Ruth Hayes talks to Primrose Hall Peonies owner Alec White about how buying online keeps growers afloat and benefits our physical and mental wellbeing

One of the great advantages of posting a daily blog here is that we can bring news to you as and when it breaks.

The latest comes from France where, apparently, garden centres are open but in order to buy plants (and not be stopped by police), shoppers must buy at least one of the following: veg seeds or plants, compost, pet supplies or food (honey, biscuits etc).

An interesting approach… could it/should it happen here? Let us know your thoughts at

Garden centres remain closed here but there are several nurseries and growers offering online sales and home deliveries.

We are working towards bringing you news of these as and when we get it. In the meantime, one of the quickest ways of finding out is a website set up by gardening writer and RHS trial judge Val Bradley. She has creating an online list of growers and nurseries nationwide that she updates whenever a new business comes along.

You can find it at

We love this stunning Primrose Hall Peonies Peony ‘All That Jazz’

The latest nurseries to get in touch to say they are open for business and delivering to customers are Primrose Hall Peonies in Bedfordshire and also the Blue Diamond chain, which has branches all over the UK including the Chanel Islands.

Primrose Hall are still shipping peony plants all around the UK and internationally, following the guidance provided by the British government and making sure they keep staff and customers safe.

Primrose Hall Peonies is a thriving British nursery growing herbaceous peonies, tree peonies and Itoh peonies on 5 acres in Bedfordshire. It is a regular at RHS Chelsea and other shows and the Plant Heritage Society has awarded the nursery the National Collection for Itoh varieties, these are all currently growing in the field ready to flower every Spring.

The nursery owner Alec White has a passion in peonies and gives regular talks and workshops as well as writing articles using his expert knowledge of these spectacular plants.

He said: “As all the shows including RHS Chelsea Flower Show have been cancelled for 2020 it is imperative that to keep these nurseries running, online sales of their plants and flowers are promoted as much as possible.

Chelsea FLoer Show, grand Pavilion, virtual, Coronavirus

The RHS has cancelled its flower shows including RHS Chelsea


“Our peonies are growing beautifully at the moment and are ready to be shipped to their new homes, where ever that is.”

He added: “So much time and effort is put into these beautiful plants so stock up on peonies and when all we have to gaze out at in Lockdown is our gardens, your peonies will be cheering you up with their gorgeous blooms.

“Gardening and spending time outdoors is the best medicine for all the COVID-19 anxiety! Fresh air and green is relaxing and calming, and we could all definitely do with some of that at the moment.”

Primrose Hall Peonies can be found at

Blue Diamond has 37 nurseries across the UK and you can find out details of each outlet at


We are here for you

Although many people are coping well with self-isolation, others are really struggling and feeling completely forgotten and alone.

Here at AG we are doing our best to keep connected to our readers though the magazine, this website and also through social media.

Our gardening ‘agony uncle’ John Negus is also still working hard. Send him your problems and questions, with pictures if you can, and he will get back to you with an answer withing 24 hours, as he has been doing for decades. Contact him using the AG email address at

We already have thriving Facebook page but are also on Twitter and Instagram. These sites are a brilliant way of chatting to people, sharing news, information, pictures and just saying hello – we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Best of all, as gardeners are generally lovely folk, more interested in plants, hedgehogs, tea and cake than political shenanigans and point-scoring, so the chat is friendly and welcoming.

So please drop by, follow us, ‘like’ our posts and say hello – the Instagram feed is in it’s really early days so the quicker we can get that going with your help and support, the better!

You can find us at: