Drivers, walkers and river users around Ipswich are set for a brighter journey this spring. Marking 160 years at the forefront of mail order supply to home gardeners, we have dressed the iconic Orwell Bridge with a 2.4km long display of spring hanging baskets. Counting off the years we have been trading in Ipswich, 160 hanging baskets have been set along each side of the bridge, creating two 1,237m swathes of dazzling spring colour above the River Orwell.
Our Horticultural Director, Paul Hansord, said: “We’re world renowned for our seasonal bedding and basket plants, so what better way to celebrate a landmark birthday and a long history in Ipswich than with a display of what we do best? We could have teamed up with an internationally recognised gardening venue like Kew or Chelsea, but we wanted to show our roots as well as our flowers by staging the celebrations here in Ipswich.”
Mr Hansord plans to contact Guinness to see if the project has unwittingly set a world record. He added: “It may not be the world’s biggest in terms of the number of baskets, but we may have a British record on our hands – if not for the biggest display, then certainly the longest!”
Perhaps more impressive than the stunning display of over 5,700 spring flowering violas, always a firm favourite among Thompson & Morgan customers, is the efficient and covert way in which the project was under taken.
Horticultural staff planted the baskets back in February, tending them in the warmth of the company’s heated glasshouses. To keep the project under wraps until the big April reveal, staff were sworn to secrecy – even friends and family had to be kept in the dark.
Highway contractors were drafted in to set the 320 heavy-duty hanging brackets in place before the baskets could be hung, working over night in liaison with local authorities to cause minimal disruption to traffic. As work was carried out between 12-4am over the last three nights of March to meet a 1st April deadline, the project went largely unnoticed. But for sharp-eyed locals living in the shadow of the towering concrete crossing, the stunt was hard to miss.
Alf Spirolo, 63, of Wherstead, walks his two Chihuahuas along the river every morning. He said: “The past few mornings I’ve noticed more and more baskets on both sides of the bridge. The fact this has gone up over just a few nights without any disruptions to the A14 is an amazing feat. What a sight to see them covering the full length, this really is going to brighten up my walk to get the morning papers.”
The baskets will stay in place until 1st June. Depending on public support they will be replaced with summer flowering versions to keep the display in peak condition.
Since the first seed catalogue was published in 1855, Thompson & Morgan has grown to become one of the UK’s largest Mail Order Seed and Plant companies. Through the publication of our catalogues and the operation of our award-winning website, Thompson & Morgan is able to provide home gardeners with the very best quality products money can buy.
Why would this be an April Fool? It’s a wonderful idea and I hope it’s real. These hanging baskets always make places look wonderful. Ipswich looks so much better in the summer when there are flowers all over the place; the roundabouts, the town centre etc. Flowers, especially beautifully kept ones, make people smile and feel better about things.
I look forward to seeing these baskets and only hope that the idea catches on and the baskets proliferate everywhere.
Hi Rhea, if only it was real, maybe one day! We are hanging our beautiful Begonia Apricot Shades baskets at the Ipswich Train Station for all commuters to see 🙂
Brilliant idea, hope you keep it up, especially in memory of those who lost their fight fight for life off the bridge, It has made me smile with tears in my eyes.
I have never understood the point of April Fool’s Day.
I’m not a misery guts, I just don’t see what is good about having a laugh at someone else’s expense.
I’m glad it’s APRIL FOOLS DAY, you almost had me believing it
Have’nt you thought about waterfowl eating the plants? Ducks can’t reach them but is a gull able?
Is ‘gull able’ meant to be a play on words?
I believe so Kat
This is madness. Do Thomson and Morgan not realise that the structure of the bridge is compromised. First the drilling of the holes will weaken the structure. Then the weight of the hanging basket could compromise the stability of the structure. Did you consult an Engineer before proceding with this project?
Anyway the size of the bridge is out of proportion with the hanging baskets so the horticultural impact is not what it could be in another location such as the pedestrian precinct in the town centre.
Good try T&M. Could do better.
Brian MacCool Sutherland in Bonnie Scotland.
PS We have a few bridges you could practise on.
Hi Brian thank you for your comment. I am not sure that you have seen our latest blog post but i have included a link here for you, do let me know what you think. Also, we agree with you that the impact would be better in a pedestrian precinct which is why we are hanging our Begonia Apricot Shades at our local train station 🙂 https://blog.thompson-morgan.com/gardening-news/april-fools/
I think what T&M have done is commendable. They will always be popular because they are charitably minded, and I hope they wont be put off by negative remarks like the one above. Its a pity more companies don’t try to put a bit more back into the community. Keep up the good work T&M!
Thank you for your lovely comment Glenda 🙂
Thank you for letting me know about your great job and sharing this marvelous photo.
Heaps of love from Japan.
Nearly got taken in but lovely picture!
Just brilliant. Am putting my own baskets out – and I live close to the bridge. Yours are fabulous. How are you going to water them?
How about £5-00 or £10-00 per basket and the same for the summer baskets for a charity, ? the two Air Ambulances who cover East Anglia.I am up for it.
Hi Gordon, sounds like a wonderful idea! However Alf Spirolo has stolen all 160 baskets! https://blog.thompson-morgan.com/gardening-news/april-fools/
April fool or what lol
In the words of the late Norman Wisdom……
Don’t laugh at me ’cause I’m a fool
I know it’s true, yes I’m a fool
No-one seems to care
I’d give the world to share my life with someone
Who really loves me
I see them all falling in love
But my lucky star hides up above
Someday maybe my star will smile on me
Don’t laugh at me ’cause I’m a fool
I’m not good-looking, I’m not too smart
I may be foolish but I’ve got a heart
I love the flowers, I love the sun
But when I try to love the girls
They laugh at me and run
What a fab idea, well done all of you. I live too far away (Hampshire) to see the real thing, so a few more photos on the web site would be appreciated
Yep – had me fooled for a minute! Good one!
Quite a feat in all this wind! Dont know Alf but I’m sure he talks a lot of hot air on 1 April.
What a lovely idea, please do the summer bedding as flowers always brighten up the day.
Congratulations on your feat and what better way to celebrate 160 saying it with flowers.
The Lirpa Loofs will love it..!!!!!!!!!
Well done. Showcasing a Suffolk Company on a Suffolk well-known structure.
I hope you continue with the summer bedding.
What a feat!!!
Brilliant! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.