- Mary Bourne with a strawberry crop, sold here before Alan & Karin Bourne took over in 1984 and focused on plants
- Simon Bourne worked alongside Carl and Dan in his school/uni holidays
- One of our previous 'shops'
- This is a v old shot from when Perrywood was owned by Mary & Les Bourne
- The garden centre as it looks now in 2014
- Hannah (6), Simon (4) and Tristan (2) moved to Perrywood in 1984
- One of our previous 'shops'
- One of the old bedding plant polytunnels
- Alan's sister Marion worked with us for many years
- Jaffa, one of the cats we used to have on site
- One of the old greenhouses
- Tills in one of the old 'shops'
- Taken in 2010 of the wider Bourne family who have all lived at Perrywood at some point
- Simon Bourne, working in his school holidays alongside Dan and Karl
- Gill, Marion and Joyce
- Hannah, Marion and Mat on the tills
- Staff party inc. Mat and Karl (still missed)
My First Job
I started working at Perrywoods in 1988/89 at the weekends with my friend Andre. It was our very first job and being 14 we had to rely on parents to drop us off and pick us up!
I remember working in a wooden shed, weighing out potatoes, counting pond snails and using pencil and paper to add up customer's purchases. (Good practice for maths GCSE!)
Over the 4 years that I worked at Perrywoods, greenhouses sprang up and staff increased to include a number of school friends, Tom Ware, Julian Abbs and Patrick Cadman. Sitting in the greenhouse chatting over lunch, compost and bonemeal mixing and bagging, potting up and pricking out, watering and re-stocking.
Fun days which instilled in me a love of gardening that continues today!
The nursery is unrecognizable now compared to then. When I visit my parents in Tiptree, I often pop to Perrywoods, now bringing my 3 children with me!
Congratulations Alan, Karin and family on your 30 years and I hope to come by and see you soon, kindest regards, Esther
In 2000 the then named Tiptree Scout Group decided to try and convince Tiptree Parish Council that the planting of a copse of trees on the corner of The Cut and Church Road in Tiptree was a good idea. They embraced the idea and we asked Perrywood to supply us with the trees, hedging and bulbs. Alan suggested further items we needed to make it a success such as compost, bone meal, plastic guards etc.
Alan sent me a quote and he had obviously discounted significantly for the benefit of the Scout Group. We were very grateful for Alan's generous contribution and landscaping advice. The planting day was a great success and now after nearly 14 years the copse of trees is firmly established.
Strawberries for resale
In 1976 my wife Beryl and myself bought Field's green grocery shop in Kelvedon High Street. I remember going to Mr Bourne's to purchase fresh strawberries to sell in our shop. He (Les) always said he had to pick the strawberries very early in the morning so that they were cool and would keep fresh for longer. Those were the days, our shop is no longer in the High Street. George Brown
Writtle Horticultural College
Malcolm recalls many great memories from the Writtle Horticultural College days, Alan. Those formative yesterdays with parents and tutors have served you well and have given us the Perrywood Garden Centre we all know and love today.
Visiting Les and Mary
After we moved to Tiptree in 1975, my parents would visit us regularly. On their journey from Braintree they would always call in to see Les at his shed to have a good old natter, buying most of their plants from him and, when in season, strawberries. They became very friendly and my parents would love their visits to the 'shed'.
My story is slightly different as I am going to tell you about what Perrywood is like today.
I have recently just left my role as a weekend till-assistant at Perrywood as I have just graduated from the University of Essex. I worked at Perrywood for two and a half years which gave me experience in customer service, working as part of a team, to use my initiative when dealing with customer enquiries, take part in annual stock take, gain administration experience through answering the telephone, organising deliveries and taking customer orders.
Working at Perrywood was challenging at times, being faced with a huge queue of people and being responsible for getting the queue down. If anything it has taught me how to work in a fast paced environment.
I would recommend a weekend till-assistant role to any University or college student, as the skills I have developed working at Perrywood are probably the reason why I have found myself a job straight after graduating, because a degree is not enough anymore, employers want work experience, and Perrywood provided me with that.
I have worked for Perrywood as an electrical contractor for around 17-18 years. The whole site has grown and improved so much even in the short time I've known it. Perrywood has to be the best independent garden centre in Essex and I'm proud to be associated with it. All the very best to Alan, Karin, Simon, Hannah and all the team, roll on the next 30 years and continued excellence.
Working and being supported
Alan Bourne gave me my first job at age 16. I worked Saturdays in the 'Pot Tunnel' making sure all the palettes were fully stocked. Was a great experience. Lots of muscle building exercise, got to use a 2 way radio and Alan personally even taught me to use a hydraulic crate lifting thing. Great experience for a teenager!
Nowadays Simon is extremely active and Sponsors our Tiptree Perrywood Football Club. Absolutely fantastic business and fantastic family behind it. Can't say enough positive things!
Hi I am quite a newbe to Perrywoods as only been coming for the last couple of years. I live in Benfleet so have two very good garden centres near me but I LOVE it at Perrywoods. Plants are so healthy and the gift section is great. I actually posted a picture of my garden and a hanging basket on their Facebook page and they kindly replied.
We moved to Maldon March 1985, one day we were spotted a small house with window boxes with bright red Trailing Geraniums right down the front of the house just the same as we were used to seeing in Germany where he had lived for many years. So we had found Perrywood's we have seen you grow & grow. We bring all our many visitors to see our lovely garden centre, they have all been very impressed. 30 years Congratulations to you all
Hi all. Working at Perrywoods was having another family, I remember walking into the coffee shop the lino tiles were still being put down, all the new staff in there and it was exciting helping to launch a new business, it was very hard going at times, made lots of new friends with customers and with the rest of the staff in the garden centre. I look back with very fond memories, love looking at you all on facebook and hope to come over to see you all soon.
I often meet old customers in Maldon, they say we still go over.
I\'m very proud to have been at the openning of the coffee shop and my time there, and so pleased its been such a success,Well done Alan and Karin,without your hard work and time it wouldn\'t have kept going.
See you all soon.love Pat Whitexx
Love it... it just gets better and better
I've been a customer of Perrywood for a mere 12 years, ever since I moved to the Feering area. I find any excuse to come to the garden centre. Now I pick my kids up from school and 'treat' them to a luxury hot chocolate in your cafe - but the truth is it's me I'm treating. Perrywood, you just get better and better.
What a journey
Been getting our plants etc. from Perrywood ever since we moved to Tiptree back in 1967. I well remember that old shed that Les sold his bedding plants from. Then there were the gales in 1987 which pretty much destroyed all the glass houses, but like the Phoenix, Perrywood rose from the ashes and never looked back, who would have thought it would become the business it is now. Long may it remain a family business.
Nostalgic smells take me back
I moved to Perrywood when I was 6. Even now when I smell our current crops of tomato plants and geraniums I am reminded of pricking them out in small greenhouses with Marion, Gill and Joyce - and putting a stone in a pot each time I finished one as I was paid per plant as a young child. Growing up next to the business meant that many an hour after school was spent 'helping' on the nursery or running errands in the van with Dad. I am really proud of what Mum and Dad have achieved here and it was an amazing place to grow up.
I always love my trips to Perrywood - I've been visiting every summer for years now!!