So, who are we? Well where do we start?!
What started as a hobby for William Lockyer (known to most as Bill), wife Joan Lockyer and son Simon Lockyer collecting and exhibiting Auriculas over 30 years ago, has led to multiple RHS Gold medals at flowers shows including the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.Now, Simon and partner Louise Batchelor continues to develop and grow a thriving horticultural business with a passion for plants always at the core.
Louise and Simon met at the Shows, over 8 years ago, when W&S Lockyer crossed pathways with Eleplants Nursery, Louise’s and her father Martin Batchelors’ nursery who’s main interest was in shrubs and perennials, particularly the Australasian and of course their love for Salvias! It was a couple of years before Louise jumped ship. Martin continues his nursery business, exhibiting and also having a good mail order reputation selling the plants he loves. Which makes us all plant lovers and it’s always fun to have some good family rivalry between the two businesses!
Bill, a true passionate plantsman sadly passed away in January 2016, a lot of the plants that Bill was so passionate about has truly shaped Simon and Louises business today. Whilst Simon took a few years off from exhibiting at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Simon and Louise came back with a bang in 2018 winning their first Chelsea Gold Medal together!
They welcomed daughter Jodie Skye Lockyer into the family in July 2019, who is a delight and I’m sure Simon and Louise will not have any troubles with getting Jodie involved in their family business! Joan maintains her beautiful garden overflowing with choice plants Bill collected over the years from many of our exhibitor friends nurseries at the shows, she still finds space to add more plants that she enjoys!
A brief overview of some of our areas of specialism and interest...
Most obviously, the famous Auricula theatres seen at Chelsea Flower Show. Auriculas have always been a passion of Bills, Joans and Simons, holding the National Collection of Double Auriculas until recent years. Numbers of plants were vast and many rarer varieties that are not widely offered were collected. They hybridised many of their own including, ‘Joan Lockyer’, ‘Lockyers Gem’, ‘Lockyers Green’, ‘Roy Le Sauvage’, 'Nicolas Van Zanten’ and many more! Their collection actually started in their back garden, with the odd green house, then a polytunnel and eventually spread into their neighbour’s garden, until they moved into a rented nursery, in Surrey, which is where the business really started to expand. Simon would venture around the country exhibiting whilst Bill and Joan attended to the Auriculas. Since the passing of Bill, the collection has dramatically decreased to a more manageable size that Simon and Louise with the help of some very special Friends, can continue to maintain. We do not hold the quantities of surplus stock to create a big mail order business but maybe it is something for the future to focus on.
Bill and Simon specialised in growing Galanthus for trade, and leading RHS garden centre Wisley, which slowly increased to a small amount of other specialist bulbs. Now, Simon and Louise have their own branded potted Spring Bulb range serving one of the largest wholesaler distributers in the UK who supply garden centres throughout the South East, and they also continue to supply multiple RHS Garden Centres, with both the standard range and more specialist bulbs. You will also find us retailing at select shows early in the year with a fantastic splash of spring colour, highlighting both the common Narcissus Tete a Tete to rarer Erythroniums (if Louise can part with them!)
It’s an expensive passion but a rewarding one on those cold winters day when they spring up in January! Bill and Simon both snowdrop collectors passed the bug onto Louise. They have a rather substantial collection in both their own and Joan’s garden which is always expanding! Bill exhibited and won a preliminary commendation RHS award with one of his own findings when it was exhibited in 2012 which he named Galanthus ‘Lockyers Delight’ a poculiformis, which is in the Galanthus National Collection. Galanthus ‘William Lockyer’ a selected yellow form bred by a friend, and named in memory of the great plantsman, this has not been released and is slowly increasing in-house.
Succulents is quite the Buzz word right now! Simon and Louise concentrate mainly on Echeveria and Aeoniums. Louise is rather an addict for collecting succulents, and simon only encourages it! Louise always says succulents should come with a warning "Highly Addictive"! Building up relationships with growers world-wide, Simon and Louise are able to offer you some of the usual, some of the rare and some of the new, there is a succulent for everyone. What once was a minor part of the business has now become a leading role.
Well what else do you fill a greenhouse with?! At one point there were 20,000 hostas and half of those were in 5 Litres! * the 5 Litre ‘blue mouse ears’ were beautiful!* Well, luckily this was just a phase for both Simon and Bill, but part of the passion for Hostas still remain, and Louise loves her miniatures–at least they take up less space! We often sneak some of our specimens from our private collection on display.