Mark Wells has worked at Lime Cross Nursery for 40 years this month!
Mark joined Lime Cross as a young lad straight from school with little knowledge of where he’d be today as our main nurseryman. At that time, Mark would catch the bus to the nursery or cycle from Hailsham before upgrading to a moped while saving up for his first car!
As a novice, it was the late Jonathan Tate who taught Mark about cuttings, propagation and mixing compost and he had to learn quickly as Jon was also a fireman at the time and his bleeper could go off at any minute, leaving Mark on duty at the nursery. Mark remembers helping Jon to mix a large quantity of compost on the floor of the potting shed and then using a rotavator to mix the soils together. During this task, Jon’s bleeper sounded and he had to abandon the work to attend to his firefighting duties, leaving Mark to finish the job! Unfortunately for Mark, he had not been told how to switch off the rotavator but luckily found Jon’s dad on site to help stop the machinery.
Mark has a great sense of humour and relates the story about Vicky (now partner of the business) when she was just a toddler, with affectionate amusement. Mark was merrily working one day when he spotted the firm’s van trundling along the path without a driver! He ran up to see who or what was driving the vehicle to find Vicky, aged about 2 years old, sitting in the driver’s seat and heading towards the hedge adjacent to the road. Somehow Vicky had climbed into the van and had started the engine! Luckily, Mark was able to rescue the situation and Vicky was dutifully returned to her grandparents loudly declaring “Mark cross”!
Since then, Mark has been our main nurseryman, propagating much of the home-grown nursery stock including rare and unusual conifers, shrubs and trees; too many to count but probably millions!
He says… “I enjoy working outdoors and take care in my work. Keeping up standards to produce quality home-grown plants for the consumer, including the RHS and Bedgebury Pinetum, gives me great satisfaction. Hundreds of gardens nationwide probably contain plants grown at Lime Cross Nursery and that always gives me a real sense of pride!”
Mark still retains his first ever payslip shown below – how’s that for employment ephemera?!
Vicky and Helen added… “We’re so lucky to have Mark – it seems like he’s been here forever as we have both grown up around him at the nursery! Mark has stuck by us, including through the difficult transition of taking over from our father when he was ill and subsequently passed away in 2014. Mark is so supportive of all the changes we have implemented and trialled at the nursery and, most recently, has even allowed us to take over a huge section of the potting shed for Helen’s upcoming wedding venue. It’s hard to put into words how much we appreciate him and everything he has done for the nursery during the last 40 years. Well done and thank you, Mark!”