Exchange rate and weather help boost European nurseries' UK imports

European nurseries have said that business with the UK is strong, but some are predicting a downturn this year.

A positive exchange rate and good winter weather have helped Dutch and German nurseries importing to the UK achieve good results.

German grower Heinje supplies plants to garden centres in the UK. "Business in the UK is not too bad," said office contact for UK customers Erik Rosenhofel. "The exchange rate is good for us and it seems people would rather cut back on their holidays and still buy plants."

At Dutch tree nursery Van den Berk, UK and Ireland export manager Jan van Vechel said: "Business is 15-20 per cent less than it was three or four years ago, because there are fewer projects and that puts pressure on price, but this year we cannot complain."

"Next year is looking less positive and our expectations are not so good, but we will take it one step at a time. We work in 20 European countries and the UK is one of the top three markets, about eight-to-10 per cent of our total business."

He added: "We are following some leads. You never know where business will come from. For example, there could be private clients - there are still wealthy people with money to spend."

German tree nursery Lorenz von Ehren marketing manager Kerstin Abicht said warmer weather this winter had helped. "Business was a bit down but it has improved and we have been delivering a lot of trees to the UK.

"They like to plant in January and sometimes we have been frozen over so it has not been possible to deliver. It has been a good season this year because of the weather."

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