UK Grower Focus

UK Grower Focus

This month, we focus on the Best Inspirational Business Award, presented to Kent based Palmstead Nurseries.

Early in 2022, the Horticulture Trades Association (HTA) launched the Ornamental Grower of the Year Awards in a bid to find the UK’s Best Ornamental Growers, whilst taking into account best practice in sustainable ornamental production.

Sustainability Credentials

Candidates were required to demonstrate their environmental and sustainability credentials through publicised plans, along with their commitment to working towards environmental targets which included water resilience, reduction in peat use and C02 reduction. 

Palmstead won the Best Inspirational Business Award, having already achieved several of the stated requirements, including becoming self-sufficient in water use.

Third Reservoir

This followed the construction of a third reservoir, along with the expansion of rainwater capture and run-off harvesting networks, and being on target to achieve a two-year peat-free production plan.

Local Biodiversity

The nursery, based in Wye, near Ashford in Kent - also protects local biodiversity by collaborating with a nearby bee charity, locating several hives on its 53-hectare site, and is sowing locally sourced pollinator-friendly wildflowers on reservoir banks.

A 119-panel solar array on the roof of the dispatch building provides power to the offices and charges a growing collection of electric vehicles and machinery. A programme to replace all lighting on the site with LEDs is nearing completion.

Vertical Propagation Systems

Future projects include LED lit vertical propagation systems to maximise available floorspace and increasing biological pest and disease control systems.

Working with Planet Mark, Palmstead have established a baseline measurement of their carbon footprint, and are developing a plan to reduce it further each year. Measures already taken included replacing the transport fleet with new Euro 6 compliant low emission lorries.

100% Recyclable Pots

All products are now potted in 100% recyclable grey pots made from 100% recycled materials. A plastics compactor has been installed that crushes plastic waste into bales that are regularly collected for recycling.

For full details of Palmstead’s policy on biodiversity, sustainability and the environment, click here