Guests from various professions all over the UK braved the weather to attend the James Coles and Sons (Nurseries) Ltd Centenary Open Day – The Future of Amenity Plant Supply in the UK - at one of Coles' largest growing sites near Gaddesby, Leicester.
Landscapers, Nurserymen, Parks Staff, Tree Officers, Garden Designers and more attended the morning and afternoon sessions, to hear talks from expert speakers and be given tours of the 250 acre Nursery.
The morning session featured Wayne Grills of BALI giving a talk on Tackling the Skills Shortage, Penny Evans of the HTA with Ingredients for Growth and Bulrush Horticulture's James Hayes on Growing Media for the Future. Guests were then shown around the Nursery by the Coles production team, giving an insight into the various methods of tree and shrub production that Coles utilise.
After lunch, Vince Edwards of Coles gave a presentation on The National Plant Specification, an industry standard giving plant specifiers the chance to acquire like for like quotes from separate suppliers, before Mike Shilton of Keysoft Solutions gave a talk on What does BIM Mean to Suppliers?, explaining how BIM will affect us all, and the government's plan to start implementation in 2015. The afternoon tour focussed largely on the new Air-Pot production unit that Coles have created, increasing their production to now be able to offer over 4500 trees in sizes 16-18cm up to 20-25cm girths, in the Air-Pot system.
As part of their Centenary celebrations Coles invited Aston Martin along for the day (also celebrating their 100th year of trading), who came with their new Rapide S model, giving one lucky guest the chance to win a drive in the car and a tour of the Aston Martin factory in Gaydon.
Coles are pleased to say that after their Open Day, they have brought this year's total fundraising for Perennial up to nearly £2,000. They would also like to thank the event sponsors; Bulrush Horticulture, The Caledonian Tree Co., Greentech, Hallmark Tractors, Hortec Ltd. and Watling JCB, as well as all the speakers who came to give presentations on the day.