PROTECTING OUR FUTURE
In recent years awareness of environmental and sustainability issues have grown. Throughout the country individuals and companies are recognising the importance of good environmental management.
A history of environmental care and a long-term commitment for sustainability has shown Hiller as a pioneer within horticulture. Hillier policies have proved both commercially and environmentally beneficial and have attracted a number of awards within and outside the horticultural industry.
One of the most successful projects has been to improve water management. Since 1994 all collectable "run-off (rainfall and irrigation) from the 50 acre Hillier Container Nursery has been recycled. A 3.8 million-gallon reservoir and water filtration system ensures the water can be stored and re-used. The scheme has won a national water "Waste Watchers" award and has meant that the unit is virtually self-sufficient.
With millions of plants produced on our nurseries every year, controlling waste in production is vital. Pots used in the production process are recycled as well as other plastic waste. Various biodegradable pots are being trialled with the aim to further reduce the use of plastics. All organic wastes are processed into quality graded soil conditioners.
We actively support research and development investigating alternatives to peat. Reductions in the use of peat as part of a growing media are ongoing with commercial trials being carried out on site one of which resulted in our containerised tree production becoming peat-free. Hillier Nurseries has greatly reduced its use of chemicals to control pest and disease by the introduction of Integrated Pest Management. I.P.M. is the practice by which pest and disease is controlled through the use of biological control as well as chemicals with low environmental impact that works in harmony with natural predators.
Grass is used to cover unused land and is routinely cut limiting the use of herbicides and minimising soil erosion. On our tree nurseries artificial fertilisers are reduced through using a natural approach. Spreading farmyard manure and using cover crops on fallow land such as grass, clover, mustard and marigolds, the latter proving to be the most beneficial as nematodes living symbiotically on the roots avoid the need for chemical soil sterilisation. Hillier Garden Centres serve thousands of gardeners directly as customers through our Gardening Club Magazine and staff appear as experts in talks and lectures, often on radio and TV.
We use these opportunities to promote sustainable gardening highlighting chemical-free alternatives, reduced and peat-free growing media, care and encouragement of local wildlife and conservation. Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond our own operations to include working with suppliers and taking a leading role in industry wide initiatives working on:-
External recognition for Hillier Sustainable Practice
• Waste Watchers Award for reduction in water use
The Hillier sustainability policy ensures best practice in key areas featured as well as
Together we can look forward to an optimistic future for Hillier Nurseries, our staff,