A day out at the Alitex Home and Garden Day

Sarah Wain, West Dean Head Gardener

David Harber Sculpture
Our annual Home and Garden Day was a success, although a few of the Alitex Team were a little suspect of the cold weather it did manage to stay dry and bright throughout the whole day. Our friends from Tallulah Fox were the first to arrive with their beautiful antiques and vintage accessories, they were followed by Kamado Joe setting up their lunch feast and Phoenix Perennials with an array of plants. Finishing off the arrivals were Wild Garden Plant Supports with an extensive range of frames and The Edward Barnsley Workshop with their elegantly handcrafted furniture. The Alitex show-site was looking beautiful finished off by the incredible sculptures from David Harber and the luxurious furniture from Gaze Burvill.

We had a good turnout, a lively crowd arrived early to listen to Sarah Wain's, Head Gardener at West Dean, walk and talk around the greenhouses which was followed with teas, coffees and fresh pastries served by the Marketing Team. There were also several factory tours throughout the day; after the tour we could see everyone appearing with a smile. It's great for our visitors to see how and where the structures are made, it helps to understand the business and our manufacturing heritage. We like people to gain insight to where their structure is coming from and the people behind it. We are constantly looking to improve our factory by investing in new machines, you can read about our latest addition, or to see it in action please see our events page for our next open morning.

We started the afternoon with a talk from Jim Durrant, from McBean's Orchids, he shared his wisdom and excitement for looking after orchids. The top three things were learnt were:

  1. Make sure you rest the pot on some gravel in its draining tray and water the gravel for the orchid roots to soak up.
  2. Try to only water with rainwater as after three years of using tap water (which has many additives to make it into drinking water) the orchid will die.
  3. Keep the orchid in its original pot, they like to be condensed.

Woodlodge products and Mcbean's Orchids
After buying an orchid or two, we followed with some lunch from Kamado Joe, incredible "slider" burgers layered with cheese, gherkins, coleslaw and chutney that were served with a refreshing glass of prosecco.


Many people popped in at different times of the day, but we made sure no one missed out on a tasty treat! We even had miniature cakes to keep the children happy. The afternoon was finished with a wander around the stalls and Alitex structures before leaving with a complimentary copy of Gardens Illustrated Magazine and a beautiful National Trust inspired pot from Woodlodge products.

Tags: Mcbean's Orchids, Kamado Joe, Tallulah Fox, west dean gardens, sarah wain, jim durrant, Phoenix Perennials, Wild Garden Plant Supports, The Edward Barnsley Workshop, david harber, gaze burvill, Home and garden day, greenhouse, conservatories