The UK’s biggest supplier of hanging baskets and planters, Plantscape, is basking in media stardom this week – having featured on BBC TV and radio in a matter of hours!
BBC Radio Derby’s roving reporter Heidi Booth joined the early birds at the company’s Egginton nursery at the crack of dawn for two hours to broadcast live to the station’s breakfast show listeners.
She chatted to operations manager Mat Davison, senior operations manager Pete Halls and planter Fran Archer about the scale of the operation and the processes involved in planting up 90,000 blooms in 12,000 planters to distribute to 130 locations across England, Scotland and Wales.
Heidi learned how just one man, Stefan Banica, was responsible for watering every single plant – an all day job which he adores. She also discovered that Plantscape’s 15-foot flower towers weigh a tonne once filled with compost and water, and that each member of the five strong planting team can put together up to 400 hanging baskets a day.
Fran told her that she found her job therapeutic, while Pete said the idea that the flowers could make someone’s day was what made his job so worthwhile.
Mat, who describes the plants as his ‘babies’ told her what immense pride he took in his job. “I absolutely love it,” he told her.
No sooner had the Plantscape team recovered from the onslaught of questions from Heidi than BBC Radio Derby’s televisual counterpart – BBC East Midlands Today - turned up for a spot of filming.
The nursery was described by BBC reporter Quentin Rayner as ‘the hanging baskets of Egginton.’
He chatted to Mat and Fran who told him she could plant up a three tier flower tower in just ten minutes. Mat said that even in these times of austerity councils still wanted to spend money on flowers because “they bring joy and happiness to people walking down the street.”
Both BBC broadcast media were stunned by the immense scale of the operation and the fact that so many of the civic planters seen across the nation all radiate from a huge greenhouse complex in rural Derbyshire.
The BBC visits coincide with a record number of summer orders – with more councils, BID groups and corporate organisations buying Plantscape’s services than ever before.
Towns, cities, In Bloom groups and Business Improvement Districts to benefit from the Plantscape magic include the ancient walled cities of York and Chester, Beaumaris and Worcester. Their pots also featured last month on BBC TV’s Britain in Bloom series.