

The world’s greatest garden photography competition joins forces with Thompson & Morgan

Thompson & Morgan is pleased to announce its collaboration with IGPOTY (International Garden Photographer of the Year) with the introduction of a new special award, the ‘Joy of Gardening’.

Photographers will enter images of Thompson & Morgan products that they’ve grown and the winners will not only get to showcase their gardening successes, but will also be able to advance their name in photography by appearing at the IGPOTY launch event at Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and have their winning photograph published in the annual IGPOTY book.

The winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to the Keukenhof Gardens, Holland with IGPOTY managing director, Tyrone McGlinchey, who will share his wealth of photographic knowledge.

The award sets out to celebrate all things grown from Thompson & Morgan products, from the smallest seedling to the largest fruit tree. The IGPOTY judges will be looking for inspirational photographs that connect people and plants through the joy of growing, and that encourage others to get involved with gardening.

IGPOTY’s manager, Curtis McGlinchey said: “There are so many brilliant and worthwhile parallels between our two businesses that this special award makes perfect sense. For us it’s all about accessibility and inspiration, as we strive to help people engage with nature on a creative level.

We hope to: introduce more people to the rewards of gardening, highlight the attainability of sustainable living, increase awareness of the natural world and champion the accessibility and effectiveness of photography as an art form.”

“We’re excited to offer this new special award in collaboration with IGPOTY”, said Clare Dixey, Thompson & Morgan’s marketing services manager. “As one of the UK’s largest mail order seed and plant companies, with a long tradition of excellence in gardening and horticulture, we’re always keen to encourage people to garden and to grow. To be able to see fabulous photographs of our plants flourishing in people’s gardens, will be a proud moment for us.”

To view the winners gallery from last year’s competition please go to https://igpoty.com/igpoty-competition-10/

To enter, go to https://igpoty.com/competitions/thompson-morgan-joy-of-gardening-2017/

The closing date for the IGPOTY Thompson & Morgan special award is 31st October 2017.

Stewart Garden, set to excite at GLEE 2017

Following on from a hugely successful 2016, Stewart Garden announces its attendance at Glee, the premier trade show for the garden and leisure industry.

The company, now over 70 years old, has a lot to be proud of and to celebrate. Stewart Garden, recently acquired by Keter Group BV, a leading global supplier of resin consumer products for the home and garden, looks forward to showcasing exciting new initiatives on its stand, 18K14-L15.

Stewart Garden is particularly proud of some big moments in the last year, consolidating its commitment to win.

Continued successful launch of new products

Launched in 2016, Stewart Garden strengthened its popular Varese planter family with a distinctive new low bowl planter. Available in Dark Brown and Alpine Grey colour options, the 60cm diameter Varese Low Bowl are available with a recommended retail price of £29.99.

The Versailles family of pewter effect planters further extended Stewart Garden’s offering to its decorative range.

Versailles echoes design themes often seen in formal, structured garden designs and planting arrangements where geometric shapes, symmetrical lines and neatly clipped edges prevail. Available in three shapes, 70cm Trough RRP (recommended retail price) £29.99, 32cm Round RRP £19.99, 32cm Square RRP £19.99.

Investing to support consumers and retailers through merchandising

In December 2016, Stewart Garden unveiled its first Shop in Shop branded installation in a retail outlet.

Created in partnership with Webbs of Wychbold, a flagship garden centre in Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire, the Stewart Garden Shop in Shop includes a stunning seasonal feature wall in a prominent position within the store.

Shop in Shop is part of Stewart Garden’s commitment to engage with consumers at retail shop floor level. As this is often where customers first encounter its products, the company sees this initiative as a great way to make the brand experience exciting.

Commitment to grow the successful Schools campaign

First launched in 2012, Stewart Garden Schools Campaign has engaged with over 500 schools nationwide, challenging pupils aged 6-11 years to get creative with Stewart Garden products. Schools taking part receive a garden kit to get their projects up and running. The winning school receives £1,000 to spend at its local garden centre.

Looking forward to Glee 2017, Andy Burns, managing director at Stewart Garden, said: “It’s been another fantastic year and we look forward to presenting many new products at the show. We’ll be announcing the winner of this year’s Stewart Garden Schools campaign and launching the 2018 campaign with a celebrity guest, details of which are to follow”.

Stewart Garden loves gardens. It’s a leading grow-your-own and contemporary garden lifestyle brand, the market leader in premium plastic flower planters, including self-watering plant containers, and the voice of authority in premium consumer propagation.

Stewart Garden is a proud UK manufacturer. Its products are available in over 1,600 outlets across the country, including DIY retailers such as B&Q, Homebase and Wilkinsons. They’re also widely stocked at garden centres such as Dobbies, Notcutts and Wyevale and in over 1,000 independent garden centres.

Glee 2017 takes place from 11 – 13 September at the NEC, Birmingham. To find out more, visit www.gleebirmingham.com.

For more information, visit stewart-garden.co.uk.


The earliest Christmas party of the year will be held in Leicester this summer as tree growers of the world unite to make plans for the festive season.

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) is hosting the Christmas Tree Growers Council of Europe (CTGCE) annual summer meeting from 30th May to 2nd June 2017 in Hinckley, Leicester.

This is the first time the event has been held in the UK for more than 15 years.

Harry Brightwell, secretary of BCTGA, said:

“The event sees growers from across Europe attending with some delegates coming from as far as the USA.

We will be taking our guests to visit some exciting Christmas tree farms – Woods Farm in Solihull, Cadeby Tree Trust in Nuneaton and Friezeland Christmas Tree Farm also in Nuneaton – where we will be sharing advice and updates on growing beautiful trees.”

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association, based in Tuddenham St Martin, Suffolk, was established in 1979 to provide a quality standard for Christmas tree growers in the UK and champion the purchase of real Christmas trees. It has over 300 members.

Mr Brightwell said: “We have various activities planned and we are expecting the event to be an informative and interesting few days for all attending and is a wonderful opportunity to share a bit of British Christmas cheer.”

GIMA Golf & Activity Day Round Up

Last week, suppliers and retailers from the garden retail industry came together for a day of fun, team building and networking at the GIMA Charity Golf & Activity Day, raising much needed funds for Greenfingers and St.Richard’s Hospice.

The 2017 event marked the first time that Kwik Cricket and the Laser Clay Shooting Challenge were added to the mix, opening the event up for more industry colleagues to get out from behind their desks for a day of team building and fun.

In total 17 teams entered the annual golf competition, and another two completed the rivalry over on the Kwik Cricket and Shooting pitches.

On the golf course, the biggest prize on the day was over the 18 holes. It was a fiercely fought competition but it was the team from Grange Fencing who retained their winner’s title, taking home the trophy for the second year running. Coming up a close second was Smart Garden’s A-team, with the Mr Fothergills team following behind in third position.

As always, the golfers had not just their handicap to beat, but a number of other prizes up were for grabs keeping the competitive juices flowing. The winners of all the prizes from the golf course included Steve Harper, James Mitchell, James Parr, Steve Ainscough, Simon Neat, Jerry Walker, Phil Swainston and Raoul Curtis Machin, who all successfully beat the pro. Each of these lucky winners took home a voucher for a ‘four-ball’ at Telford Golf and Country Club.

There were also several spot prizes available, the winners of each receiving a bottle of champagne and sleeve of golf balls. The winners were:

  • Nearest Pin 3rd Hole – Pete Bunker
  • Nearest Pin 11th Hole – Chris Owen
  • Nearest Pin 16th Hole – Andy Bestwick
  • Nearest Pin in 2, 8th Hole – James Mitchell
  • Longest Drive 14th Hole – Dave Kearsley
  • Straightest Drive 18th Hole – Derek Bunker

The competition was equally fierce over on the Kwik Cricket and Shooting pitches in Lilleshall, the cricket club of Colin Wetherley Mein of Vitax. The first time these events have been added to the roster, participants were unsure to begin with but quickly discovered their talents for both the cricket and laser shooting. Like the golf, these events also included a sense of friendly competition with Andrew Peers winning the shooting challenge, and a team made up of colleagues from Cadix, Kelkay, Glee, Bathgate and PetQuip winning the overall challenge.

Vicky Nuttall

Aside from the fun, there was also a serious element to the day, and that was to raise funds for two most deserving charities – Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice, the latter being selected as GIMA’s 2017 charity by GIMA president, Chris Ramsden. The total fund raised will be revealed at the GIMA Awards on July 13th, Celtic Manor.

Talking about the Golf & Activity Day, Vicky Nuttall, GIMA Director said: “What another fantastic event. The weather may have been a tad unpredictable but nothing we aren’t all used to! It was so great to see so many retailers and suppliers coming together for a day of networking, friendly competition and fun. I’m sure Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice are going to be overjoyed by the endless generosity of all those that attended.

“Our thanks go to everyone who attended, as well as all the staff at the Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, and Lilleshall Cricket Club. Here’s to next year!”