Call for gardeners to buy online from specialist plant nurseries

Gardeners are being urged to shop online with UK independent plant nurseries in the face of cancelled flower shows and shuttered garden centres.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), which had to cancel this year’s Chelsea Flower Show due to coronavirus, is calling on green-fingered householders to support the growers who would have exhibited at the event.

The RHS said thousands of quality plants grown to fill the 12,000 square metre great pavilion at Chelsea, which would have been sold at the end of the show, will remain unsold or go to waste if they cannot find a home.


While some bigger companies have been inundated with online orders since the lockdown, the horticultural charity wants gardeners to also support specialist nurseries, many of which have launched or improved their mail order and online services in recent weeks.

The call comes after a warning from the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) that hundreds of UK businesses face ruin because the pandemic has shut garden centres and other outlets at what should be the busiest time of year for the sector.

Ahead of the traditionally busy Easter weekend, the RHS has launched a dedicated webpage listing the award-winning growers so people can order some of the wide range of plants seen at the annual flower shows.

Sue Biggs, RHS director general, said: “The specialist nurseries and growers are the lifeblood of the horticultural industry and their beautiful displays at RHS flower shows are one of the most popular attractions, drawing thousands of visitors every year who leave our shows laden with plants of all varieties.

Millais Nursery exhibit
Millais Nursery exhibit

“We want to continue to support our nurseries during this unimaginably challenging time and make it as easy as possible for our members and show visitors to buy directly from them.”

The RHS warns that since the turn of the millennium the UK has lost almost half of its specialist nurseries and without support during the pandemic, the number could decline further, with the loss of talent, knowledge and skills of the growers.

The charity is backing the HTA’s call for the Government to provide financial support to the ornamental plant sector in the face of the coronavirus lockdown.

Details of specialist nurseries which display at RHS shows can be found here: