Garden Centres: battling the storm.

In recent weeks, the weather has been getting progressively worse. We?ve had promises of gale force winds with a side of dark and booming storms. Whether or not the forecasts were true is neither here nor there, as some of us were pleasantly surprised to see sunshine rather than the promised apocalypse, but it seems that for many garden centres across the UK, it was flooding rather than powerful winds that pose the greatest threat.

On the Isle of Wight, Busy Bee garden centre recently opened its new building, yet an unexpected and unfortunate flooding of the ground floor delayed business. They did, luckily, have the doors open for trade as soon as they resolved the soggy problem.

Hombase in Barnstaple managed to open after the bad weather, despite overnight floods that poured through the roof leaving inches in parts of the store.

The Garden Centre group took the risk into account and decided to Tweet their customers, asking them to check whether their local centre was open before making the journey. At least one, based in Salisbury, was closed for the day.

For nurseries, however, it was the wind that caused more problems. With trees still in leaf, many nurseries were left with a very leafy nursery and much of their stock in a more horizontal position than before the wind started. The Facebook page for Majestic Trees showed a photo of large Carpinus Betulus ?Fastigiata?, all blown over with a caption stating ?still have a very leafy canopy so these poor guys went over.?

The radical and eratic weather of the weekend was indeed destructive for some, including the Royal Botanical Garden Kew which was closed on Monday and Tuesday, and reported a loss of 12 mature trees due to the wind. Others escaped the rough grasp of the elements only to find their power off. Seed supplier, Thompson & Morgan has its power knocked out by a falling tree, and were forced to close their call centre.

Luckily, overall damage seems to be relatively light, as the HTA insurance services have only received a few minor claims as of yet. It does, however, make one think about garden centres and nurseries, and how widely they can be affected by a slight change in the weather. It is important to remember, as the days get colder and the wind howls on, that if you are a frequent visitor to a garden or nursery centre, it is definitely worth checking if they have been upset by weather? and perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to bring your visit forward, if you know a storm is imminent.


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