Survival of the fittest as nurseries go under in Hampshire

Brian Vibert, who runs Silver Street Nursery near Lymington, Hampshire, says many nurseries in his local area  are being forced to close.

He said that nursery sites often go onto the property market priced over £600,000 because the land they are on is highly valued for building development, making it “too expensive for other nurseries to take over.”

But Vibert said it has a knock-on effect for his own business: “Companies going bust [means] we are picking up more and more work as a result.”

Vibert blames high heating bills and low plant prices as some of the reasons why nurseries are failing.

He said that plants are more or less the same price as ten years ago:  “Then you could charge £1.15 to £1.20 a tray and now the price is still very similar.”

Vibert puts his success down to loyal local authority and landscaping customers, who appreciate being able to come and “pick up plants as and when they find it convenient.”

Vibert is concentrating on wholesale but advises grower-retailers: “You really need to offer customers a restaurant or a farm shop to do really well on the retail front.”

“Nurseries need to diversify to survive and find something to keep them going in the winter months as they may be fine in April, May and June producing plants but they need more to survive.”

Ingwersen and Forest Lodge alpine nurseries close this autumn.


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