Our story

We have been farming in Kesgrave since 1932 from fruit trees to the vibrant garden centre and farm shop that is is today.

Meet Ruth and Paul

Ruth and Paul run Kiln Farm Nursery together with help from their family and team.

All the team have a qualification in horticulture or floristry or a keen interest in nature, wildlife and gardening.  They like to be able to share their knowledge and help our customers to the best of their ability.  Paul and Ruth could not do this without them.

Ruth is a member of the Garden Media Guild.  She enjoys writing online, including the gardening tips on our website, and has written for Garden Answers, East Anglian, Suffolk Magazine and Horticulture Week.  She has a website where she writes about her love of flowers and YouTube channel ‘Ruth Goudy – the Flower Writer’ where she shares her love of flowers and their folklore. She is one of the ‘gardening experts’ on Radio Suffolk’s gardening hour.

For more information about the talks she gives please see her page on www.ruthgoudy.com

For Ruth the nursery brings together many of the things she loves most, the plants, fresh air, nature, meeting people and creativity. 

Kiln Farm History

Ruth’s grandparents bought Kesgrave Fruit Farm in 1932.  Plums were sold to local wholesalers, strawberries and blackcurrants were sent by rail from Bealings station to Covent Garden as well as other parts of the country and apples went to the Glasgow market by lorry. 

You can see some of the crates and boxes from that time in our farm shop.  Much of the work was done by the family and the labour-intensive harvesting was carried out by local people. 

With the advent of war the nature of agriculture changed.  The nation needed to grow food and cereals and potatoes had greater priority.  

In 1959 the farm expanded to purchase Kiln farm, Main Road, Kesgrave.  That is where Ruth’s parents have settled and worked all their lives. 

Cereals, potatoes and sugar beet were less mechanised than they are today, so the small workforce was assisted by seasonal workers at busy times, several were boys attending Kesgrave High School of which Paul was one. 

In 2002 Paul and Ruth set up the Plant Nursery on a field at Kiln Farm and Paul planted his first 400 Christmas Trees. 

Some customers still remember those first few years when they dug the fence posts in themselves, had a second hand shed as a potting shed and an ice-cream tub as a till. 

They would bring the children in the pram as they worked.  They are always grateful to those loyal customers who have helped the nursery become what it is today.

Paul with a Christmas Tree

Paul set up his own garden maintenance business when he left school at sixteen.  Over the years he has built up a vast knowledge of plants, how to grow them and maintain them.  He is proud to be a member of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association and the Horticultural Trades Association.

Paul deals with every aspect of growing at Kiln Farm. He loves his firewood service and being out amongst his beloved Christmas trees! ”