Burpee Seeds looks to the future

Matthew Appleby, Andrew Mellowes, Simon Crawford

This week's Horticulture Week Podcast welcomes Burpee Seeds' sales and marketing director Simon Crawford and commercial director Andrew Mellowes.

Burpee Europe’s focus on the breeding and development of new varieties of vegetables, fruit and flowers for the home gardener market has seen the team enjoy a steady rise in seed sales and has provoked a need for larger premises.

Andrew Mellowes, formerly of Woodlodge and Gardman, is replacing sales and marketing director Simon Crawford who is retiring at the end of 2023.

Mellowes has made the big change to the live products side of horticulture, but after more than 20 years in the industry sees many of the same challenges - no  year is normal and having a reliable supply of product is essential, he says.

However, he agrees that post-Brexit and Covid, 2023 is more likely to be nearer 'normal' than the past three years and is seeing a cautious optimism among customers.

Crawford is BPOA vice chairman and sees supply of peat-free growing media as one of the biggest challenges ahead:

"There's still a long way to go, but finding alternatives to coir and to wood chip to produce good quality reliable substrates is absolutely vital...unless we get good substrates, the industry is going to be threatened, I really do believe that."

Brexit meant Burpee had to set up a Netherlands office so it can export seed. But tougher plant health requirements for imports are a good thing, he says, drought resistance is a focus and blight-resistant tomatoes including new launches Bliss, Toddler and Black Moon. 

Burpee is celebrating its first Fleuroselect gold medal winner, Helianthus Desire Red. Crawford has helped organise the 3-6 July Fleuroselect convention, which will visit RHS Hyde Hall Floral Fantasia, Mr Fothergill's and Floranova.

Presenter: HortWeek editor Matthew Appleby
Producer: HortWeek digital content manager Christina Taylor

Make sure you never miss a Horticulture Week podcast! Subscribe to or Follow Horticulture Week podcasts via Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

If you are interested in producing a podcast with HortWeek, contact hortweek@haymarket.com.

Read These Next

Dutch ornamenta exports on a map

Post-Brexit data shows plant imports rising and exports falling

Post-Brexit imports into the UK have increased with multiple sources showing how we have not improved import substitution despite the promises of Brexit, with the Netherlands the remaining the largest trading partner.

Salix cuttings (L to R): acutifolia ‘Blue Streak’, alba var. vitellina, daphnoides, alba var. vitellina ‘Yelverton’, irrorata and rubra ‘Eugenei’ - credit all images: Bob Askew

Salix - these wonderful willows will add colour and beauty to the garden

Nepalese Orange has gorgeous rich orange bark, peeling in coppery-orange strips and prominent lenticels

Betula - some colourful alternative birches to the usual suspects


Partner Content

Botrytis on cyclamen with ghost spotting

Act now to get ahead of Botrytis

Presented by Fargro