Can you imagine 1,300 hanging baskets and containers laid out in rows, ready to be delivered - the riots of colour, the heady scents, the sheer exuberance of them all? Sarah Bulbulian can because that’s the number her family business, Potters Nurseries, produce every year so there is a very good chance if you see some particularly beautiful baskets or containers adorning premises in the South Hams, they will be some of hers! And not just the South Hams – Sarah has customers from across the country who visit especially during May to take hanging baskets and containers back to their homes further afield!
‘Hers’ of course doesn’t just mean Sarah, although there is no doubt she was the driving force behind this hugely successful local business celebrating 21 years since she spotted a niche in the market; put her agricultural background skills to the test on some land she and her husband owned in East Allington; and created Potters Nurseries as a specialist supplier of containers and baskets to customers around the area.
Sarah’s faithful team comprises Andrew Peters and Sheila Luscombe, both of whom have been with her since those very early days, sharing her vision and dedication; husband Simon who juggles his own full time job with delivering the colourful cargo around the area; plus Mum and Dad who moved to Devon 3 years ago and are now an even more hands-on part of this family affair. “Having both been involved as much as possible over the years, it is wonderful that they are now on the spot. Dad looks after the vegetables for us and although both children are now fully committed otherwise, one at university and the other studying for A levels, they were regular helpers at the nursery as they grew up,” explained Sarah, adding “Each of the team is absolutely invaluable in their own way and to be celebrating 21 years working together is both wonderful personally, and for the business, testament to their unstinting contributions and support.”
The team start preparing in February for their main season - a fast and furious 6 weeks spanning May selling with a mid-June finish. “Rather like strawberries”, is Sarah’s analogy! The demands for baskets and containers come in all varieties – carefully planned colour themes to match window displays or complement shopfronts; myriad designs specifically planted for hotels, pubs or restaurants at which they are located. Whatever the brief, Sarah and her team delight in bringing it to life! Unsurprising therefore that they now offer the same meticulous attention to detail and creative skills to containers for wedding and event marquees – contact Sarah to discuss those inspired extra touches for your special day.
In addition to the hectic spring season and then preparing for autumn plantings, Sarah is kept busy all year round but always finds time to work with Kingsbridge in Bloom, supplying plants, potting up, and hanging numerous baskets and containers. “Before my involvement with Kingsbridge in Bloom, I worked very closely with Dartmouth in Bloom for many years in similar ways and also carried out work for Devon County Council and others. During that time I was fortunate to receive a huge amount of support and encouragement from Jane Joy through her connection with Dartmouth in Bloom and I will always be grateful to her for this. It is extremely satisfying to see the tradition of dedicated volunteers beautifying their towns, continue and my great pleasure to help Kingsbridge in Bloom achieve such fantastic award-winning results.”
Potters Nurseries is also the venue for talks and demonstrations to Horticultural Societies, Gardening Clubs, etc. with all fees being donated to Children in Need each year.
Only open to the public during May, Friday to Monday inclusive – “people have got the hang of the system now!” - don’t miss out on these limited chances to buy plants for potting yourselves; take your own containers/baskets to be planted up; or order stunning displays complete, ready to take home. Why not add to the growing numbers of loyal plant lovers for whom Potters Nurseries have been an annual ‘must-go-to’ for many years, some still visiting from their very first season? There is added incentive to visit Potters Nurseries in this special anniversary year. Take part in their 21st birthday Free Prize Draw where, naturally, the focus will be on plants and you might win a free hanging basket, free plants or containers …
The South Hams is home to many family businesses quietly growing and thriving but surely there is no other which could match the annual vibrancy and abundance of Potters Nurseries!