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National Trust announces plans to manage first garden centre

The National Trust has announced plans to manage its first garden centre at Morden Hall Park in south London.

The conservation charity which cares for over 200 gardens across England, Wales and Northern Ireland ranging from historical landscape gardens to intimate cottage gardens and walled vegetable gardens plans to open the new centre next spring.

The 5,000 square metre space will be the first owned and managed by the Trust.  There will be an indoor and outdoor sales area with the range for sale including bedding plants, grasses, herbaceous perennials, evergreens, ornamental trees, fruit trees, roses and herbs; as well as garden sundries.

The stock will be supplied by plant growing experts Hillier in conjunction with many high quality local plant nurseries.

Ed Ikin, General Manager for Morden Hall Park, says: “Taking the garden centre into our care feels as though we have the final piece in putting this original country estate back together.

“Morden Hall Park is a true oasis in this urban setting.  With the addition of the garden centre which sits in the walled garden, we will have a complete property which includes a mansion, stable block, rose garden, arboretum, meadows, arboretum and wetlands.

“Our aim is to create a garden centre which will have a great range of plants and garden supplies which will attract both keen gardeners in the local community as well as appealing to our visitors.

“Any profit we make from the garden centre will allow us to continue to care for this special place and pay for conservation, learning and community resources.”

Morden Hall Park, one of the original country estates in London, was donated to the National Trust by far sighted philanthropist, Mr Hatfield, in 1945.  He wanted to ensure the 125 acre estate he had created for himself and the community to enjoy would be preserved forever amidst the urbanisation of Morden to meet the demands of London’s spiralling population.

The team at Morden Hall Park have been working hard over the years to bring the country estate back to life.  Recent projects include the restoration of the rose garden created by Mr Hatfield in 1922 which now has over 2,000 roses, the meadows and an arboretum.  Future projects include the refurbishment of the hall itself and the wetland area at Watermeads will be reopened.

Jon Dixon, Manager for the garden centre, added; “Having worked in garden retail for 35 years and for three of those at Morden Hall Park it’s great to be able to take the project forward with our community vision.  I look forward to welcoming back our loyal customers with a refreshed store in the spring.”

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Source : Rachel Haydon - Garden Centre Retail

21 November 2014

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