Words & photo: Tim Coghlan
BRAUNSTON Marina was recently awarded the Dennett’s Garden Centre Cup, presented annually to local businesses to encourage floral displays on their premises.
Since the cup was introduced in 2015 by the Daventry-based garden centre, the marina has now won it three times taking on the likes of local canalside pubs, village shops and more.
With its waterside setting and collection of small canal buildings – some dating back to 1792 – the marina does naturally encourage floral displays, enjoyed by boaters and visitors alike.
But where Braunston Marina has the edge is that two of its staff, who together manage the marina’s grounds, both had formal training in horticulture.
The flower displays are created by Ian Norris, who graduated from Rycotewood College of Agriculture near Thame and went on to become head gardener at a private stately home. Ian’s day job now is working on narrowboats and the marina’s maintenance and he is also responsible for the floral displays, particularly by the shop entrance.
Debbs Bradshaw was born into a farming family in Kent and studied horticulture at the Merrist Wood Agricultural College, near Guildford. She went on to work for various nurseries until she retired to Braunston and joined the marina’s weekend staff.
She has also been at the forefront of managing the woodlands around the marina, where more than 2000 trees have been planted since 1996.
Debbs received the trophy on the marina’s behalf at the recent Braunston village fete.