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Sown, grown and nurtured at home for you

Markets take some beating for fresh produce, and when it's home grown you know you can rely on quality as well as picking up a bargain that's free of middle-men expenses.

Factor in someone who has been doing it for the best part of their life and you are onto a winner. Rachel Leverton is Boston's Saturday Market flower lady. For the past 17 years, she has been doing business from her stall near Holland and Barrett selling not just cut flowers but everything horticultural - from bulbs and perennials to planted tubs and summer bedding with specials such as memorial displays and bird boxes.

And 90 per cent of all she sells is grown at the Wyberton nursery she runs with help from husband, Melvyn, so has complete confidence in what she has on offer to the public.

For Rachel is all began about 50 years ago when her father came to Boston Market to sell roses. She helped out before branching out on her own about 20 years ago, developing the nursery at Mill House, West End Road, before taking on the market stall.

The nursery is open to the public from Monday to Friday, except Thursday morning when the small percentage of product that Rachel doesn't grow herself is sourced. Saturdays are spent on Boston Market and Sunday is a day of rest... except for the summer months when the nursery is open for bedding plant sales. At especially busy times their son helps out and they have a small team of causal workers they can rely on.

"It's all go," said Rachel, who can pinpoint her first time on Boston Market 17 years ago on Easter Saturday.

At this time of year it's all about bulbs, planted bowls, primroses and spring cut flowers. Then it will be all about summer colour with, among others, around 40 different-coloured geraniums on offer.

Rachel said: "These days, on the market, you have to adapt to changes, offer what different customers want and maintain quality. It has changed over the years in Boston and we have adapted to meet the changes. It's a good market to stand on and I'll be last one standing!"

She said many customers were interested to know where their purchases had come from, and impressed to hear they had been locally grown. And, if they want it, they can get free planting and gardening advice from Rachel to make the best of what they have bought from her.