This time last year the nursery was fully stocked and happily awaiting the normal and usual spring rush. Then came the pandemic and an increase in the level of our mail order business which we had never expected to have to cope with as our turnover and order numbers doubled overnight and have continued to do so on into 2021.
Our packing sheds and computer systems have advanced and developed by perhaps five years in just twelve months while just about maintaining our normal order processing speeds and, at times (as now), limiting the number of orders we could accept on our website in any one day to avoid being overwhelmed.
What has been much more difficult has been to grow, produce or buy in enough plants to satisfy all your additional orders.
We are all too aware of how many plants listed on our website today are (annoyingly) ‘currently unavailable’. When we do obtain some of these items, which customers may have on a pre order, they are quite often sold out immediately on the same day.
There has never been such a shortage of stock available from nursery growers both in the UK and from Holland in my 40 years in the business.
Some growers did not produce much last summer where their staff were on furlough; others have simply long since sold out.
Whatever the government may wish for in terms of tree planting there are almost no half standard sized ornamental trees left available from specialist growers. The same, unfortunately, applies to some of the more usual rarities in our catalogue.
Yes, we have been furiously propagating more plants to meet the hugely increased demand, but this takes time. At least a year for herbaceous plants, if not two or three years, for many ornamental shrubs.
All we can do in response to your annoyance at the unavailability of so many things is to apologise but also to show you some nice pictures of the vast numbers of plants growing on today in the nursery which will come onstream from May.
Please bear with us!
C H Williams