Why are Garden Centres essential?
Garden Centres have been classified as "essential retail" by the government during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and we wanted to highlight why we feel that they have made the correct decision in doing so.
There is increasing scientific evidence to prove that plants, gardens and gardening, benefits our physical and mental well-being.
The BMJ (originally British Medical Journal) highlights this in a research document that aims to build evidence-based logic models to guide health strategy decision making about gardens and gardening as a non-medical, social prescription.
The act of gardening is in itself a workout, whatever your level of fitness and simply being outdoors and connecting with nature can boost your mood and have a calming effect.
Mental and Physical Benefits
The mental and physical health benefits of gardening, gardens and plants are well-documented, and the results of many academic studies have shown a clear link between the two. The University of Exeter, for example, found that people who spend time in the garden are significantly more likely to report general good health, higher psychological wellbeing and greater physical activity levels than those who do not. And those without gardens can also benefit – numerous scientific studies have shown that houseplants boost our mood, reduce stress and even reduce blood pressure.
At a time when people are really struggling after months of anxiety and frustration, gardening and plants offer a real tonic and an activity that encourages them to stay at home. 3 million new gardeners have taken up the hobby since lockdown 1. Allowing people to visit a garden centre during restricted times means they have something to do at home. And gardening is not just for those with gardens, but for those with balconies, window boxes and of course plants for inside the home.
A Crucial British Supply Chain
British growers are essential to the garden centre sector.
60% of UK-produced plants sold are through UK garden centres – meaning the British supply chain is hugely dependent on UK garden centres.
This time of year is key for the sector as planting has started for the Spring 2021 season. Growers won’t progress their planting regimes with uncertainty in place. Any delay in preparation and planting for the next season will have a knock-on impact to whether certain plants will be available later this year, financially impacting those businesses and the industry’s ability to be an economic powerhouse for the UK.
Covid-19 has created so many unknowns and uncertainties for the season ahead, as well as other global forces affecting the whole of the supply chain, meaning suppliers are having to forecast even further ahead than usual. Pre-season ordering and early commitment to stock is now more important than ever.
Are Garden Centres essential in Winter?
January is a time for planning and preparation in our gardens and there are plenty of tasks that can be done to get ready for the spring.
Gardens and allotments will offer numerous activities for people looking for things to do and these activities will help boost their mood and their physical wellbeing.
We know that almost 40% of all adults with access to a garden or outdoor space say they tend to grow their own fruit or vegetables.
Now is the time to begin chitting potatoes, and to sow seeds, particularly tender crops that need a longer season, such as tomatoes, chillies and peppers.
Preparation to plant Hellebores, Skimmia, Camellia, Rhododendron, and winter bedding such as Pansies and Viola are also needed at this time of year.
Indoor plants are also the perfect way to add greenery to your home and with more and more people working from home, indoor plants provide enormous health benefits and mental well-being benefits too.
Indoor plants have been proven to make you feel calmer, happier, and more relaxed. This in turn can help to reduce stress levels.
We are here for you...
Blue Diamond Garden Centres are located in many rural areas where they operate as local community stores. Many garden centres offer a range of products, including winter fuel and pet and aquatic supplies. Winter is a prime time for feeding birds – the RSPB says feeding the birds can save their lives in cold spells.
The open infrastructure of garden centres offers bigger premises, with outdoor aspects. When we reopened in May, we invested and implemented the HTA’s Safe Trading Guidance – an enhanced version of what other retailer sectors were working to. This includes enhanced social distancing in spaces that provide easy opportunities to enforce. This guidance was publicly endorsed by The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
As we are all required to spend more time at home, we hope you will find your garden remains a relaxing place of calm and well-being and a good source of exercise for the body and mind. If you are able to visit us, we will make sure our garden centre is a safe place to shop during the lockdown.
We understand that some might not be comfortable visiting so please remember that we also offer home delivery and click and collect services. You can order items online at www.bluediamond.gg or by calling your local garden centre and both of these can be completely contact-free.