Makarewa-based Hayes Wholesale Nurseries produce about
300,000 units of potted colour annually. Taking a break
during their busiest time of the year are manager Cheyne
Mahon (left) and business owner Barry Hayes. Photo by
Barry Hayes grows colour.
He owns Hayes Wholesale Nurseries and is one of the biggest
wholesale growers and suppliers of petunias, Pac geraniums,
fuchsias and Pac perlagoniums in New Zealand, and sells to
local garden centres as well as national chains throughout
The Makarewa-based nurseryman first became interested in the
business when he worked for his parents who owned a garden
He has been in business for 28 years and is going to expand
further with the addition of another glasshouse later in the
''We grow about 300,000 units a year,'' Mr Hayes said.
''We are specialist producers and the biggest growers of
geraniums and fuchsias in New Zealand.''
They employ five full-time staff and one part-timer. Cat Izzy
and Bichon-Maltese-cross dog Puddles are the visitor
The nursery has three huge 1000sq m glasshouses as well as
three propagating houses and a quarantine site, with another
to be built this season.
Each glasshouse has automatic venting systems for air
circulation and shading curtains that open and close
''They come across when they sense a certain amount of
sunlight,'' he said.
Thermal drapes close at night to trap heat.
''One degree outside is like 10 degrees inside and on a cold
day that can be pleasant, for a while.''
Mr Hayes said they also focused on using environmentally
friendly practices. Water is collected from the glasshouse
''We have a holding capacity of 300,000 litres of water,
which we save in tanks to use.
''There is always sufficient for our needs.
''With our new glasshouse we will be able to increase that to
about 400,000 litres or more.''
A boiler system is used for heating and if there is a power
cut there are power generators on site.
Manager Cheyne Mahon said to produce the amount of plants
they needed to meet demand they imported cuttings from
Germany annually, which were then potted and grown on.
When they arrive at the nursery, the imported cuttings are
kept in the nursery's quarantine facility for three to four
months until Ministry of Primary Industries' inspectors are
happy to release them.
She said four or five cuttings were then taken off each
mother plant and grown on and that would happen several
The cuttings are repotted until well-established and then
shipped out to customers.
They prefer to regularly import new stock rather than utilise
existing plants, to remain free of pests and diseases. Mr
Hayes said running a quarantine facility was becoming harder
''We are dealing with moving goal posts so it is not
''The rules change all the time, making it harder and more
costly to do so.
''We have got to comply if we want to continue doing what we
want to do.''
Once the plants had been sent away the glasshouses were all
scrubbed down and the process started again.
Mr Hayes said he used peat bark potting mix made to his own
Water and liquid fertiliser is distributed to the plants
through a dripper system and line feed and through flooding
holding benches. Very little watering is done by hand.
August and September were the business's busiest months, he