Colour has returned to Ipswich and Stowmarket train stations thanks to a partnership between train operator Abellio Greater Anglia, local seed and plant specialist Thompson & Morgan and Ipswich-based charity ActivLives.
In a repeat of last year’s amazing hanging basket displays, volunteers and young learners from ActivLives have been busy growing baskets of Thompson & Morgans’ best selling Begonia ‘Apricot Shades’. This year they’ve added Begonia ‘Fragrant Falls’ to the mix, to provide scent as well as colour to the platforms.
Not only will the baskets brighten up the journeys of everyone who passes through the stations on the London to Norwich mainline, the project has provided local young people with valuable horticultural experience. Participants from a number of organisations, including WS Training, Talent Match and Seetec, take part in training programmes at ActivLives’ two garden projects in Ipswich to gain skills for work.
The ActivLives team planted up the baskets back in April. They have since tended the Begonia blooms at the glasshouses in the walled garden at Chantry Park, bringing them into peak condition for display at the train stations.
Thompson & Morgan’s Horticultural Director, Paul Hansord said:
“We were pleased with last year’s baskets, but ActivLives has outperformed themselves this year, with bigger and better baskets for real impact. Planted in incredicompost® and fed with incredbloom® at planting time, these baskets look stunning and will continue to perform right through to autumn. Requiring minimal care from station staff – spent flowers simply fall off to be replaced by fresh new blooms. The addition of Begonia ‘Fragrant Falls’ should really lift the spirits of workers on their daily commute and provide a warm welcome for visitors and tourists passing through both stations.”
For help and information on growing and caring for your own begonias, visit our begonias hub page for a wealth of resources.
Kris Collins works as Thompson & Morgan’s communications officer, making sure customers new and old are kept up to date on the latest plant developments and company news via a wide range of media sources. He trained in London’s Royal Parks and has spent more than a decade writing for UK gardening publications before joining the team at Thompson & Morgan.