It was a great relief to us, as it must have been to everyone who loves gardens and gardening as we do, when the Government allowed garden centres to reopen as part of the lifting of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. As from Wednesday May 13th, as long as strict social distancing guidelines were in place, the gates were opened and customers allowed back in.
This reopening came relatively early in the process of unlocking lockdown and the Government is to be praised on taking the decision. It also came not a moment too soon for the horticultural sector.
A looming crisis
A post on the website of the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) preceding the event painted a grim picture of the potential disastrous effects that a prolonged lockdown would have on horticultural businesses nationwide:
“The ornamental horticultural industry is facing a crisis point which will severely impact the availability of British grown seasonal plants and flowers
Due to the plunge in demand following the UK shut down, the value of lost plant sales in the UK will be £687 million by the end of June and if it continues £1.2 billion by the end of December
The perishability and seasonality of plants means that the sector potentially faces total stock write off unlike that of any other industry
Hundreds of UK growers face complete loss of income, cannot afford to take on the debt of a government loan and many may not even be eligible”
James Barnes, Chairman of the HTA, commented: “We have hit a perfect storm in the UK. The seasonality and perishability that is unique to our industry means that growers are potentially facing stock losses on an ever-rising scale as each day passes.”
Opening for business again
Following the move to lift restrictions on garden centre opening, a statement from Mr Barnes was able to strike a more optimistic note: “We have clearly welcomed the Government’s decision to allow garden centres to open in the first move to relax some of the current COVID-19 guidelines. I would like to thank all those across the industry who I know have striven night and day to put the case for this to happen.
“With this early decision comes a significant responsibility for this sector of retail to be a showpiece for safe trading and the implementation of social distancing protocols.”
Garden landscaping is an important part of our business. We believe that RSP excels in creating attractive plans and planting schemes for outdoor environments at both residential and commercial properties.
Survival and prosperity
We work closely with our clients to fully meet their aspirations, and we know that a visit to a garden centre can inspire them with ideas for the present and future planting and landscaping of their outdoor space. The RSP landscaping team regularly collaborates with high quality horticultural suppliers and we are committed to offering them the strongest support. They and horticultural businesses everywhere must survive and prosper in spite of the current pandemic.
Please contact us at any time for information about our landscaping and gardening services.
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