Although Garden centre premises are closed, the switch to home delivery is leading to long delays and frustrated customers, but also to acts of generosity.
Garden centres have switched to Home Deliveries, but…
Our image shows Blue Diamond orders picked and waiting to be processed ready for home deliveries… But they plead, “We are working as fast as we can please be patient and we will hopefully be able to get your orders out to you ASAP. Thank you.”
Customers have complained about a lack of response from online specialist Primrose, leading to the following on Facebook “Please bear with us, due to high demand, we are currently experiencing delivery delays of around 2-3 weeks on all categories except plants. We’ve cut down the range available to give our warehouse and suppliers a chance to catch up on existing deliveries.
“…Our Customer Care team are working remotely and we have had to temporarily close our telephone lines. The team is still providing service via email and are currently working around the clock to answer your questions as quickly as possible.”
Gardening Express trebles staff. The Essex based business has more than trebled its staff to 100 to cope with demand and plans to double that number in the coming weeks, recruiting staff from other areas of the UK.
The RHS has experienced an explosion in visitors to its website, with some of its advice pages seeing a 500 per cent increase in readers. To meet the heightened demand for gardening tips, the RHS has launched its ‘Grow at Home’ campaign to share more exclusive advice for its members.
Sue Biggs, RHS director general, said, “Over the coming weeks we will increase our video advice content and social media to help everyone, including this new generation of gardeners, to grow.”
Alban Hill Nurseries near Newport Pagnell wrote, “It's Easter Monday and usually we're rushed off our feet! But wait, we are! We had 450 e-mails via our website last week so big apologies for delays in getting in touch, we are all working very long days to cope with this unprecedented demand."
Nurseries going direct
Hawkesmill Nurseries are one of the growers going direct. They are taking orders from consumers within a 10-mile radius of their nursery in Kenilworth in Warwickshire. They are offering local home deliveries during the lockdown to ensure that those who do not have a garden centre open near them can still enjoy the benefits of gardening at home.
Following her appearance on You and Yours with Boyd Douglas-Davies, Natalie Porter of Porters Fuchsias said, “After a quick chat with BBC Radio Four about the crisis our industry is experiencing, we spent the afternoon dropping surplus stock to Southport Hospital, in conjunction with Modiform B.V.
“We would like to use Modiform's donation as a springboard to kickstart a nationwide 'One Grand Gesture' initiative. The idea is that small businesses can submit an idea of what they could offer for £1000. In this case, it was a van of plants. Anybody who can afford to can choose to buy a £1000 package and either keep it for themselves or donate it to a good cause as their 'one grand gesture'.”
Desch Plantpak (image attached) has donated plastic to make visors for the NHS. With UTC South Durham they have made and donated 1500 visors in just under two weeks and can keep making visors for those who desperately need them.