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RHS Master Grower: Pennard Plants

Find advice for your edible plants with Chatsworth's Master Grower

Chris Smith of Pennard PlantsPennard Plants, a nursery based at East Pennard in Somerset, was named as the 2019 RHS Chatsworth Flower Show Master Grower.

The nursery specialises in heritage and heirloom seeds as well as young edible plants and fruit and launched a new blight-resistant tomato at the show.

What’s the story of Pennard Plants?

The nursery was founded in 2001 and is run by Mike Milligan and Chris Smith (pictured above). The pair started the nursery after being frustrated with the lack of focus on plants in garden centres.
Initially, they started by selling grasses and herbaceous plants, gradually branching out to include Chris’ interest in vegetables. These days, you’ll find Mike looking after the seed side of the business while Chris runs the nursery.
Pennard Plants sells 700 seed cultivars, of which 95% are heritage or heirloom selections, as well as 500 plant cultivars. 

The Master Grower display

Pennard Plants promoted the benefits of grow your own with its Master Grower display at Chatsworth.

Visitors discovered a walk-through display that showcased the history of the nursery along with a dazzling display of plants. There was even the opportunity to indulge in some tomato tasting and see the brand-new tomato that was introduced at the show.  
“We’re pleased the RHS recognises that growing your own fruit and vegetables is as important as flowers,” says Chris. “We'll show a history of our nursery, exhibit heritage and modern cultivars, and launch a blight-resistant tomato called ‘Cocktail Crush’– a small tomato with excellent flavour.”


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.