As fears for the gardening industry grow, AG gardening editor Ruth speaks to event organiser and plant enthusiast Lucy Hooper

Response to our Tweet about garden centre closures is still flooding in via email, Twitter and Facebook.

One of the correspondents was Lucy Hooper, an event producer with RHS qualifications, who has devised a four-point set of ideas for saving garden centres and salvaging plants.

Using her experience as an event co-ordinator, her ideas include a Green Streets campaign, linking plant sales to the People’s Postcode Lottery, setting up ‘garden markets’ run by local garden centres and asking gardeners to become ‘plant babysitters’ for the duration of the lockdown.

Fruit, trees, unsold, garden centre, waste, landfill

Could trees and plants ready for sale have their care ‘sponsored’ by gardeners until they can be collected?

Lucy said: “For the Green Streets campaign, residents in villages and towns and streets could work together to place an order with local nursery and garden centre for delivery to that street on certain day.

“The local nurseries and garden centres could offer set packages, either on colour or time of planting such as summer into autumn.”

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The suggests that groups then use an Eventbright-style system (a platform that links people according to their interests and can be used to set up events), each community or street places a minimum order with a local nursery or garden centre.

The nursery then can track who is ordering what and where and plan deliveries around it.

Lucy said: “There is a whole industry of event managers across the country sitting with no work – we could buddy with a local nursery and for a day rate fee get this all set up for them.  Again a whole industry of event crew are doing nothing – they could help with deliveries as well.”

There may also be the chance to adapt the Peoples Postcode lottery idea, where streets get together to place orders and when the orders reach a certain amount, the local nursery is ‘triggered’ to make a delivery to the area.

Bedding, plants, garden centre, nurseries, closure, redundancy, landfill

Alternatively, nurseries could set up mobile points of sale in their community for customers who have bought plants online. They simply show a receipt and take the plants home with them.

Finally, Lucy wonders whether plants could be distributed to local garden clubs and enthusiasts who care for and propagate the plants, handing back the propagated ‘babies’ to the nurseries for sale next season.

Interesting ideas – could they be made to work?

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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 theAGemail address at amateurgardening@ti-media.com

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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!

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