Published: 06:00, 30 August 2019
Paul Kennett was just 14 when he started as a Saturday boy at the Meadow Grange Nursery at Blean.
But he went on to take over the business and run it for the next 53 years.
And if you've ever admired the colourful flowerbeds adorning the district’s parks and gardens, then you have him and wife Jacky Kennett to thank.
Because Paul and his team grow about a million bedding plants a year for the local authority and other customers.
That’s quite an achievement for someone who confesses to not being a particularly enthusiastic gardener.
“I’m afraid the brambles have taken hold in our garden, but I’m at the nursery seven days a week,” he said.
But now at the ages of 73 and 72 respectively, they have decided to retire and have handed over the 10-acre site to new owners to continue to grow and develop.
“In some ways I’m not ready to give it up,” says Paul.
“But the time has come for someone to inject some new energy, and drive it forward.
“We got planning permission for a tea room but never got round to it, but that is something the new owners will be looking at.”
Those taking the reins are Christine Buchan and her two sons, Wayne and Ross, who are a local farming family.
"In some ways I'm not ready to give it up... but the time has come for someone to inject some new energy and drive it forward" - Paul Kennett
And Christine is already very familiar with the business having worked for Paul as his plant production manager for 11 years.
“We know we are handing it on to a safe pair of hands and someone who is passionate about it, and that’s important for us and our customers,” said Jacky, who worked on the accounting side of the business.
“We are also still helping out during the handover, briefing them on the retail side of the operation.”
Paul admits he is not quite sure what he will do with himself in retirement.
“I know I will miss the place and the customers and the banter,” he said.
“But I’m not one for golf or anything like that.
“As our house next door comes as part of the package, we are now looking for a new home.
“My perfect place would be somewhere where I could create a nature reserve.”