Sunday, 5 August 2018

Welcome to our family run business!

I took a look at our YouTube Channel this afternoon and was horrified to find so many videos from 2011-2014 but hardly anything from the past 4 years. Therefore as a way of refreshing our YouTube Channel I have created this small video to show who we are and some of the work that we do!

Hopefully this will inspire me to keep our channel up to date. 

Hope you like it, 

Susan x

Monday, 19 March 2018

The APL awards 2018

The annual awards ceremony, sponsored by Bradstone, took place on Friday 16th March 2018 at The Brewery, London. It is a day to celebrate and recognise the outstanding landscaping carried out by members of the APL (Association of Professional Landscapers)

Ayegardening were thrilled to have been shortlisted as a finalist for our Weybridge project as the standard of entries to the 2018 awards exceeded expectations and it was amazing to be picked as a finalist from a record breaking number of entries. 

The APL awards 2018

As usual getting to the event means a lot of preparation and organisation before hand from organising breakfast club for the three of ours who go to school and then taking our littlest to Susan's dad to be looked after. It also means arranging school pickups as well. 

Although the event lasts from 10am - 4:30pm, a lot of the attendees like to go for a drink together afterwards. It is not something that we have done yet, but as our children get older we might find it easier. Whilst they are young it is much easier if 'mum and dad' get back in time for bedtime routine. 

On the way to the APL awards
Obligatory setting off car selfie! 

So Aye and I set off in anticipation knowing that it was going to be a great day as we would get to meet many other landscapers and plants people that we knew but also get to hear from some inspirational speakers. 

We were also delighted to be invited to sit with Namgrass at their table! and I must say we had a lot of fun with them!

The Brewery London
The entrance to the venue- The Brewery

Arriving at the APL awards
Arriving at the awards
The first person we met (that we knew) when entering the venue was the lovely Paul Baker from Hollandscapes. It is always nice to see a friendly face when you enter these type of events, as although we may not look it, we are quite shy! We talked with Paul about the standard of entries this year and how it is great to see new and established companies doing well and producing such a high standard of work. 

APL awards
Yay we spotted our project on the screens!

Then we spotted Neil, Lee and Kellie from Namgrass. We have talked with Kellie on the phone for many years but hadn't met her in the flesh yet so it was lovely to put a face to the voice! Lee, we knew as he has visited us quite a number of times and although I was convinced I had spoken to Neil before, we realised it was the first time we had met Neil. Those three did make us laugh all through the day, it really was great to spend time with them. 

On a table with Neil, Lee and Kerrie from Namgrass
Before we sit down at the tables it is time to chat and network with cups of tea and coffee, biscuits and delicious (moorish!) cakes. In this time we were able to chat to some lovely people from Citation and also a brief hello to Craig from Habitat Landscapes. 

Once the networking time has finished it is time to go and find our seats. At this point, we very briefly met Mandy from London Stone on the stairs! Pity we didn't get to chat longer but I am sure our paths will cross again!

Centrepiece on the table
Nearly a front row seat! 
On the table we also had the lovely Prisca and Gerald from Agentsgreen, with some of their workforce and Sue the garden designer. 

Ken White, Chairman of the APL

To kick off the event Ken White, the chairman of the APL said how it had been the best turn out to the APL awards and it is a great time more than ever to celebrate British landscaping.  He also talked about the threat of Xylella Fastidiosa and urged everyone to only buy their plants from trusted plant pass-ported suppliers who know where their plants come from and who wouldn't buy host plants from areas known to be infected by Xylella. 

Raoul-Curtis Machin
Next onto the stage was Raoul Curtis-Machin, director of horticulture for the HTA. He talked about the industry as a whole and how now, more than ever, we are all working together, going forward as one- from the suppliers, to the nurseries, landscapers, gardeners, growers and retailers. 

Chris Collins
Lastly, before lunch, is was time to hear from Chris Collins with a very educational and funny talk about his experience of being the head gardener at Westminster Abbey and the changes he made to the amazingly breathtaking and historic site. 

Time for lunch, well ok pudding as I didn't take a photo of lunch as I was too busy eating it!
During lunch I also got up to wander over to the table where Christopher Rixton was, from Greenbird Gardening as we have spoken a number of times on the phone but hadn't met yet! Next to Christopher was Debs from Garden House Design so it was lovely to briefly say hi to her too!

Then it was time for the awards announcements....

Mark from Landform announced an inaugural award - The Matthew Bradley memorial construction trophy. The well deserved winner was Ross from Conquest Landscapes. 

The award winners were announced with gold and silver winners displayed on the screen. 

The project value under £20,000 winner, sponsored by The Turf Group was Gabe Green Rooms for their modern courtyard in Central Brighton. 

The project value £20,000 - £35,000 winner sponsored by Citation was Lanwarne Landscapes from they Georgian close project. 

This was the category that we were a finalist for..... we achieved a silver!! So we were still pretty proud of that!!

Aye and Susan with the certificate for the silver award!

The other award winners can be found here: APL award winners 2018

Ken white rounded up the awards and then it was time for a bit more networking before heading home or to the organised pub meet! 

Most people that we knew, we met on the way out or on the stairs! Typical... note to self must arrange evening child care next time! 

Whilst waiting for our photo to be taken we met Lucy from Back to the Fuscia. It was lovely to meet Lucy as we had chatted briefly on Twitter but never met before. We hope we can work with Lucy in the near future! 

We met Matt from The Turf Group who was hilarious and said we are like Twitter celebrities. When Mandy from Green cube design came and said hi to us (lovely to meet you Mandy), Matt said he would act as our agent! haha!

Matt and Mick with Aye and Susan 

We also met lovely Mick from Vision Landscapes and had a nice long chat- I won't go into all the detail here but he said some amazingly lovely things about us and it really made our year. 

On the way out (typical!) we bumped into Hilary and Dan from Oakley landscapes. We always seem to be leaving somewhere when we meet Hilary, so we must make an effort to speak longer to Hilary next time! A brief hello to Cormac from Conway landscapes too! 

I have most probably missed a few people but it definitely shows the community feel of the Association of Professional Landscapers and how we are all trying our best to excel in what we do, but also be there for others and support in the good times and the bad times. 

A very supportive network indeed!