Richard McKenna is planning ahead into 2019 and said it will be good to know where we are with Brexit and that whatever happens housing will still be going up and it will be “business as normal”.
The Kent-based amenity plants nursery Provender has expanded floor space over last winter and that has helped turnover rise 7% in the last year.
McKenna said trade bodies such as APL, BALI and SGD were getting the biosecurity message across but less than 10% of his customers were members so did not have the information on plant health issues such as Xylella. Provender uses posters, open days, website information and hand outs from Defra to raise awareness. It has not brought in polygala or oleander this year and keeps olives and other risk plants in a special zone in the nursery for double checking.
McKenna said that trees, fruit, Ilex crenata, lavender and buxus were top sellers. Box caterpillar had hit buxus sales, which were “definitely slowing up,” he said but he said traps meant it was “not the end of the world” for the plant.
A big area of expertise for Provender is the garden design market and the Kent nursery supplied plants for three gardens at Hampton Court Flower Show this year.
Best of Both Worlds was built and planted by BALI Go Landscape apprentices, trainees and BALI Go Landscape mentors and achieved a dold medal. The garden was sesigned by Rosemary Coldstream and mentored by by BALI Go Landscape Ambassadors, David Dodd and Mark Britton of The Outdoor Room, Jake Catling of The Landscaping Consultants and Anna Butterfield.
Apeiron: The Dibond Garden won a silver gilt medal awarded in the Conceptual Gardens category and was designed by Alex Rainford-Roberts.
RHS Grow Your Own with the Raymond Blanc Gardening School at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018 is sponsored by the RHS and jointly designed by Ali Dempster of Sandstone Design and Rossana Porta, both regular customers at Provender Nurseries.
A wide range of plants from large specimen, slightly more unusual Ginkgo bilboa ‘Mariken’, Broussonetia papyrifera, Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ to good reliable stock plants; Buddleja, floriferous Erigeron karvinskianus, Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Cratus’ and ‘Golf Ball’, good old Pachysandra terminalis and to the perennial favourite Alchemilla mollis were selected by the designers for use across the gardens.