Woottens of Wenhaston Green Policy
On the nursery we are passionate about helping the natural environment to continue to thrive. Our site in rural Suffolk is based on six acres of land and surrounded by Constable skylines, we have regular visits from barn owls, marsh harriers and an abundance of robins, wrens and blackbirds. Bees, butterflies and ladybirds are common place and we give home to rescue chickens and cockerels. It is only fitting that the business we run here reflects our love of our surrounding environment.
Our Green Policy details how we go about doing this, how our customers can help us and the steps we’re making to improve our business and become ‘greener’. Each year we implement new methods to reduce our impact on the environment, these will be added to our policy as they occur.
- We use the new ‘taupe’ pot which is recyclable in your bins at home. Similarly to the black pots these are made from recycled plastic.
- All our plastic pots and trays are washed and reused on the nursery until they aren’t fit for purpose. This includes seed and plug trays as well as general nursery stock.
- The pots we use are already made from recycled plastic
- When we do have to purchase new pots we are working with our suppliers to be able to move towards buying pots that are no longer the ‘unsortable’ black plastic but another colour that customers can recycle easier at home.
- Customers are welcome to return pots and trays to the nursery that have been purchased from us. We are open every Saturday to accept pot returns or they can be left at our gate in an allocated sorting area.
IMPORTANT: Please only return our own pots back to us, we are unable to recycle pots from other nurseries. Examples of our pots are below. We use round black pots in a 2 litre or 1.3 litre, or black round/square 9cm pots.
- We shall soon be setting up a system for our mail order customers to be able to return pots to us. Look out for more details here over the next few months
- All our plant information labels are reused on the nursery until they aren’t fit for purpose and customers are welcome to return labels to the nursery that have been purchased from us. Mail order customers can request a FREEPOST envelope to return their labels to the nursery by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- New for 2020 – You can select at the checkout whether you wish to receive labels with your order
This is useful when ordering many of the same plant so you’re not inundated with hundreds of plastic labels.
- Our packaging used for the mail order of plants is 100% biodegradable
- The packaging consists of cardboard boxes, a biodegradable bag to line the base in case the plants are damp and cornstarch packing chips to hold the plants in place and prevent boxes from being crushed. Sealed with metal staples and paper tape.
- The cornstarch chips are biodegradable and can be added to your garden compost. For full details of the product please see our supplier website – ‘Greenlight Packaging’
- To keep plants secure we may add cardboard dividers in the boxes, these are created from card boards boxes we recycle on the nursery from other deliveries.
- Any additional items such as plastic bags, elastic bands etc are very rarely used and will have been reused from other deliveries. We encourage customers to reuse these items again or send them back to us with labels.
- Our couriers – DPD, are committed to reducing their carbon footprint in a variety of ways. See their website for full details DPD – Carbon Neutral Commitment
- Our boxes are made by a local company in Norfolk and are strong 3 ply boxes that can be reused by customers or where feasible returned to the nursery.
Pest, Disease and Weed Control
This is one of the biggest challenges within the nursery trade and we have been working on this project since 2011. Pests, diseases, viruses and weed are a natural part of life and we try our best to control them in methods that do not impact on the environment. This is how we go about it:
- No herbicides (weed killers) are used on our container grown stock. Weeds are controlled manually by staff and by using a top dress of potting bark
- No fungicides are used on our container grown stock. Fungal issues are controlled by daily observation, maintaining good plant health and immediate manual removal of any problems that arise usually by cutting a plant hard back to the ground or removing the infected areas
- No pesticides containing Neonicotinoids are used on the nursery.
- Natural predators and biological controls are used to control red spider mite, vine weevil and aphids.
- Companion plants are used to control aphids such as Nicotiana and Carnivorous plants.
- Throughout the summer we use natural ‘soap spray’ to control aphids on Pelargoniums.
- Pesticides are used minimally and only when other methods fail or infestations are severe. The pesticides we use are certified organic
- Our slug/snail control is made up of 5 chickens and a cockerel that have a particular liking of the slimy pests eggs.
- We are working with our suppliers to make sure all our ‘bought in’ stock holds the same standards as we do.
- New for 2020 – We have begun using ‘Neem Oil’ as a natural pesticide on our Auriculas and Pelargoniums. Trials are still continuing and we’ll keep customers updated on our progress throughout the year
- All our seeds and cuttings are grown in wool compost by Dalefoot Wool Composts
- Our Pelargonium sales plants and all Auriculas are now grown in peat free wool compost: Dalefoot Wool Composts
- Some of our other container stock is still grown in a peat based compost. We regularly run trials on the nursery using ‘reduced peat‘ or ‘peat free‘ alternatives but we have yet to find a substitute that provides the right composition and structure that produces strong healthy plants across our range.
- We do not use coir compost any longer due to its carbon foot print and inability to retain moisture
- Our compost contains no chemical pesticides.
- New for 2020 – We started using an organic plant feed in granular form in our compost this year
Manual Labour and Bareroot Plants
- All our Bearded Irises, Siberian Irises and Hemerocallis are lifted and replanted by hand rather than using large machinery
- All our plants are potted by hand
- Two of our main speciality plants, Irises and Hemerocallis, are sold bareroot, with no plastic pots at all.
- We now hand water all our container grown stock daily rather than using overhead irrigation.
- Irrigation is only used in desperation and a lack of time!
- Rain water is collected from all our polytunnels and reused
- Our nursery and advertising leaflets are all designed and printed locally using FSC Certified Paper.
- We are aiming to use 100% recycled paper on all our leaflets in the very near future
- One of the nursery owners, Luci, began housing her three chickens on site one year when her new home didn’t have a big enough garden for them. Since then the flock has extended from 3 to 9 birds and maybe ever growing! We have two of the original hens, plus 5 battery rescues and 2 cockerels also rescued after being dumped on the local highway
- Below are a few photos of the flock that pay their way in eggs, slug control and are great at weeding and clearing areas ready for planting. As well as providing a natural manure.
The little things…….
- Milk for our daily refreshments is delivered by a local dairy in returnable glass bottles
- We use organic tea bags and sugar
- Our lunchtime eggs are laid by the chickens on site
There is always more we can do……….this page will be updated as this happens