December mini news and 2021 Review

I’m sitting here post Christmas, the weather is not great, overcast and drizzle and I thought I would jot a few notes and look back as we are prone too at this time of year!!  I can’t really remember the sequence of close downs and re-opens, the nursery was shut until March last Spring and later for the cafe and crafts.  The spring was poor, especially in April and May with a lot of late frosts and little sun that made plant growing more difficult and more expensive!  Demand was pretty good but not as big as the previous year when there really was nothing open or to do except gardening and diy.  But, all in all it was pretty good and good in the context of the time and compared to some other industries.  The biggest challenge has been supply, manufacturing and the supply chain.  Covid disrupted the amount that was produced – a shortage of plastic for pots, and the supply chain was severely disrupted, especially products that came by shipping container, such as terracotta pots from Vietnam.  There was always something to sell but not always what I had intended.  I pretty much saw this coming and stocked up earlier in the year and have tried to support UK produced goods.  It’s shaping up to be much the same in 2022, I’ve already had all the growing paraphernalia delivered for the coming year to make sure we are ready to go and bought 40 pallets of containers to get us started!!  I think supply may well be more difficult in 2022, excessive stocks have been depleted, shipping costs are literally prohibitive for some of the products ( making them too expensive and look too expensive for what they are) and there just isn’t enough physical elements (ships, lorries ) in the supply chain for it to cope with the demand.  Mustn’t be too gloomy, just a question of getting ready earlier and leaving more time for things to be delivered.
The craft area has been busy pre Christmas as was the cafe, I’ve got the usual job in the next few days to empty the cafe, strip off the floor “varnish”and reapply so that the floor is ready for another year.  We start back on the 10th Jan, a longer break this year to use up some holiday, and it’s back to a massive clear up and getting the nursery ready for growing plants.  I’ve ordered less than last year but more than 2019.  There will undoubtedly be less available pounds for plants after the cost of fuel, house and motor, inflation etc. is accounted for.  We’ve had ( the economy )a very good run for the past decade but one of the consequences of covid is inflationary pressure.  Still, thank goodness folk can’t resist a healthy, flowering plant!!   No great plans for this year, it’s repair and replace and see how the year shapes up, I’m always excited to get growing again, it is more difficult than it was a few years ago as growing medium has changed significantly as peat is much much reduced and a useful pesticide banned, watering and airflow are more key than ever.  Once the plants start to root, the first flowers start to show and we make the first of a few thousand baskets, I love the earthy plant smell, the colour, the uniformity of looking across a crop of plants, the promise of the summer to come.  I hope you all have a very peaceful, safe and happy 2022.  We look forward to seeing you sometime in the future.