Setting up a micro-nursery with Sally Gregson

Garden courses

Ref: S1D12563

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About this course

If you love propagating your own specialised collection of plants, or just can't stop making more, this course will outline the pleasures and considerations of running a micro-nursery for profit.

Course Description

In common with similar businesses, such as micro-breweries and micro-bakeries, starting a micro-nursery in your back garden can provide an outlet for your enthusiasm and provide a small income to pay for your passion. Shopping from small, independent businesses is a growing trend, so now is the time to have a go.

The course will work through how to set up a micro-nursery and the common considerations and pleasures:

1. Firstly covering market research and the potential of buyers in your local area, and how to research if there is a demand for your specialist plants. There are also local specialist plant sales, which we will explore online. Winter is a good time to apply to the organisers. Local branches of specialist garden societies, such as The Hardy Plant Society and the Alpine Garden Society also hold their own sales among fellow enthusiasts. Their meetings are good networking opportunities.

2. Word of mouth is the best publicity, so if you can give talks and take good quality photos for slides to gardening clubs and Women’s Institutes, you could take along trays of plants for sale and encourage local buyers. After lunch, you will be encouraged to give a short talk about your own speciality or method of growing. Together, we will cover the equipment needed for talks and transporting trays of plants.

3. Pricing is another topic: covering costs and making a profit. We will mention keeping accurate books, and checking in with the tax-man.

4. Essential facilities, such as glasshouses and garden frames for propagation, are discussed, alongside a standing-down area over a weed-suppressant membrane for finished plants.

5. We will also discuss suppliers of pots and potting compost, and cover pest control.

6. And finally, we will lift the curtain on the issues entailed in expanding and enlarging the business, touching on setting up a website and mail order.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please bring along an iPad or laptop for referring to recommended contacts.
  • Please also bring plenty of pens and paper to take notes, and a sample of the sort of plants you would like to feature in your micro-nursery.


Sally Gregson

Sally has been tutoring gardening courses at West Dean College for over five years. She trained professionally at Hadlow College, and often gives talks to gardening clubs and societies.

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