Poplar Farm, Old Fendike, Sutton St James, Spalding, Lincolnshire, PE12 0HE
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Who We Are

AboutOur History

Tulips have been a massive part of the identity of South Lincolnshire and Poplar Farm has been at the centre of that heritage since 1960 when Fred Ellis, Andrew’s father, first rented the farm at Sutton St James.

Building glasshouses and cold stores from day one, Fred laid down the infrastructure to produce tulips and many other flowers for the UK market. Andrew Ellis has driven the business forward from his father’s small beginnings, facilitating the year-round production of a range of cut flowers, but specialising in forcing tulips.

Today Poplar Farm Flowers is one of the largest tulip flower producers in the world. This massive scale could not happen without equally massive investment and a fully committed workforce.

MechanisationRaising quality, reducing waste and improving uniformity

Industry-leading mechanisation and specialised automation goes hand in hand with improved staff facilities and a relentless search for better growing techniques and varietal selection.

The first automated mobile benching system was operational in 2005, at a stroke removing most of the heavy lifting and bending involved in filling the glasshouse and cropping. Utilising a greater percentage of the glasshouse area and enabling a fast turnaround of batches, it also reduced fuel inputs. Now over 95% of the total glass production area has been benched.

As technology for handling flowers post-harvest improved, the first Bercomex Furora machine made its debut at Poplar Farm in 2015. These automated bunching machines grade every flower individually by length, colour and quality and automatically bunch them into whatever count is
needed. There are now six Furoras on site, including two Rainbow mixing units which create the beautiful mixed colour bouquets which are so popular.

The combination of Terra sleeving machines and Robotag label sticking units mean that the quality and uniformity of presenting our flowers to the customer is consistently excellent, whilst speeding
the flowers through the packhouse to conserve their freshness.

2022 really took Poplar Farm Flowers into the robot age with completely automated bulb planting. The system from IG Agrisystems in Holland is the first to be installed in this country, involving robot arms picking the bulbs individually, manipulating them so they are the correct way up and planting them in the watertray with perfect pressure and immaculate spacing. This is just the newest part of the relentless drive to raise quality, reduce waste and improve uniformity.

This commitment to continual improvement is what firmly places Poplar Farm Flowers as the number one producer of British grown tulips, supplying many of the country’s leading supermarkets and online retailers. We pride ourselves on sustainable, ethical and responsible growing, creating strong and lasting strategic partnerships with both our bulb growers and our customers.