Smiths History

In 1919 an Essex Countryman and Gardener set up a nursery in rented ground in the heart of Grays. His name was Ernest Smith and together with his brother he built the business into a thriving concern growing vegetables for the London markets and serving the horticultural needs of the local community.

By 1930 he had done so well that he bought a plot of land in Chadwell Road on the outskirts of the town to which he transferred the nursery business. He was now joined by his son Edward Smith and the nursery continued to grow and prosper, growing mainly bedding plants, vegetables and cut flowers.

In 1962 Edward Smith visited America where garden centres were already established and came back with the commitment to set one up on the nursery site. Thus it was that in 1963 Orchard Garden Centre came into existence and we can justly be proud of being one of the very first garden centres in this country.

From these beginnings the Garden Centre has developed until it now covers the whole of the nursery site.