Closure of Wallsend Nursery saddens locals

LOYAL CUSTOMERS: Long-time gardeners Pam and Gary Ellen in the vegetable patch at their Wallsend villa.

LOYAL CUSTOMERS: Long-time gardeners Pam and Gary Ellen in the vegetable patch at their Wallsend villa.

A FEW citrus trees are all Pam and Gary Ellen have to remind them of Wallsend Nursery.

The Ellens were loyal customers of the nursery for 40 years until it closed last month.

Mr Ellen, 73, grew up in Jesmond, while Mrs Ellen, 70, was raised in Birmingham Gardens.

Both lived out of gardens as children and were heirs to their parents' horticultural secrets, which they have passed on to their children and grandchildren.

The backyard of their Wallsend villa is lined with passionfruit vines, fruit trees, rose bushes and veggie patches.

For the past 40 years, each season they would go to the Wallsend Nursery and browse for annuals to plant.

"It's sad for the community because it's been there for such a long time and you get to know the people so well," Mrs Ellen said.

"You won't find personal service like that anywhere else."

One of those people was nursery manager, David Peterson, who worked there for 38 years. He attributed the closure to competition from large chain warehouses and online shopping.

The nursery was established about 70 years ago by Wallsend resident Alan Branch.

In 2011 it became Lifestyle Solutions' social enterprise, providing employment for people with disabilities. But a lack of funding for disability employment and competitive retail prices caused the ventures to collapse.

This month, Lifestyle Solutions will reopen the space as a hub for disability services, and establish a community garden.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop