Friends’ Group Annual Meet-up 2024

Above: photo of our friends group enjoying their guided tour.

This year we were invited by Ian Hazon to visit Cooling’s Garden Centre. The Friends Group had a wonderful time seeing the nursery and listening to a talk about the history of the Garden Centre. This was followed by a cream tea in Arthur’s Cafe which was thoroughly enjoyed.

Coolings remains unique amongst many of todays garden centres. Unlike most, they actually grow many of the plants they sell of their purpose-built production nursery at Rushmore Hill. In their peak weeks, over 50,000 plants enter the production cycle, all requiring careful planning to ensure everything ends up in the correct pot and all are sold at Coolings.

Every year, the nursery is opened for guided tours to show how all this is done along with an insight into the challenges growers face, including environmental issues as well as working with the unpredictability of the Great British weather. Highlights of these tours include the potting machines, their incredible robot transplanter, their huge reservoirs holding millions of litres of rainwater, the hundreds of pest-fighting insects that are released into the glasshouses and last but certainly not least their talented production staff.