Langstone family still running nursery after more than a century
8:42am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in News
A NEWPORT garden centre is celebrating its 105th anniversary.
WHAT began as a market garden with a small greenhouse more than a century ago has been run by four generations of a Langstone family.
Anthony Halse, 52, who believes his family’s nursery PW Halse and Sons, on Chepstow Road, to be the oldest in Newport, is marking the occasion by celebrating its 105th Christmas by dressing up as Santa and creating a grotto for visitors in December.
His great-grandfather Percy Halse started with a five-acre plot and worked tirelessly to create a market garden and put up a greenhouse.
Anthony, who runs the business with the help of his sister Sarah Roberts, said: “Percy built a house for him and his wife, Florence to live in.
“My great-grandfather lived in the house that is now my father’s and I live in another house on the site.”
“My grandfather, Horace Percival took over in 1950 after Percy’s death and ran it for years with his brother Harold.”
Horace bought Harold’s share in 1973 and the business was eventually passed to Anthony’s father Brinley. But a serious car accident 36 years ago left Brinley unable to continue working so Anthony, who was 16, and his brother, Stephen, took the helm.
Stephen emigrated to Thailand five years ago, leaving Anthony to run the business with Sarah.
“My grandfather and father taught me everything from how to sow seeds to looking after plants and passed on his skills and knowledge.”
“We had thousands of plants. He was a rose specialist and grew 14,000 a year and at Christmas we grew 40,000 Chrysanthemums. He used to say when we were as tall as a spade we were given one.
“I remember when I was around 12, we would work in the nursery before and after school, planting and selling. I remember working in the freezing cold, digging , cleaning and leaf picking on our hands and knees.
“I would learn Latin names for plants and always had an inquisitive mind, which helps in this job.”
"The original tomato greenhouse that my great-grandfather put up is still used a century on, but we have expanded to 12 greenhouses.”
“You’ve got to be hands on, it’s hard work but I have the best job in the world.
“I can’t think of another nursery that has been in existence on the same site and belonging to the same family for over a century in the area.”
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