This last winter has really been one of opposites compared with those of the previous few years.
After several winters of no frost at all until Christmas, we hit low temperatures and frost in November and December which created real problems when trying to continue working on the nursery. It also created difficulties with deliveries to those areas of the country which were having very different weather and needed plants urgently.
While the frosts were not severe enough to cause damage to plants, it meant that we were unable to reach our December sales target, but had a large number of unfulfilled plant orders in hand.
We got off to a good start in January, but not all contractors started as soon as we did after the New Year, which again caused some delays. Two short periods of snow in January and February caused further problems as the periods of low temperatures could not be guaranteed,
which makes the planning of plant lifting and deliveries very difficult to get right. We had two lorries stuck overnight in Scotland on the motorways, and some deliveries were delayed by the customer.
There were some really nice days in March, but overall, temperatures were cold, and bitterly cold when associated with winds from the east. While landscape contractors were able to keep going in these conditions, a number of garden centres delayed delivery of orders required to stock up for Easter as they were selling nothing and had nowhere to put down additional plants.
This late spring has entirely justified our decision to drop out of supplies to Homebase, as without a doubt, they would have not accepted early flowering shrubs such as Berberis, as the flowers begin to go over before gardening customers come in to store. The loss of £1m in
sales to Homebase is very significant, but fortunately, we have been able to recoup this in other areas.
The periods of freezing weather have enabled us to keep up with potting schedules, but these are now beginning to be affected by a shortage of outdoor space for potted plants due to delayed dispatches.
The continual wet weather is now playing havoc with our field planting programme, every time we get a sunny day with a light breeze it rains again the following day. Bad as it is in Yorkshire, I am sure there will be other areas of the country which are suffering even more.
Fingers crossed for a good start to the summer for all of us, and many thanks for your patience in the challenging weather.
Posted 11th Apr 3:52pm
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