It’s been a busy year in the gardens at Ifield. Since March we’ve planted over 20,000 plants across more than 300 varieties. We’ve built a website, created over 100 signs for the benches and made more than 300 hanging baskets to order. The people we support have never worked so hard or well together. And it doesn’t end there. For the first time we are staying open all year, which means we now have a wide range of winter plants in stock.
To give everyone a break from all the planting we are now making our own Christmas wreaths and winter planters, see below for some examples.
We are now gearing up for the winter maintenance when we hope to be able to rebuild as many of the 120 benches in the greenhouse as possible. Then we’ll be back to planting up in mid-February when the first of the spring bedding plants arrive. We also hope to be having some decorative bowls of spring bulbs available for an early burst of colour.
A big thank you to everyone has been along to support us with your custom, we hope to see you all again soon.
With opening day, May 5th, approaching fast final preparations are well under way in the Nursery. Having overflowed from the potting area we have now filled 1/3 of the main green house with our annuals and perennials, though we still have many more to come before we open.
All of the shade netting is now in place, this reduces the strength of the sun and the potential heat, which last year reached of 50 degrees centigrade. With help and advice from our suppliers we have been able to reduce the growing rate of the plants to improve their robustness and give them a longer flowering season.
We have also added a new notice board behind the till area to inform the customers of our new website and any special offers we may have on. The team are all looking forward to learning the new web based till and ordering system, training begins in April. They have also been learning how to propagate cuttings and to remove any discolored leaves and early flowers. Things are looking good for the new season.
One last addition to the gardens is the building of an ornamental flower bed built from recycled tires. This will feature a frog overlooking lily pads planted with a variety of white lilies surrounded by meadow flowers and poppies.
Another month gone and we’re drawing nearer to opening Day on 5th May. Currently we have around 2000 plants growing nicely despite the bitter cold weather. The team has been working hard ensuring every deliver is dealt with with minimal fuss. The team is now learning how to care for the plants by spotting any diseased plants, pinching out the tips and removing any early buds and flowers.
A new watering system has been installed together with display rails and new notice boards. We are now looking to outside agencies to partner with and form development and possible employment opportunities.
This year we decided to change the way we order our plugs. In previous years we received as many as 11000 plants in one go, this was difficult for the people we support to manage as the seedlings had to planted really quickly. This year we are spreading out the deliveries over a series of weeks to reduce the pressure. So far the results have been beyond expectation: the team has managed to plant everything ahead of schedule without any anxiety or frustration. They have been happy to work at their own with minimal help, often they have helped each other. So fare far they have potted over 2000 plants covering more than 30 varieties.
Much of the internal work on the greenhouse has been completed. We now have a partition wall dividing off the work area from the sales. All of the broken flooring has been replaced with concrete and the raised beds have all been painted to highlight the kerbs for added public safety. All that remains now is to build a new hanging basket stand large enough to hols up to 30 baskets.
Everyone is looking forward to the opening day in May as they will all get to try out the new till system with a its barcode scanner and stock control system.
After finishing the work on the raised flower bed, we moved right on to building a 3m x 3m greenhouse from recycled timbers. This involved removing an old silver birch which was in our way, allowing us to maximize the space available.