Garden centre owner retires

AFTER almost 50 years at the helm of Grove Garden Centre, George Wallwin, has decided to call it a day.

AFTER almost 50 years at the helm of Grove Garden Centre, George Wallwin, has decided to call it a day.

Well-known in and around the Retford area, Mr Wallwin said the pressures of running a business together with his impending retirement had led him to making the decision to finish.

"Overheads are continually on the increase and many people nowadays are looking for more than what traditional garden centres have to offer," he said.

"Modern technology is completely changing the industry. Plants are grown overseas, shipped over to England and trucked into the major outlets."

"They are never touched until someone buys them and puts them into their own garden."

"Garden centres such as ours, where we grew our own plants, find it difficult to keep up with that kind of technology."

Mr Wallwin came to Grove on 1st October 1956.

He was born and bred in the Vale of Belvoir near Bingham and was looking for somewhere to establish his own business.

The place where he would eventually make his mark was already operating as a market garden. Some renovation had taken place, but there was a lot to do.

He had always been a gardener and had served a five-year apprenticeship in the City of Nottingham but was looking for a challenge.

Grove appealed to him and he moved in.

For many years he was a well-known figure in the Buttermarket and on The Square on market days.

He was also an authority on geraniums and attended many national shows in the 1960s.

In 1970 he exhibited his blooms at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show.

The years progressed along with the garden centre and, together with his wife Kathleen and family, he developed the tearoom and catering facility.

A keen supporter of local events, he encouraged schools to take an interest in gardening and was involved with Retford in Bloom.

"I am sure our closure will leave a big gap as the next nearest garden centres are a good car drive away," Mr Wallwin said.

"We have always tried to give good service – it's never been just a matter of selling things."

"We have also been there to advise as well."

"I'm sure a lot of people will miss the relaxing atmosphere we have always tried to create."

Mr Wallwin said he was grateful to his staff for their patience and understanding about the closure.

"I would also like to thank all our customers who have supported us over the years," he added.

Both Mr Wallwin and Jonathan said at this stage they had no definite plans for the future.