Spring gardening season at risk if rain persists, says B&Q

B&Q horticulture category manager Joclyn Silezin has warned that the spring gardening season will be at risk if rains continue.

Speaking at the DIY chain's spring season launch, Silezin said: "One of the largest risks this year is the prolonged flooding and prolonged impact on people's gardens."

Parts of the UK had the wettest January for 100 years, with 175-220mm of rain falling in the south and west.

The weather hit B&Q early in 2013, when spring quarter outdoor seasonal sales fell by 10 per cent, with bedding down eight per cent. But Silezin said bedding sales grew by the end of 2013 after a long summer boom that also brought "phenomenal growth in garden leisure" and resulted in "low-digit" overall 2013 growth.

She said she is "planning for average" and has "tweaked" around less-risky stock. This means fewer palms and box balls, more topiary and a "shift around with bedding and nursery" as well as no impatiens, which used to be top sellers before downy mildew hit in 2011.

There has been "no clear shift" to begonias or petunias from impatiens, said Silezin. She added that B&Q sources plants from Coletta & Tyson and Roundstone "for what they're good at" and buys specimens from Sicily, Pistoia and Spain.

B&Q "took responsibility for growers in 2013" as opposed to some retailers who refused ordered stock because of the cold spring.

"We clear the stock out. But the challenge was keeping quality in stores and we had to skip plants in some instances. Growers hold quality better than us. The last couple of years have been particularly challenging."

She said B&Q left no growers in financial difficulty, adding: "I'm not going to say we took 100 per cent but we managed grower by grower, week by week, and prioritised critical crops like bedding over nursery stock. Our priorities were UK growers and some import lines were not brought out."

B&Q is running a Royal British Legion poppy promotion in 2014 and has new gas barbecues "benchmarked against Weber" products.

Silezin said new B&Q brands Blooma and Verve were "slow burners to build as brands" but the chain is sticking with them because "it's been tough to measure after two poor weather years". Customers found store home delivery more important than buying online, she added. B&Q will avoid the "distractions" of celebrity endorsement and the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2014.

Bedding buyer Ben Smith said B&Q is trialling houseplant and nursery online delivery over two days but bedding is difficult because of wastage caused by transport problems. He cited the Canny Gardener, which recently went into administration, and used the same bedding supplier (Roundstone) as B&Q as an example.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next



The range of colours and flowering times makes for cheerful and economic displays, Miranda Kimberley reports.

Pitches - seeds and consumables

Pitches - seeds and consumables

The right seeding and inputs are essential for keeping grass in top condition and ensuring that pitches look and perform at their best, says Sally Drury.



Customers do not often know about the different leaf colours and shapes offered by hollies, Miranda Kimberley reports.

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Opinion... Standardisation good for the trade

Horticulture could benefit from streamlining in the supply chain.

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Opinion... Get rid of plastics in Horticulture

Blue Planet II eloquently showed the rich tapestry of life in the oceans. It also focused public awareness on plastic pollution damaging wildlife.

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

British horticultural firms and organisations have not been the best at working together to promote our industry.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive ranking of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover. 

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles