Specialist growers local to Bristol
Meet the team and their favourite trees
Being his family business, Simon has grown up at Chew Valley Trees. In the early days he played in the field while his parents were hard at work sowing the first seeds, then earned pocket money by potting up and planting out the saplings. As time went on he began working in every aspect of the business, both on the nursery and landscaping, before heading off to university.
After he finished his honours degree in Economics, Simon moved to Oregon to gain experience working at a U.S. tree nursery. Once he returned he started to take more responsibility at Chew Valley Trees and is now in charge of the day-to-day running of the business.
I find it almost impossible to choose just one as they vary so much and different trees look good in different situations. But if I have to choose just one I would say Silver Birch is a stunning native tree.
Having gained an honours degree in environmental science, Chris worked with various conservation organisations while employed by Bristol City Council. He joined Chew Valley Trees in 1995 and now spends his time designing gardens and running the landscaping department, having built up a wealth of experience over the years.
I’m in awe of its twisting bark. There’s a great example of this at Ashton Court Estate in Bristol where the lines on the bark spiral round almost horizontally up the tree.
Sales and despatch manager
Wendy trained in commercial horticulture at Writtle College. She gained a strong knowledge of fruit growing while working at a fruit tree nursery in Hampshire, so is the go-to woman for questions about apples, pears, plums and cherries. Wendy has been with Chew Valley Trees for many years. She is on hand in the office, running day to day sales within the nursery and organising deliveries.
A small tree with beautiful blossom, great autumn colour and edible berries. Ticks all the right boxes for a small garden.
Sales and Customer Care Manager
Jenny studied Countryside Management at Cannington College and has since acquired many years of experience here at the nursery. Her love of trees and garden plants has been handed down through generations of keen gardeners in her family tree. At Chew Valley Trees she has built up an excellent knowledge of trees, and of their pests and diseases. She deals with most enquiries relating to these.
When in bloom this large, handsome tree clothed with hanging white handkerchiefs is a real picture.
Dale studied at Norton & Radstock College, gaining a broad spectrum of horticultural qualifications, many with distinction, through the RHS and City & Guilds. He joined the company in 2000 and now has over 30 years’ experience in full-time horticulture. Apart from everyday nursery duties, his key role is in selecting and completing customer orders for delivery.
A diverse tree which will grow well in most aspects and soil types, except totally waterlogged. Producing glossy green leaves, followed by large corymbs of white flowers which turn into bright red berries.
Crataegus prunifolia Splendens
Sales and advice
An archaeologist by training, Lydia side-stepped into the world of landscape and nature conservation by way of a position with the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Having returned to the milder climes of the South West, she now advises on trees to add a touch of natural beauty to your garden.
I love the distinctive white bracts that look like unusual petals and last for ages, and the colourful, curling foliage in autumn.
Cornus kousa Chinensis
Having been with Chew Valley Trees since he finished college, Paul is now an experienced member of the Chew Valley Landscaping team and can plant a tree in record time. He is working on his RHS Level 2 at Bristol Botanic Gardens and is happy to answer any questions you have about trees and landscaping.
I love the bright pink flowers – they’re like little bundles of loveliness on branches.
Double Pink Cherry
Marianne has a wealth of experience, including 13 years as a gardener at the National Trust’s Tyntesfield estate. Her first job in horticulture was on a Christmas tree plantation on a remote Danish Island, where once a week she shared a tiny boat with a tractor, travelling to the mainland for provisions! Now she enjoys the challenge of helping customers find the right tree to transform their gardens.
I have a soft spot for the old evergreen magnolias that are often seen flanking the walls of grand houses. I love the rust-coloured undersides of their glossy leaves and huge, waxy, scented flowers.
MAGNOLIA GRANDIFLORA GALISSONIERE
Eddie joined us from Bristol Zoo, where he was Head of Horticulture for 24 years. He describes himself as a plant conservation champion – as well as being a trained arborist, he started the Bristol Community Plant Collection. He has an RHS Gold Medal from Hampton Court under his belt and is proud to have helped clear trees that fell victim to the 1987 hurricane at Westonbirt Arboretum and Nymans Gardens in Sussex. He’s also a Pinball Wizard!
The flowers are glorious. A strong second contender would be field maple (Acer campestre) – a native tree that provides lovely woodland shade and autumn colour.
Katie is an ecology and conservation graduate who is passionate about native plants and trees. She has been involved in tree and woodland planting projects and environmental education, and brings her love of all things green to the office at Chew Valley Trees. Dogs are her other obsession.
Our native hazel supports an abundance of wildlife from dormice to mosses and lichens. The beautiful catkins light up the countryside in winter when everything else looks a bit bare.
The beginning of Chew Valley Trees
David and Julia Scarth explain how Chew Valley Trees came into being:
In September 1986 we purchased 10 acres of derelict market garden between Chew Magna and Winford and got to work, turning what was a dock infested field into what is now the main nursery site.
The reason we set up Chew Valley Trees was the realisation that too much emphasis had been put on planting up new conifer forests at the expense of indigenous native broadleaved species. The demand for British grown trees was not being met and initially, growing native broadleaved trees from seed was the nursery's only activity.
We buy our first tractor
The first major investment in machinery to help with this task was a Massey Ferguson 35X tractor with rotavator and loader, affectionately christened "Maggie". Anyone visiting the nursery today will be able to see that "Maggie" is still going strong.
Start planting as well as supply
Responding to customers needs has always been the motivation for developments within the business. As a result, a few years after setting up the nursery, we decided that as well as growing and selling trees, we would also undertake the planting of them. By 1993 the landscape arm of Chew Valley Trees was taking on large scale projects such as a 100 acre Community Forest wood at Compton Dando and the planting of some very large mature trees at the new Cribbs Causeway retail development.
Starting to do container production
In 1995, while continuing to grow bare root trees in a wider variety of species and sizes, we also introduced container grown production enabling customers to buy trees all year round. In 1999 we purchased an additional 8 acres to accommodate the increase in tree production.
Increasing the range
We continue to grow in our specialist fields of hardy trees, shrubs, hedging and fruit trees. Much of the stock we now raise on site is container grown, ranging in size from 2 Litre - 500 litre pots. Since the beginning, we have been members of the Horticultural Trades Association. This has helped to enable strong relationships, built on knowledge and experience, to be made with other British nurseries with whom we trade.
30 years and still growing
Today Simon is even more involved than we are with the day to day running and decision making at Chew Valley Trees. He has literally grown up with the business being only 3 years old when the nursery began. We have been developing Chew Valley Trees for over 30 years. During those years we have gained a depth of knowledge only possible by working with and handling trees through many seasons and variations in weather conditions.
The main aim of all at Chew Valley Trees continues to be customer satisfaction, no matter if you are purchasing a single tree for your garden or a forest for the future we look forward to having the opportunity to meet your needs.