Duncan & Davies began in 1898 when Mr James Duncan began a nursery in New Plymouth growing hedging, shelter, fruit trees and a few shrubs. In 1901 he was joined by a young apprentice Victor Davies.
In 1910, Mr Davies was taken on as a partner. The firm was known as Duncan and Davies Nurserymen, New Plymouth. In 1914 Mr Duncan became seriously ill; the business was then formed into a private company known as Duncan and Davies Ltd, with an equal share being held by each partner. Mr Duncan died later that year.
Victor Davies served in France during the first world war, during this time the business was managed by his brother Mr Bob Davies and his secretary Miss Dorothy Ruebe.
Upon his return from France he married Miss Ruebe and they continued to work in the business while raising their 5 children. In 1946 they purchased the Duncan family shares in the business and became the sole owners. Duncan and Davies became known for quality and the vast range of plants that were offered. Victor Davies became one of New Zealand’s foremost horticulturalists releasing many new cultivars onto the market. A strong feature of the business was the export trade which was run alongside a strong mail order division servicing the home gardener throughout New Zealand and the wholesale division which serviced retail garden centres throughout the country. It was during this period that the name Duncan and Davies became synonymous with gardening in New Zealand.
In the early 1980s the company passed into corporate ownership and went through various incarnations before being purchased by Elliot and Peter Groves in 2005. The Groves brothers already owned and operated the highly successful export tree business “The Stepping Stones Nursery” on an adjacent site and the two companies became one, operating under The Stepping Stones banner. Although not active in the New Zealand market during 2004-2008 the name of Duncan & Davies has retained a place in the hearts and minds of many New Zealand gardeners as is evidenced by the many telephone enquiries for plants received every year.
With the changing market place it is timely that Duncan and Davies once again reclaim a place in the New Zealand market offering deciduous trees via the internet.