Chichester’s blooming businesses are among the best in the country

13 Jun 2024
Jess at sweetpea farm

As Chichester Cathedral sweeps up the petals after another successful flower festival, it is time to celebrate Chichester’s contribution to Britain’s horticultural economy.

Hidden between our coastal villages lie an array of plant growers producing seeds for sale online and Chelsea Flower Show winning plants and flowers, supplying supermarkets, florists, and overseas markets.

One of these growers is Roger Parsons. Based in Bracklesham, Roger maintains the National Collection of Sweet Peas and other Lathyrus, consisting of about 1300 varieties and 70 species. Although not open to the public, so perhaps not known locally, Roger Parsons Sweet Pea Nursery sells about 80,000 packets of seeds a year online.

“About 20% of sales go overseas but sales to Europe have plummeted since Brexit, losing me about £20,000 per year. Horticulture is important to this area and a return to the Single Market would be a great help to the local economy,” said Roger, President of the National Sweet Pea Society.

Roger is supporting Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Jess Brown-Fuller in her attempt to overturn a century of Conservative MPs representing Chichester. Roger first met Jess when she was meeting the West Sussex Growers Association and was impressed with her knowledge of the issues facing growers around Chichester. Last Sunday Jess visited Roger’s nursery.

“Horticulture is so important for our area and access to the European Union is key for many of our local growers,” said Jess, who was brought up in the area so understands how important the horticultural business is on the coastal plain.


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