The History of Lime Cross and the Tate family

  • Alan and Olive Tate

    Alan and Olive moved from London to Sussex in the early 1940s and purchased the land at Lime Cross Nursery. They attempted to make a living from exploits such as pig rearing and tobacco farming. However they settled on the production of cut flowers. This was successful throughout the 1940s, 50s and up to the 60s. In the 1970’s Alan & Olives son Jonathan joined the business, after working in various nurseries and travelling around Europe with his friends.  Jonathan slowly began to transform and expand the nursery. He had an absolute natural ability for business and quickly took the helm, steering the nursery towards increased production.
    Alan and Olive both lived well into their 80s and had a blast throughout their retirement travelling as well as remaining actively involved in the community.

  • Jonathan & Diana Tate

    The plant lines changed to container grown conifers, trees and shrubs, which were sold to the UK retail and wholesale market as well as internationally.
    Jonathan developed a passion for propagating and collecting conifers, he experimented with different grafting techniques and quickly became known as an expert. He was a co-founding member of The British Conifer Society and contributed to many publications. He discovered conifers here on the nursery and rescued others from the brink of extinction. In 2006 his eldest daughter Victoria joined the business, following a degree in Fine Art and an internship at The Auckland Botanical Gardens. Victoria and Jonathan broadened the spheres of the retail department, building a shop and café. Sadly Jonathan became ill with cancer and after 7 years of treatment passed away in April 2014 aged 63. His life was cut short; however he achieved a lot and traveled the world. His spirit lives on in his daughters and the trees that he propagated.

  • Vicky and Helen Tate

    In 2013 Helen, Victoria’s sister joined the business. Helen studied Photojournalism and Viticulture & Oenology at University and worked in wine production and the wine trade in various countries around the world. Helen and Victoria are taking the business to the next level through their combined knowledge, experience and energy. Whilst big decisions are made together, Victoria takes care of the accounts, plant production and sales. Helen looks after the food and wine, marketing, events and website.Vicky is passionate about cooking and her two horses Peas and Zak. Helen loves travelling, climbing, riding and swimming. Their mother Diana is on site keeping it all moving in the background, generally providing support and advice and looking after Eddie the Jack Russell and the 6 alpaca’s.


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  • Our team is made up of 30 fantastic people. Everyone brings something different to the mix with varied skills personalities and outlooks. Fundamentally we each shares the same ideals and principles; hardworking, passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated. This makes Lime Cross Nursery a dynamic, fun and inspiring place to work.

    Our customers are the most important thing to us, and we dedicate ourselves to ensuring that their experience is exemplary. We are always open to feedback and suggestions to help us to improve and grow.

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  •  Our key focus is sustainability in all sense of the word. We operate as sustainably as possible and offer a sustainable service to our customers. We want our customers to purchase the right product, a product which will thrive for years to come, bringing joy and enrichment. We are not in this for the hard sell. Jonathan coined an ethos years ago when he started out which has become integral within our approach; we would rather our customers walk away empty handed than walk away with a product that will not work for them. We thrive on integrity and honesty.