As the dust settles on the 6th instalment of the Futurescape trade show, it is worth taking a minute to recognise and appreciate the positive effect that both the show, and in general the ProLandscaper magazine and associated publications have had on our industry.
It has been 10 years since the first edition of ProLandscaper magazine was published and it has been an upwards trajectory ever since. The team at Eljays44 have helped to lift the profile of the industry we know and love, and given the landscaping industry the voice that it fully deserves.
This year’s instalment at the increasingly more congested Sandown park racecourse venue saw another great line-up of guest speakers covering business topics from industry big hitters like Ken White from Frosts Landscapes to more technical seminars from the likes of Green Blue Urban and Tim O’Hare Associates. These educational forums break up the monotony of stand surfing and allow new members of our Bourne Amenity sales team to gather invaluable insights from seasoned industry campaigners like Mark Gregory and David Dodd. The 30 under 30 competition is also a great way to encourage and celebrate emerging talent within the industry, which is desperately needed within the sector.
The strength of shows such as this is that they focus on innovation and education rather than being purely business driven and although we have had a stand since the show inception, it is a great opportunity to meet and share a coffee with friends and foes from within the industry. Although we operate in a ferociously competitive trading environment, the Futurescape concept allows for, and is at the time of year where, we can take stock of the year’s successes and look at ways to build and drive innovation moving toward next year. The single day, winter format is perfect for a quick snapshot of the marketplace and if this year is anything to go by, then the landscaping sector has never been more buoyant.
We welcome the input from the team at Eljays44 and are proud to support all of their new initiatives. We have recently been announced as the headline sponsor for their inaugural Podium Awards in March of 2019. We see ourselves as innovators within our own specialist field, and the exposure that comes from the shows, seminars and workshops provided by organisations such as BALI and Eljays44 has undoubtedly helped the industry move with the times, and respond to the challenging trading environment and a greater desire for innovation and excellence.
Overall the show was another resounding success, and the general takeaway feeling was that the industry was in decent shape heading into 2019. There are some startlingly innovative specifications that land on my desk on a weekly basis, from ambitious roof garden schemes to outstanding work in the field of SuDS and other environmentally continuous projects. The mood seems positive given the rising threat or opportunity provided by Brexit, and the team at Eljays44 are certainly doing all they can to promote the hard work and dedication emanating from within the industry.
Bourne Amenity attended the long anticipated Battersea Power Station Development Tour event, perfectly organised by the BALI East Anglia Chairman, Kevin Harden. We show-cased our lightweight substrates to the 50 delegates and fantastic guest speakers, along with the development team from Mace.
In the morning, there were presentations of the overall design philosophy behind the landscaping work from Ben Walker at LDA Design followed by Nick Haddock of Andy Sturgeon Design detailing the thought process of the three separate roof gardens planned for Phase 2 (the power station building itself, with roof garden area totalling well over 8000m²). The designs tie in with the historic cultures of the building and surrounding area, something we’re sure will please the staff at the new Apple European HQ that will be located there.
The Project Development Team from Mace then gave a bigger overview of the whole development project, covering the history of the Power Station and the 42-acre surrounding area, as well as an introduction to the additional phases detailing the new Prospect Park (soon to be the largest play area in Wandsworth), including the very impressive, not to mention huge 2.5 acre roof garden in Phase 3, designed by Frank Gehry and Foster + Partners. The additional details of the of the new £1bn Battersea Power Station Tube Station, which will be connecting with the Nine Elms development, will ensure the development of the iconic Power Station not only attracts the interest of the new buyers, but delivers a new community which is at the core of the development.
After lunch, we were then taken in small groups to walk round the Power Station building site - very interesting!
The facts and figures surrounding the project are, as might be imagined, astoundingly colossal. The original power station usedup to a million tonnes of coal every year, carried in on the Thames in barges to its own jetty. The boilers were then using one and a half million tonnes of water from the river every day. The maximum generating capacity was half a gigawatt, about a fifth of London's total electricity needs. The building is also one of the world's largest brick edifices, containing more than seven million bricks - two million of which are in the process of being replaced as part of the current redevelopment project - which was somewhat of a challenge considering the brick manufactured closed its doors before being brought out of retirement to help revive the Grade II* listed building.
After a number of false starts on various redevelopment projects, the site was finally acquired by Malaysian developers in 2012. The project is planned to have six phases, the first of which is already built. Future phases will include affordable housing and in total, there will be some 4,000 dwellings with nearly 400 bars and restaurants on the site. This will all be powered from a modern gas-burning power station located 2 stories underneath the 6 acre Prospect Park located between the former power station and the river.
It was an amazing day, full of mind-boggling information and we are very grateful to BALI East Anglia for having given us the chance to take part. Having to wait until 2020 for landscaping stages to start seems too far away but will be eagerly anticipating getting involved along the way in the meantime.
ProLandscaper Magazine has just launched their very first Podium Awards - and Bourne Amenity is the headline sponsor!
The awards will recognise the achievements, past and present, of landscapers, landscape architects and garden designers in the podium landscaping industry. The aim is to give projects that may have been previously overlooked the recognition they deserve. There are five categories and entries have just opened. The award ceremony will be at the Futurescape Spring event on 12 March (at Sandown Park).
Here's what Jonathan said at the launch of the awards: "Bourne Amenity Ltd are proud to headline sponsor the inaugural Pro Landscaper Podium awards and salute the recognition of an integral part of modern urban planning. We have been working with architects and contractors on podium planting and related SuDS schemes for almost ten years. Over this period, these beneficial installations have become mainstream, and our range of planting substrates is constantly evolving to match the imagination and ambition of designers. These awards will act as an incentive for our clients to push the boundaries of podium design, and mark another positive step towards a greener and healthier living spaces."
Full details are on ProLandscaper's website.
We'll be monitoring progress closely, of course - watch this space!
Here is a picture of some 1,700 tonnes of prime cricket loam (a.k.a. Surrey loam) ready for bagging at our Sevenoaks depot. It will be processed in our new bagging unit, palletised and sent out to waiting customers all over the Home Counties.
But what on earth (err...) is cricket loam and what makes it so special? The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) explains it in their maintenance guidelines document, which is the bible for groundsmen around the country.
Essentially, it is a type of topdressing with around 30% clay content, which is used at the end of the cricket season to repair wear and damage to cricket squares. The clay content ensures suitable and consistent bounce during play. A greater clay content gives higher performance but requires more maintenance, as it will be more liable to drying out and cracking. Therefore, the recommendation tends to be for a clay content of 28-35% for first class cricket, but more like 25-28% for school pitches. Ultimately, it is the soil's "breaking strength" which determines its suitability, and this is dependent not only on clay content, but also on the other components of the loam. The guidelines explain how to test your soil - please refer to them for details.
Most importantly, though, the loam applied must be compatible with the existing soil. If not, it will create layers where the different types of soil dry out (and therefore shrink) at different rates. Such layering affects the bounce, is prone to damage and provides an unsuitable environment for good quality grasses. Again, the guidelines explain how to check soil compatibility.
We have been producing and supplying cricket loam to a high degree of consistency over the last twenty years, and have it tested by the STRI to ensure its quality and suitability. This year's supply is now ready to be shipped. Full details on the Bourne Amenity and Gardenscape websites.
Here we are delivering two loads of play pit sand to a former RN Dockyard. If you think that sounds strange, then read on...
Chatham became a Royal Naval Dockyard for the Thames area in Henry VIII's day - it was finally fully established in 1567 and delivered its first ship, HMS Sunne in 1586. The yard was decommissioned in 1984 and about a third of the original space occupied by the dockyard was taken over by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust, which now runs it as a museum.
This summer, the Trust is running various activities for children. Arrr, in the Smithery, there be Pirate themed activities and the sand is for a grand, huge, sandpit, aye me hearties [/end pirate speak]. There is also, for example, a science show for children. The activities run until 2nd September and there is even a promotion on: a children's annual ticket is only £1 when bought with an adult ticket.
Over the 400 years of operation, more than 500 ships were built at Chatham, including HMS Victory of Trafalgar fame. The last ship actually launched at Chatham was HMCS Okanagan, a submarine for the Royal Canadian Navy, in 1966. In this photo, you can see parts of the three ships which are now preserved as museum exhibits in docks at the yard. The bowsprit nearest the lorry belongs to HMS Gannet. Launched in 1878, she was a sloop with an 1100 hp steam engine, as well as a three-masted barque rig (she could do 15 knots under sail but only 12 under steam). The next vessel is HMS Ocelot, a diesel-electric submarine of the same class as Okanagan and the last ship (well, "boat" if you ask submariners) built at Chatham for the RN. She is rather hard to see in the photo but if you look directly under the 'B' turret of the destroyer in the background, you can see a black bulbous shape, which is the sonar dome of Ocelot. Finally, the destroyer which you can actually see properly is HMS Cavalier, launched in 1944 and decommissioned in 1972. With twin steam turbines delivering 40,000 hp, she could reach a max speed of 37 knots (43 mph).