In This Issue
Bunnings No 2 - exclusive picture tour
Garden centres count the cost of Easter Sunday closing
Woodstock Chimes – musical perfection with a Lifetime Tuning Guarantee
Growing is on the up at Aylett Nurseries
Transformation of garden centre into shopping complex
Westland Gro-Sure TV campaign starts this week
We're committed to retailers says T&M's new owner
Dramatic van fire at Perrywood caught on video
From Mosquito Bombers to first UK garden centres
Chessington expands into lucrative new business areas
A month later the Scotsdales' Plant-a-thon comes to an end
EGO ramps up its petrol takeover with sponsorship of Britain’s Best Lawn 2017
Pictures from Garden Re-Leaf Day Down Under
Easter Flowers at the Vatican
Get your own copy of GTN Xtra
No rush to appoint new CEO at HTA
Plants lead the way at Easter
Celebrated jump jockeyto host GIMA Charity Golf and Activity Day Dinner
Lights and lawns take the spotlight
Fern sales up 44% year on year, say Wyevale Nurseries
Tomato plants outsell pot geraniums
Easter closure hits growing media growth
Selbooks Ltd takes over Selnews
GIMA names awards judging panel
Hillier's Chelsea garden will feature a Memory Tree
Babycare changing room wins award for Dobbies Edinburgh
Royal FloraHolland trades 12.5 billion flowers and plants in 2016
13 orchid growers combine their inspiration during Orchid Inspiration Days
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From Mosquito Bombers to first UK garden centres

Martin Stewart, Managing Director of the Dorset based Stewarts Garden Centres, achieved a lifelong ambition to sit the cockpit of  a World War Two de Havilland Mosquito bomber, the type that his father flew in action with the RAF’s 82 Squadron in Burma.

His guide was Bob Glasby, Project Leader at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum in Hertfordshire (Junction 22 on the M25) where he and his team restore 3 variants (including the prototype) of the composite “wooden wonder” aircraft that was immortalised in the 1964 film “633 Squadron”.

Martin explained that Squadron Leader Edward Stewart, who learnt to fly in another famous de Havilland aircraft, the Tiger Moth biplane, did not give up flying after the war and as a private pilot had the opportunity to take a Dakota transport aircraft on a ferry flight to America. 

Whilst travelling up the East Coast on his way from Florida to Toronto before the trip home, Edward visited some of the first dedicated Garden Centres. 

In the Stewart archives is the letter that Edward excitedly wrote to his wife in 1955 explaining that their nurseries in Ferndown should adopt the process of selling plants in the containers in which they were grown as part of a cash and carry style Garden Centre. He returned to the UK in the late summer of 1955 and opened the country’s first Garden Centre at Ferndown in October 1955.

“Had my father not joined the RAF and loved flying he may never have seen the popularity of the Garden Centre concept in the US.  By the 1960s he had helped to change the way gardeners could easily select and purchase plants, and gardening equipment, by opening ‘Garden-Lands’ at Christchurch in October 1961.  He even placed a café within the building, which we all take for granted today,” said Martin Stewart.

The Stewarts garden centres continue to expand.  Last year they announced a multi-million pound refurbishment and rebuild for their Broomhill Wimborne Garden Centre and Nurseries, and acquired the Abbey Garden Centre in Titchfield, Hampshire.

The Stewart Family gave all of Edward’s flying records to Dorset Archives 20 years ago.  Martin commissioned a painting by Guild of Aviation Artists member Robert Calow depicting his father’s Mosquito in action, and still has a few photos of the Squadron Leader with crew members and his particular attack aircraft.
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