Guest Post: Mires Beck Nursery, their story

With foreword by Helmsley Walled Garden

Helmsley Walled Garden has been buying plants from Mires Beck Nursery for over five years now. We are extremely proud to be associated with this fabulous social enterprise. We hold many of the same values and know we are supplying our visitors with top quality plants at a good price, propagated at a nursery that supports its community in a unique and extremely effective way. 

Do let us know if there are any particular plants you might be looking for. And do call in to their nursery if you are ever in the area. Mires Beck provide us with excellent service so we can provide you with beautiful plants! Visit their website to find out more: 

Back then

Every story has a beginning. Ours can be traced back to a small town in Florida called Marianna, where, in the 1960s a project called Sunland was set up to provide independent living and horticultural training for adults with severe learning difficulties.

Fast forward to Hull in 1981, where Richard Tinklin lectured in horticulture, and his wife Irene was a horticultural consultant. Part of Richard’s remit was to visit local farms and estates to monitor wildflower stocks, and he found that a number of wildflower species were in decline.

Meanwhile, Irene had been awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship which enabled them to travel to the USA with their two daughters for a period of research. They visited Sunland, and were immediately inspired. In 1983, both of Irene’s parents died and it was decided to use her inheritance to create a facility like Sunland, with a focus on wildflowers.

In 1984 they bought a 10 acre plot in North Cave, still the site of the nursery, and Mires Beck Nursery was born!

We became a registered charity in 1994 and the site has expanded to an impressive 14 acres.

Present day

Each week, we now provide work experience and social therapeutic horticulture for over 90 adults who live with the challenges of recognised learning and physical disabilities and / or autism.

As well as full and part-time staff, we have a small army of wonderful volunteers who help us in a variety of ways – from repairing gates and fences to working with the service users, or planting and potting on. Our service users work in teams – perennials, herbs, wildflowers, trees, plant preparation, gardens, estates, and the Anniversary Garden, a special haven for a small number of service users with more profound needs.

Above all, they come to Mires Beck to learn, make friends and enjoy life – like Callum, Karli and Mark do!


“Mires Beck is Callum’s oasis in the desert. It allows him to be an adult, allows him to grow, develop, learn new skills, make friends – most of all it gives a purpose to live his life. We always say ‘Callum’s going to work’.” (Callum’s mum)


“It has made such a difference Karli being at Mires Beck. She always comes home with a smile on her face and says she’s had a good day! We’d be lost without Mires Beck’s service.” (Karli’s mum)


“I’m doing really well at Mires Beck. I’m doing a great job keeping the plants healthy. I think the staff, volunteers and trainees are nice people.”

Mires Beck plants

We grow over 300 varieties of herbaceous perennials, 50 popular herbs, and 100 species of Yorkshire provenance wildflowers.  In 1999 we started supplying local shops, and  now, in addition to Helmsley Walled Garden, we supply garden centres across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, as well as  several National Trust and English Heritage sites. If the label says “Yorkshire Grown”, they’re ours!!!

Herbaceous perennials

One of the many things we’ve always been very proud of at Mires Beck is the quality of our plants. Our 300+ varieties are grown in peat-free compost, as are our wildflowers, herbs and trees, and we introduce new plants into our catalogue every season.


Our 100 or so varieties of Yorkshire provenance native wildflowers are trusted by wildlife trusts, councils, conservation bodies, government departments, and head gardeners all over the country. Steve, our Head of Habitats is happy to give planning and planting advice on wildflowers and trees.


Phragmites australis (common reed) is a vigorous perennial member of the grass family, commonly found growing in damp and wet conditions at the edge of ponds, lakes and rivers.  We grow thousands each year for customers such as the Wildlife Trust and other major wetlands projects.


This year, we are on target to grow over 375,000 trees at North Cave and at our satellite site in Pocklington. There are 29 varieties, all of British seed, and are cell-grown in root trainers. The advantages over bare root trees include better water retention, and faster establishment when planted. The planting season is also extended as the root-ball is already grown and healthy.


We grow around 50 popular herbs – from lawn and sweet chamomile to several varieties of mint. There’s even one called ‘after eight’. Many of our herbs are used by local pubs and restaurants.

Mires Beck Nursery is open to the public every day from 10 till 4 until the end of September. During the winter we’re closed Saturday and Sunday. If you’re over this way, please drop in. Our service users love talking to visitors, so you can be assured of a very warm welcome.

Visit their website to find out more Mires Beck Nursery – Conservation, Horticulture, Plant Nursery, Day Services provider

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