Boroughbridge-based Reed Boardall has taken on an unusual assignment this week – the temperature controlled distribution company, whose core business is storing and delivering frozen foods to the UK’s leading supermarkets, is transporting 300 potentially prizewinning plants for a specialist nursery in Ripon which is going for gold at Chelsea this year!
Family-run Drointon Nurseries, one of only two specialist growers of Primula auricular in the country, is entering RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the second consecutive year, and, having won a silver medal at last year’s show, it has its sights on gold. It will also be using the show to exhibit its new variety ‘Charlotte’, named in honour of the new princess.
“What began as my wife’s hobby has turned into a thriving business over the last 15 years or so and having won prizes at a number of shows including Harrogate and Malvern, we were persuaded to try our hand at Chelsea for the first time last year,” explains nursery owner Robin Graham. “Unfortunately, auriculas do not cope well in warm temperatures and the hot spell of weather last May meant that our plants were looking rather stressed by the time they reached the judging and we felt that this cost us the gold medal.
“This year, we decided we would only enter if we could be confident that the plants would not suffer on the long journey from Ripon and would arrive in London in perfect condition. Knowing that one of the UK’s leading chilled distribution businesses was just down the road, we decided to see if they could help us to ensure that our auriculas are maintained at a constant, cool temperature both en route to the show and before they are actually put on the stand. Thanks to Reed Boardall, our auriculas will be in show-ready condition for the judging- no matter what the weather.”
Reed Boardall has transported 300 auriculas to Chelsea, 180 of which will be selected to be showcased on Drointon Nurseries’ stand in the Great Pavilion which will feature a bespoke, tiered hexagonal display unit using three banks of the more informal alpine, border and double auriculas to frame the other three, traditionally formal staged sections of plants.
Howard Gill, managing director of Reed Boardall Transport, added: “Transporting prizewinning auriculas is an unusual assignment for us as the majority of our business is in the food sector, but the principles remain the same – the plants need to be maintained at their optimum temperate to ensure they reach their destination unspoiled, much like ice-cream or frozen chips.
“With 20 years’ expertise working with the leading food manufacturers and supermarkets in the UK, we were confident we’d be able to help Robin in his quest for a gold medal. It’s great to be able to support a local business and see them gain national recognition in their field; fingers crossed that they return to North Yorkshire with the coveted gold medal!”
Established in 2001, Drointon Nurseries is run by Robin and his wife Annabel. It now boasts the largest collection of Primula auricula in the north of England and ships all over the world including North America, Japan and Australia. The company recently exhibited at the Malvern Spring Festival where it was awarded an RHS Gold Medal and won Best in Show for the second year running.
Reed Boardall is one of the largest temperature controlled food distribution businesses in the UK, storing and delivering frozen food from manufacturers across Britain, Europe and further afield to all the UK’s best-known supermarkets. Operating 24/7, its 180-strong fleet of vehicles delivers an average of 12,000 pallets a day and it stores around £100m worth of products on behalf of its customers. It is based at a single site in Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, which is the largest of its kind in Western Europe.