A leading British nursery has revealed it could take the UK growing industry at least 10 years to recover the financial losses incurred when garden centres were forced to close during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Speaking on Radio 4’s ‘You and Yours’ consumer affairs programme, Natalie Porter of Porters Fuchsias/Happy Plants, said: “We received two hits to our business during lockdown. First, there was the wastage caused when garden centres first closed down. And the second hit occurred when garden centres opened with two days’ notice because we hadn’t had any financial security in between to grow any significant amount of plants.
“The damage to our business was bad. We lost vast sums of money. It will take us 10 years to recoup the amount of money we’ve lost this year.
“If the public supports the industry by continuing to invest in their gardens and buy British at the same time, then UK nurseries do stand a chance.
“The one silver lining of this horrendous situation is there has been a surge of interest in gardening.”
TV garden presenter David Domoney was also interviewed on the ‘You and Yours’ programme, and he said: “Some nurseries I know have had to re-mortgage their houses and sell their cars to keep their businesses going.
“The horticultural industry has its peak between Easter and the beginning of June, and we lost that because of lockdown. It’s like the toy industry being closed down for Christmas. But at least toys can be sold at a later date – nurseries don’t have that fallback because bedding plants have a limited life span.
“One good thing is that garden centres have good relationships with their suppliers and like to source products locally where possible. They are also proud to buy British so there is hope for UK nurseries.”
The interviews with Natalie and David can be heard by clicking on the following BBC Radio link. They can be found 22 minutes into the broadcast.