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Henleaze Garden Shop History

Henleaze Garden Shop History

Front of the Henleaze Garden Shop
Click the picture to enlarge it.

The document below is produced courtesy of Andy Harrison, editor of the Henleaze Society Newsletter.

John Stenner was demobbed in 1947 having served in North Africa as a despatch rider. Before joining the Army, he had worked for a seed merchants and he decided to open his own garden shop and rented 146 Henleaze Road. In those early days he also supplied nurseries in the Bristol area with materials such as peat.

Quite soon John decided to concentrate solely on the retail side and plant growing. A coal-fired greenhouse was built on the garage side and the base of this can still be seen where the perennials are laid out. He majored on Cacti and this reflected their popularity in the 1950�s and 1960�s.  The business prospered and the shop was doubled in size by taking on number 148. Further greenhouses were erected to the rear and used for producing cut flowers.

In 1950 John had married Vera and she has been involved in the business ever since.  Both their children, Jane and Robert, also joined the business more than 20 years ago, although first Robert got a degree in business studies. For the past year Robert has been running the show but mum, dad and Jane are still playing a part.  A true family business!

It is not just the family who are fixtures.  Many readers will know Mike Baker and have benefited from his friendly helpfulness with their gardening problems.  Mike has been in the shop for 42 years and seen enormous changes. The availability of plants in pots and imports from all over world have been the two biggest influences for change. Before this plants were in seed boxes and roses, fruit bushes and shrubs had to be ordered.

Seasonal Flurries

Mike said that the year used to be a mixture of seasonal flurries of activity punctuated by quiet periods.  Spring was all about bedding and vegetable plants, summer was quiet, the bulbs arrived in early autumn and then there was another pause until the Christmas trade got going.

Today, the business is continuing to evolve.  It has diversified into pet foods and some hardware is now stocked. Recent new ventures are quality garden furniture and the production of their own potted displays. These innovations are in response to changing customer needs.  The willingness to move with market trends coupled with the emphasis on personal customer service means that the Garden Shop should continue to be popular with the gardeners of Henleaze.