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Succulents and cacti on display at the Alexandra Park Greenhouse.

Heritage Open Days at the Alexandra Park Greenhouse

As part of England’s annual heritage celebrations, the Alexandra Park Greenhouse will be displaying its collection of cacti, succulents and bonsai trees next Sat 12 and Sun 13 September. There will also be the chance to learn about the exciting plans for the greenhouse and the ongoing crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to put a permanent roof on the structure. The Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group issued the following release. Words by Lynda Foy, images by Colin Foy.

Retired gardener Eddie Weekes will introduce visitors to some prickly and exotic friends at an historic greenhouse next month.

Pictured, Eddie Weekes with his bonsai tree.

Eddie, a volunteer with the Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group, has grown cacti and succulents for 30 years and he will be telling the public about his collection when the site hosts its Heritage Open Days on September 12 and 13. Entrance will be free and the greenhouse will be open from 11am to 4pm daily.

The plants share Eddie’s flat in Hastings and he has found them to be ideal companions. He said: “All I have is a balcony, and I can keep lots of succulents, rather than trying to grow an oak tree.”

He joined the greenhouse volunteers 18 months ago and belongs to the British Cacti and Succulent Society. He added: “I love coming here; it gets me out of my flat and I have always wanted a greenhouse of my own and now I have one.  I come here every day to water the plants.

“I think the greenhouse is a hub where people can congregate; it’s like a post office in a village where people get together.”

Eddie also grows bonsai trees and another volunteer, Ron Clark, displays carnivorous plants.

Help raise the roof for the Greenhouse

The open days will give visitors a chance to track the progress of the group’s Crowdfunding campaign which has so far raised more than £3,000 towards its £10,000 target. A supporter has pledged most of the cash needed to put a permanent roof on the greenhouse. Money raised by Crowdfunding will provide lighting and power so that the greenhouse can be open all year, re-pointing of ageing brickwork, construction of a perimeter fence, an emergency gate and other improvements.

Donors of more than £20 will receive a cotton bag and an invitation to a party in the park when the restoration has started and Covid-19 guidance allows.

The space has hosted various talks, workshops, and sessions to plant and grow vegetables and herbs, plus events such as Halloween parties.

Pictured, Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter

The project’s aim to be a community hub is supported by Fergus Garrett, head gardener and chief executive of Great Dexter at Northiam.

Fergus, who gave a talk in support of the greenhouse group four years ago, said: “The project has already been a great success, thanks to the hard work of the community; now it needs extra support to take it a stage further.

 

“The greenhouse encourages local producing, local buying, and is also an important focal point for the people it serves.”

Heritage Open Days at the Alexandra Park Greenhouse

Sat 12 – Sun 13 September. Entrance free, open from 11am – 4pm. Entrance via St. Helens Road, next to the parks IdVerde landscape company depot.

Plants will be available for purchase and visitors are welcome to donate their own plants to the greenhouses stock.

Supporters can contribute to the “Lets Raise the Roof” campaign here or learn more by reading the group’s recent appeal.

To learn more about some of the plants to be displayed next weekend, you can also get in touch with the following groups.

The Carnivorous Plant Society – 0983 8121266

The British Cactus and Succulent Society – 01424 755690

Bill and Ben Bonsai Men – 01424 755690

 

Posted 12:56 Sunday, Sep 6, 2020 In: Grassroots

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