Hewson On ... Summer is dead, long live autumn

I have spent much of this dreary soggy summer searching for my "moment to shine", as they say in Olympic-land.

As you can imagine, it has been a tad tricky. And very dreary. Just as well I don't like barbecues.

All that cheery flag waving drives me nuts. There is nothing quite so tedious as the English trying to look cool. And the sight of Andy Murray blubbing like a baby put the tin hat on it.

Anyway, roll on autumn, I say. Plenty of moments to shine there, in all that wondrous colour. It's just fab. Summer is overrated - especially this one. Ask any grower or retailer.

No sales. Nothing. Nowt. Nada. Ziltz. It's a real deal-breaker. As if coping with a double-dip recession isn't tragic enough. All those 50-quid notes going to waste.

Here's the thing. It could get worse - much worse. This is because 75 per cent (yep, a staggering 75 per cent) of garden retail (that's plants) is ridiculously squeezed into three crazy months of the year. That'll be March, April and May - and a pinch of June if you are lucky.

And if the sun don't shine, forget it. Because you know what? Those sales ain't coming back. Not now. Not never. No more moments to shine there.

Only an industry as mad as ours could rely on three months out of 12 to survive. It's crazy. It's just not sustainable, because any more years like this and we are all down the pan. Good and proper.

Anyway, rest easy, for a solution is at hand. We cancel summer and head straight to autumn. Why not? Because autumn can be the new spring. The plants look great, all "kiss me quick" shiny and new, stuffed full of juicy roots seeking their moment to shine. And it's the best time to plant. By far.

Of course, it'll never work. Unless things change. Unless we change. All of us. It'll be pretty easy for the growers because they are ankle deep in great plants asking to be sold. And gardeners are easily led - okay, the "marginals" may take that little bit longer.

But retailers will have to wise up and stop destocking come September. They'll need to take a closer interest in plants and stop selling Christmas tat before 1 December. Think about it. Think about all the 50 quids you have missed this year.

Andrew Hewson is a freelance writer and columnist.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

GroSouth 2017 update

GroSouth 2017 update

First-time and established exhibitors are preparing to showcase products and services at this year's show in West Sussex, Gavin McEwan reports.

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Vine weevil

Pest & Disease Factsheet - Vine weevil

Avoid costly damage by this serious plant pest.

Opinion... Pepper breeders' wealth of knowledge

Opinion... Pepper breeders' wealth of knowledge

Peter Seabrook looks forward to garden centre pepper-tasting weekends.

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles