Tag Archives | polytunnels

Palette on a Plate from an English Summer Wedding

When I asked if they had any colour preferences for their wedding flowers, keen foodies Gaenor and Paul presented me with a picture on their phone of an amazing plate of salad…


They certainly had food at the top of their list when they chose Michelin-starred Caldesi In Campagna in the village of Bray, Berkshire for their reception celebration.

Their wedding was in June, in the midst of a heatwave, it certainly felt like the hottest day of the year…

Fantastic Foodie Wedding in Bray - Clare West Photography

I was so pleased when they chose Clare West as their photographer, as I knew her love for photographing flowers would mean there would be more than the normal quota of flowery pics and I would get a good idea of how well my flowers stood up to the extreme conditions.

I never guarantee specific flowers for a couple’s wedding day, that would be a dangerous game when you are relying on our unreliable weather to play along. But I always work with colour choices and in this case I had a plenty to conjure up – blue, lilac, pink, peach, coral, oh and of course, green were all on that inspirational plate.

June is the peak flowering time for hardy annuals,  so sweet peas, cornflowers and nigella ticked most of the colour boxes, whilst the annual quaking grass briza added movement and a wildflower meadow feel.

I love arranging with sweet peas –  they come in such a range of colours, are wonderfully fragrant and if picked with some of the vine, create a lush, untamed feel. We grow about 30 different varieties both indoors and out so that they are available from May through till July.

Sweet pea jungle in our tunnel, seasonal British flower grown by Green and Gorgeous

The high temperatures had brought my roses on all at once so they were centre stage in the bouquets and table flowers, providing plenty of scent along with the sweet peas.

Tall spire shaped flowers for the milk churn and church pedestal arrangements were provided by larkspur in an unusual smokey lilac, blush pink delphiniums, peach chantilly snapdragons and a punchy coral penstemon.

These grow to extraordinary heights in our tunnels sheltered from the wind and the rain.

I was pleased to see that even the flower girls crowns stood up to the high temperatures, a testament to using freshly picked, seasonal flowers.







And being next to a picturesque stretch of the Thames, the guests were able to have a chance to cool off at the end of a perfect day…




Haygrove Hotel


After an article in the Organic Grower last year I started dreaming of more protected cropping and I started talking to Haygrove Polytunnels. I had never approached them before as I thought they would be way too expensive, but I was proved wrong and wish I had done so earlier.

Their range, specification and technical info is impressive, and it’s all built on the direct experience they have with fruit growing all over the world. The caterpillar tunnel I have had for 2 seasons has been great, but I had to take it down for most of last winter as it was so so stormy. At 20mph winds the caterpillar looked like it had a life of its own and was going to turn into some kind of winter moth and fly away.

Moving all the metalwork took a while


Auger action!

 So the Super Solo tunnel I have opted for (NB., other profiles are available!)  is 26m long, 8.5m wide and cost £2500. That includes a metal top bar along the entire length, additional bracing (windy kit) and roller doors. It has some straight profile at the edges (essential if you want to use all the space) and the potential for some major ventilation come summertime. As you can see, it’s like a Spanish tunnel that goes down to the ground, but is roped up the same way.



I did have to borrow my Dad for half a day to screw in the ground anchors (70 0mm) with a hired auger, but apart from that it was straighforward enough for one person to do. I even skinned it myself when I could see a quiet day forecast, although it would be much more preferable with more. It therefore has some great advantages in cost (no concrete or timber or outside contractors), probably some planning advantages as it is clearly a temporary structure, it can be closed down for the worst of the winter (spring bulbs!) and still grow summer crops because of the ventilation. I estimate it is probably 4-5 times cheaper than a twinspan polytunnel covering that size, all things considered.



The handy see-saw ring for roping up, definitely easier with two..

 The only slight niggle is with the plastic for the doors, which tends to billow in a bit in windy weather, due to the enormous tractor access opening. Haygrove do sell a stiffer door material which I would well recommend getting delivered with everything else. Their instructions, manuals, technical information and after sales support were all really good, you can find them on the world wide web of wonder here www.haygrove.co.uk.


Ashley Pearson

To All the Mums

Mother's Day is always rather
frustrating, especially when it comes early and the flowers are late.
A missed opportunity for British flower growers I think. If only we
could change it to a Sunday in June. 

Anyway, I decided to rise to the
challenge and create a bouquet with only what is flowering in our
cutting gardens, bearing in mind that I am lucky to have an unheated
polytunnel for some of our spring bulbs.



The bouquet contains a beautiful
selection of hellebores with rich, intense colours (specially bred by
Hugh Nunn of Harvington Hellebores) these match up well to the jewel-like
anemones. For foliage, I had rosemary, arum leaf and pussy willow.