In a double first, the #NationalTrust has opened its first #garden centre at Morden Hall Park in South London which is also the first peat free garden centre in the UK.
The 5,000 square metre garden centre will officially open on Saturday 9 May and sells a complete range of peat free plants and shrubs in line with the conservation charity’s principles.
With the growing season just starting, the newly refurbished garden centre opens with over 7,500 plants on offer to include over 100 varieties of roses and perennials, 80 varieties of shrubs and fruit trees and 24 varieties of ornamental trees.
The plant range has been sourced from six main suppliers, including small, specialist nurseries from around the UK who are passionate about their plants, as well as plants grown at the National Trust’s property, Lanhydrock, in Cornwall.
Ed Ikin, General Manager for Morden Hall Park, says: “Opening the garden centre is the final piece in putting this original country estate back together. Morden Hall Park is an extraordinary place considering that we are so close to central London where we look after a mansion, stable block, walled kitchen garden – where the garden centre is situated – rose garden, meadows, an arboretum and the wetlands.
“We have found some fantastic peat free plant growers and suppliers to work with and we are leading the way in this new venture for the Trust.
“Being able to sell peat free plants and shrubs is really important to us because of the work we do as a conservation charity to protect our natural resources.”
Peat is important because it is a fantastic carbon store, is a great habitat for wildlife and helps with water management. But the peatlands in this country have been damaged over 100s of years through cultivation and drainage. The Trust is working with partners on various projects to help reverse this decline.
“By using other environmentally friendly alternatives such as Sylvafibre® and high-quality green waste there really is no difference in plant performance and we look forward to demonstrating to our customers what success they can enjoy in their gardening by just switching to a different growing material,” Ed continued.
Plant Area Manager Terry O’Brien says: “We’ve worked with a terrific group of peat-free nurseries to develop a comprehensive plant offer. We’ve got everything you’ll need for your garden including fruit trees, roses, herbs, a wide range of shrubs and perennials.
“We have a strong bond with our local customers and we can’t wait to welcome them back, I hope that people will be curious to see the difference.”
Uniquely, any profits from the centre will go back directly to Morden Hall Park to help pay for conservation, learning and community resources.