A FAMILY firm which has been growing for the past 100 years is marking its centenary with work underway to ensure its future for the next century.

Nurseryman Alan Hill, planted the original roots in 1920 on his allotment at Loftus, between Saltburn and the North York Moors. Back then Middlesbrough had just won the Northern Victory League, Rupert Bear first appeared in the Daily Express – and Alan was working hard growing flowers and vegetables and selling them to local markets.

Fast forward 100 years and the seeds that he planted have developed into the 35 acre production nursery that now operates from a neighbouring site in Stokesley. It’s all been carried on by his family with the third and fourth generations ploughing on through grandson David Hill and his two sons, Julian and Simon.

The main focus now is on young plants, shrubs and container-grown and field-grown trees. Even in the face of the coronaviurs crisis the nursery is carrying on – although it is closed to the public, it is continuing to supply the trade through on site collections within strict guidelines.

With an eye on Brexit staff are also increasing production with a brand new tunnel expansion, alongside modernised under-glass production and automated irrigation systems. They supply trees and shrubs to commercial domestic and public gardens as well as landscaping projects and trade across the UK with wholesale nurseries.

David Hill took over the reins in 1976, steering the business on its current course as a limited company and large scale supplier of trees, shrubs and hedging for planting and landscaping schemes across the North East and often further afield.

With wife Marianne and two sons driving the business forward, David said he is proud of their long standing reputation which they’re certain will take them into the next century.

He added: “We have not faltered for the past 100 years our customer’s expect, demand and receive the best a nursery could offer: a well-planned range of plants and trees in number, variety and size to suit the ever-changing landscaping marketplace.

“We’ve increased growing areas and increased production.We’re really positive, we are not stopping we’re looking forward to the future.”

Son Simon who manages the day to day operations and commercial side said: “Supply chain, stock and batch management and communication are the main focal points of our immediate plans.

“Landscapers demand last-minute stock availability, often in large numbers and across varieties and that’s where we’re at our strongest. We propagate our own plants and plan our production to meet demands. This allows the greatest flexibility for customers, that’s something of a 100 year tradition for us.”

The company is also working closely with the community supporting Middlesbrough Council's plant 10,000 trees in the Forestry Commission’s Urban Tree Challenge and with colleges developing technologies to revolutionise the horticultural supply chain and streamline the marketplace.