Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
the auction and raffle (9)

Fergus Garrett and Linda Pearson.

Gardening talk boosts fund-raising for greenhouse restoration project

The project to restore the 1930s greenhouse in Alexandra Park took another step forward when a talk by gardening expert Fergus Garrett raised about £1,000. The presentation by Fergus, head gardener at Great Dixter, Northiam, attracted more than 100 people and also featured an auction and a raffle. Lynda Foy reports on behalf of the greenhouse group.

The event on Saturday 16 April at Horntye Cricket Club in Bohemia Road, Hastings, was held to help the Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group restore the 100-foot teak structure in the town’s park, so that it can be used by the community for horticultural and educational work.

Group chairman Linda Pearson, who thanked Fergus and auctioneer Martin Phillips for their help, said: “We are delighted to have had such an inspirational and respected gardener share his expertise and help us raise £1,000. This has given our 2016 fund-raising an early  boost.

“We know that we can call on Fergus again for support and, who knows, in the future the greenhouse may reflect some of the magic that we have come to expect from a visit to Great Dixter.”

Fergus, chief executive of the Great Dixter Charitable Trust, which was founded after the house’s owner Christopher Lloyd died in 2006, talked about Succession Planting and Extending the Seasons. He explained how planting methods used at Great Dixter could be scaled down to suit smaller, domestic gardens and could lengthen flowering and growing seasons.

Using a series of coloured slides, Fergus said layers of plants and shrubs could grow happily together, as they did in the wild, but it was important that they complemented one another and did not crowd or smother each other.

The auction and raffle with Martin Phillips

The auction and raffle

Linda Pearson told the audience that the greenhouse, owned by Hastings Borough Council, had been derelict for many years until 2012 when volunteers cleared away the overgrowth. She said the volunteers, who have been raising funds by selling donated plants and those grown by themselves, need about £140,000 to restore the greenhouse and create a reception and study area, a growing area and raised beds with cold frames, plant displays, a potting area and a shop.

The Council had given the charitable group a licence for the site, but councillors were on the verge of granting the group a 25-year lease, so that it could attract grants from funding bodies.

After Fergus’ talk, he signed and sold copies of Meadows at Great Dixter and Beyond by Christopher Lloyd, which he has updated with an introduction describing developments since the author’s death. Published by Pimpernel Press, it is available priced £30 at Waterstones in Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, Hastings, at Great Dixter and via Amazon.

The Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group will hold its next plant sale beside the park’s cafe on Sunday 1 May, from 10am to 1pm. A sale on Sunday April 10 at the same venue raised £171. Volunteers meet at the greenhouse (entrance on St Helen’s Road next to the Landscape Group depot) on Saturdays between 11am and 1pm, weather permitting. Plant donations and new volunteers are always welcome. See the group’s website.

the auction and raffle (7)

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Posted 07:02 Friday, Apr 29, 2016 In: Home Ground

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