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Saturday, 8 October 2011

Palmstead Nursery

Last week I attended a conference held by Palmstead Nursery at Ashford in Kent. This is an annual event which has been held for the last four years. Last year’s conference proved to be very thought-provoking and an energising seminar.

Palmstead marketing and sales manager Nick Coslett brought together another fantastic line-up of speakers including Andy Sturgeon, James Hitchmough, James Alexander-Sinclair and Gill Chamberlain.

Andy Sturgeon

Although we had an early start from Myddelton, we arrived in good time with the first speaker starting at 9.35am. The theme of this year's conference was maintenance and the skills required both from the horticulturists’ point of view as well as garden designers. This will ensure that our planted spaces continue to look their best and realise their potential whilst being able to take into account the future development of the landscape.

Much of this comes down to common sense. We are all aware of the skills shortages and lack of quality training providers. It is often apparent that the client requires an understanding of the degree of knowledge and skills required to maintain the landscape. If low salaries are offered this will only attract poorly skilled workers and in turn will lead to poor quality of service. This can only devalue or industry.

James Hitchmough spoke passionately about his work with Nigel Dunnett and Sheffield University on planting communities and how his designs work together due to his research into which plants suit. An example of James's work can be seen at RHS Wisley near the new Centenary Glasshouse. James also spoke about the recent research that has been undertaken in collaboration with the Royal Horticultural Society in its Bugs for Plants project.

James Hitchmough

At the end of the conference I managed to get to the nursery to see the range of plants they are growing. We had a very interesting tour given by Geoff, Young Plant Manager who showed us a range of plants that they grow. We were shown some of the surplus plant material that had been propagated for the Olympic Park.

Palmstead Nursery

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