Wych Cross Nurseries director John Paisley says some garden retailers not taking plants seriously

East Sussex-based Wych Cross Nurseries director John Paisley has criticised some garden centres for not looking after plants well enough.

Paisley said: "We are a garden centre that specialises in roses. It is frustrating that most garden centres don't take roses very seriously.

"Many garden centres don't take plants that seriously though they would deny it. They do them in June and July and that's it.

"They don't feed them and don't spray them and don't put resources into displaying them - and there are disease issues caused by displaying them too close together."

Paisley, who first spoke out at a recent British Rose Group (BRG) meeting, said he buys in 20,000 roses a year to grow on and makes £96,000 annual profit from them.

He said roses accounted for 11 per cent of turnover but 25 per cent of profit - something that other garden centres could match, he believes.

He said: "From (this point) in the year, why bother going outside at most garden centres? Their staff certainly don't."

His comments echoed Klondyke chief executive Bob Hewitt, who spoke out at the Garden Retail top 100 garden centres seminar at Glee about centres "letting themselves down" with poor-quality plants and presentation.

He added: "We say we're experts against B&Q, but some standards in our industry are very bad."

But Chessum Roses sales director David White said: "My view is that garden centres in the past five years are doing a better job in partnership with growers.

"Garden centres have to take a commercial view of what gives the best return on site. Space is at a premium. Roses sell better in flower and the same argument could be applied to bedding.

"Garden centres would be insulted if they heard this. I could list 200 that do a superb job."

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