16 July 2012 By Laura Bradley
Our Summer Open Day was not as summery as our Spring Open Day, ironically. We had it all - rain, thunder and sunshine, but in true Alitex style we kept on smiling, umbrellas at the ready – the show must go on!
The day started with some local horticultural friends joining us for a fortifying bacon buttie and a personal viewing of our latest large scale greenhouse which had been trial assembled on the lawns, before it heads to its home in upstate New York (a blog post on this amazing engineering feat to follow).
Guests arrived promptly at 10, bringing a smattering of sunshine. Visitors enjoyed coffee and nibbles whilst viewing the variety of Alitex structures; our Mono-pitch greenhouse, the National Trust Mottisfont Greenhouse and our Conservatory, which clearly showed that glasshouses are not just for plants! Our newly spruced allotments really looked the part with the “woodblocx” raised beds, Crane Shed and other items salvaged from the Alitex stands at RHS Chelsea 2012.
Guests also gained an insight into life behind the scenes at Alitex; design office demonstrations revealed how we create structures that will stand the test of time regardless of the elements they face; factory tours showcased how we physically manufacture our structures to exacting standards and our trial demonstrated the culmination of both design and manufacture at its very best.
As if that wasn’t enough to keep everyone entertained, Loren Lewis, our local apiarist, gave us an informative and entertaining talk on keeping bees and the challenges 2012’s dreadful weather is bringing to her bees and the hives we have here at Alitex. We were later joined by Dr Ken Thompson who gave a hugely entertaining talk on dispelling modern garden myths – planting with the moon and the antioxidants, ‘newly’ discovered super foods – don’t believe everything you read and let common sense prevail.
We were also joined by some friends displaying their crafts and workmanship. Gaze Burvill had a collection of their oak and sweet chestnut furniture, David Harber exhibited stunning sculptures, sundials and water features.
Italian Terrace brought some Mediterranean warmth with their terracotta, Muntons traditional plant supports also joined in, and last but my no means least, Marina Christopher, our guest blogger, came along with a colourful display of plants from Phoenix Perennials.
We’d like to thank all out guests and all our exhibitors that braved the weather. It may have been our wettest open day, but we did not let it dampen our spirits and a fantastic day was had by one and all.
If you missed us don’t worry, our next Open Day is on Saturday 8 September – details will be ready soon and if you’re passing you are always welcome to pop in, the kettle is always on!