It will be make-or-break time for a new type of retailing at garden centres when Kernock Park Plants sends out the first wollemi pines to retailers on 26-27 May.
Business development manager Mark Taylor said 2,000 pre-sale certificates have been sent to 60 selected retailers.
Johnstown Garden Centre in Naas, County Kildare, has pre-sold 90 at €150 (£102) each and RHS Wisley in Surrey has pre-sold 30 at £99.99. But Bents in Cheshire has sold just two despite splashing out £1,100 on a model dinosaur from Kientzler, the European distributor.
Department manager Paul Rossington said that since applying at Glee to be a distributor of the “Jurassic” pine there had been delays in getting it on display. “We’ve not as many as I would have liked,” he added.
Taylor explained that pre-sale certificates could revolutionise garden retail. “Garden centres will have customers coming back in to buy sundries when they collect. They will have had the money in the till for three months and not paid any out. It’s a different concept that the trade will pick up on.
“It will be particularly useful at Christmas because customers will be able to get a certificate for a plant that’s not suitable to plant at that time. The last thing you want in your stocking is a 30-litre pot.”
Kernock Park Plants will promote the tree at Chelsea and in national advertising around Father’s Day.
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