Flower shows stalwart Martyn Flint of Chysanthemums Direct has told the Horticulture Week Podcast he is going into retirement.
The 36-year flower show veteran reflects on how shows have changed in recent years. "They were beginning to lose their shine in the years before Covid" and with the move online not all shows have survived:
"The half a dozen shows we do - the big RHS shows - are the ones that make us the money... the other 18 shows we were doing in the year before Covid - we were taking money but when you truly worked it out we weren't actually making money, and this is why there are not so many exhibitors at shows."
He used to spend shows "sleeping in the van round the back" but now stays in hotels.
For the future, he says: "I think the big shows like Hampton Court, Tatton Park are going to be the ones that are going to suffer. I would like to see personally the smaller county flower shows, the agricultural shows getting their flower tents back."
He began his career at Ingwersens, a specialist nursery in the Sussex countryside but when that came to an end he went to Chysanthemums Direct, the retail side of family nursery R F Lawrence and Sons which has been growing cut flowers since 1958.
"[It is] pretty well the only [large scale] chrysanthemum grower in the UK" - they grow about 1.4m cut flowers a year, mostly for supermarkets.
"Chrysanthemums have gone in and out of favour, but people have come to realise they are good value plants...I think at the moment they are on the up."
He talks about the cost price pressures facing all growers, in particular glasshouse heating, packaging and postage costs: "It's difficult to squeeze an extra couple of more pence per stem from the people we supply to."
Flint says he "will miss the people more than the hard work" but doesn't rule out making a guest appearance here and there and plans to pay a little more attention to his own garden in retirement.
Presenter: HortWeek senior reporter Matthew Appleby
Producer: HortWeek digital content manager Christina Taylor