Growers hoping for good autumn sales to limit this year's damage

Poor sales impact nursery stock growers but mood remains positive over future prospects.

Nursery stock: suppliers have experienced a difficult sales season - image: Allensmore Nurseries
Nursery stock: suppliers have experienced a difficult sales season - image: Allensmore Nurseries

Nursery stock growers who have been hit by the poor weather this year are hoping for good autumn sales to limit the damage.

Growers involved in retail have been badly affected by poor garden centre sales over the year so far, so autumn sales will be key for many.

"People look at bedding plants. When things are good they do very well but when they're bad they are the first to be hit. But it has spread further," said New Place Nurseries director Steven Lee. "When you look back on the year the turnover is pleasing, but it could have been so much better."

He added: "There is still time to do stuff in the garden. The grass hasn't stopped growing and people are struggling to find time. They look at August and when that doesn't work out as well as it might have they start clutching at straws for September and before you know it the days are getting shorter. It's maybe better to move on and look at next year."

Bransford Webbs managing director Geoff Caesar said some businesses will not survive without good autumn sales and suggested that growers will be more cautious next year. "Volume is likely to suffer and this could lead to availability problems next year," he added.

Jackdaw's Field Nursery owner Nick Reese said: "It has been more difficult but not as bad as some people. It will probably be an average year but we've had to work much harder. Growing more unusual plants has stood us in good stead."

He added: "Some grower-retailers are very much down - I've heard stories of 50 per cent. It's very variable between nurseries and different parts of the country."

However, many growers are remaining positive about the rest of this year and next. Viking Nurseries sales manager Fabio Guizzo said: "We are definitely down but you have to remain positive. We sold all of our azaleas and rhododendrons during the spring. The export market really helped."

Hillier Nurseries senior sales account manager Richard Lawton said: "It has been difficult because garden centres haven't replenished. It is about damage limitation this year, but we are keeping our production figures for next year and not being deterred."

Nursery view

"It has been a difficult season for sales. It has been disappointing and we just have to ride this year out. Garden centres have been nervous about stocking up. We've got some of the best-looking plants we've ever had. We have had good conditions for growing, but we have a lot of plants left and we don't have space for them to overwinter. Hopefully we'll do some sales over autumn."

Mark Taylor, managing director, Allensmore Nurseries

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