These are turbulent times. Many of us, spending time at home, have little of the natural world in our surroundings, making the chance to pass a moment with plants both vital and rewarding. We're adding houseplants to our desks, putting pot plants on the balcony, taking lunchbreaks in the garden, and turning to plant projects to keep our green fingers busy. The horticulture industry has recognised this, and a flurry of new initiatives have launched whose objective is to keep us in leaves, and plant shops, nurseries and garden centres in business. Below is short list of some of the best actions we've seen.
Boutique plant shops go nationwide
In towns and cities across the UK, there are are famous specialist plant shops that sell exclusive collections of (often rare) plants to their neighbourhood's lucky inhabitants. One of the trailblazers is Conservatory Archives: from their shop on London's Hackney Road, they've successfully expanded to two other locations in the capital city, and even ran a longstanding pop-up shop in designer department store Liberty's. When non-essential shops are closed, they moved their businesses online, and are now delivering nationwide, so everybody has the opportunity to buy their wonderful plants. They join Forest in South London, who are delivering to the whole of the UK with 10% off first-time orders, and established online plant shop Patch Plants, who've expanded their delivery service from London-only to nationwide.
Hope for stranded gardeners
When all non-essential shops closed, garden centres struggled to sell their plants, and, in what should have been a busy time for potting and planting, gardeners up and down the country suddenly found themselves with nothing to put in their flowerbeds. A partnership between garden centres and taxi drivers came to the rescue, after news outlets reported on the millions of plants in danger of being composted for lack of customers. The Garden Centre Association passed a list of shops in need of help with delivery to the National Private Hire and Taxi Association, who put a call out for willing taxi drivers to sign up as plant couriers. Hundreds volunteered their services, providing welcome relief for garden centres, who found a way to get greenery to our gardens after all.
Relief for Chelsea Flower Show
The Chelsea Flower Show is perhaps the most prestigious flower and landscape gardens show in the world — yet it too was laid low by the crisis. With the 2020 event cancelled, exhibitors from across the UK who had been preparing their plants for the annual show suddenly found themselves with a surplus of prize-winning greenery and no chance of displaying them to public. Luckily the Royal Horticultural Society stepped in, creating an A-Z of all the companies that would have displayed this year. It means we can get involved with the flower show digitally, by browsing exhibitors for garden inspiration, and perhaps even buying a few prize-winning specimens for ourselves. They also launched an online-only version of the flower show, called Virtual Chelsea, during the show week in May.
Although it's not always easy to have plants delivered, we can all get involved with sending and receiving pictures of greenery online. Over in the Netherlands, the plants and flowers sector launched the campaign #Flowers4Oxygen to increase awareness of the industry on social media. The campaign goal is to share positivity through flowers and plants. To join in with the movement and sprinkle your own dash of mood-boosting postive energy on friends' timelines, simply post a photo of flowers in bloom on Instagram and add #flowers4oxgyen to the caption.
We're sure there are more brilliant plant initiatives out there that we've missed off our list. Heard of a project you want us to shout about? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add it to the list.