Michel Heemskerk, account manager at importer Javado, said: "The euro has helped a lot. With flowering perennials if you used an English supplier before we have an advantage now, but just-in-time is the biggest advantage for us." Immigration problems at Calais holding up Channel Tunnel haulage have hit cut flowers harder than nursery stock, he said. Javado's Bella fuchsia is its big hope for 2016.
The Plant Yard owner Matt Graham said the business model of "little and often" is working, with up to 120 regular customers expected by spring 2016 for the new business. "This is definitely the way some customers are wanting to go," he added. "It's no longer about cheap, cheap, cheap. There clearly needs to be a cost but there's a lot more emphasis on service. The market has moved a lot over the past 12 months. To save a couple of euro cents is okay if there's lots of trolleys of one product and that makes a difference, but for trays of different plants it doesn't really matter." The Plant Yard has now opened a cash and carry at its Hampshire nursery. Graham added that Channel Tunnel issues have been a "headache".
Hawkesmill Nurseries sales director Richard Evans said 2015 had been "strong" in the independent garden centre for British nurseries despite the euro and no one could complain about the season. The retailers are all positive about 2016, he added.
"There are no negatives and people saying that last year was bad, with the weather or economy bad. Orders will be coming in over the next six-to-eight weeks and it's so far so good," said Evans. Planted container herbs, added value and flowering perennials will be even more prominent in 2016, he predicted.