Growing trees in september

1877

The origins of Starke Ayres lie in the later years of the 19th century when the old Cape firms of Chas Ayres and C Starke & Co. were founded.

Charles Ayres, a trained nurseryman from England, established a nursery in Liesbeek Road, Rosebank in 1877. A seed and florist shop followed on the same site that continues to serve Cape Town’s home gardeners to this day. In the 1890’s Christopher Starke – through C. Starke & Co. – developed the agricultural seed side of our company’s activities, which was later to replace our grain and produce dealings.

Growing trees in september

1890

In the 1890s Christopher Starke was involved in the grain and produce business through his company, C Starke & Co. The agricultural seed side of the company’s activities later replaced its grain and produce dealings.

Growing trees in september

1920

Chas Ayres and C Starke & Co. merged in 1920 to form Starke Ayres. Not only did we continue to serve the public of Cape Town as a supplier of quality seed, trees, shrubs, pot plants, bulbs, fresh flowers and a variety of garden requisites, but we were entrusted with the floral decorations for government, diplomatic and civil receptions, the Royal Family’s visit and the 21st birthday ball in honour of Princess Elizabeth, now Queen of England.

Growing trees in september

1985

Our proud heritage continued in 1985 when our company joined the Plennegy Group, a family-owned business which today has more than 3,500 employees serving the agricultural value chain.

Growing trees in september

1986

Over the years, Starke Ayres has enjoyed immense growth and development.

To broaden its genetic base and product offering, the company began its first green bean seed-breeding programme in 1986 and has since expanded to include pumpkin, squash, sweetcorn, tomatoes and peppers as part of its research and development process. Today, 1.16-million tonnes of vegetables are produced every year through the group’s proprietary  seed-breeding programmes; 90-million people are nourished through its three key vegetable seed-breeding programmes, and many millions more through its other operations.

Growing trees in september

1998

In 1998 a subsidiary was opened in Namibia, which served as the company’s first expansion outside South Africa. Following that, the business’s Kenyan and Zambian subsidiaries helped expand its African footprint even more.

Growing trees in september

2020 – present day

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Many industries were affected as most economic activity came to a standstill.

“Starke Ayres was classified as essential services as we are part of the food chain, which highlighted the significance of the work we do. We continued to provide seeds to the country’s farmers and home gardeners so that South Africans could put food on their tables,” says Yeadon.

In a surprising – although welcome – turn of events, the company experienced an increase in sales during 2020 and the early part of 2021.

“We actually saw an increase in people consuming more vegetables, presumably to ensure a healthier lifestyle given the health concerns raised by Covid-19. We also focused on protecting our staff while still managing to supply our customers. It was a daunting task, but our team’s safety remained our top priority. As a result, we continued to operate at record output.”

“We look forward to continuing to take Starke Ayres from strength to strength – enabling us to achieve the Plennegy vision: to grow food and to service those who grow food, so as to feed and nourish the continent and beyond,” Yeadon recounts.

About

The origins of STARKE AYRES lie in the latter part of the 19th century, when the old Cape firms of Chas. Ayres and C.Starke & Co. were founded.

Charles Ayres, a trained nurseryman from England, established a nursery in Liesbeek Road, Rosebank in the late 1870’s. A seed and florist shop followed that was to continue for 45 years. In the 1890’s C.Starke & Co. was involved in the grain and produce business. Christopher Starke developed the agricultural seed side of the company’s activities, which was later to replace its grain and produce dealings.

Chas. Ayres and C.Starke & Co. merged in 1920, and from the Head Office at Mowbray, Cape Town, the company has grown and spread its influence far and wide in Southern Africa.

Starke Ayres continued to grow its vegetable seed business and in 1932 established a branch in Pretoria. In 1985 the company was taken over by Pannar Seed (Pty) Ltd, the largest private seed company in Africa. It developed its own vegetable breeding programme and ranks as a leading national and international supplier of vegetable seed varieties.

Starke Ayres served the public of Cape Town as a supplier of quality seed, trees, shrubs, pot plants, bulbs, fresh flowers and a variety of garden requisites through its retail outlets in Mowbray and Rosebank. The company was entrusted with the floral decorations for government, diplomatic and civil receptions, the Royal Family’s visit and the 21st birthday ball in honour of Princess Elizabeth, now Queen of England. Starke Ayres Garden Center has since established itself as a leading and respected retails outlet in Rosebank, Cape Town.

In April 2012 a second retail branch opened in West Coast Village Shopping Centre, Sandown Road, Sunningdale. Starke Ayres Garden Centre and Restaurant, West Coast Village, supplies the community of the West Coast with the same quality products and services.

Both branches are served by a team of knowledgeable horticulturists and offer a comprehensive range of decor and gardening products to the gardening and landscaping industry. A Word from the Office “We at Starke Ayres Garden Centre are proud to be of service to our community. Ours is a culture of uniformity, trust and loyalty.

“We appreciate your support and look forward to many more years of supplying you, our valued customer, with top quality products and service.” – Garden Centre Management

 

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