Horticulture Week Podcast: Pennard Plants looks forward to its tomato showcase at Chelsea and an autumn of grow-your-own supply challenges

Well-known Somerset-based edible plants nursery Pennard Plants is planning a swansong at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in September with seed breeders Burpee, collaborating on a display of tomatoes based around the forthcoming book 'Ten Tomatoes That Changed The World' by William Alexander.

The nursery, which offers one of the largest selections of edible plants, fruit trees and bushes and herbs to be found in the UK, as well as heritage and modern seeds, has seen a doubling of online sales during the pandemic.

But changes in regulations are making some imports, such as seed potatoes, onion sets and garlic from France and Holland, impossible. This could lead to significant pressures come the autumn, owner Chris Smith predicts:

"I'm not sure what's happening there except the fact that the price listed so far as almost doubled in some cases. Whether they'll actually get into the country is the next issue we face so it's going to be a difficult and very interesting time."

Traditionally active in horticultural shows, Smith discusses the changes taking place in the demographics of nursery owners and their customers, suggesting some more of the traditional show exhibitors may be looking to retire as the market shifts from face-to-face to mail order. Newer gardeners, often wanting instant results and minimal intervention are favouring salads, soft fruit and perennials.

However, he is looking forward to his last Chelsea where he will once again be promoting grow your own, which he says has taken off again because of food security, provenance and potential Brexit-led shortages.

Finally Chris tips the yacon as a plant for the future, as he looks ahead to life without shows at his walled garden nursery near Shepton Mallet.

This Horticulture Week podcast is produced by Christina Taylor and presented by Matthew Appleby.

Make sure you never miss a Horticulture Week podcast! Subscribe to or Follow Horticulture Week podcasts via Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

If you are interested in producing a podcast with Horticulture Week, contact matthew.appleby@haymarket.com. 

Listener feedback - please email hortweek@haymarket.com with "Podcast" at the beginning of the subject line.

Read the latest horticulture news, views, analysis, industry insight and data at horticultureweek.co.uk.

Follow us on Twitter @hortweek
Join our LinkedIn group
Follow our LinkedIn page

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

What are the best measures to reduce the risk of slips and trips?

Dahlia 'Jomanda'


Dahlias are back in fashion, come in a multitude of shades and offer retailers a double hit, writes Sally Drury.

A. palmatum ‘Red Pygmy’ - all images credit: Floramedia


These trees and shrubs grow to a range of different heights and produce distinctive foliage in many colours, Sally Drury finds.

Partner Content

Growing businesses for 50 years – Four Oaks returns

Presented by Four Oaks
Follow us on:

Horticulture Week Top 100 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive RANKING  of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover  plus the  FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS

HW Podcast

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs


Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

Click here to view a sortable table of the latest Brexit-related policy, legislation & guidance published by the UK Government, devolved administrations & European Commission. Compiled by HW.

For more see the BREXIT page


Free to subscribers, the essential guide for professional plant buyers

Download your copy

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards