F. Tate and Sons has 80 years of history as a family business in Ripon and we’re now into our fourth generation of gardening and growing. From a tiny plot, Tate’s has grown into a successful garden centre, continuing to grow many of the plants they sell, as they have for eight decades.
Fred Tate founded the business on a Ripon allotment. Every day he cycled the five miles from Rainton to work on his land. He stayed there until he was able to rent some land on what is now a housing estate on Kirby Road, Ripon.
Fred soon had a thriving little plant nursery going, selling his plants at Ripon and Skipton markets. Soon his eldest son, Bryan, was taking the trips to market with him. And as soon as Bryan’s younger brother Frank was old enough, he was along for the ride too, eventually taking over the market operation himself. Bryan started to specialise in floral arrangements for weddings and funerals using the plants from the nursery, a skill for which he won many show awards.
Tate’s was now very much a family business. None of Fred’s children were allowed out after school until they’d done their share in the nursery, boys and girls alike. The daughters, though, tended to specialise in the markets – Tate’s was now selling at other local markets as well as Ripon and Skipton – and Bryan and Frank’s wives also joined the selling team, an operation that ran for about 35 years.
Frank‘s son, Simon, also started out on the markets, later helped along by his wife, turning his full attention to the nursery and a growing garden centre in 1991.
By then, Tate’s had been at its current site for just a year. Bryan had had to retire in 1985, and sadly passed away in 1996. Brother Frank continued to work in the family business he loved until his death in 2003.
So, Simon, his wife Jayne and his brother Nick took over the running of the business full time. True to Tate’s tradition, the younger generation did their share, and would often be seen serving customers. Nick moved on in 2012, and the Tate’s team is currently Simon, Jayne, and their son, Tom.
The third and fourth generation of Tates involved in the plant world have turned the nursery business into a successful garden centre offering everything gardeners could need to grow the best plants and get the most out of their gardens and allotments.
Tate’s continues to grow – the centre now has a range of gifts on sale – and change with the times and is looking forward to another successful 80 years serving the growers of Ripon and its surrounding area.