How the nation’s centre of Remembrance was transformed by a ‘contract grow’
Situated in Staffordshire, on the edge of the National Forest, the National Memorial Arboretum Centre is the UK’s centre of Remembrance.
The 150 acres of woodland and gardens are home to more than 350 thought-provoking memorials commemorating fallen soldiers, members of the emergency services and tributes from charity and civilian organisations.
Around 300,000 visitors a year flock to the arboretum, which is part of the British Legion family of charities.
We were asked to supply plants for the Remembrance Centre, a £10.1 facility opened in 2018 by Prince William that incorporates a ceremonial courtyard, Heroes’ Square, a dramatic drum-shaped rotunda, exhibition areas, café, retail area and a learning centre.
As the arboretum is open all year round, with around 200 separate events taking place each year, this had to be taken into consideration when designing and planning the planting scheme.
The size of the site presented a further challenge. The grounds are considerable, spread over 150 acres with more than 30,000 trees, many of which are dedicated to individuals, while specific areas pay tribute to organisations such as the police and the Merchant Navy.
The arboretum encompasses with different areas that require different planting techniques, from wooded areas to formal gardens.
A total of 38,000 plants, including a mixture of shrubs and herbaceous varieties, were supplied to the project by Johnsons as part of a contract grow in partnership with Grace Landscapes and landscape architect Andy Webster of Fira.
• Over 600 Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ 2L
• Over 300 Crocosmia ‘George Davidson’ 5L
• Over 100 Buxus semperviren 10L hedging plants
• Over 200 Carex Testacea 2L
• Over 500 Euonymus varieties
• Over 150 Helenium Waltraut
The planting scheme has now been completed, with the plants supplied enhancing the symbolism and adding to the sense of tranquillity across the arboretum.
Johnsons of Whixley senior amenity sales manager Tony Coles said: “It was a privilege to be a part of such a prestigious and meaningful project and help add an extra element of colour and beauty to an already picturesque setting.
“Whilst the contract has since concluded, it is always pleasing to see the results of our work at a later date. It’s a truly magnificent location and we feel enormous pride at having helped to enhance it further.”
Grace Landscapes’ head of estimating Ricky Whiteman added: “We were very proud to be awarded the soft landscaping package for such a prestigious and well-known site.
“We were pleased to be working alongside Johnsons of Whixley for the plant supply, having already developed a healthy relationship with the business over a number of years.”