The Civic Society Gardening Club!

Our indomitable Programme Secretary came up with something completely different for the Society's April meeting. The evening took the form of a visit to The Plant Plot Garden Centre on the Western Bypass. Our hosts, owners Diana and David Muir, provided us with a fascinating insight into the operation of a Garden Centre. We started with a behind the scenes tour of the site, where there are no less than 400 thousand plants, all to be sold by the end of June. Although many plants are grown on site, many bedding plants arrive as miniscule plugs from Holland - thousands at a time each week. Then it's down to Diana and David with their fifteen staff to grown them on to a marketable size. That demands the scientific management of heating, water supply and the growing medium to ensure the plants are ready for purchase.

Diana and David took over the site seven years ago. It has now grown into a major operation, with a strong retail presence, a large nursery, a cafe and a developing allotment site, where David and Diana plan to provide help for those persons aspiring to grow their own vegetables. Afterwards, we moved into the cafe where Diana provided a running commentary of hints and tips whilst creating a hanging basket (one of the 1000 the centre makes each year) with 35 plants and rounded off by making a flower pouch. So the evening produced something for everyone, from the intricacies of running a garden centre, to the subtlties of flower basket design. And the weather didn't let us down either!

Roger Hockney
April 2009