Whilst the past year has not been without its challenges for the garden retail industry, there are some positives to take away. We’ve fallen in love with our gardens – and more specifically, gardening – again.
In fact, 45% of people say they have coped with lockdown by gardening, spending an average of three hours more each week in the garden during lockdown. The knock-on effect on trade overall has been significant – with £5.4 billion spent on outdoor spaces in 2020.
The links between positive mental health and spending time in the garden are firmly established, and gardening itself is known to be very therapeutic for many. So much so that it’s being ‘prescribed’ by doctors as part of the NHS social prescribing initiative - a health scheme that will ensure millions of people are given a pathway to discover the joy of getting outdoors to start growing, join gardening groups to find new friends and benefit from the healing effects of nature.
These positive steps are something that the industry can really get behind, ensuring that we come together as a community to look after each other. With old-school enthusiasts and newbies alike flocking to garden centres in the coming months, seeking inspiration and the tools to make their garden dreams a reality – it’s a great opportunity to make sure customers (and staff) stay safe, happy and healthy outdoors.
Here’s a handy guide to help your staff and customers avoid some of the unexpected pitfalls that the green-fingered can encounter:
1. Beware of bites and stings
Whether it’s your plant advisors tending to outside stock or customers watering the garden at dusk, gardeners are likely to be in close contact with bugs like mosquitoes, bees, wasps, hornets and horseflies, particularly in summer. It’s important to have help on hand immediately if you happen to get stung or bitten.
To soothe any itching, pain or swelling caused by insect bites and stings, they can use bite away® - a completely chemical-free treatment, clinically proven (in a study by Müller et al. 2011) to improve pain in as little as two minutes.
This innovative device uses concentrated heat technology to trigger a response in the body when applied directly to the skin, providing effective relief from the first application.
Bugs and insects also eat away at prized vegetables and plants, so demand for products to protect plants is high all year round. By stocking a state-of-the art treatment in the garden pest section of your store, where customers will be looking for products to protect their plants, you can help safeguard them against insect bites and stings.
2. Don’t give your body a battering
The uninitiated might scoff at the thought of gardening being as strenuous as a sporting activity, but this really can be the case, especially if you’re a rookie. As with any sport, it’s important to get into a routine of stretching before and after a session in the garden to warm up and cool down your muscles. Common gardening injuries include lower back pain, ligament and joint strain, and excess pressure on the knees and shoulders.
To avoid injuries, customers should build up time in the garden gradually and take regular breaks every 30-60 minutes. Use a knee pad or cushion when kneeling and use tools that are lightweight and sharp. It’s also important to vary your tasks throughout the day in order to avoid hours of repetitive movement.
Giving advice to staff on safe handling and lifting can help to prevent injuries and ensure your workforce is healthy and ready for action. Lugging around bags of compost all day is an upper body workout like no other!
3. Stay sun savvy
When you’re in the thick of weeding, planting or pruning on a hot summer’s day - for customers at home or for staff on site - you’re an easy target for sunburn and heatstroke. Suffering from either of these will make gardening the next day very painful indeed, but keeping safe in the sun is simple: apply SPF30+ sunscreen generously every few hours when working outside.
Additionally, it’s sound advice to wear a cap or sun hat to protect your face and head from the sun’s glare. It’s also crucial to take regular breaks in the shade and to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
4. Don’t become the rose between two thorns
Depending on what you’re planting, gardening carries the risk of nasty cuts from thorns, prickles and spikes. High-quality gardening gloves are an absolute must to protect hands and lower arms, as well as long sleeves and trousers where possible.
Bare feet are also a ‘no no’ – gardening shoes will shield feet from any unwelcome cuts or splinters. If cuts do happen, a fully compliant first aid kit – at home and in store – is essential and should contain antiseptic cream and plasters to start the healing process quickly.
For information on pricing and ordering please contact enquiry.mibeUK@dermapharm.com or call 0203 870 7504
*bite away® is dermatologically tested and suitable for the whole family, including pregnant women, allergy sufferers and children (for self-application from the age of 12 years upwards.) The application of bite away® is limited to five times per hour – with at least two minutes in between applications - on the same spot. For more information, please visit mybiteaway.co.uk.