Apple and cacti experts to give talks at Alexandra Park Greenhouse Heritage Open Day on Saturday

Apple and plant experts will be giving visitors some tips on growing healthy stock at two Heritage Open Days at Alexandra Park Greenhouse on Saturday September 12.

Friday, 11th September 2020, 2:11 pm
Greenhouse Alan Bromley with Cacti SUS-200709-143649001

Peter May, who has studied commercial horticulture, will talk about soil conditions and pests and diseases among apple varieties .

The event will be part of two Heritage Open Days tomorrow and on Sunday (Sept 13) to celebrate the historic greenhouse’s history and to help the greenhouse group’s Crowdfunding appeal to raise £10,000 towards putting a permanent roof on the 1930’s structure.

One of the group’s supporters has already pledged a substantial sum towards the work to repair the teak and cast iron greenhouse and install reinforced glass. A permanent roof will allow the greenhouse to be used in all weathers for community groups, talks, horticultural exhibitions, concerts and social gatherings.

Greenhouse apple expert Peter May SUS-200709-143700001

Mr May, who lives at Lewes, specialises in fruit trees. He works with the Brighton Permaculture Trust, based at Stanmer Park, Brighton, and his projects have included planting orchards at schools, community projects and private orchards.

He said: “I shall be talking about the best soil and the different pests and diseases that can affect apples. I can also demonstrate tree grafting as well.

Mr May has worked with Brighton Permaculture Trust to propagate all 28 Sussex apple varieties. He co-wrote the book ‘Apples and Orchards of Sussex’, a cultural history of apple growing in the county, and he will have copies available to buy.

Both days run from 11am -5pm. Admission is free. Social distancing measures will be in place and visitors are asked to wear masks.

Mr May will give his talk at 11.30am.

Cacti and succulent specialist Alan Bromley will also be there on Saturday to advise the public on propagating and caring for the many varieties available.

Mr Bromley, from Laughton, near Lewes, started growing cacti and succulents when he was a teenager. He started a collection again in 2007 and now has about 1,500 plants in his greenhouses.

He is secretary of the British Cactus and Succulent Society’s (BCSS) Rother Valley branch which was formed 18 months ago and now has 26 members. Mr Bromley will be selling some of his stock at Saturday’s event and explaining the differences between cacti and succulents. He said: “Cacti belong to the same plant family, but succulents belong to seven families. There are different types of cactus; many people think that anything with prickles is a cactus, but they vary in shape and form.

Mr Bromley will be selling a booklet costing £1, produced by the BCSS, which explains how to cultivate the plants.