A Tour of I Want Trees
Every day I walk my dog from Hale to Ashley past a lush field bordering the River Bollin. As you can in the photograph above, It’s a beautiful spot. A few years ago, I watched a group of deer grow into maturity there. In the last couple of years it has been annexed by a local family business, I Want Trees, which is based just around the corner in Coppice Farm Barn on Ashley Mill Lane. The field is now used for displaying mature trees and, being a bit of tree fan, I have really enjoyed seeing the beautiful and varied specimens.I was also a keen observer of the renovation of Coppice Farm Barn. Being a nosey type I was delighted to have the opportunity to have a proper look around with Richard Rowlands, Managing Director. The barn looked very dilapidated for many years but, after a sympathetic conversion, it is now the business’s showroom for private and commercial clients. The interior of the barn reflects its origin as an ancient agricultural building with magnificent supporting beams which date back to the 1530s. Some beams are even older, according to Richard, with experts suggesting that they were recycled from an earlier structure.
The historic barn has been transformed into a beautiful showroom
Richard’s parents set up the business over forty years ago. I Want Trees moved to the barn in 2009 and is now the North West’s leading horticultural display company. To be honest I was astonished at the scope and size of the business being masterminded from this relatively small site.
I Want Trees is the part of the business that provides services to private clients. Richard can provide an instant garden with hedges and trees up to 10 metres in height which can hide new developments or provide privacy. The website here contains pictures of the company’s amazing garden redevelopment projects. You may remember that the I Want Trees team created a beautiful low maintenance garden for Elizabeth Hardy in Bowdon, who won a garden makeover in a recent competition. Read more here.
Elizabeth with the I Want Trees team in her new garden
Richard took us down into the tree field in the buggy he uses to get around the site. Espalier pear trees from Holland, Japanese acers and holly trees are amongst the most popular varieties. Richard explained that holly is often used for the topiary which is increasingly popular. I’m certainly seeing more and in gardens around the area.
I Want Plants provides corporate customers with horticultural displays for work spaces and restaurants – either real or replica. Richard showed us around the busy preparation area and the tropical house full of lilies and huge banana plants. Living green walls are very popular with business clients and we were really impressed by the ingenious automatic irrigation system that makes them possible. Richard sources the pumps in Holland which seems to be the place where many horticultural innovations originate.
Richard amongst the tropical plants
This side of the business has some big-name clients including Living Ventures which owns the Gusto chain. Recently, the company won the contract to provide displays for all the Gusto restaurants nationwide. Richard showed us the signature olive tree with lights feature that has been created for the chain. You can also see the team’s fantastic horticulture displays in The Alchemist, Artisan, Australasia and Grand Pacific in Manchester city centre.
However, one of their wilder projects was to provide the vegetation for the Dinosaur exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester! The team also creates amazing festive arrangements for both private and corporate clients. You may have seen their sparkling display at Fox Restaurant in Hale Barns last Christmas.
One of the company's more unusual projects!
Apart from the team caring for the plants at the Ashley site, Richard also has a 25-person team who keep plants on clients’ premises in tip top condition. Most of their work is in the Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Birmingham triangle but I Want Plants is frequently approached by companies in London. Even factoring in travel expenses they can still beat London based competitors on both price and quality.
The less glamorous side of the business - heavy machinery and storage
In fact, Richard’s trees get everywhere. When you take the kids to Chester Zoo this summer you may find some of his trees in the monkey enclosure as trees that have served their purpose in displays are donated to the zoo to provide animal habitat!
Some highly evolved vegetation at I Want Trees!