As we approach our 50th Golden Anniversary in 2006, the nursery over the years has built up an enviable reputation world wide as innovators and introducers to cultivation a miriad of interesting plants. This stems from our skill as propagators, and our ability to spot new plants of merit seen in our own and in other establishments around the world, and to realise that they have commercial potential.

' Tango'

Following on from 35 years work at Abbey Brook, on the hybridisation of the genus Echinopsis, 110 new cultivars have been selected and named from over 150,000 seedlings we have flowered. These new cultivars now form one of the N.C.C.P.G. National Collections. Amongst these ‘Ruffles’ is outstanding, nothing like it having been produced anywhere else in the world. We are also credited with producing a wider range of flower colours and combinations than any one else, and the first yellow flower in the Trichopsis group.


Crassula ‘Springtime’ was spotted in a nursery in California, which led to our own sports ‘Silver Springtime’ and ‘Red Springtime’. Opuntia monacantha f monstruosus variegata was first seen in 1980 at the Pedro Braso nursery in Spain. This is now widely propagated and available. The Indian form of Kalanchoe calycinum F.& B.4100 introduced by us in 1981, is now in commercial production in Holland and now available as a Garden Centre house plant, as is Pachyphytum ‘Capt. Jessop’ another of our introductions.

Crassula 'Springtime'

We have also introduced from Kew Gardens, Dr. Peter Brandham’s Aloe and Gasteria hybrids with the widespread distribution of for example ‘Sherman Hoyte’ and ‘El Supremo’. Aloe ‘Michael Fearn’ and Pachyphytum ‘Mrs. Coombes’ are just two of many hybrids synthesised by Mrs. Coombes and distributed by Abbey Brook.

Our own introductions have been legion. The first of these was introduced in the early 1960’s – the yellow flowered Chamaelobivia ‘Abbey Brook’ the red flowered ‘Matlock Firecracker’ and the purple flowered hybrid of Mammillaria elongata’. Then followed a number of Haworthia hybrids and cultivars such as ’Marie’, ‘Les Pearcy’, ‘Brian Fearn’, and ‘Green Giant’. Recent introductions include Mammillaria ‘Darley Star’, and the variegated form of Sedum x Graptopetalum ‘Darley Sunshine’


'Matlock Firecracker'

We have also been instrumental in encouraging and introducing to cultivation many Epiphyllum hybrids produced by Eric Hodkinson. The list goes on, and as the Golden Anniversary approaches we are still innovating and hybridising.


In June 2005, we were approached by the BBC to supply plants for the BBC Ground Force Africa Project at the British Museum. This was a garden created to show the range of plants species found growing in all regions of the Continent. We supplied the plants for the arid areas. The project has already been shown on T.V.

The BBC Gardeners World team has already spent a whole day with a film crew at the nursery, for a special programme to go out in the New Year. Brian was featured in the filming, talking about the history of the nursery and its special plants, with emphasis on its six National Collections.


Brian and Gill Fearn
August 2005.


Tel   01629 580306 
 Fax  01629 55852

Abbey Brook Cactus Nursery
Old Hackney Lane