It’s become somewhat of a tradition here at Wildflower Turf HQ to dedicate our December blog to the year that was. So grab a mince pie (or three) and settle down with a cup of something warm (and preferably mulled) as we take a whistle-stop tour back over the events that shaped our 2019.
The year began with a final delivery of SuDS Turf to our Berkshire-based Accredited Partners, Scofell Landscapes. The team at Scofell are responsible for landscaping the Edenbrook project in Fleet, a development by Berkeley Homes offering a selection of distinctive, high specification homes bordering an 82-acre country park.
Wildflower Turf Ltd had supplied Scofell Landscapes with a combination of both SuDS Turf and Landscape 34 Turf over many months and these deliveries concluded for us in January. However, Edenbrook is an ongoing project for Scofell Landscapes, and remedial work (after other services have left the site) will continue for some time to come.
Look out for a blog post on this project in the New Year!
We also provided 180m² via our Accredited Partner Green Tech to Seton Sands Holiday Village in Scotland. Along with the many activities on offer for children at this pretty holiday park our favourite by far is their all-ages nature trail, a free guided tour that introduces children to the importance of wildlife. And where better to experience these sessions than amongst the park’s stunning wildflower meadow supplied by yours truly!
February was chilly to say the least and we experienced some heavy snow falls at Ashe Warren Farm – so much so that we were all sent home early!
But February wasn’t all snowball-lobbing. We became a Silver partner with the Perennial charity and supported the charity with several fundraising events throughout the year. (Our fundraising activities in April and June feature further on in this blog post.)
The Perennial charity is the UK’s only charity dedicated to helping people who work in horticulture when times get tough. The charity was founded in 1839 and provides free and confidential advice, support and financial assistance to people of all ages working in or retired from horticulture. A worthy charity and one that we’re very proud to be associated with.
The month of February also saw the start of our involvement with the £60M Leeds Skelton Lakes Services project. The ‘new concept’ Motorway Service Area (MSA) will open on the M1 in 2020 and will include a 100-bedroom Hotel and a Food Court Building, a Wildlife Centre and a dedicated Business Centre.
With the new MSA occupying a lakeside environment, the integration of the building in a way that was sympathetic to its surroundings was of utmost importance. Wildflower Turf Ltd worked closely with the Landscape Architect, Smeeden Foreman to deliver an impressive ‘Living Roof’. Installed by ABG Ltd the undulating roof is soil-less and consists of up to 41 native UK wildflower species, providing a haven for bees and other invertebrates while delivering significant aesthetic appeal and ensuring that the building blends into its lakeside location. Again, we’re looking forward to sharing more about this project in the New Year so stay tuned for completion updates over the course of the next few months.
A new initiative for us this year was the commencement of our free series of TechTalk Webinars in March, which have proven to be incredibly popular! Throughout the year we covered topics as diverse as; Creating biodiverse SUDs schemes, Best maintenance regimes, Green roofs, and Biodiversity Net Gain with CIEEM (The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management). We’ve plenty more to come in 2020 so do make sure you visit our TechTalk page for updates and to register for any upcoming ones you might be interested in.
March was also a busy month for us in terms of shipments. We supplied 1,000m² of Wildflower Turf Native Enriched to Horseshoe Projects Ltd for installation at Wootton Oaks, an incredible home near New Milton in the New Forest. Designed by Western Design Architects this traditional sustainable home sits within the boundaries of the National Park, and Horseshoe Projects Ltd delivered a stunning landscaping solution to complement this unique abode.
We also began shipping the first batch of a total of 4,100m² of Wildflower Turf Landscape 34 to Elmdon Park in Solihull, as ordered by our Accredited Partner Colin Reader at Wildflower Lawns and Meadows. Part of the Wildlife Ways project (an initiative supported by the European Regional Development Fund), our turf will form part of this ambitious borough-wide project designed to make Solihull greener.
This month also saw great excitement in the accounts department (Paula, we’re looking at you) when we supplied 500m² of Wildflower Turf Landscape 34 for use in the filming of Series 5 of Outlander. If you’re a fan, you can join Paula on the sofa when the series airs on Amazon Prime on the 17th February 2020. Spot the turf!
In April, James, Toby and Trevor very bravely abseiled down none other than the ArcelorMittal Orbit at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. The descent is a very respectable 80 metres, the views were amazing (just don’t look down) and the team were thrilled to raise £900 in sponsorship for Perennial.
April also saw our Ashe Warren Farm team expand further when Dr Janine Robinson joined us as Head of Research & Development. Janine holds a wealth of experience, having completed her PhD at Portsmouth University as well as holding an MSc in Aquatic Biology from the University of Portsmouth and a BSc in Environmental Biology from Lancaster University.
As well as focusing on our continuous improvement function, Janine has also been busy driving forward our new product development programme. (More about our new product initiatives later…)
Our second base in Yorkshire has continued to allow us to effectively service the north of the country and in April, 1,500m² of Wildflower Turf Landscape 34 turf was shipped from our Helperby production site to a project in Perthshire. Ordered by Greenlands Gardens for use within the environs of a new-build private residence, the project designer Jayne Whitehead had this to say:
“Our project in northern Perthshire required a solution to help ground the newly built house in the landscape. The Landscape 34 turf provided an almost instant solution to the large areas of mud which had been left after the build. The wildflower meadow works really well in juxtaposition to the contemporary architecture of the house as well as the more traditional steading buildings. It has also created a much-admired coping to the new dry stone wall around the walled garden. We welcome particularly the long-term environmental benefits of this product, with turf already supporting a wide range of pollinators and providing a suitable habitat for increased biodiversity.”
As the weather warmed up and the days grew longer, the Wildflower Turf Ltd team were keen to support Plantlife’s ‘No Mow May’ campaign.
The campaign urged Britain’s gardeners to leave their mowers in the shed for May and let their grass grow, allowing green lawns to transform into an urban patchwork of mini meadows of daisies, dandelions and buttercups buzzing with nature. On the 25th-27th May the charity held a national Bank Holiday Weekend count, inviting everyone to count the flowers in a random square in their lawn. The results were used to illustrate just how important the UK’s lawns are for our beleaguered pollinators.
As well as getting involved with this initiative, we also supported Plantlife’s Flower Power dinner, supplying 40m² of Native Enriched Show Turf which was redistributed after the dinner to East Markham Primary School in East Markham, Nottinghamshire.
And with May feeling decidedly spring-like it would be remiss of us not to revisit the delights of this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. As in previous years we were thrilled to hear that several of our turf clients had been successful at the Show.
We supplied Species Rich Lawn Turf to designer Helen Elks-Smith for the Warner’s Distillery Garden which was awarded a Silver Gilt medal. We also supplied 20m² of Landscape 34 Turf and 20m² of Native Enriched Show Turf to designer Sarah Eberle. Sarah was awarded a Gold medal for The Resilience Garden, a garden commissioned to celebrate the Forestry Commission’s centenary. The garden was designed to look ahead to the challenges facing forests of the future, exploring how our woodlands can be made resilient to a changing climate and the increasing threats of pests and diseases. Constructed by Crocus, The Resilience Garden also picked up a Best Construction Award.
Our turf also featured at the Wallgarden trade stand, with local Hampshire-based Nadine Charlton taking 10m² of our Native Enriched Show Turf. (We featured Nadine in a blog earlier this year, you can take a peek here if you missed it.) Likewise, we supplied the Kettle Collective (ArtFe by K Paxton Blacksmiths) with 9m² of Landscape Show Turf and Soulful Hideaways with 8m² of Native Enriched Show Turf.
In June of this year we welcomed Kat Ensser to the team. Originally joining us for a short work experience stint we simply couldn’t let her go and Kat is now employed as our Sales and Project Coordinator.
This month also saw some miles clocked up (26.2 to be exact) by Claire, Helen and Becs as our terrific trio walked and ran (and in some cases, limped) through June in aid of Perennial Marathon Month, raising an impressive £665 for the Perennial charity.
Also in June, our turf found itself in Kensington Gardens with 105m² of Wildflower Turf Native Enriched used to enhance the area around the very popular Peter Pan statue. With a brief to enhance the landscape setting to create a garden that evokes the ‘magic’ of Peter Pan, our turf is very much right at home!
Stick with us – Part Two coming up next!