There were almost 11,000 internet, telephone and mail orders including trade and export orders to Europe. This represented a 22 per cent increase on the previous year. Some 78 per cent of these orders came directly online from the Burncoose Nurseries website.
The vast majority of these orders for ornamental trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants were despatched within five working days from receipt by overnight courier as individual parcels or on pallets.
The Burncoose website received almost a million individual visits in the year which was also a record and up 20 per cent on the previous year. The website contains around 4,700 pages and 98 plant categories.
March was the busiest month with a record 1,610 orders being dispatched.
Andrew Mills, Burncoose’s nursery manager, said: "The continuing growth in our mail order business has been a severe test for our two packing sheds and all the 8 packing shed staff involved. They have however responded well to the spring rush this year and we are all looking forward to the quieter summer months.
"It is amazing how well known the Burncoose website and horticultural expertise is throughout the UK. Better probably than within Cornwall. Few visitors to the nursery realise quite how large our plant mail order business actually is nationally or that nearly 80 per cent of what we grow on site is actually despatched by mail order for outside Cornwall."
The 68 page Burncoose Nurseries 2015 mail order catalogue was despatched to more than 30,000 customers. The catalogue and website lists almost 4,000 different plants for sale and there are nearly 20,000 pictures of individual plants.
Charles Williams, senior partner, said: "To grow a modern internet mail order business from Cornwall you need excellent and constantly improving pictures. Our in house photographer, Karol Pawlak, has spent much of the last eight years achieving what you see on our website today.
"Websites also need to be well managed on a daily basis with designs and layouts changing on a regular basis. To achieve this you need continuity and excellence. Burncoose is very fortunate to have worked with Forgecom in developing its website for the last 18 years. The next challenge is to make our website fully compatible with mobile telephones. We hope to complete this complex work with Forgecom in stages by early summer."