Facebook Pixel
Order by 3pm for NEXT DAY DELIVERY or choose your preferred delivery date on the order form.
FREE NEXT DAY DELIVERY on orders over £50 and tracked deliveries from just £6 for orders under £50

Celebrating a fabulous 20 years in business

Back in 2004 Isobel, had a bright idea...

She wanted to use here skills as a programmer to launch a new ecommerce business focussing on plants and particularly plants as gifts. At that time ecommerce was in it's infancy but this new company called Amazon had just started selling books online so anything seemed possible!

From the beginning, the aim was always to offer a service we would want to use ourselves, beautiful quality plants, delivered gift wrapped on time with a personal touch.

The early years

Emily and Isobel 2005 Chris Emily and Isobel at the nursery 2006

Isobel registered the business in January 2004 as part of her new years resolutions. She started building the website and talking to suppliers and by October she was ready to launch the website and she persuaded Emily to come on board to help with that initial launch. At that point we had no idea that 20 years later we would still be working together running a successful business with a million pound turnover. If you'd told us then, I'm not sure we'd have believed you either!

As a family we had always loved plants and gardening. Isobel and Alan ran a small holding when they were first married and grew all their own fruit and veg for many years. Isobel's favourite birthday treat was always a trip to the garden centre and a new addition for the garden. Once the kids came along, time in the garden at the weekend was always family time and Emily loved having her own patch of the garden and growing roses and clematis. We never once imagined that our family hobby would be something we'd be doing together as a business so many years later.

That first Christmas it was so exciting seeing those first orders trickle in from all over the country and even all over the globe and we realised that there really was a market for our service. By the second Christmas in 2005, Emily was working in the business full time and Isobel's house was now covered in plants from top to bottom. There were pineapple plants all over the stairs and citrus trees and poinsettias over every available floor space in the bedrooms, living room, study and even the bathrooms. By then it was clear we needed more space, so we started the hunt for new premises and in 2006 moved to the perfect location in rural Sussex, a run down chrysanthemum nursery with the greenhouse space and packing house we desperately needed.

Relocating to Sussex

new potting area new nursery entrance

Being an older nursery, meant there was lots to do to make the site suitable for a modern and growing business. In 2010 we installed rainwater harvesting, in 2012 a biomass boiler and in 2018 superfast broadband. In the Covid years we expanded our plant potting and plant storage areas and in 2023 installed new more efficient irrigation and updated our ancient electrics. It's been a labour of love converting the nursery but there is something very satisfying about repurposing and renovating these old buildings.

We've learnt a huge amount about growing in the last 20 years but also about boilers, vent motors, irrigation, logistics and social media. We've developed relationships and partnerships with a network of fabulous growers across the country and across Europe and we still love growing and sourcing the very best plants for our customers each season.

Plants4Presents highlights in the press and on the telly

Now at the grand old age of 20, it's amazing to look back on all that we have achieved as Plants4Presents.

with the hairy bikers Sussex business awards
In the papers 2022 hampton court talk

We now send over 20,000 plants out a year and alongside the busy website, we have run successful open days and talks and exhibited and won medals at countless RHS shows. We've grown and sold organic veg and wedding flowers as side enterprises. We've won business awards for sustainability and customer service and even been on the telly! We've had lean years and bumper years and we've survived snow storms, postal strikes, Covid and losing Alan our wonderful chairman and all round hero. Sometimes when it is so hectic you don't always have time to stop and look back at what you've achieved, but 20 years feels like a big milestone to us, so please forgive our indulgence as we look back at what we achieved so far.

2024 and beyond

19th birthday

As a mother and daughter team, we feel very privileged to still be working together and doing what we love after all these years. It's a long cry from those first few orders over the kitchen table. We now have a fantastic team surrounding us who look after the nursery and the orders day to day and we can't wait to find out what the next 20 years will bring!

Emily, Lucy and Isobel in the nursery together