By far the largest market gardening enterprise in Topsham was owned by the Pyne family. In 1843, Joseph Pyne (1804-1861) rented two small plots of ground at the junction of today’s Denver Road and High Street. He prospered and for over 100 years, four generations of Pynes gardened at Denver Nurseries, Seabrook and The Gardens.
Growing a wide variety of intensive, high-value crops was key to their business. By 1908, they had planted more than 50,000 trees: apples, pears, plums, damsons, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries, figs, medlars, quince and hazel for cobnuts. Their fields were filled with gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, strawberries, rhubarb, seakale, cabbages, lettuces and asparagus as well as various flowers. Every day, workers packed fresh produce into baskets and delivered them to Topsham Station. From there, railway wagons whisked them off to Covent Garden.
George Pyne (1841-1916) became a respected nurseryman as well as a market gardener. He focused on the sale of young plants and trees and developed new varieties including the Upton Pyne apple in 1910, and the Pynes Royal raspberry in 1912.
David Bowen talks about working for Edward Pyne.