Protecting our industry during the lockdown
By now, we'll all have read Alan Titchmarsh's open letter for The Mail on Sunday calling for the reopening of the nation's garden centres, in line with regulations set out for supermarkets. The TV gardener has called for a “rescue package” to be set up by the government, to ensure continuity for businesses across the country.
Across the country, we're hearing stories of garden centres and growers having to throw away thousands of seasonal plants and produce as businesses continue to be hit by the COVID-19 lockdown. But amidst the negativity, there is a positive outlook for the garden and outdoor market, with many businesses and associations taking matters into their own hands to protect our industry.
As outlined by our partners at Grow Your Own Magazine, consumer interest in gardening and gardening materials has skyrocketed in the past few months. A combination of more time at home and the weather looking brighter has driven many outside, into their gardens, with a view to spending quality time outdoors and providing food for their families rather than going to the supermarket. Alongside this increased focus on outside space, interest in seeds, produce and DIY tools has also risen amongst consumers, attracting an entirely new consumer base into the industry.
Home delivery services
Whilst bricks and mortar shops are remaining closed, the HTA are pushing for these to be reopened and classified as essential businesses. Many growers and garden centres have made big changes to their online and mail order services, operating a home delivery service to help shift surplus stock and provide consumers with seeds, plants and other gardening supplies.
A focus on local businesses
Many of our garden-centres and growers are local family-run businesses. During this time many are still able to walk to their businesses to ensure plants are kept in good condition and properly tended to. With a focus on community, most consumers are looking to support their local businesses with many companies and retailers joining forces to ensure business continuity. The RHS is also actively encouraging its members to buy plants from their local garden centres and specialist nurseries online and has set up a dedicated page which includes the contact details of their exhibitors and partners around the country.
At this difficult time, the Glee team are here to support our gardening community. We're here to share your stories and spread the word about your businesses. Let us know if you have a story to tell by emailing us or using #InspiredByKindness on social media.