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About Crowders

Here’s a Little About Us...

Crowders Nurseries have been trading for over 200 successful years, throughout 7 generations of the Lincolnshire based Crowder family. The Garden Centre has been trading since 1983, and remains an important business set within the historic market town of Horncastle. Supported by a 120 hectare nursery, many of the plants, trees and shrubs sold in the Garden Centre are home-grown. Crowders success is firmly rooted in our policy of providing the best plants at very competitive prices.

A new branch to the Crowders tree has grown with the development of our e-commerce division. www.crowders.co.uk features a large range of plants, barbecues, furniture, kitchenware, giftware and toys which are available to purchase online and can be delivered to your door! Keep on visiting the site for updates on product availability, new lines and offers, along with gardening hints and tips, which will change just as surely as the seasons themselves!

No visit to Crowders is complete without a visit to The Redwood Café and Restaurant for either a hot drink, slice of home-made cake, or even a freshly prepared lunch and glass of wine. Sit and relax in our stunning grounds overlooking the Garden Centre and our impressive 100 year old Redwood tree! The Redwood is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, tea and light snacks.

History

There can be few Garden Centres in the UK, if any, that can boast an historical pedigree like Crowders of Horncastle. In fact, it is a history which has a proud and close connection with Kew Gardens and Captain Cook!

It was the current owner's great, great, great grandfather, one William Crowder, who began the nursery business in Horncastle in 1798. Interestingly, this was not the family's first foray into the world of horticulture, as William's father and his uncle were already involved, the latter specialising in rare plants.

As William began to expand his business, he rented a further four acres of land from Sir Joseph Banks, the well known explorer and plantsman who inherited vast estates in Lincolnshire from his father. His great wealth led to Banks financing Captain Cook's round-the-world voyage onboard The Endeavour in 1768. This trip was to be one of the most significant journeys in the history of horticulture, as more than 2000 species of previously unknown plants were brought back to Europe. Banks later became president of what is now known as the Royal Horticultural Society and for a time took charge of Kew Gardens in West London.

William Crowder was a shrewd businessman and recognised that the recent Enclosure Act would result in a huge demand for Quickthorn hedging plants, and it was this new business which launched his successful career.

The first Crowders shop was in Horncastle town centre. It was here that William's son Anderson Crowder, learnt the retail trade and literally lived above the shop. Anderson lived to the ripe old age of 80, very old for those days, and died in 1873 leaving the business to his son, another William. It was William who bought the Thimbleby Nurseries, the current home of Crowders.

Sadly William Jnr did not enjoy a similar longevity and passed away just 11 years after his father at the early age of 57. However, his son, William Ashley, expanded the thriving business and invested in more land on the opposite side of the Wragby Road at Thimbleby.

William Ashley and his wife Ann were blessed with two sons, William Harrison and Robert Ashley, both of whom saw active service in the Great War. Sadly Robert was killed on active service in 1917, but his brother rose to the rank of Lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery and was awarded the DSO before being taken a prisoner of war.

The current owner's father, William Ashley Broderick Crowder, was born in 1923 but saw austere times as his father struggled to guide the business through the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s. William eventually took over the company in 1950 but had to completely re-align the business after the war years had seen the Crowder land utilised for food production and the growing of fruit trees. It was William who began the very successful transition to make Crowders a national name in horticultural wholesale and not just a local one.

The Team

At Crowders Garden Centre, our team has a wealth of knowledge, with many of our team members having long horticultural backgrounds in Lincolnshire and beyond. Indeed, one member of the team has been with the Garden Centre for almost 30 years!
All of this is, of course, complimented by our Nursery which has been in business for over 200 years and has its own wealth of knowledgeable staff and resources.