About Barraston Nursery

We will be telling you more about us once we find time now that the growing season has started in earnest.

Operation Sunflowers • Summer 1991

Operation Sunflowers • Summer 1991

Operation Sunflowers was a project initiated by the Scottish Branch of the British Bedding Plant Association. This newly formed organisation gave one of its youngest members, a grower from Lanarkshire named Andrew Scott, the contacts he needed to bring his unique and inspired idea - the reproduction of Vincent van Gogh's painting 'Sunflowers' - to fruition. The basic remit of the project, as supported by the Association, was to publicise the versatility of Scottish Bedding Plants to a potential world wide audience of 200 million people.

The bulk of the planning work (ie. site selection, sponsorship provision and grower contact) was carried out by Andrew in the early part of 1991.

Towards the end of May the bedding plant seedlings along with compost and containers were delivered to the 30 growers involved. The plants were grown on at the nurseries until 23rd June when all the packs of plants were transported to the chosen site at Herriot Bank Nursery in Whitsome near Duns in the Borders. This was a major task in itself as plants had to be brought from as far afield as Nairn in the north, Dumfries in the south, Tarbolton in the west and Currie in the east.

The site was now ready having been carefully cultivated in the spring. The string grid was in place with irrigation lines and electric fences installed. On 1 st July, however, it started to rain - and forgot to stop! Planting had to be delayed and only got going in earnest a week later with about ten to fifteen growers and their staff on the site daily for the next 18 days with each person planting about 1,000 plants each day.

The one acre site (46,000s q ft) had been divided into 13,000 individual squares each of which was to contain between 1 5 and 18 plants of various varieties as dictated by the grid plan. No computers were used for this task! 250,000 plants were used including 135,000 French Marigolds in 9 different colours. These formed the basis for each sunflower and for the tablecover.

The background was planted with 75,000 silver leaved Cinerarias and Mimulus Ivory was used for the vase. Shading and definition were achieved by using a number of different plants including Geum, Lobelia, Amaranthus and Pyrethrum Golden Moss.

The whole project was sponsored from the start with all the materials and labour being provided free of charge by the growers, companies and individuals involved.

The original aim of promoting Scottish Bedding Plants was achieved in a spectacular fashion. There was UK-wide coverage on television on 15th August (including ITN's News at Ten and the main BBC News programmes) and in the press during the following days (including a front page photograph in "The Times" and numerous colour spreads). The image was also seen world wide with media coverage on every continent! Many magazines covered 'Operation Sunflowers' over the following months.

We hope that hearing the story of 'Operation Sunflowers' has inspired you and that you will plan and plant a masterpiece. Make sure that you ask for the plants that make it possible.


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R J Morrison & Son • Barraston Nursery • Tower Road • Torrance • Glasgow • G64 4DP