The Royal Parks (TRP) says the £5million ‘super nursery’ project will help it grow nearly all the 500,000 flowers and shrubs it plants across its eight London parks.
The project is now complete, with the glasshouse, environment control systems, LED lighting, rainwater recovery systems and over 4,000 square metres of ebb / flood benching all installed.
The nursery, constructed by Deforche Construct NV and Climate Controls Ltd is the first major glasshouse production facility in the UK to use Deforche Cabrio technology which, much like the roof at Wimbledon, can open and close dependent on the fickle British weather. The roof helps the acclimatisation of young plants, so they do not have to be moved outside for hardening – saving on labour and maximising space.
Covering the size of a football pitch, the new greenhouse replaces the previous 1960s nursery which had reached the end of its life and was therefore beyond repair.
As well as helping TRP save £200,000 per year on its planting costs, the nursery will also deliver educational opportunities for TRP apprentices and engage the community through workshops and open days.
The glasshouse is split into 13 computer controlled zones, each operated by Climate Controls’ latest technology, which adapt the climate according to the needs of the plants.
Steve Edwards, Head of Special Projects at The Royal Parks, said:
“We were faced with a decision – either build a new nursery from scratch or completely outsource. However, most commercial nurseries grow a maximum of 100 varieties compared to the 2,000 varieties we require. We were simply not prepared to sacrifice the high standard of horticultural excellence that millions of visitors each year have come to expect. The new contract will ultimately save us around £200,000 a year through things like the reduction of energy expenditure and wastage, so in time the new nursery will actually pay for itself. By not outsourcing the nursery service, we will also reduce the need for transportation, which benefits the environment. Sustainability has been at the very forefront of this project and we have selected a design which meets the highest environmental standards. Furthermore 99% of materials from the demolished nursery are being recycled.”
Every year there are an estimated 77 million visits to London’s eight Royal Parks. The 5,000 acres of historic parkland provide unparalleled opportunities for enjoyment, exploration and healthy living in the heart of London.
The Royal Parks are:
Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent's Park and Primrose Hill, Richmond Park and St James's Park. The Royal Parks also manages Victoria Tower Gardens, Brompton Cemetery, Grosvenor Square Gardens and the gardens of 10, 11 and 12 Downing Street.
For further information please visit: www.royalparks.org.uk
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Formed in 1932, Deforche are renowned leaders in the design and supply of glasshouse structures. They were pioneers in the introduction of steel and aluminium and operate worldwide in all sectors of the horticulture industry.