Growers report good year after 'edge-of-the-seat' spring

Chapel Cottage Plants director David Green has reflected growers' views on the 2013 season, saying an "edge-of-the-seat" spring turned into a "surprisingly good" year.

Newey: says habit for late ordering is now almost becoming the norm - image: HW
Newey: says habit for late ordering is now almost becoming the norm - image: HW

Speaking at GroSouth, Green said he is 15 per cent up on 2012 after a "bad start" and a poor 2012 industry-wide. His three-litre range at a competitive price point has helped turnover but haulage costs have hit profit margin, he added. "Retailers wanted smaller orders because they were less confident after the spring. Little and often pushed transport costs up 15 per cent."

Chapel Cottage produces 3.5 million hardy perennials annually in 800 varieties, all on weekly availability. Green said shared transport is an option for many growers but his location in Cambridgeshire makes that difficult.

Peter Eastwood Plants owner Peter Eastwood said 2014 is "generally looking more cheerful because customers have done slightly better this year", a view echoed by many growers.

Fargro managing director Jim McAlpine said: "After two tough years, we enter 2014 with a degree of enthusiasm." New Place Nurseries sales director Steven Lee said he is seeing the benefits of integrating with Roundstone and using its systems.

Coblands Nurseries general manager Gerald Bonner said he has a "bullish" growing programme for 2014.

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