Robert Bolton & Son
Robert Bolton founder of the Company.
Robert Bolton was a professional gardener from Warton, Lancashire he had a great talent for Sweet Pea breeding and introduced many new varieties. At the age of 30, in 1901, he started a small cottage business selling Sweet Pea seeds. As the business expanded it became apparent the climate of the North West was too cold to grow reliably some varieties. As Halstead is one of the driest areas of Britian a new site for seed production was purchased here in Birdbrook in 1907. The business operated from both locations until 1917 when the entire company moved south. At this time the company was a leading grower of ferns as well as Sweet Peas. During the First World War the land and greenhouses where used for food production. After the war the nursery was expanded.
In 1923 Robert's son Tom joined the business, together they exhibited their sweet peas at shows up and down the country, particularly the Chelsea Flower Show winning over 336 gold medals plus other awards for excellence. The Second World War once again saw the land turned over to food production as part of the Dig for Victory campaigan. In 1948 Robert was awarded the Victoria Medal for Horticulture for his work on the development and improvement of the Spencer Sweet Pea. Robert died in 1949 aged 80. Tom then took over the business and his son Robert joined the family firm. All three were awarded the Henry Eckford medal from the National Sweet Pea Society. Their success continued into the 1950's twice winning the Williams Memorial Medal for best exhibit of cut flowers at Chelsea Flower Show.
Tom died in 1972 and Robert took over the business with his wife Christina and were joined in 1976 by their children Robert and Liz.
Above Robert Bolton
Above a display of the wide range of ferns grown by Bolton's, show and date unknown.
Above part of a display of Bolton grown ferns.
Above Robert and Christina Bolton arranging sweet peas for a display.
Above Robert Bolton & Son's stunning stand at Chelsea Flower Show 1953