Garden centres and nurseries cheer booming sales

Garden centres and nurseries are cheering booming sales as the coronavirus pandemic prompts families to spruce up their homes. 

Businesses have reported higher spending on plants, seeds and tools this year, as millions of Britons spent more time in the garden during lockdown. 

The craze has boosted both online and bricks-and-mortar stores, according to industry figures, with garden centres reporting a sales boost of 60 per cent over the summer and some websites warning of delays because demand is so intense. 

Flower power: Businesses have reported higher spending on plants, seeds and tools this year

Flower power: Businesses have reported higher spending on plants, seeds and tools this year

Flower power: Businesses have reported higher spending on plants, seeds and tools this year

Spending has surged as customers try to ‘make their gardens a place to enjoy with the family, in some cases as a holiday at home’, according to the Horticultural Trades Association. 

Manchester-based plant seller Peter Nyssen has seen sales increase by at least 70 per cent so far this year, with interest coming from customers both young and old. 

The firm, which employs some 20 staff, was originally founded as a mail order business in 1958 but now sells plants through its website. 

General manager Karen Lynes said: ‘We have seen a huge spike in interest because of the pandemic, it has been extraordinary.

‘People have been spending a lot more time at home, so they are turning to gardening. For some people I think it is helping to ease the stresses they are going through.’ 

Demand is not only coming from people with gardens, Lynes said, but also from those living in flats who want plants or flowers they can grow on a balcony. She added: ‘There is a real mix of ages, including people in their 20s and 30s. There are two or three generations that I think didn’t really grow up learning how to garden and now it is being rediscovered.’ 

In response to demand, Peter Nyssen decided to introduce more ‘collections’ of flowers, such as its ‘butterflies and bees’ or ‘children’s first’ bundles. Lynes is dedicating time to responding to the huge number of customer queries. 

Overall, an estimated 3m Britons have taken up gardening this year, research by the Horticultural Trades Association found. It says sales of products from May 13, when garden centres were allowed to reopen, to the end of August are up by 60 per cent on last year. 

The Royal Horticultural Society said there had been an explosion in traffic to its website, including a 500 per cent rise from people aged 18 to 24. Its director general, Sue Biggs, said: ‘There’s never been so many people gardening. Like everyone, we don’t know what the future holds. But anybody can garden and feel happy and healthy doing it.’

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