Sales start to pick up for autumn bulbs after a slow start

Autumn bulb sales had a slow start but are improving with new services including bulb planting from one London garden centre.

Clifton Nurseries managing director Matthew Wilson said: "We are offering a planting service for bulbs." He added that Clifton is selling bulbs in themes such as contemporary or traditional and offering to plant them, charging by the hundred.

Garden Centre Association August sales for seeds and bulbs were 24 per cent down. Taylor's Bulbs director Adam Taylor said: "It's early days yet but we're hearing that things are picking up from a slow start. Most customers have ordered the same as their initial order last year but they need to make sure they take the opportunities that the season gives and order more.

"However, every year is different in bulbs so there are plenty where we can continue to supply and always those few where we cannot, and it's not a case of turning the machine on and making some more.

"Once sales start ticking through, we expect the confidence to return, and the forecast for a drier, warmer and sunnier than normal September could result in some excellent autumn sales."

HW figures for garden centre bulb sales last week showed hyacinth, Narcissus 'Dutch Master', Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' and tulip Queen of the Night as top sellers.

Garden Centre Group regional manager Peter Burks said initial bulb sales had been slow.

Buckingham Nurseries & Garden Centre assistant general manager and plant buyer Mike Easom reported that bulb sales were going well but he was worried that warm weather would bring on bulbs too quickly.

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