Walkers Nurseries is a four generation family business in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand that has a passion for producing healthy and beautiful plants. Walkers Nurseries have an extensive range of plants to choose from and they are enjoy helping with all your planting desires. Give them a Call Today On 06 878 4820 if you have any questions and would like a full stock list of their plants.
WALKERS NURSERIES HISTORY
Walker’s Nurseries founder William Henry Walker was born in London England and earned his horticultural apprentice at Kew Gardens. From there he moved and managed a large country estate. But his experience at Kew with exotic plants from over the world had inspired him to other adventures. He moved to the West Indies to manage a sugar cane plantation.
Some years later malaria forced his return to London and restless in 1912 he and his wife and four children immigrated to Hastings, Hawke’s Bay. He had been enticed by an offer to be a foreman in a large New Zealand fruit tree nursery called Hortons. William Walker is on the left in the photo seen with Mr Eric Coulson who lost his life soon after fighting at the First World War.
Horton’s employed over two hundred staff and grew over one million fruit trees. The nursery was at Twyford, just to the west of Hastings. The tree rows ran about a mile being the length of the famous Oak Avenue. Horton’s shipped the trees to South America and Australia. At the outbreak of the war the ships were commandeered and Horton’s went out of business as it could not dispatch the stock.
Walker’s Nurseries was then started in Omahu Rd opposite the Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
William Walker introduced this motorised Centaur Tractor to Hawke’s Bay and sold them in competition to the horse drawn ploughing which was then the norm.
His son William Hector Walker opened another Nursery in Karamu Rd Hastings and initiated the suburb now called Mayfair when he later subdivided it in part and established Mayfair Avenue. The photo next below is of Hector in the twenty acres where his son Brian John William Walker grew up. At this time customers obtained appointments and the nurserymen escorted them around the nursery extolling the virtues of the vast varieties of roses, fruit trees, bulbs, shelter trees etc.
Hector was an entrepreneur. He opened a garden shop in the main street of Hastings and another at the Nursery in Karamu Rd. He imported seeds and bulbs and had world wide contacts. As a small boy Brian loved seeing the postage stamps from the strange exotic countries. This is the Karamu Rd shop which is still in existence as a dairy.
William and Hector survived the 1931 earthquake and took part in the 1932 Blossom Parade with a float themed Phoenix. It won first prize. Hector can be seen standing on the left and Henry on the right behind the bonnet of their Model T truck. Daughters Ivy and Dora are to the left and right of the door.
Hector became President of Interflora florists and was a great ongoing supporter of the Hastings Blossom Parade.
Henry retired. Urban pressure and high rates slowly forced the sale of the Karamu Rd nursery block being sold in subdivisions named Mayfair and Tudor Avenue.
In 1963 Brian formed a partnership with his father. They slowly rebuilt the nursery in land in St Georges Rd.
In 1970 they developed a Garden Centre on the frontage left from the old nursery in Karamu Rd.
Brian also established a forty-acre nursery on the corner of Pakowhai and Morley Rds. Here they grew roses, fruit trees and pine seedlings for Forestry and a large selections of farmland.
During Brian's time as President of Hawke’s Bay Farm Foresters he formed many great friendships and was involved in establishing the current EIT through the grounds committee and as a trustee.
Brian's daughter Kate Walker, an avid rose lover, has got things up and going again. She is the fourth generation Walker rose grower in Hawke’s Bay.
Walkers Nurseries today are still delivering beautiful roses to gardens all over New Zealand as they have been for over 100 years.