Environment & Sustainability

Environment & Sustainability

At Primrose Hall Peonies we take the environment and our responsibilities seriously. Everything we all do in our own gardens and in the nurseries across the world matters so we are committed to being as responsible as we can and ensuring we cause as little harm to the landscape around us as well as the wildlife that live in our fields and the surrounding countryside.

We have put together a number of measures to minimise any adverse impact and make sure we are supporting Mother Nature, allowing her to do what she does best without too much interference from us. We are always working towards new measures to make sure our business has as little negative impact as possible and employing sustainable working practices. Below are the ways in which we are making a difference and doing our bit for the earth. We are determined to protect the environment for future generations to enjoy and we recognise the challenges presented by climate change.

We are also passionate about preserving the diversity of cultivated garden plants and maintain older or heritage varieties for the future is key. We are therefore very proud to be National Collection Holders for Plant Heritage and keep a collection of rare and unusual Itoh hybrids.

Our Team
We have recruited our team from the surrounding community and we believe in providing stable and sustainable employment, working in a friendly, positive and supportive atmosphere. Our aim is to create a sustainable business to make sure our staff can be supported through the winter months as well as in peak season.

Our team fully support our efforts to protect the environment, we are constantly reviewing our practices and operations.

Pollinators – Save the Bees!
Peonies, especially the single cultivars, are wonderful for all pollinators including bees, rich in pollen in Spring and Summer the nursery is filled with all manner of bees, butterflies and other pollinators when the peonies are in bloom. We are extremely saddened by the decline of the bee population and at the nursery we are encouraging insects with bug hotels.

Peonies are not disturbed by the usual garden pests and therefore our use of pesticides and herbicides is minimal helping to support all the natural eco systems on the nursery. We have thriving populations of larks, swallows, toads and newts on the nursery (we also have rabbits, pheasant and deer)

After a 12 month successful trial we have moved all our production to peat-free compost as of autumn 2019. We are proud to be supporting the replenishing of the peat bogs as best we can. Peat and the bogs where you find them in nature are massively important for plants, the wildlife that depends on them and ultimately for us humans too.

These wonderfully deserted spaces with soggy bottoms help reduce flood risk, they also have a part to play in clean drinking water, and store massive amounts of carbon.

Peat Facts:
Peat grows 1mm a year, that is not very much.
Over 500 years worth of ‘peat growth’ can be removed by commercial extraction in only 1 year.
Nearly 70% of peat compost is used by amateur gardeners in the UK - currently using approximately 3 billion litres of peat every year in our gardens.
32% of our peat comes from within the UK, 60% from Ireland and 8% from Europe.

You can purchase a peony from our nursery with a good conscience knowing they have been produced in an environmentally sustainable way.

Heat & Light
We do not use heat to grow the peonies we sell, relying entirely on Mother Nature. Of course, that doesn’t mean to say we don’t move peonies around the nursery; in and out of the warmth, in and out of shade tunnels and dark rooms and in polytunnels and on our field. The nursery is not lit during winter months, we work during daylight hours to conserve energy and not waste this resource.

The peonies we sell are mature and well-established, this means that sometimes plants can be potted for a few years before being planted and at the moment the only viable product and appropriate solution is a recyclable plastic pot. These are sturdy reusable pots which we welcome back to the nursery from customers ready to be used again for the following season. A large portion of our shipping packaging is recycled from either deliveries we have had ourselves or surrounding businesses to make sure we are making use of recycled products as much as possible.

We do not ship our peonies every day, we prefer to package and ship our plants on a few designated days per week to reduce the vehicle emissions and make sure we have a full and efficient collection and delivery system from our courier.

Are Peonies sustainable?
Peonies are a sensible choice for the environment, their carbon footprint is extremely low as they survive for decades with little or no interference if you are that way inclined in comparison to numerous popular flowering plants which may need regular replacing in the garden. They are also in leaf for an extended period of time increasing their carbon exchange ability during the year.

Peonies are hardy down to -25C meaning they can easily withstand our UK winters with no problem at all and actually prefer a colder winter, reinvigorating them for the Spring.

Peonies are pretty drought-tolerant and, in the summer, can manage with less water than some other plants, they do benefit from a small regular drink of water to help the plant develop their buds

© 2020 Herbert White & Sons Limited
version 2020/02.01