How will your sector remember 2009?

We polled figures in the landscape, garden design and retail sectors.

Andrew Wilson, chief assessor and landscape architect, RHS "Landscape designers and contractors will remember a difficult but surprisingly productive year. At the start of 2009 there was a real atmosphere of doom and gloom and concern that the gardening industry would be a huge casualty, but that has not been the case.

"While people have found the year a challenge, good-quality work has still been produced. It will be remembered as a challenge that everyone rose to. Things could have been a lot worse but people have still devoted time, money and energy to gardens and landscapes, which is great."


Andrew Richardson, director, Johnsons of Whixley "It depends on what part of the industry you're in. It has been a fantastic year - one of the best ever - if you are involved in selling to plant centres. But in the landscape market it has been one of the worst years we've ever seen.

"The whole year has been unbelievably difficult trying to cope with the market downturn of 30 per cent. With our big lead times it's hard to turn off supply. We've all taken costs out of the business. We will be more streamlined businesses when the market takes off, so we will be stronger after this downturn."

James Ducker, director, Langlands Garden Centre "This year has been brilliant really. Sales are up and it has been a really good year. People are staying at home as opposed to spending money going on holiday and spending a bit on the garden rather than going abroad.

"Grow-your-own, bedding and gardening sales generally are up a lot and that has carried on through the year. I can't see any reason why that would not carry on into 2010. Christmas has been really good too, across the board. We've also opened a new centre at the former Hayes in Leeds and won the Garden Retail Award for best catering facilities."


Robin Templar Williams, garden designer and BALI board member "This year has heightened my awareness of the need to stand outside the business and look back in. It was a wake up call for the industry and a nervous time, particularly at the beginning of the year.

"The season was upside down and slow to pick up. But confidence came back and continues to do so. I am now seeing new projects coming in and that started to pick up in the summer, which is traditionally when things slow down. It has been a learning curve and a reminder that we can't rest on our laurels."

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