BY APPOINTMENT TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE CONTRACTOR GAVIN JONES LTD SURREY
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CELEBRATING 100 YEARS
elebrating a centenary is a truly amazing accomplishment. Gavin Jonesâ€™ heritage stretches right back to the end of World War I, when Colonel Archibald Gavin Jones returned from battle and bought a small horticultural property in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. I am very passionate about our industry, so to see this type of business strive and grow over such a long period of time is a great honour. The company has progressed and branched out so much over the last century, building a reputation for quality that is synonymous with our business today. Our principles are simple â€“ to champion the environment whilst offering a best-in-class service to our clients, with the intention of building long-term relationships. We are very fortunate to have such a talented workforce and management team who all share the same passion and commitment for excellence that we strive to deliver on a daily basis. We are holders of the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen, which is something we are very honoured to have. I am proud to be at the helm of such a fabulous company, and am looking forward to nurturing the legacy and helping it continue to flourish in the years to come.
Peter Fane, Managing Director
A supplement by
Celebrating 100 years | Gavin Jones Ltd
PETER FANE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NURTURE LANDSCAPES
BLUEWATER SHOPPING AND LEISURE DESTINATION
avin Jones has become one of the most reputable companies in the landscape industry. It was founded 100 years ago by Colonel Gavin Jones, and has since had various owners who have each developed the brand further and continued to build on its reputation. Last year, this was taken one step further, when Gavin Jones was acquired by Nurture Landscapes Group, a company renowned for its quality and – unsurprisingly, given its name – nurturing of its staff. The word ‘acquired’ seems too harsh a word, though, for how Gavin Jones came to join Nurture. Prior to the purchase, Nurture’s managing director Peter Fane would meet every six months with the owner of Gavin Jones, Martyn Mogford, for a pub lunch. “I’ve known Martyn for years,” says Peter. “We’ve
Gavin Jones Ltd | Celebrating 100 years
always been friendly competitors and greatly admired each other’s businesses. It became really obvious, as Martyn was coming up to retirement, that these two privately owned, quality-driven businesses would make a perfect fit.”
AS ONE UNIT, BOTH NURTURE AND GAVIN JONES HAVE GROWN SUBSTANTIALLY For Nurture, this was its 17th acquisition and, arguably, it’s most prestigious. Peter compares it to buying the Crown Jewels, calling it a “one-off opportunity”. Because of this, Peter was determined for Gavin Jones to remain a separate brand within the group and for its history to be upheld. “I think Colonel
Gavin Jones would be very proud that the name is still here 100 years later, and that it is going from strength to strength.” At the company’s head office in Windlesham, Surrey, memorabilia from the life of Colonel Gavin Jones lines the wall, and the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty the Queen, which Gavin Jones attained in 2008, is proudly displayed. When Gavin Jones joined Nurture in February 2018, it near doubled the group’s turnover, adding £30m to its existing £35m revenue at the time. Its office headcount also doubled, from around 30 members of staff to 60, so the site in Windlesham needed to expand. “It was a major operation moving the whole Gavin Jones’ head office from Weybridge,” says Peter. “Fortunately, it’s only 20 minutes away from our site, but we had to
make some big changes. We had to develop the offices and install a purpose-built workshop on site. We had to build new kitchens and other facilities, ready for the Gavin Jones team to move over.” The other big challenge was incorporating Gavin Jones’ back office into that of Nurture. Although the brand would continue to tender for work separately, other aspects such as training, health and safety, finance and sales needed to be merged. “Both companies have their own brand and identity, so we decided that they could sit alongside each other, but the support functions are all run as one unit,” says Peter. As one unit, both Nurture and Gavin Jones have grown substantially. “Last year, to March 2018, we won just over £8m worth of new work thanks to our sales team. We now have 22 full-time members of staff selling grounds maintenance, plant displays and winter gritting, which is incredibly worthwhile. It’s the engine of the business. Acquisitions may become more difficult or expensive to undertake in the future, so the reality is we must ensure the core of the business continues to grow organically.” Peter says Nurture Landscapes Group now has complete geographical coverage across the UK, with 1,150 staff in total and 425 vans operating. Considering the company only celebrated its tenth anniversary last year, this is an impressive feat. “It’s been a fabulous journey,” says Peter, smiling. “The reality,
IT’S IMPORTANT TO CREATE A POSITIVE ENVIRONMENT WHICH PEOPLE ENJOY BEING A PART OF though, is that nobody can do that on their own. I have a great team, enormously augmented by the Gavin Jones acquisition and the other acquisitions we have made. I feel privileged to have bought these businesses in the way that I have, and all those in office and management positions at Nurture have share options in the company, so they have a stake in their future – 15% of the business is owned by the team. It’s important to create a positive environment
which people enjoy being a part of.” In such an important year for the company, there will be a number of celebrations for staff and others who have contributed to Gavin Jones’ success. “It’s our centenary, which is very exciting,” says Peter. “We held a big event at the Garden Museum in June, where we invited top clients, top suppliers, and long-serving members of Gavin Jones to attend. We’re also holding a number of company barbecues across the country for other members of staff, as it’s virtually impossible to gather 500 people together in one place at the same time.” With two formidable companies now working in unison, it seems likely there will be plenty more anniversaries to celebrate in years to come.
NURTURE LANDSCAPES AND GAVIN JONES VAN LIVERY
Celebrating 100 years | Gavin Jones Ltd
1920s & 1930s
The business and reputation for the supply of plants and installation of rock gardens across the Home Counties grown over this period
1919 helsea, 1959
at RHS C st of Dean
Colonel Gavin Jones left the military and began cultivating alpine plants
1948 Colonel Gavin Jones created the Rock Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. This was later presented to Winston and Lady Churchill along with the Pinus sylvestris ‘Iceni’ pine tree
Gavin Jones began exhibiting at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show
2001 Purchased the Woburn Hill Nursery site near Weybridge
1988 Change of ownership as the company is purchased by shareholders
Rock Garden at RH
S Chelsea, 1948
Royal Warrant Plaque,
fter the First World War, Colonel Archibald Nelson Gavin Jones left the military and began cultivating alpine plants in 1919. Nearly 30 years later, he created what is now a renowned exhibit of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 1948, the Rock Garden. Lady Churchill spotted the garden and greatly admired it, so much so that Gavin Jones gifted it to her. The garden was relocated after the show to Chartwell, Churchill’s residence at the time and
Gavin Jones Ltd | Celebrating 100 years
HISTORY now a National Trust property. Gavin Jones also presented Winston Churchill with Pinus sylvestris ‘Iceni’, a dwarf form of Scots Pine, propagated from a natural dwarf he found on the Icknield Way. Colonel Gavin Jones passed away in 1967, and using the strong foundations he had built, the company continued to flourish. It attained the Royal Warrant in 2008 and has won multiple awards for its remarkable projects, including a BALI National Landscape Award for Chiswick Park, which Nurture
Landscapes – the parent company of Gavin Jones since early last year – now maintains. At its new site in Windlesham, there are glass cabinets dedicated to the rich history of Gavin Jones. A plethora of war medals sits alongside black and white photographs – including one of Colonel Gavin Jones with Winston Churchill – and press cuttings of that extraordinary Chelsea experience in 1948. These memorabilia of Jones’ life are a source of pride for all those who now work for the company, a century after it was founded.
Gavin Jones was invited by the Royal Household to be part of the Coronation Festival hosted by Buckingham Palace. The event celebrated 60 years of tradition, innovation and excellence
Acquired Clifton Nurseries
Acquired the Norris & Gardiner brand
Attained the Royal Warrant
Coronation Festiva l at Buckingham Palace , 2012
JULY 2016 Acquired Kent-based grounds maintenance contractor Turfsoil
2013 Grand Award winner at the BALI National Landscape Awards
Joined the Nurture Landscapes Group
In 2017, staff from Gavin Jones accompanied Chris Sutcliffe from Chartwell to visit the Pinus sylvestris ‘Iceni’ at Kew. This was the only remaining specimen of the tree, as the tree at Chartwell did not survive. They sent cuttings to the National Trust’s Plant Conservation Centre in Devon, hoping to plant a replacement at Chartwell this summer as part of Gavin Jones’ centenary celebrations.
Celebrating 100 years | Gavin Jones Ltd
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GROUNDS MAINTENANCE T
he client base of Gavin Jones’ grounds maintenance team is enviable. With the Royal Warrant proudly displayed on its wall, Gavin Jones maintains royal palaces and three royal parks – Bushy, Greenwich and Richmond – all three have Green Flag status. The company also undertakes MOD and military contracts, maintaining the grounds of the five main Southern Army Garrisons through a contract with Aspire Defence. The grounds maintenance division makes up two-thirds of the business overall, with more than 400 staff. Approved by the Arboriculture Association, the business offers a range of services, employing tree surgeons, surveyors and environmental experts.
ASPIRE DEFENCE, HAMPSHIRE Gavin Jones’ contract with Aspire Defence on behalf of the MOD covers the five main southern army garrisons, including work on the accommodation blocks, the communal garrison areas and cemeteries which are maintained to War Graves Commission standards. The company will also carry out the aftercare of a number of sports pitches, including an athletics stadium. The team won the IOG Industry Award for Public Sector Sport Ground Team in 2018. A large team works on the Aspire Defence contract, including arborists, officers’ gardeners, sports turf groundsmen and skilled horticulturists, and a significant investment was made in the latest machinery to care for the 1200 hectares of grass areas.
BLUEWATER SHOPPING & LEISURE, KENT Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Bluewater shopping centre in Kent boasts 150,000m2 of retail space, seven lakes and 50 acres of landscape. Its focus is on biodiversity, with 4 hectares of wildflower meadow and around one million trees, all looked after by the Gavin Jones team, alongside the aftercare of the remaining acreage. Impressively, zero waste from the site goes to landfill and Bluewater has achieved Green Flag Award status for the past four years.
Celebrating 100 years | Gavin Jones Ltd
LANDSCAPE CONSTRUCTION G
avin Jones is renowned for its high-quality projects that range from podium landscapes to public realms to private gardens, ranging in value from the tens of thousands to the multi-millions. The team is extremely skilled in both hard and soft landscaping and can offer a full design and build service, from concept to completion. Gavin Jones also has a wealth of experience in regeneration and restoration, such as its prolific work at Walpole Park.
BUCKLER’S PARK, BERKSHIRE IN PROGRESS
Emerging in a picturesque setting, Buckler’s Park in Crowthorne, Berkshire, is a spectacular property development by Legal and General. It is built on the site of the former Transport Research Laboratory and once complete, there will be 1,000 contemporary homes surrounded by a captivating landscape. Whilst phases one and two of the housebuilding are now underway, the Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) has opened to the public, with viewing platforms designed by landscape architects Macgregor Smith. Gavin Jones has been on the site for over a year, mostly using its soft landscaping expertise to ensure the development lives up to the high expectations. The team has even hired a full-time ranger for residents to feel safe and secure.
WALPOLE PARK, EALING
Walpole Park has been open to the public for over a century. The Grade-II listed park is included in the English Heritage register for parks and gardens of special historic interest, and so it seems only fitting that Gavin Jones was asked to restore the magnificent site in 2013. The Heritage Lottery Fund pledged £2.9m to the project, which was led by architects Jestico and Whiles and landscape architects J&L Gibbons. Part of the work included rebuilding a pond using a reinforced concrete design and natural stone cladding. The project went on to win the BALI National Landscape Award for a Restoration and Regeneration Scheme in 2015, and the Gavin Jones team recently returned to the site to complete the landscaping around Pitzhanger Manor, which stands on the north east side of the park.
10 Gavin Jones Ltd | Celebrating 100 years
WINTER GRITTING T
AIRBUS SITE, BRISTOL Spanning 80,000 sqm, Airbus’ site in Filton near Bristol is one of the largest sites to be maintained by Nurture Landscapes’ gritting division. The team was brought on board in 2016. Up until this point, the winter gritting and snow clearance had been carried out in-house, taking staff away from other tasks and leading to hefty overtime costs. Nurture was called in by CBRE, which carries out the facilities management for Airbus, and implemented site specific forecasting systems, enabling the team to be proactive to weather conditions. CBRE and Airbus now receive daily alerts for gritting throughout the cold season, with the ability to cancel a visit if salt is already on site.
hrough Nurture Landscapes, a full winter gritting and snow clearance service is offered across the UK, either as part of an existing maintenance contract or as a separative service. Its fleet of around 250 vehicles provides winter maintenance to more than 4,000 sites nationwide, with its 55 depots each storing more than 2000 tonnes of loose salt. Nurture’s bespoke Ice Master system receives daily weather forecasts from the Met Office, automatically activating gritting jobs where necessary and informing the operator as well as the client. This highly accurate forecast allows Nurture to provide a fast response and avoid surplus gritting.
PLANT DISPLAYS T
hrough its sister company Nurture Landscapes, Gavin Jones can offer a variety of plant display services, from interior and exterior planting and living walls to hanging baskets and floristry. The team also installs and decorates Christmas trees, later dismantling them and recycling them into compost. The majority of its planting is hydroculture, and therefore peat free and environmentally friendly.
SMARKETS, LONDON The team installed a spectacular green wall at betting exchange Smarkets’ headquarters in London. The award-winning installation measures 17.8m2, including a reservoir designed to fit the space. With more than 800 plants, including Chlorophytum and Philodendron, the biophilic design brings a number of benefits to the workplace, including purifying the air, and the installation was completed in just one day.
Celebrating 100 years | Gavin Jones Ltd 11
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POTTERS FIELD PARK
he future is very bright,” says Peter Fane, without a hint of doubt in his voice. This is hardly surprising. The combined turnover of Nurture Landscapes Group last year was £72m, and the company is on track to reach £82m by the end of the next financial year. When Pro Landscaper spoke to Peter last year, not long after Nurture acquired Gavin Jones, he said: “We could happily grow £10m a year, we have that momentum now – and the reputation, which is enhanced by Gavin Jones.” Turns out he was right, and the successes of Nurture are more than
The Future.indd 13
WE WANT TO KEEP THE GAVIN JONES BRAND ALIVE, FOR IT TO STILL BE HERE ANOTHER 100 YEARS DOWN THE LINE admirable for a company which only last year celebrated a decade since it was founded. It was in its tenth year that Nurture acquired Gavin Jones, a company with nearly 100 years of history at the time. It’s because of this rich heritage that Gavin Jones will continue to operate as a separate
brand, retaining its scrupulous reputation and, of course, the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty the Queen. Going forward, business will continue as usual, other than a slight change to the landscape construction side of the business to ensure stability, regardless of the state of the economy. “Landscape construction is £13m of our turnover,” explains Peter. “We’re happy with that share because the construction side can be here today, gone tomorrow with the economy. It tends to be higher risk. My job is to reduce our risk profile, to be careful to ensure that the
Celebrating 100 years | Gavin Jones Ltd 13
areas that have a higher risk become a smaller percentage of the total pot over time. “So, we want landscape construction to be a service to our grounds maintenance side, for half of the work to come from existing clients who are always looking for £100k plus worth of extra development on their business park, for example.”
FUNDAMENTALLY, WE LIKE ONGOING REVENUE, AND THAT MEANS MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS
©The Royal Parks
It is the grounds maintenance aspect of Gavin Jones, including arboriculture, which Peter is looking to strengthen, along with the two other divisions which form part of the Nurture Group – plant displays and winter gritting. “As we build the grounds maintenance side, the winter gritting grows with it. More and more enquiries come in which encompass both services and they’re increasingly tendered together. We’re also keen to grow the MOD and air force contracts as well as the parks and palaces.
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14 Gavin Jones Ltd | Celebrating 100 years
The Future.indd 14
Fundamentally, we like ongoing revenue, and that means maintenance contracts.” It is also likely to include more acquisitions for Nurture Landscapes Group. Gavin Jones was its 17th acquisition, and it has since purchased a further two companies – Grace Landscapes and Enterprise Plants, the latter of which has enhanced its interior planting service. However, Peter also expects the company to expand through organic growth, and this shows no sign of slowing. “My wife always reminds me that the goal when we first started Nurture was to reach £10m in sales.” Gavin Jones is a strong addition to the already formidable Nurture Landscapes Group, and Peter is eager to continue the brand’s legacy. “We know what we’re going to do with the brand – keep it the same. We have moved some of the corporate B2B and interior plant work out of Gavin Jones and into Nurture, but we want to keep the Gavin Jones brand alive, for it to still be here another 100 years down the line.”
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DIRECTORS PETER FANE
MANAGING DIRECTOR, NURTURE LANDSCAPES GROUP
LANDSCAPE CONSTRUCTION DIRECTOR, GAVIN JONES
GROUNDS MAINTENANCE DIRECTOR, GAVIN JONES
How long have you worked for Gavin Jones? Since taking them over on 1 February 2018.
How long have you worked for Gavin Jones? 23 years.
What has been your proudest moment working for the company? Day one – meeting the team, seeing the sites, and confirming how lucky we were to have Gavin Jones as part of the Nurture family.
What has been your proudest moment working for the company? Being part of the Olympic Park construction, working on two BALI Grand Award projects, Chiswick Park and a private garden in Ascot. Nurture now maintains Chiswick Park too.
What has been the biggest learning curve? The businesses were similar in many ways; in terms of their family feel and being privately owned, but they had different cultures and these have taken time to interweave. It has taken a year for this to happen properly, and both businesses have learnt from the other.
What has been the biggest learning curve? When CDM regulations were stepped up in 2007, there was suddenly a lot of extra work before starting on site. Bill [Davidson] and I had to learn the process and roll it out at Gavin Jones.
How would you describe Gavin Jones in three words? A quality player. What is the one thing you think would make the horticulture industry better? Trying to stop under-pricing, otherwise there is this ‘drive’ to the bottom. If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? I’ve been a horticulturist since 1987, so I’m not sure. I’m more of a businessman than a horticultural expert, but I’ve been fortunate to pair with brilliant people in the industry who are now part of the Nurture family.
Meet the Directors.indd 17
How would you describe Gavin Jones in three words? Quality, heritage, caring. What is the one thing you think would make the horticulture industry better? I worry about the perception of it at a younger age. There are strategies to change this, but until you hear about opportunities in the industry, like working on the Olympic Park, you wouldn’t give it a second thought.
How long have you worked for Gavin Jones? Since 2006, so 13 years. What has been your proudest moment working for the company? Being invited to join the board of directors at Gavin Jones as grounds maintenance director. What has been the biggest learning curve? Organic growth strategy and opportunities, developing the business and people development. How would you describe Gavin Jones in three words? Quality, quality, quality. What is the one thing you think would make the horticulture industry better? More recognition for the industry to encourage the next rising stars to shine. If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? Professional gambler.
If you weren’t in the horticulture industry, what would you be doing? I started working in architecture, so I like to think I’d still be there or doing something else in construction.
Celebrating 100 years | Gavin Jones Ltd 17
TESTIMONIALS Gavin Jones hears back from clients about its prestigious work across the country
“Murdoch Wickham has worked closely with Gavin Jones on two major, strategic projects in recent years, namely Longcross North in Surrey, and Arborfield Barracks in Berkshire. “These significant infrastructure projects demanded a high degree of contracting expertise. They included the planting of very large semi mature trees, along with areas of high quality planting, including formal areas set alongside zones of complex native planting and wildflower meadows. “We are always pleased to have Gavin Jones implement our designs as they are both reliable and competent, placing them within the mix of our best UK landscape contractors.” Clive McDonnell, Murdoch Wickham
“Gavin Jones has been working with Chiswick House and Gardens Trust for five years as part of a ten-year contract. We have an amazing partnership, which has played a part in us winning the Heritage Park & Garden of the Year in London in Bloom three years in a row. The team has been professional, carrying out high standards of horticulture, and it has been a valuable partnership for us. I would recommend them as a contractor to other employers.” Geraldine King, Chiswick House and Gardens Trust
18 Gavin Jones Ltd | Celebrating 100 years
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“Gavin Jones is a contractor we trust with the execution of our designs. Their understanding of the soft and hard landscape detailing ensures that the project is delivered to a highgrade quality. Combined with care during both the construction stage and post construction, means the landscapes created thrive. They are able to adapt their team to different types of projects from private gardens to large commercial developments. We regard Gavin Jones as one of the best landscape contractors in the country.” Kurosh Davis and Shankar Kothapuram, Tom Stuart-Smith
“Bluewater opened on the 16 March 1999, and has evolved creating an iconic and clearly differentiated retail and leisure destination. A key aspect of this differentiation is Bluewater’s unique and diverse natural setting of 50 acres of parkland and seven lakes. Since 2004, Gavin Jones has been very much a part of the Bluewater team, responsible for maintaining and developing this large and complex natural environment into the beautiful landscape we see today. While their hard work and expertise has often been rewarded over the years through the winning of many high-profile industry awards, the true measure of their success is the positive feedback from thousands of guests, who experience and enjoy our outside spaces every day. A big thank you to the Gavin Jones team for all their hard work, expertise and enthusiasm over the years in helping to make Bluewater such a special place.” Robert Goodman, Bluewater
“Gavin Jones has completely transformed the way we work. It is the third contractor we’ve had to carry out our grounds maintenance. The others have been large companies - a similar size to Gavin Jones, but have never provided the quality of service that Gavin Jones provides. It is vastly different. Gavin Jones has been so helpful – advising, encouraging and supporting our community initiatives. It’s been superb, and has been very much like a partnership agreement, even though it’s not one. I would 100% recommend Gavin Jones to anyone.” Glenn Roberts, Cardiff Metropolitan University
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HEAD / SOUTH OFFICE Nursery Court, London Road, Windlesham, Surrey, GU20 6LQ Tel: 0800 755 5265
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Celebrating 100 years | Gavin Jones Ltd 19
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