AG news editor Ruth Hayes talks to two groups of growers who are helping to supply plants through the C19 lockdown

Cometh the hour, cometh the solution! As garden centres struggle through Coronavirus lockdown, with jobs on the line and millions of plants facing almost certain destruction, horticultural companies are working together to solve the problem.

Over the past couple of days alone we have heard of two excellent initiatives at opposite ends of the country.

Yorkshire-based Johnsons of Whixley is a three-generation family firm of growers specializing in growing and supplying trees, shrubs and plants to planting schemes all over the country.

They have teamed up with one of their customers, Hedges Direct, to beat the crisis with ‘garden rescue packs’ of plants and shrubs that can be delivered directly to your garden.

shrubs, rescue, garden, centres, lockdown, Coronavirus

The Pallet 1 ‘rescue pack’ of 50 2litre shrubs available thanks to collaboration by Johnsons of Wixley and Hedges Direct

The packs are available in two different options:

Option 1: 50 x 2L shrubs to include a mix of foliage and flowering plants plants including Acuba japonica, Berberis, Buddleja, Ceanothus, Choisya, Escallonia, Euonymus, Photinia, Vinca and Weigela.

Option 2: 25 x 5L specimen shrubs will include a similar mix with Nandina, Osmanthus, Convulvulus, Halimium and Viburnum.

Both pallets cost £299.99 and will be delivered to your door.

A spokesman for the company said: “Unfortunately we can’t accept requests but we will endeavour to provide a good combination and all pots will be clearly labelled so that you know what you have received

“At present, garden centres everywhere are closed, which means that UK nurseries now have a surplus of garden centre stock and no available outlet.

“Hedges Direct has kindly offered to support us to ensure surplus stock can find a home and garden.”


Garden centre, growers, plants, nursery, website, Coronavirus, lockdown

The Bundle of Joy lilies collection including ‘Perfect Joy’ and ‘Sparkling Joy’ are just some of the plants available from Solent Growers

Meanwhile growers in Hampshire have banded together to form Solent Growers to deliver plants initially within an 10-mile radius of Lymington, but with hopes to expand over the coming weeks. The nurseries involved are Pinetops, Mr Evergreen and The Plant Yard.

Rory Paton from Pinetops said: “We’re working on our range it is all a very new experience for us as growers although nearly 30 years ago we did have a postal flower service, so I’m confident we’ll get our heads around it in these difficult times.”

He went on to thank web designers Tinstar Design for heling them create a working website in ‘barely any time at all’.


Hydrangea, growers, Solent, Coronavirus, lockdown

Ranks of hydrangea ‘Rosita’ ready for distribution by Solent Growers

Solent Growers has a wide range of ornamental plants including Aeniums, alliums, lilies, bay and box trees and shrubs, Callistemon bushes, palms, camassias, a wide variety of evergreen shrubs, herbs and much more.

We are keen to hear from any other growers and nurseries who are working together to get plants out to the people they want them. Please contact us via


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!

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Don’t forget to give someone you know or love a call. They might be feeling low and lonely and hearing from you will make their day. Happy gardening!