Mortimers Nurseries has grown from small beginnings to become the thriving wholesale nursery with glasshouses covering two and a half acres at Harewood, Calstock which it is today. Read on to discover the story behind its continuing success.
In November 1967, a young man, who for as long as he could remember wanted to have his own nursery, purchased two and a half acres of south-facing land with a wooden glasshouse and permission for an agricultural dwelling.
One month later in December 1967, that young man, John Mortimer, met Mary, who was then working on a farm near Liskeard. Mary enjoyed helping John with his first crops at Calstock, and John also enjoyed helping Mary with her yard-work on the farm. After their marriage in October 1970, the 'J and M Mortimer' partnership was established and enthusiastically they set about developing the nursery and earning their living from their crops.
Gradually they increased the glasshouse area and grew many of the traditional Tamar Valley crops, anemones, daffodils, iris, strawberries and beans on land they purchased near the river, and tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in the glasshouses. Lettuce was a very important crop in the early days, sometimes they harvested 1,000 boxes per day. Tomatoes were also a very important crop for many years, but unfortunately the price that was received for the crop was not always sufficient to cover all the costs of production, and the capital overheads.
They constantly upgraded and improved their facilities,and bought out a couple of neighbouring nurseries. During the early 1990s, they made a gradual transition to the production of plants both ornamental and vegetable. Over the years the range has increased in line with changing trends and customer demands.
The glasshouse area now covers two and a half acres, and they are justifiably proud of the fact that they have built all their glasshouses themselves over the years. Some they dismantled on other nurseries in Somerset and Yorkshire and brought down to Cornwall and re-erected at their nursery.
Their son, Peter now helps John and Mary to run the nursery…..his horticultural expertise now rapidly approaching their own! Situated in a warm and sheltered part of the stunning Tamar Valley,and not far from the famous village of Calstock with its iconic viaduct, they like to call it 'Our special little corner of the world'.