Financial support for growers campaign - Media Coverage

Many thanks to all those who have featured in the media coverage including:

Alan Titchmarsh MBE, James Barnes, Neil Alcock from Seoint Nurseries, Natalie Porter from Porters Fuschias, Bruce Harnett from Kernock Park Plants and Alex Newey from Newey Group – along with other members up and down the country.

  • AOL - £200m of plants ‘will be destroyed’ due to garden centre closures- [online]
  • asianimage.co.uk -  £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • Barrheadnews.com -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • BBC 1 North East - (broadcast) 
  • BBC News at 10pm
  • BBC News - Garden centres switch to virtual personal shopping [online]
  • BBC News at 6pm
  • BBC News  - Coronavirus - six industries crying out for help - link
  • BBC Radio 4 at 6pm
  • BBC Radio 4 – You and Yours
  • BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast 
  • BBC Radio Gloustershire - 07.04.20
  • BBC Radio Shropshire at 7pm
  • BBC Radio Stoke at 5pm 
  • BBC Radio Wales - Country Focus
  • BBC UK - Millions of garden plants set to be binned- [online]
  • BBC Wales - Millions of garden plants set to be binned - [online]
  • bordertelegraph.com - £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closures [online]
  • Broadcast - BBC Breakfast across the country today 7:20am and 7:25am
  • Broadcast - BBC Radio 6 Music Today 8:3am and 8:36am
  • Broadcast - Bro Radio Today 7:30am, 7:32am, 8:31am, 8:33am, 9:29am and 9:32am
  • Broadcast - Coverage was found in many BBC local stations.
  • Broadcast- BBC Breakfast (6.15am)
  • Broadcast- BBC Radio 4 Today- 6.15am, 7.00am, 7.30am, 7.50am, 8.07am and 8.43am 
  • Business Matters  - UK's horticultural sector worth £1.4 billion could be wiped out by shutdown in weeks - [online
  • capitalfm.com - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • Caterlyst Agenda- Bailout sought for #1.4bn horticultural industry as 2,000 garden centres & nurseries close-online
  • clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • compassfm.co.uk - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin
  • Country Living - Alan Titchmash says garden centres are essential - (link)
  • countytimes.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • Credit Connect – Third of plant growers issue insolvency warning – online  
  • Daily Echo (Bournemouth)- Blooming change
  • Daily Express - Taxi drivers plant a seed of hope in troubled times (print)
  • Daily Express- Comment David Domoney
  • Daily Express- Alan: Save garden industry

  • Daily Express - Coronavirus crisis: Bid to save flowers is blossoming - link
  • Daily Mail (Scotland)- A blooming disaster
  • Daily Mail- A blooming disaster
  • Daily Mail - Branching out: Garden centres turn to deliveries to survive as they face losing millions of pounds worth of plants due to coronavirus - online
  • Daily Record- Virus pay-outs failing to help
  • dailymail.co.uk - £200m of plants `will be destroyed´ due to garden centre closures [online]
  • DIY Week- Concerns over horticultural industry during pandemic- [online]
  • DIY Week - 2020 Budget in Focus (print)
  • Dorset Echo- Garden centres appeal for government help amid coronavirus turmoil- online
  • Dorset Echo - Lack of sales crisis - [print]
  • Daily Record – Buy British to save garden centres, says Titchmarsh

  • dumbartonreporter.co.uk £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • Eppingforestguardian.co.uk £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • Essential Retail- Online offers little hope for horticultural sales says HTA- [online]
  • Eastern Daily Press - Owners of garden centres urge government to let them re-open saying: “We’re ready’ – online  
  • Evening Express- £200m of plants ‘will be destroyed’ due to garden centre closures- [online]
  • Evening Standard-Millions of plants and shrubs set to be binned as Covid-19 ravages garden centre sales- [online]
  • Evening Telegraph - Plants dumped as Tayside horticulture businesses endure lockdown debt - online
  • eveningtelegraph.co.uk £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • Express & Star- £200m of plants ‘will be destroyed’ due to garden centre closures- [online]
  • Express - Boris Johnson warned by own MP of an economic collapse in UK farming – [online]
  • Farm Business- Ornamental horticultural industry facing crisis point over Covid-19 lockdown- [online]
  • Floral Daily - "A third of the UK growers will be out of business before the end of the year" – [online]
  • gardencentrebuyer.co.uk - £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • greenocktelegraph.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • Garden Forum - 1/3 of Growers could be out of business before the end of the year – [online]

  • halsteadgazette.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • heart.co.uk -Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers'facing ruin [online]
  • hebeach.co.uk -Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • Horticulture Week - HTA launches plant scrappage scheme saying one-third of growers could close for good because of coronavirus crisis - [online]
  • Horticulture Week - Horticulture industry could lose £100 million during first warm weekend of the spring as coronavirus restrictions continue - [online]
  • Horticulture Week - What's next for growers after ditching plants due to retail shutdown (print)
  • Horticulture Week – Garden celebrities back the industry – but where’s Monty Don? – online

  • House Beautiful - Horticultural industry facing crisis as £200 million worth of plants set to be binned - [online]
  • I News- Coronavirus: Call for support as ''millions'' of plants could end up being thrown away- online
  • I paper- Blooms are doomed as garden centres are forced to close
  • impartialreporter.co.uk£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • In-Cumbria- Garden centres pin hopes on late summer surge as coronavirus shuts premises- online
  • islandfm.com - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin
  • ITV Border - (broadcast)
  • ITV News Meriden - Coronavirus: Nurseries and plant wholesalers facing financial ruin as garden centres close.-  online 
  • ITV News-£200m of plants ‘will be destroyed’ due to garden centre closures-online
  • Kingdomfm.co.uk - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • leaderlive.co.uk - £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closures [online]
  • Landscape and Amenity - Third of UK growers will be out of business by end of 2020 – [online]
  • Leigh Journal- £200m of plants ‘will be destroyed’ due to garden centre closures[online]
  • Ludlow Advertiser – Lockdown: where to buy compost and hardware
  • Lincolnshire Live-Calls for garden centres to re-open to save millions of plants from the bin- online
  • Mail Online- Aldi, Morrisons and Waitrose become first supermarkets to ease product restrictions brought in to cope with stockpiling frenzy as Tesco ramps up home delivery services during coronavirus lockdown- online
  • manxradio.com - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • more.talktalk.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure[online]
  • msn.com/en-gb - Millions of plants and shrubs set to be binned as Covid-19 ravages garden centre sales [online]
  • My London - London coronavirus: Fulham garden centre shows how indoor gardening can cheer us all up during lockdown - online
  • New York Times - Bloomin' Disaster: UK's Garden Industry Faces Ruin From Coronavirus Crisis - online
  • nwemail.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • oxfordmail.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closures [online]
  • Oxford Mail - Lockdown: Where to buy compost and hardware
  • penarthtimes.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • pressandjournal.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • prestwichandwhitefieldguide.co.uk£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closures [online]
  • Pro Landscaper - RHS encourages gardeners to support independent nurseries (link
  • pulse1.co.uk -Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • radioessex.com - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • radiox.co.uk - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • revolution962.com -Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin
  • salisburyjournal.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closures [online]
  • Shropshire Star- Millions of plants could be destroyed-online
  • signal1.co.uk - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • Sky News- Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin- [online]
  • smoothradio.com - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • southwalesguardian.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • South Wales Evening Post - Why are gardens are more important than ever
  • stalbansreview.co.uk £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • Sunday Express- Cultivating help to stay in bloom
  • sunshineradio.co.uk - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin
  • Swanageandwarehamvoice.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • swanseasound.co.uk - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • The Daily Mirror - Virus playouts failing to help
  • The Scottish Mail on Sunday - Revolt garden centres plot to reopen

  • The Courier – Garden centres demand right to reopen - or they could race ruin - online 

  • The Daily Mirror (Ulster)- Virus playouts failing to help
  • The Herald- Garden centre plants worth £200m face destruction- online
  • The Herald (Plymouth) – ‘Perfect storm’ facing horticulture businesses
  • The Independent- Coronavirus: #200m of plants to be destroyed as nurseries face ruin because of lockdown- online
  • The Independent - The online garden centres and nurseries to support during lockdown - online
  • The Independent Daily Edition- Nurseries face financial ruin
  • The Independent- Gardening industry at ‘crisis point’ as million of plants and trees to be thrown away-[online]
  • The Landscaper- Horticultural crisis due to Coronavirus-online
  • The National (Scotland)- Coronavirus: Growing calls to help Scotland's plant nurseries- online
  • The Press and Journal- Titchmarsh: sector ‘faces decimation without aid’
  • The Press and Journal - Seeding tips and shopping local
  • The Scotsman- Plant growers face `financial crisis'' as #200m of stock to be binned amid coronavirus lockdown- online
  • The Scotsman- Plant growers face ‘financial crisis’ in Covid-19 shutdown
  • The Sun- Pants to be dumped
  • The Sunday Times - What we are loving, loathing and learning while we stay at home - Print and [online]
  • The Sunday Times - Withering on the vine - the garden centres left to rot in the shutdown - Print and [online]
  • The Times (Ireland)- Garden centre losses
  • The Times (Scotland)- Business Need to know
  • The Times (Scotland)- Virus carries the seeds of destruction for plant sellers
  • The Times- Garden centre losses
  • The Times - Keep Britain blooming [online]
  • The Times- Coronavirus carries the seeds of destruction for Scottish plant sellers- online
  • thelancasterandmorecambecitizen.co.uk£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • thenational.scot - £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closures [online]
  • thewave.co.uk - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin
  • thisislancashire.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • thisismoney.co.uk -£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • timesandstar.co.uk£200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • times-series.co.uk £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • town102.com -Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin
  • uk.yahoo.com -£200m of plants `will be destroyed´ due to garden centre closures [online]
  • uk.yahoo.com - Coronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers'facing ruin [online]
  • vibe1076.co.ukCoronavirus lockdown leaves third of 'ornamental growers' facing ruin [online]
  • Wales Online - Thousands of Chelsea Flower Show plants selling online after events cancelled due to coronavirus (link)
  • West Midlands Express & Star- Millions of plants could be destroyed-online
  • Western Daily Press- £200m of plants face bin as garden centres shut doors 
  • Westmorland Gazette- Garden centres pin hopes on late summer surge as coronavirus shuts premises- online
  • Western Mail - Our gardens are more important than ever
  • Western Morning News (Cornwall) -Horticulture hit by ‘perfect storm’
  • Western Morning News (Devon)- Garden centres in lockdown crisis
  • whitehavennews.co.uk - £200m of plants 'will be destroyed' due to garden centre closure [online]
  • Yahoo Style- Alan Titchmarsh tells of sadness as garden centres bin £200m of perishable plants[online]
  • Yorkshire Post – Alan Pants an alert
  • Yorkshire Post- Ilkley''s Alan Titchmarsh backs call as''#200m of plants could be destroyed''- online

Twitter

What the industry is doing...

© Happy Plants donation planters

Natalie Porter, Happy Plants

They are donating planted containers and hanging baskets to their local hospital, for the medical staff to take home and brighten up their gardens immediately, without them having to do any manual labour on top of their heroic workloads.

They are also looking to donate trays of bedding plants. The hospices offer gardening as therapy and so residents could use the plants in their sessions or the grounds keepers can use them to brighten up the grounds.

Florainbow of Hope

We have all seen the pictures of empty pubs, cinema’s and high streets and heard many, many upsetting and tragic stories. Horticulture too has a story of loss and sacrifice and the lockdown could not have come at a worse time for us. Before the spring is done many millions of plants will be composted. However, spring is a time for renewal so our story is also one of hope .

The Scottish horticulture industry have come together to create a message of hope for all that are suffering with plants destined for the compost heap. They are creating a Florainbow of Hope.

The growing and the planting of plants is one of the most optimistic things people can do – we plant with the expectation for future reward - we all plant for tomorrow. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow don’t stop thinking about your garden...and look forward to tomorrow. Nurseries involved in include A&G Young, Growforth and Reynard Nursery.

© Kirton Farm Nurseries (The Hairy Pot Plant Company)

Plants for People from Kirton Farm Nurseries (The Hairy Pot Plant Company)

Kirton Farm Nurseries are supplying ready mixed trays of plants (free of charge) to local community co-ordinators who organise a small team of volunteers to individually and safely deliver 6 pots of plants to every household with a garden.

   

 

 

Horticultural sector worth £1.4 billion could be wiped out by coronavirus shut down in just weeks

  • The ornamental horticultural industry is facing a crisis point which will severely impact the availability of British grown seasonal plants and flowers
  • Due to the plunge in demand following the UK shut down, the value of lost plant sales in the UK will be £687 million by the end of June and if it continues £1.2 billion by the end of December
  • The perishability and seasonality of plants means that the sector potentially faces total stock write off unlike that of any other industry
  • Hundreds of UK growers face complete loss of income, cannot afford to take on the debt of a government loan and many may not even be eligible

Images and video case studies available to download.

A major part of the UK’s gardening industry worth £1.4 billion, which includes hundreds of family businesses up and down the country, could be destroyed following the UK coronavirus shutdown, claims the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA).

Peak season has only a matter of weeks left for the horticulture sector which has formed an essential part of British life for over 350 years. It includes the ornamental crop sector, which grows bulbs, bedding plants, cut flowers, pot plants and stock mostly sold through garden centres, supermarkets, florists and DIY stores.

Around 650 businesses across the UK produce ornamental crops, which contribute £1.4 billion in total to the country’s GDP annually and employ over 15,000 people directly and almost 30,000 indirectly. Many of these jobs form a vital lifeline for rural communities.

The perishability and seasonality of plants means that an estimated £200million of seasonal plants will have to be scrapped across the ornamental horticulture industry.

Since Mother’s Day weekend when demand is typically high but people were beginning to self-isolate, sales dwindled dramatically, while lockdown means that there is unlikely to be any sales through to the May bank holiday, the busiest trading period of the year.

Alan Titchmarsh MBE said: “This spring could well bring about the end of British horticulture as we know it. Hundreds of nursery owners and growers are facing huge losses of plants and revenue simply because the stock they have spent many months nurturing for the spring market - their peak season - will have to be destroyed since garden centres and other outlets are closed for business. This means not only a loss of billions of pounds to the UK economy and of thousands of jobs but, more than this, it will decimate an industry that will be unable to recover for the foreseeable future.

“Our gardens and green spaces - the very things that provide spiritual and physical sustenance at times like this - will no longer be able to call upon the variety of plants that are currently available - a range that has taken decades to develop. Without some form of rescue package, we are destined to see our gardens and public open spaces decline as growers find it impossible to recover from unsustainable losses. Businesses will disappear overnight in a situation that will take many years to reverse.

“I urge the government to put in place a rescue package which will enable British horticulture to survive. Without it, our gardens and open spaces - a vital source of solace and nutrition to those at home - will suffer irreparable damage.”

Speaking on behalf of the HTA, Chairman James Barnes said: “We have hit a perfect storm in the UK. The seasonality and perishability that is unique to our industry means that growers are potentially facing stock losses on an ever-rising scale as each day passes. Stock is one of the biggest components of asset value in the sector - stock write offs will destroy the balance sheets of many and make it impossible for them to continue.

“We are calling for the government to work with the HTA, as the industry’s representative body, to come up with a financial support scheme to help those businesses which have had to scrap perishable stock and are facing a huge financial crisis.

“For those that can stay in business, there are also significant longer term issues as growers may not have time to plant next year’s crop, leading to a two year supply hit on the whole industry including retail, which will severely impact the availability of British grown seasonal plants and flowers.”

The HTA claims that while the government’s financial measures related to the agriculture and horticulture firms are welcome, in many cases they are not suitable for ornamental businesses. Investment in stock means that many nurseries do not have the reserves to take on the debt of a government loan, and often fall out of the scope of any support scheme due to EU state aid rules.

The HTA estimates that a minimum of a third of UK ornamental producers may fail in a matter of weeks, leading to a loss of around £250m in direct GDP contribution to the UK economy annually. Allowing for a 2.4% per annum growth factor, the value of this lost contribution to GDP over five years would be £1.34 billion.

Around 70% of bedding plant sales are made between March and the end of May. Many of these growers are facing huge difficulties and a near complete loss of income due to the coronavirus.

Horticulture not only provides a great deal of grow your own produce but also contributes to positive physical and mental wellbeing and serves some 23 million gardeners in the UK. The longer-term impact from the failure of the UK businesses will be significant. The wipe out of British commercial growers will increase the volume of imported plants, raising the risk of Britain being hit by plant pests and diseases - undermining efforts by the garden industry and the government to manage the nation’s biosecurity strategy.

Case studies:

Porters Fuchsias is a family run wholesale bedding plant grower based in Merseyside, that needs urgent action now or the family risks losing their livelihood. Natalie Porter, who helps run the business said: “The uncertainty surrounding the length of the coronavirus crisis is hindering the industry’s ability to make quick and efficient decisions to save businesses like ours. Time is running out. Most of our summer stock has already been planted and will be ready in three weeks. Our remaining stock due to be planted will be ready in five weeks and go to waste in eight.

“We are facing a potential write-off of £350,000 in the next three weeks due to perishable stock. This would jump to £200,000 per week thereafter.”

In the likely event that the impact of coronavirus continues beyond three weeks, the outlook for Porters Fuchsias looks bleak. Natalie continued: “In this case, a loan becomes unfeasible. Even if the payback deadline were extended, it would mean writing off many, many years of future potential profits.”

Kernock Park Plants based in Cornwall has traded plants for nearly 40 years. The firm produces up to 12 million plants per year and the turn of Spring would normally be the start of peak season, however when the Covid-19 pandemic was announced and subsequent measures enforced across the UK, the business had to prepare for uncertain times ahead. 

A specialist provider of carpet bedding the firm also produces a vast range of ornamental plants including herbs and vegetables. Managing Director Bruce Harnett said: “The recent fall in sales and mass cancellations from hundreds of our customers is extremely worrying, as we are now nearing full capacity with approximately seven million unsold plants on the floor.”

Like thousands of nurseries up and down the country, Kernock is now faced with the difficult decision of closing its doors, resulting in a massive revenue hit and numerous job losses.

Bruce fears for the British garden and plant industry and calls for a form of scrappage compensation, to help cover the costs of plants that will inevitably have to be destroyed.

“We have already paid and produced for the inputs and the labour to create the products for nearly all of our sales, catering for the peak demands in spring and summer. We can’t simply shut the doors and struggle through waiting to reopen. I can only hope that we can continue trading in some way and secure some sort of compensation for our unique sector.”

Alex Newey is Managing Director of the Newey Group based in Chichester and agrees that the ornamental growers’ sector is particularly unique: “I can’t think of another sector which invests throughout the year for such a short sales window to recoup the costs. We are about to lose an entire industry which will severely impact the availability of British grown seasonal fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers.

“We need to access funding immediately to avoid a catastrophe. This pandemic is hitting our industry at the worst possible time. We have made all the investment but have made virtually none of the sales. It is a low margin sector and, with all sales outlets closed, the costs will swamp businesses very quickly.

“Our problem is not one of freezing fixed costs or even controlling staffing costs but of the massive amount of money already sunk into the crop. This is crop that is perishable and will very soon be completely unsaleable.”