17 July 2014 – For Immediate Release
Quadron Services and Wycombe District Council prove peat-free is possible
Peat is a precious natural resource, providing a unique habitat for animals and plants, but one which is becoming increasingly scarce. The horticultural industry is one of the biggest users of peat as it is heavily utilised in compost used to grow many of the plants that make up the regular bedding displays in our local authorities’ parks.
To combat the decline of peat habitat, the Government has set targets for councils to phase out peat usage from 2015, and for all public sector procurement to include a requirement to source plants and products that have been grown in sustainable growing media.
However, media reports suggest that UK local authorities are a long way from achieving this target. This may be because of fears over the cost of procuring bedding grown in sustainable growing media, or that such bedding will be of an inferior quality to that grown in traditional compost.
Wycombe District Council is a local authority that places a strong emphasis on sustainability in its activities. When Quadron was awarded the Council’s Green Space Services contract in January 2013, the contract stipulated that all bedding must be supplied peat-free. Quadron was happy to meet this objective and, in 2014, is now in its second year of creating the area’s floral displays using bedding plants grown and supplied in sustainable growing media.
As Quadron discovered in the first year of the contract, using peat-free bedding is not without challenges. Feeding and watering regimes are different to those for plants grown in traditional compost and many peat alternatives are alkaline, making them unsuitable for ericaceous plants. Nonetheless, the plants selected for the summer displays made an excellent show of colour that was of equal quality to bedding grown in less-sustainable media.
This year, Quadron has used the knowledge gained from last year in selecting the plants to be used during summer 2014. Once again, the plants were supplied by Fresh Acres Nursery in peat-free compost and the resulting displays are now blooming beautifully. One of the focal points of this year’s bedding has been a poppy design commemorating the centenary of the start of World War I, and which features Ajuga reptans ’Chocolate chip’, Echevaria Glauca, Alternanthera, Herniaria Glabra and Sempervivum. The display has received much praise, including this compliment from Cllr Mrs Lesley Clarke OBE, Chairman of Wycombe District Council: “I wanted to record my thanks and appreciation for the beautiful poppy flower bed in the Old Library Gardens. It really is quite magnificent and a fitting tribute to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1.
“Please pass on my thanks to those involved in the conception and planting of the flower bed.”
Wycombe District Council’s approach to peat-free media shows that using sustainable growing media is a viable option for local authorities and Quadron is pleased to be able to support the council in this important environmental initiative.
Wycombe’s beautiful bedding displays – all grown peat-free
The commemorative poppy floral display
Notes to editors:
About Quadron Services
Formed in 1993, Quadron Services is an award-winning green space management company focussed on ‘Cultivating Sustainable Green Communities’.
Quadron commenced its Green Space Services contract with Wycombe District Council in January 2013 for a five-year term. The contract includes grounds maintenance, play area inspection and maintenance in the majority of Wycombe District Council’s major parks and open spaces, all the urban areas of High Wycombe and the maintenance in the High Wycombe cemetery.
Quadron’s Managing Director is Clive Ivil.
General contact details – Head Office: Quadron Services Ltd, The Hub, Warne Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 3UU.
Tel: 01934 614444
Policy on sustainable growing media
The Sustainable Growing Media Task Force was established in 2011, under the chairmanship of Dr Alan Knight OBE, and submitted its final report and draft roadmap to Defra Ministers in July 2012. The government published their Response to the Sustainable Growing Media Task Force in January 2013. Further information available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-the-sustainable-growing-media-task-force
CULTIVATING SUSTAINABLE GREEN COMMUNITIES