Following an HDC tender call published last year, HDC has contracted ADAS to run the centre, which has chosen Baginton Nurseries, near Coventry, to host the site.
It will be run on similar lines to the Cut Flower Centre at Rookery Farm at Holbeach St Johns. Its work will be aimed particularly at small to medium-sized growers who produce finished plants on typical bedding and pot plant nurseries.
One of the first projects will look at begonia and calibrachoa – a relatively new crop of usually trailing varieties – comparing seed and cuttings-raised plants in packs, pots and baskets. The coming season is also likely to include work on pot and pack perennial varieties for early season sales.
The Excel-based FlowersOnTime software tool, which analyses effects of production temperature on flowering time, is to be tested in UK conditions. "The aim is to see if it can be used to predict flowering times in cold seasons and show how growing temperature adjustments could be made to schedule crops," said England. Other trials being discussed includes work on spectral filters and on hellebores for pre-Christmas marketing.
The centre has been established following consultations with growers. A project management group including members of the HDC Protected Ornamentals Panel and the British Protected Ornamentals Association’s technical committee is working with project leader Jill England of ADAS and HDC research team leader Debbie Wilson to draw up a detailed plan for the first season’s trials. BPOA technical committee Caroline Shove of Bryant’s Nurseries is chairing the group.
HDC will fund the centre for two years initially.
Meanwhile, HDC’s Sector Panels have 23 vacancies, including seven in hardy nursery stock (one trees and hedging, one propagation; one roses; two shrubs and climbers; and two herbaceous perennials, grasses and alpines. Closing date for nominations in 23 October. More info from Helen Williams at: TechAdmin@hdc.ahdb.org.uk