J. Veitch & Sons

J. Veitch & Sons

The Veitch nurseries were the largest group of family-run plant nurseries in Europe during the 19th century.

The business was begun by John Veitch who established his first nursery at Budlake, near Killerton in Devon by 1800.

As his company expanded, John Veitch relocated to larger premises at Mount Radford, Exeter in 1832. He was soon succeeded in the business by his son, James and his grandson James junior, with James taking over the Exeter nursery, while James junior was sent to London for two years to train as a nurseryman, before returning to Exeter, where he helped his father improve and expand the Exeter nursery, before acquiring premises in Chelsea, London.

By the outbreak of the First World War, J. Veitch & Sons Ltd. had introduced 1,281 plants into cultivation, which were previously unknown or newly bred varieties. In the years to come, more plants followed, though the nurseries were most famous for their orchids.

The Chelsea business ceased to trade in 1914, whilst the Exeter business continued under Peter Veitch (nephew of James junior) and later his daughter Mildred. She in turn sold the company to St. Bridget Nurseries in 1969. It was run as a separate business for a further 20 years, but is now a non-functioning subsidiary of St. Bridget.