Radio Four's You and Yours reports on Horticulture Week readership boom

You and Yours on 7 September broadcast an interview with Horticulture Week editor Matthew Appleby and New Leaf Plants' Mollie Higginson about the uplift seen in visitors to hortweek.com during the coronavirus lockdown.

Appleby, interviewed by presenter Winifred Robinson, said the uplift from 25,000 readers to 300,000 had been driven by huge interest in when garden centres were likely to reopen during coronavirus lockdown.

He said: "We were able to give guidance on when garden centres might reopen and stuck our neck out, which could have dug a big hole for ourselves, and suggested it would be around May 11. Reopening was a great relief for the industry and sales have taken off since then."

He added that there were an estimated 2.2m new gardeners since lockdown

Higginson said information given around when garden centres might reopen was valuable during the waiting game of lockdown in from March 23-mid May so the nursery could bring staff back off furlough to get plants ready for sending to retailers.

She added that Horticulture Week had kept her in touch with the rest of the industry to see if everyone was in the same situation at a time when it was not possible to visit anyone.

Appleby said that stories that went viral debating celebrity gardeners' backing  - or not - of the industry, with a story about Monty Don minimising bedding growers' concerns about the future attracting 60,000 readers.

The programme also featured a clip of Horticulture Week publisher Haymarket owner Lord Heseltine talking about his love of gardening.

See: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000mbkn at 10 minutes.

More to follow.


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