Greenhouse group makes debut at prestigious Great Dixter Plant Fair

A charity which aims to turn a historic greenhouse into a community hub will make its debut at a prestigious fair this weekend (July 10th-11th).

Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter.

Volunteers from the Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group in Hastings have been invited to sell their wares at Great Dixter Summer Plant Fair in Northiam by Fergus Garrett, head gardener and chief executive at the world-renowned centre for high-quality, cottage-style gardening.

The fair, which is usually held annually in April and October, will be the first summer event held by Great Dixter Charitable Trust. The event will be open from 10.30am to 4pm daily each day, with 21 nurseries manning stalls to sell their plants. Tickets can be booked on

Greenhouse group chairman Linda Pearson said: “This is the first time we have been to the fair. We are delighted to be included in such a prestigious event.”

Greenhouse volunteers will be selling perennial plants, succulents and cacti on their stall. There will be story boards displayed showing how work on the formerly derelict structure has progressed since the group took it over from the borough council in 2013. Future plans for the site and details of volunteering opportunities will also be displayed.

Linda Jones, of the Friends of Great Dixter, said of this weekend’s event: “It is a very ‘plants man’ type of fair. It’s for people who want to talk about and to buy plants.”

Jason Wright preparing to get to work on the greenhouse later this month.

Nurseries represented will come from all over the UK, including Rotherview Nurseries from Ivyhouse Lane, Hastings, which have won several gold medals at the RHS Flower Shows in Chelsea and at Hampton Court.

Ice creams, refreshments and a barbecue will be on site, with a vegetarian option available.

Last year the greenhouse group ran a campaign called Let’s Raise the Roof. Thanks to a generous, anonymous donation and the public’s support the campaign was a success and this month award-winning carpenter Jason Wright will start work on a permanent roof.

Mr Wright, who lives at Sedlescombe, will prepare an African hardwood called sapele to replace rotten and warped roof timbers. He will also renovate metal reinforcing bars to help support the toughened glass to be fitted to the new roof.

Mr Wright, who won an English Heritage Commendation for dismantling and rebuilding an oak barn in 2007, said the work would take about 12 weeks.

The greenhouse site will remain open every Saturday from 10.30pm to 1.30pm for plant donations and sales while renovation work is in progress.

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