Will amateur gardeners replace winter losses? - HW polled nurserymen at the Garden Press Event in London

"People will still want to plant their gardens and still want them to look good, so if they lost plants over the winter they will replace them.

"But they might start looking at what they are going to replace them with because this is the second time they will have lost them. Perhaps they will start to look for plants they know are hardier.

"We were pleased to spot that all of the Hebe we had in pots outside the office have survived the winter - and we had temperatures as low as -17 degsC."

- GEOFF CAESAR, managing director, Bransford Webbs Plant Company

"Put it this way - there will certainly be dead plants in peoples' gardens but we don't know what effect the economy will have.

"It's true that there are going to be many opportunities, but I believe the biggest effect of the bad weather this year is going to be quite a shortage of plants available. They haven't only died in gardens, they have also died in nurseries, and I think there's going to be a general shortage.

"When it does get busy there's going to be an incredible demand for plants and it will be interesting to see whether the supply is there."

- COLIN STANLEY, garden centre sales manager, Wyevale Nurseries

"Yes, I believe so. There are opportunities out there and I think people will replace lost plants, but they may be looking for hardier plants.

"We have had two bad years on the trot and people appreciate that a lot of these plants have lasted 10, 12 or 15 years and they are worth replacing.

"I'm cautiously optimistic. People may be moving towards hardier plants and in the autumn that's what we have got to do - we have to promote hardier plants."

- NIGEL GOODALL, sales manager, John Woods Nurseries

"Well, one has got to be slightly realistic. It's certain groups of plants that have suffered in the past couple of winters. These are the ones where we have pushed the boundaries - the borderline hardy ones.

"I don't think it will stop people using these plants in gardens because they are a good way of adding colour and variety and even if you do lose them you have still had several months of interest.

"But we all have a responsibility to tell people what the expectations are for the plant."

- ANDY MCINDOE, managing director, Hillier Nurseries

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