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Ray Bates from Rotherview Nursery remembers his grandfather who was the nursery man at the Alexandra Park Greenhouse in the 1950s. Photograph by Colin Foy.

A greenhouse flashback for Ray

A historic 1930s greenhouse brought back happy memories for nurseryman Ray Bates when he attended the plant fair at Great Dixter last weekend. Linda Foy from the Alexandra Park Greenhouse charity shares his story.

Mr Bates, who runs Rotherview Nursery at Hastings with his wife, Wendy, recalled that his grandfather Sam Relf was propagation foreman at the town’s Alexandra Park greenhouse in 1950s. Mr Bates, who had a stall at the Great Dixter plant fair, said: “Our nursery brochure features the greenhouse. We’re pleased to support this project which aims to bring this glasshouse back to its former glory.”

His memories were prompted when the volunteers from the Alexandra Park Greenhouse group set up their stall at the fair. The  charity’s stall was selling perennials, vegetables, herbs, cacti, succulents, house plants and cotton tote bags to help support the restoration project.

Volunteers on the fundraising stall for the Alexandra Park Greenhouse charity. Photograph by Colin Foy.

The charity held a successful fund-raising campaign last year called Let’s Raise the Roof when supporters and a generous anonymous sponsor gave thousands of pounds to put a permanent roof on the structure. Carpenter Jason Wright, from Westfield, has started work to repair  the greenhouse’s wooden frame and restore metal glazing bars to support reinforced glass panels.

Last weekend’s fair, normally held in the spring and autumn, was the first summer one organised by the trust which runs the house’s grounds as a centre for high-quality, cottage style gardening. The trust’s Christopher Lloyd Bursary Fund, named after the late owner of Great Dixter, raises money via its fairs to fund grants for students to learn horticultural skills at the centre. Stall holders donate 10 per cent of their proceeds to the fund.

You can follow the Alexandra Park Greenhouse restoration progress – and donate to support the campaign via the group’s website – our-greenhouse

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Posted 14:20 Monday, Jul 12, 2021 In: Hastings People

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