The moment we’ve all been waiting for, we all knew it would come eventually and we all had huge amounts of anticipation for its arrival. No, not the fact that it’s raining, which as it so happens, it currently is, I’m talking about the easing of lockdown and the impacts of said reopening on garden centres across the UK.
Back in March, widespread fear spread through the horticulture industry on how much business would be lost, how much wastage there would be and most worrying of all, how many businesses would reopen, if at all. But what we have seen is a surprising amount of positivity. According to the survey conducted by HortWeek, 16% believed they had seen a rise in business, not a fall. And that isn’t taking into account the online businesses, some figures have quoted 500% increases in sales, a figure that really is believable, will this be maintained now lockdown is easing? Will the unprecedented demand for plants continue through the summer?
We all saw photos of people queuing for hours to get into the local garden centre, so sales must have been good? So far, the survey from HortWeek backs this up, 30% of respondents said sales had beaten their expectations, 46% found they had matched previous sales. As our holidays are unlikely going to be where we hoped, we believe sales of garden plants are going to maintain their level of demand, annual leave must be taken and what will people do with their time? We’ve watched The Big Flower Fight on Netflix as well as every true crime documentary, but at least programmes like the former are going to give further inspiration to make more of our new pub space, our gardens.
In my opinion, yes it will. Our new social space isn’t a pub, it’s our very own gardens. In the past, visitors may have meant fluffing pillows or dusting, now, what’s the point in that when no one is going to see your new cushion, they’re going to see your new hydrangeas, your fruit trees having been perfectly pruned. We’ve spent months nurturing our gardens ready for this moment, it would be a shame to waste it. Although, since lockdown was eased, we’ve had our June rains, the irony isn’t lost on me here… But now when we go to visit family and friends, as we’re taking our own wine, why don’t we as an industry encourage people to buy an extra plant for their friends to give as gifts, this way, you will both get to enjoy it.
The new urban garden
A 500% increase can’t just be from the country gardens. Not everyone has space for a peony bed or a row of perfect alliums, the urban garden has had a woke 2020 upgrade in the form of container gardening. This isn’t just a herb garden on a windowsill, no, we have seen entire living walls created on balconies, tables taken away to make room for pot plants, the space under tables being utilised as space for plants that like shade. And not just your average plant pot, if any container can be made into a plant pot, it’s been done. How this evolves will be fascinating to see and we’ll be here, ready as it continues to grow.
And finally, June is also Pride month, so here are some beautiful rainbow roses. These are made by splitting the stem of a white rose with the pieces all dipped in coloured water, leave a few days and.. ta dah!