Head groundsperson Richard Hare, has reported excellent results from using a selection of Limagrain products at the outstanding Bromsgrove School in Worcestershire.
Founded in the Middle Ages, Bromsgrove is one of the country’s largest independent schools with a glowing reputation for both academic and sporting excellence. Astonishingly, given the size of it, you can drive through Bromsgrove town and not even see the School. How is this possible? Well, according to most, Bromsgrove keeps one hundred acres of secrets from a casual visitor, hidden like a vast walled garden – and this is where Richard Hare comes in.
Richard is responsible for the all the sports pitches and green spaces across the School’s three sites and leads a team of 15 members of staff consisting of groundspersons and gardeners. Depending on the term, the team maintains an array of pitches, which includes rugby, football, hockey and cricket. However, with such a busy schedule it leaves a tight window for renovations.
“The winter renovation work takes place during the school Easter holidays,” said Richard. “As part of this renovation, we will over-seed all the grass areas with a Limagrain winter sports mix. We carry out the cricket renovations after the cricket festivals which finish the second week of August. The rugby pre-season training starts the last week of August.”
It is during this period that Richard relies on a range of Limagrain UK’s grass seed which includes the headline mixture MM50 for his cricket wickets. Over recent years, Limagrain’s MM50 has been the number one choice for cricket groundsmen. Those representing grass roots, schools, local clubs and international test venues have all benefited from using MM50. This hard-wearing mix has rapid germination, very fine leaved appearance, high shoot density and is tolerant to very close mowing, along with high disease resistance. All these attributes together produce a fantastic sward that has great colour all year round.
“I buy seed from Limagrain UK which covers all the grass areas for cricket and rugby,” continued Richard. “Grass seed, as anyone will tell you, is a massive investment and I can’t afford to apply that amount of grass seed and just hope that it will work. I need to have the confidence that it will germinate especially as we have such a small renovation window. I have that confidence with Limagrain and that is why I have used the seed for so long.
“We don’t have irrigation on all the pitches, and we don’t get a lot of rain in August and it still germinates. We always get great coverage.”
Grass seed aside, Richard also revealed that some of the School’s most aesthetically pleasing areas are thanks to Limagrain UK’s Colour Splash mixtures. Over the past few years, these flower mixtures have been used in a broad range of landscape and amenity areas throughout the UK. The range has a floral arrangement for every requirement – whether it be a golf course, a local authority green space or any other establishment that has an area which needs brightening up.
The Colour Splash range of mixtures are extremely easy to sow and the resulting vigorous plants are more than capable of competing with weeds. Their vigour is equally matched by robustness; resisting long periods of drought. They are also fast flowering and cost effective.
“We use the Colour Splash mixtures in eight different areas around the School,” said Richard. “The main reason for applying these mixtures was because I wanted to create some wildlife friendly areas. The School and the students have really bought into it and the areas look absolutely stunning – we are always getting nice comments from teachers, pupils and parents.
“Also, we find that these areas are helping us to save on fuel and man hours too because previously they needed cutting and looking after regularly. Now, we just cut the areas and reseed once a year – that is all they need. We just seem to be adding more and more of these Colour Splash areas all the time.”
Richard was also quick to praise the support from both Limagrain and Agrovista Amenity – the company he purchases the seed from.
“I always have good conversations with Mark Allen (Agrovista Amenity) and Matt Gresty (Limagrain UK) and they will come in and help us in any way they can. The advice has been invaluable at times.”