Thomas Everard, 19, an apprentice at The Bransford Webbs Plant Company, who has ownership of his own area of the nursery, recently attended the IPPS European Regional Annual Conference in The Zundert Region of the Netherlands.
Thomas was one of 6 successful applicants of the 6 pack awards, which is available every year to young horticulturists or those new to the industry, working in or studying commercial horticulture, offering them the chance to attend the conference.
The three-day long conference offered a range of lectures and visits, as well as the opportunity to meet other growers from across Europe.
Various talks were given by prominent members of the horticultural industry, and Thomas highlighted both the talk on ‘New Perennials in the Market’ by Arno Rijnbeek, as they supply Bransford Webbs and he could see new possible marketing ideas, as well as a talk on the Breadfruit project which is enabling poorer people in certain areas of the world to be taught how to grow these plants, and therefore providing their own family with food.
For Thomas, his preferred visits were those he could relate back to Bransford Webbs. At Florensis, who supply plugs to Bransford Webbs, he was able to see state of the art robotic machinery, as well as on a visit to Special Plant Zundert, he commented on the ebb and flow beds which could be used back at work.
From speaking to a wide range of professionals, Thomas was able to gain ideas on many areas from nursery working practices to irrigations systems, and new products both for the nursery such as the shading company (Redusol) and developments in plant breeding, such as Arie Blom and Echinacea. The opportunity to build a network of contacts across the industry is invaluable.
“The other delegates were all very friendly and welcoming, and I would recommend it to anyone who is offered the chance to attend”, commented Thomas. “I would like to thank everyone at the IPPS as I couldn’t have had a better experience, but also thank you to Bransford Webbs for encouraging me and supporting me in this opportunity”.