Throughout 2017 we marked our 120th birthday with a year of celebrations, events and firsts too, even at our age! It was a wonderful year celebrating our achievements and looking back over the milestones that make Notcutts what it is today.
It all started in 1897 when Roger Crompton Notcutt purchased a nursery in a small market town called Woodbridge in Suffolk. Already passionate about plants, Roger expanded the Notcutts nursery, becoming a horticultural pioneer in the process who would shape the future of modern day garden centres.
In February 2017, a blue plaque was unveiled to mark Roger’s achievements at the front of The Old House – Roger’s Georgian home in Woodbridge and the site of the Notcutts offices ever since.
When Roger passed away, it was his wife Maud who took the mantle and ensured Notcutts became a Limited Company. Early in 2017, Notcutts launched its first exclusive homeware range, designed by us in celebration of Maud’s valuable contribution and strong female leadership in the family business.
In 1954, a striking while lilac was created just for Maud called the Syringa ‘Maud Notcutt’. Over the years Maud’s lilac became increasingly rare so as part of our 120th birthday celebrations we launched a nationwide quest for our customers to find this beautiful flower. We were absolutely thrilled by the response to our appeal and are very pleased to say that we have a small number of Syringa ‘Maud Notcutt’ flourishing back at Notcutts HQ.
In May 2017 we held our official 120th birthday party in all of our garden centres where customers could share in the festivities including visits from the fire brigade, birds of prey and even a Suffolk Punch horse! 120th birthday cakes were cut across the country with members of the Notcutt family doing the honours themselves in their local centres.
Throughout our history we have had a very special relationship with The Chelsea Flower Show having exhibited on several occasions, winning no less than 50 Gold Medals for our displays. In our 120th birthday year we chose the Chelsea Flower Show to launch two very special new roses.
The ‘Deben Sunrise’ with its stunning yellow blooms is dedicated to Charles Notcutt OBE who was the driving force behind the growth of our centres nationwide and a leading voice in the horticultural industry, particularly for education. The ‘Deben Sunrise’ rose is named after Charles’ favourite view over the River Deben from his garden.
As a thank you to our customers for 120 years of their support, we felt that it was only fitting that they should find the perfect name for our second rose, a beautiful pink floribunda variety. Over 4,000 customers entered our competition with two people suggesting the same winning name, ‘Anniversary Splendour’.
In 2017 we also undertook a project to share more of our expertise with our customers with inspirational Notcutts Gardens. The first of these permanent display gardens showcased at our garden centres provide ideas all year round and can be enjoyed currently at our centres in Staines, Tunbridge Wells, Nottingham and Norwich.
Our celebratory year concluded with a tree planting in December at a new housing development in Woodbridge, Suffolk. Charles Notcutt was a very influential figure in his hometown of Woodbridge and had a bright vision for the community. The tree was planted by his daughter Caroline Notcutt, Vice Chair of Notcutts and fourth generation of the family.