Happy Plants and Horticulture Week appear on Times Radio

Happy Plants' Nat Porter and Horticulture Week editor Matthew Appleby appeared on Carole Walker's show on 1 December discussing the 2020 gardening boom.

Walker said garden centres have become one of the country’s top retail destinations as millions embrace winter gardening to escape the lockdown blues. With high street shops closed in November, garden centres in England were allowed to stay open to encourage gardening and its mental and physical health benefits.

This led to strong sales of poinsettias and Christmas trees.

She said the rise in popularity of year-round gardening has salvaged a terrible year for garden centres after lockdown from March-May.

Porter, who is raising money for Perennial/Greenfingers in a Christmas jumper challenge, cited BBC documentary Cities: Nature's New Wild, which spoke about gardening's environmental benefits.

Happy Plants/Porters Fuchsias said autumn was very good for bedding suppliers such as Porters which was able to squeeze in extra crops such as Christmas planters to make up for lost sales this spring.

Natalie Porter said she could not have "hoped for better" after having faced a write-off of £350,000 when the coronavirus lockdown started on March 23. The nursery lost up to £200,000 per week thereafter during lockdown as garden centres cancelled orders and subsequently growers stopped sowing.

Formby-based Porters is now just under 10% down for the year. See: http://themostjumperful.co.uk/

The new tiers system came into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December, marking the end of the second lockdown, which saw Tong, Barton Grange, Bents and Whitehall in the headlines after queues formed at the garden centres. Many garden retailers now expect sales to slow.
Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly £1 in every £3 spent in the UK had seen a 13.8% decrease in the volume of payments compared to the same period on Black Friday.
Transport for London had 760,000 journeys on London Underground on Wednesday until 10am, up 14% on last week and 31% of normal demand, while 970,000 took bus journeys, up 8% on last week and 57% of pre-pandemic levels.

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said billions had been lost during November's lockdown and now "every purchase we make is a retailer helped, a job protected and a local community supported".

Horticulture Week saw record engagement in November at hortweek.com with more than 125,000 users in the month.

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