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Sustainable Ornamentals Production Focus

The day was chaired by Neville Stein, a respected consultant in the horticultural industry. The focus of the day was on sustainability so the audience of growers, landscapers, designers and professional gardeners were fascinated by Fergus Garrett, head gardener at Great Dixter in East Sussex, a garden which he and its founder Christopher Lloyd have made internationally famous. Charged with the responsibility of conserving such an historic place, Fergus’s main message was that it was entirely possible to do so whilst also engaging with new ideas about sustainability. He cited his garden’s use of solar energy and their desire to eliminate the use of peat from their growing medium as examples.

Melcourts Technical Director Catherine Dawson brought delegates up to date on the issue of sustainable growing media and the success of the Sylvamix range is not only sustainable and peat-free, but now also used routinely by a growing number of respected nurseries producing everything from liners to mature trees. Neil Helyer – a well respected specialist with Fargro - gave a lively talk on current best practice in the use of bio-pesticides which covered a variety of threats to a wide number of crop types. His message was clear: used wisely, non-chemical solutions could go a long way to ensuring a healthy profitable crop for most growers.

The formal presentations were followed by tours of the nursery where the reasons for the successes which Howard Nurseries enjoy were plain to see: excellent horticultural practice, a passion of quality, attention to detail and a highly motivated and skilled team.

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