Floribusiness Corona British companies sell plants ’extremely well’

British companies sell plants ’extremely well’

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A UK garden centre chain has sold plants this week ’extremely well’, a cash-and-carry near London just had the best three days of sales in the past six months. But next week?

„People were queuing up to the road to buy plants”, says Charles Carr of Hillier Nurseries, surprised yet delighted. Hillier also has several garden centres in England, including the main location in Braishfield. „This garden centre was sold out on Saturday. Incredible.”

As long as sales continue, Hillier Nurseries keeps on supplying its own garden centres. The company has to, because Hillier decided last year to stop supplying other garden centres in the UK. „Everyone is buying plants now because they are afraid that all shops will close because of corona”, says Carr, who is also concerned.

’Grow your own’ increases

The Horticultural Trades Association, representing both growers and garden centres, does not yet have figures from UK garden retail. „Sales appear to be buoyant, especially on plants and gardening supplies”, says Gill Ormrod of the HTA. ’Grow your own’ will only become more popular, she expects. „Seed sales have increased dramatically last week.”

So far (Friday 20 March), UK government measures have been limited to closing schools, avoiding pubs, clubs and restaurants and staying home as much as possible. In addition to supermarkets that also sell plants, garden centers and hardware stores are still open. „People are afraid of more restrictions,” said Richard McKenna of Provender Nurseries, cash-and-carry near London, „but they now also see their garden as a green retreat.”

Provender is also having a special week. „We’ve had the best three days in the last six months”, says McKenna. „A lot of fruit trees sold, much more than usual. Because people want to grow fruit themselves because of corona.” Until Friday, logistics to landscape projects is also remarkably faster. „Normally a delivery in London takes us three hours. Yesterday we were back in two hours because there is less traffic.”

Photo by Provender Nurseries

Arno Engels
Since 2000 Arno Engels has been editor of De Boomkwekerij, Dutch magazine for hardy nursery stock. Since 2018 he is also Floribusiness editor.

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