Palmstead secures prestigious contract to supply plants and bulbs for 2012 Olympics

Palmstead Nurseries of Ashford, Kent, has won the biggest contract in its history to supply the 2012 London Olympics with 60,000 plants and 60,000 bulbs.

The £200,000 contract "means a great deal to us", said marketing and sales manager Nick Coslett. "The job happened at a fairly bleak time for the nursery with the recession biting and causing us to make economies and laying off a few staff. Winning this prestigious contract was a bright light for the future for all of us here. It's nice to be competing at the top table."

Hutchison Associates, LDA Design, Sarah Price, James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett specified the plants, which will form semi-naturalistic plantings in the world garden at the Olympic site. The design will reflect UK plant hunting history from Europe, the Americas, the southern hemisphere and Asia.

Coslett said tendering and plant research was a lot of work because 25 per cent of the plants specified were not grown commercially in the UK. "It's a challenging contract but progressing well." The contract was won through the London 2012 Competefor contract database.

Willerby Landscapes is the contractor, while Jellitto is among the seed suppliers and Hedgehog Plants is growing some plants into plugs.

The garden will stretch 800m on the Waterworks river bank between the Aquatics Centre and Olympic Stadium. It will include picnic lawns and 120,000 plants from 250 different species.

PLANT EXAMPLES

  • More than 700 Gladiolus papilio 'Ruby', native to South Africa, from the Hapsden House collection.
  • More than 350 'Hosta Tall Boy', from Asia, grown from clumps provided by RHS Wisley and Savill Gardens.
  • More than 300 Haphlocarpa scaposa grown from seed freshly collected from South Africa.
  • More than 2,500 of the elusive Leucanthemum x superbum 'TE Killin' (perennial Chrysanthemum with white flower), propagated for the project.
  • Three-hundred South African Watsonia pillansii sourced from southern Ireland.

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