A Worcestershire plant nursery has become the first in the county to be named the 'Master Grower' at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival 2024.

Grafton Nursery, the home of both Hardy Eucalyptus and Envisage Gardens, and renowned for its growing of Eucalyptus trees, scooped the prestigious title, given annually to only one nursery at each of the Royal Horticultural Society's (RHS) four yearly shows.

The nursery, near Grafton Flyford, is managed by husband-and-wife duo, Hilary and Steve Collins, both of whom have horticulture degrees from the University of Bath.


Read more: Row at Malvern Council meeting over allowance increase


The couple first began on their horticultural journey in 1984, launching a retail plant nursery and subsequently transitioning to the nursery in its current form in 2008.

Mrs Collins said: "We were given advanced warning that the RHS had given us Master Grower status.

"There was a press embargo until recently but we had about 14 months' notice to turn it all around.

"When you're dealing with plants that have to be grown and nurtured, that's actually not a very long time."

Their exhibition showcasing the diversity of Eucalyptus species is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK and perhaps globally.

The exhibition, which took four days to construct, has turned heads, including those at the RHS who described it as "the biggest exhibit we’ve ever had in the Floral Marquee."

Their daughter, Charlie Hartigan, a landscape architect, played an integral role in designing the immersive walk-through experience for visitors.

She said: "This was a particularly challenging exhibit.

"There was a lot of pressure on the whole team to achieve this goal whilst also keeping up with our day-to-day work."

Mrs Collins' vision beyond the exhibit remains clear, committing to sustainable Eucalyptus tree ownership within the UK.

She added: "We are so honoured to have been given this award.

"It is a huge achievement for the team, even more so because the trees are not in flower at this time of year.

"This mean to us that it's not about the trees per se, it's an acknowledgement of all our hard work; a culmination of 12 years of dedication to this amazing species."