Garden centres were among the list of businesses deemed ‘non-essential’ and forced to close as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. However, many people are calling for this decision to be reversed.
One of these people calling for the re-opening of garden centres is Alan Titchmarsh. He explained, ‘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.’
Some people have suggested that it would be irresponsible to re-open garden centres as flowers are non-essential however Alan Titchmarch believes that they are essential in this crisis as he said, ‘Bedding plants, with their brilliant flowers, raise our spirits as well as feeding butterflies and bees. They let Britain bloom from May to October – half our calendar year. They light up dreary towns and cities when planted on roundabouts and traffic islands, lifting our spirits and supporting a centuries-old tradition which is at the very core of the British psyche. Right now – with the country confined to its homes and gardens – we have never needed our summer flowers more.’
Another advocate is Natalie Porter from North West based garden centre, Porters Fuchsias. She suggested that there would be ways of re-opening the store safely. She said, ‘Our trade association is calling for a scrappage scheme for the plants already gone to waste, and then also for garden centres to be re-opened as safely as possible, with social distancing as per supermarkets. Or for a click and collect model.’
So far a petition calling for garden centres to re-open has attracted over 10,000 signatures.