Scottish ornamental horticulture growers face the very real possibility of significant financial damage and the loss of thousands of young plants as a result of the continued closure of garden centres in Scotland.
Scottish garden centres have been closed since 26 December, the Horticultural Trades Association is calling on the Scottish government to re-assess this. Without a change, they say, the economic impact will be difficult to survive.
“It is both necessary and possible to safely reopen garden centres in the first wave of relaxations,” said James Barnes, HTA Chairman.
“Our grower members need a route to market, people need access to activities they can safely enjoy as they stay home and our retailers can provide that with shopping environments naturally suited to operating with first-class social distancing measures in place.”
Pentland Plants near Edinburgh is a family business that has been supplying Scottish retailers for decades. Right now, their glasshouses are filled with tens of thousands of young plants, including Primroses, Ranunculus and Senetti.
With Mother’s Day on Sunday 14 March and no prospect yet of much of her customer base being open to the public, owner Carolyn Spray is beginning to get nervous.
Members need concrete dates
James Barnes concluded: “The HTA has had some positive discussions with the Scottish Government about re-opening, but our members need concrete dates to help them plan ahead and avoid terrible waste and damaging losses and to give retailers time to plan the safest possible re-opening by implementing our update Safe Trading Protocol.
“We call on Ministers to carefully consider the plight of Scottish horticultural businesses and take action on their behalf, soon.”