Thrive’s Royal Patron HRH Princess Alexandra enjoyed a tour of our new centre in Battersea Park on Wednesday (October 15) and took time to speak to every single gardener there. Click here to see all the photographs on Flickr
HRH Princess Alexandra first spoke to gardeners who were potting up and took a great interest in what they were doing. Thrive gardener David presented her with an impromptu gift of a pen she could use on her own plant labels.
In the training room at the centre gardeners delighted in telling HRH about plant identification which forms a part of their level one work based horticulture qualification.
The Princess then moved outside where she spoke to gardeners tidying up potted plants ready to sell to the public before meeting guests of the charity, including The Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Stuart Thom and architects Pedder & Scampton who designed Thrive’s new stylish and functional building.
The new centre has an office, adaptable training rooms, tool and boot storage, toilet and shower facilities, kitchen with a cooker embracing the 'sow it, grow it, eat it’ philosophy, which all open onto an orangery which spans the front of the building.
The centre is low maintenance, has robust finishes inside and out and is as environmentally-friendly as possible. It is heated using an air source heat pump and has been positioned to take the maximum benefit from solar gain, incorporates solar shading where overheating might be an issue, and works with natural ventilation adjusted by manually operated opening flaps.
Rainwater is collected from the main roof for plant watering. The materials used are timber and natural slate with a recycled aggregate specified for the concrete.
Thrive has now started raising funds to create the garden outside and needs a total of £30k.
HRH also planted a Cornus Kousa tree and was presented with a bouquet of herbs by Jim Austin before she left.