Claire Mucklestone, Manager of Bourne Bridge Garden Centre in Ipswich, made us very welcome on our visit there in September.
As a schoolgirl Claire had dreams of joining the RAF, but with so many family links to horticulture over three generations, and after doing a regular weekend job at Notcutts, she decided that horticulture was definitely in her blood!
Having achieved her Craftsman’s Certificate, she then worked in a nursery in Bagshot, Surrey, where they supplied plants for London landscaping projects.
When a commercial site – opposite Fox’s Marina and next to Bourne Park – came up for sale in 1997, she bought it and established a garden centre there.
Claire enjoys doing creative things, choosing colour schemes and picking out plants that look good together. With the current autumn season upon us, she chose examples of variously coloured flowers and foliage that would look good in a large pot, or in an autumn-themed hanging basket. She also recommended plants for particular aspects and positions in a garden, some suitable for dry soil, some for shade, others for sunny spots. One of our members mentioned that she had used lemonade regularly to give her hanging baskets a boost, which tickled Claire who said she’d never heard THAT one before! However, she did suggest we used a slow-release plant food in the compost to keep the plants at their best.
We had a few laughs during our visit and at the same time got some useful ideas how to brighten up our own gardens. Thanks very much, Claire!