Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire


Horticulture is nothing if not unpredictable.    Working in an industry which is so very weather dependent, in a country with notoriously unreliable meteorology is perhaps not the smartest move if you want any level of predictability in your life.  And if you can cope with working around the weather and the fact that sales forecasting is little better than buying lottery tickets, you still have to handle googlies like that nice Gordon Brown and his politician pals around the globe conspiring to deliver us the mother of all economic downturns.

It’s safe to say we started the year with absolutely no idea where we might go – the media was awash with doom and gloom about the economy, and horticulture was reeling from the effects of two years in which key sales periods had been, well, a bit wetter than we’d have liked.

We wanted 2009 to be better, but it wasn’t looking great.

Luckily, our spring weather this year was very nice, and while people certainly seemed to be cutting back on big ticket expenditure (holiday companies were advertising summer holidays on television in the summer, which rather implies they’d missed their targets by a country mile) but popping out to the garden centre to buy a few plants still seemed to be on the agenda, and sales were good.

Unluckily, some of our business is “big ticket” too, and we’ve seen a significant drop in border design and installation enquiries……until now.   We can only assume that this is down to the weather – September was remarkably mild and almost completely dry, and apart from a couple of wet days, October has so far been much the same.   People are still using their ‘outdoor rooms’, probably much later into the year than they’d expected,  and seem to be coming back to the idea of gardening on a sufficiently grand scale that they need our help with design and installation work.

Perhaps the economic gloom is lifting just a tad too, tho’ we’re not going to tempt fate by suggesting we may be climbing out of the mire just yet.   We’ll just content ourselves with the thought that right now, our biggest problem is getting all the work done before the weather breaks.

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