Plant suppliers attending this year's South West Growers Show were upbeat on the market although reporting mixed views on both autumn sales and prospects for 2013.
Despite continuing caution among buyers, some growers are winning forward orders for next year. Autumn has been mixed, but campaigns for autumn planting are creating interest.
Blue Ribbon sales manager Philip Sanders said: "We're amazed with forward orders, from groups and independents. There has been great interest in spring and summer ranges. We're looking forward to an incredible year. It is better than it has been for the past two years."
Northern Liner Company general manager John Billington said people were upbeat considering how the year has gone. "August was 70 per cent of what it should have been but up to July we were 10 per cent ahead so it has not been disastrous. The pattern is different next year. This year we had forward orders but people are sitting on too much stock now."
Viking Nurseries sales manager Fabio Guizzo added: "August was up compared to last year and September was even, but last year was our best autumn ever. August was good, and that's the build-up for August. There are a few more weeks of sales and then we are really into Christmas. Autumn is always OK for us. We try to have plants for each season. We used to just grow conifers and rhododendrons so we had a gap in the summer."
He added that buyers are being cautious. "People are not sure what they're going to do next year. People are afraid of what will happen and are being careful with reserves, but we need to be stocked up for when the customers demand it."
Kernock Park Plants business development manager Mark Taylor said: "There has been quite a lot of interest in our Proven Winners Autumn Magic brand and people are thinking about autumn more. It takes a couple of years for people to catch on.
"The trade has tried to push autumn sales this year. Sales are now concentrated in the summer. There are garden centres putting out Christmas decorations now. If people are going into garden centres they are probably interested in buying plants. We should be encouraging them into the planteria.
"In Europe, autumn is a big time. The thing that is growing the most is perennials and they are perfect for autumn. We've got plants that will last right through the winter. After Autumn Magic we will go onto Spring Fling then Summer Living."
South West Growers Show - This year's award winners
Best New Plant Introduction
Sponsored by Horticulture Week
Winner: Moles Seeds UK - Antirrhinum F1 Candy Showers.
Runner Up: Mole Seeds UK - Tomato F1 Heartbreakers Vita.
Best New Non-Plant Product or Service
Sponsored by CHA
Winner: Compo Expert UK - Compo Frost Protection.
Runner Up: RiteAir.
Best Nursery Exhibit
Sponsored by South West Growers Show
Winner: Rainbow Plants.
Runner Up: Seiont Nurseries.