Expansion in the Pipeline

Okehampton Times, Wednesday 31 July 2013

BOWDEN Hostas in Sticklepath has acquired the business of PW Plants. The company, based in Norfolk, is run by Paul Whittaker and specialises in bamboo. Paul is a renowned expert in bamboo, having won 47 RHS gold medals. He is also a former Tudor Rose winner. The coveted award is given to the best marquee exhibit at the largest flower show in the world, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. He also won the Garden Writers’ Guild Reference Book of the Year award in 2005 for his book on bamboo, Taming the Dragon. In the past, he has also acted as a judge at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The acquisition will see Bowden Hostas branch out in to selling bamboo in the new year. Mr Whittaker will join Bowden Hostas’ team of consultants. Tim Penrose, who runs Bowden Hostas with his wife Ruth, said: ‘If you were to get anyone to head up a bamboo side of your business, Paul Whittaker is your man. There are not many people like Paul left around like this.
‘He is like another of our consultants, Paul Rickard. They are both legends in the business, they almost have the moss growing down their backs.
‘If you can find someone who can talk to you for hours about their specialised type of plant, you know you’ve got the right person.
‘We are thrilled to have him on board and I am really looking forward to working with him.
‘We have been in talks for a couple of years about a possible acquisition, and we have done that now.’

The acquisition is the latest bit of positive news during a hot streak of success for the nursery. The company recently took its total of Royal Horticultural Society gold medals to 73, having won two golds at Hampton Court and two golds at the Chelsea Flower Show. Having Paul Whittaker on board has led to Tim eyeing more prizes in the future.
‘We have now applied for three stands at next year’s Chelsea Flower Show, one for our hostas, one for ferns and now one for bamboo,’ said Mr Penrose.
‘We are definitely aiming for the hat-trick of gold medals, which I am pretty sure has never been done before.
‘It’s the sort of thing that, when you pass on, they put it in your obituary.
‘If we can get the hat-trick, I would be very pleased indeed.’

© Tavistock Times Gazette