Behind the scenes at Plants for Europe
After fifteen years working in specialist horticulture in the UK, Graham Spencer recognised the need for a truly independent agent to represent the interests of raisers of new varieties of garden plants in the European Union.
At the time, no single agency was providing a service to breeders of garden plants that covered the whole of the European Union and was also independent of producers and licensees.
Growers needed to find new varieties to stimulate the market and make their own production stand out.
This gives them a competitive advantage, but many growers do not have the resources, experience or networks to develop or seek new plant varieties themselves. There was a definite need for an independent agency service to locate and present new varieties to growers, and coordinate their introduction and launch to the market.
Consequently, Plants For Europe Limited (PFE) was established in 2003 to provide the first truly independent pan-European breeders’ rights agency service for garden plants. PFE does not grow any plants itself and is not owned by either growers or breeders.
Based in Sussex, England, PFE is ideally placed close to growers in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and Denmark. By employing the latest technology as well as regular travel and visits, PFE is able to maintain close networks with growers and breeders throughout the world.
PFE also works with other carefully selected breeders’ agents working in other territories around the world. With the breeder’s agreement, PFE is able to use this secure network of agents to enable licensing of plants in all the major markets, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.Our Portfolio
Meet the team
Graham worked for fifteen years with specialist perennial grower, Croftway Nursery, where he built a detailed knowledge of garden plants, in particular Geranium, Iris and Salvia. During this time he helped to found the Sussex Group of the Hardy Plant Society, and also created and ran more than 50 highly successful plant fairs and garden shows at Parham House, Pashley Manor and West Dean Gardens.
As a result of this experience, Graham has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the UK and European garden plant markets. He also has an extensive network of contacts in specialist and commercial horticulture, as well as journalists, botanists, private collectors and enthusiasts.
Additionally, Graham spent three years obtaining a Post-Graduate Diploma in Marketing which has provided the skills needed to successfully launch PFE. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture.
Graham is also available to give talks and lectures.
Helen works part-time at the Plants For Europe office. She has particular responsiblity for promoting varieties in the PFE portfolio to growers and to facilitate contact between growers of finished plants and licensed suppliers of young plants and propagation material.
Helen has had a diverse career that has provided her with the experience and tools necessary for life with PFE. Her background includes working as a senior buyer for a major UK high street fashion chain; as a product manager for a multinational business-to-business publisher; as project manager for an online retailer of children’s clothing; as marketing consultant to a business organising conferences; Helen has even worked for a brewery! She enjoys the PFE garden and all types of plants, with a particular soft spot for “happy daisies”.
Niki joined Plants For Europe in October 2017. She works part-time in our office on contract and royalty administration, as well as helping to promote plants in our portfolio to growers, retailers and the wider world.
Niki has a background outside of horticulture, having worked previously in the City of London. When not in our office, you’ll often find Niki enjoying the local countryside with her family and dogs and getting to grips with her new-found hobby of gardening.