Britpots take-over

Homegrown, British plants are a growing trend in UK garden centres, says Matt Appleby. It’s good news for British plant growers and garden lovers this season.

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British grown plants are popular right now.
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‘Britpot’ is the new buzzword in garden centres after the amount of locally-produced plants on sale has shot up this spring. If you like to buy British, Brexit means more British-grown plants will be on sale at garden centres this year, say the plant nurseries. That means less transport miles and that the plants you buy may be better adapted to the UK climate and growing conditions. So it’s win-win for everyone.

Homegrown plants are now cheaper than foreign imports in many cases after Brexit on 23 June 2016 brought about a fall in Sterling.

The Brexit effect

Across the UK British growers are starting to see the effect of the exchange rates on their business. Hampshire-based Hillier managing director Chris Francis said exchange rates have helped nursery sales to garden centres rise 15 per cent this year. “it has given us a little bit of difference I’m sure, in that growth exchange rates have helped to some degree.”

Herefordshire’s Wyevale Nurseries’ Adam Dunnett said: “Overall Brexit has had a positive effect. We’re starting to see a little bit of ‘Britpot’ customers coming through.”

Worcestershire-based New Leaf Plants’ Andy Jeanes said: “People are buying less European stuff. We’ve had more customers coming to us because they can’t get it as cheap from Europe.” That means you will be finding more British grown plants at the garden centres.

The Hillview Group of garden centres has 11 outlets and chief executive Boyd Douglas-Davies said the promotion of ‘Britpot’-branded plants from nursery plant growers such as Wyevale, Hawkesmill and Bransford is a big focus this spring.

Lincolnshire conifer grower Golden Grove’s Roger Ward said the main result of Brexit was that exchange rates changes mean Dutch imports are more expensive adding up to 20 per cent to imports, which had lead to “quite a lot of interest in early spring, and we also had a good autumn. People are going to think twice and buy British as a result.”

He said the credit crunch in 2008 helped exchange rates in the UK’s favour “and sales were good” but the worst year was when the euro was 1.40 and there was an “awful lot of Dutch plants coming in”.

Matt Graham of The Plantyard said he has swapped Belgian shrubs for Hampshire-grown stock and has added British herbs to his Italian range because import prices have risen so much.

Look out for British grown plants at a garden centre near you.

Matt Appleby

About Matt Appleby

Matt is a former teacher turned journalist. He took up writing while in New Zealand and trained as a journalist there. He has since written five books (three on cricket and two on gardening) with The Children's Garden due out in spring 2016 published by Frances Lincoln. He writes for Horticulture Week and other publications. Married with two boys, aged 3 and 6 he lives in London.
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