Riley Growers starts trading again after devastating fire

Specialist orchid nursery Riley Growers is back selling to the UK market following a devastating fire last year that destroyed 225,000 plants and 0.8ha of greenhouses and equipment.

Formerly the country's largest grower of Phalaenopsis, Gloucestershire-based Riley Growers has launched a new range of mini-orchids to coincide with the nursery's re-entry to the sector.

Owner Marie Riley said: "The 'Little Lady' range is quite unique for Britain - they are mini-orchids in 6cm pots and they come with their own ceramic giftware.

"It's early days but I have had very favourable comments every time I walk into a garden centre with people asking to buy them."

Commenting on the rebuild of the nursery, she said: "Most of the nursery is now renovated and we have some lovely plants - we are just looking for buyers now.

"Even though we struggled a bit in April and May because we were still cleaning up from the fire, we were pretty much on target timescale-wise from June and July."

She added: "We wanted to hit the market when people needed the plants the most, and I have to say the orchids look absolutely gorgeous and I'm very pleased with the quality at the moment.

"A lot of customers have been very supportive but there were the occasional one or two who drifted away - I suppose they have gone to Holland for plants and are quite happy there."

On the nursery's plans for next year, she said: "We want to develop the 'Little Lady' range much further so that we can carry the full range and grow the plants ourselves.

"At the moment we are buying them in to test the market. Also, we want to develop the 12cm market and expand in the 15cm market, which is what we were doing last year before the fire."


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