Friday, 10 June 2016

The Independent Plant Nurseries Guide!

Working on this project has been an honour. To work with 2 other such committed people to create a space where our local, independent nurseries can put themselves for free, and begin to make that community of nurseries that going forwards, we hope, will help to support each other is not only a pleasure but also a really humbling thing. 
It's also wonderful to be able to get out to people who regularly buy plants, want to support local growers but are struggling to find them, where they are and how to get in touch with them. Whilst people may want to buy local if you don't know where to go, it's a challenge for sure.
But for me it's far more than that. For years, both whilst working in the nursery industry, I've been aware of the challenges facing our growers. Gardening is so often seen as a spring and summer thing, and plant sales rely on good weather to such a degree that a bad spring or even an early Easter with poor weather, can completely ruin a nursery's financial projections for the year ahead, and mean the following winter is beyond difficult. We know we can't predict the weather or enable financial projections to be perfect, but what we can do is spread the word around the guide, bring on board new nurseries either found by us or our readers, and encourage interaction with the site by nurseries so we can really help to put a spotlight on all our wonderful British growers.
For sure the final push was poor Monty Don's comments on Gardeners World, but let's look beyond that oversight now. For years so many of us have thought and talked about what could be done, but the reality of that comment was the ignition of a positive flame that once lit refused to be put out. For that we should be grateful, and I certainly am. It enabled action, a thing that by now you'll know I'm quite fond of!!
So how can you support the project I hear you ask? Well, use the contact form on the site to send us your favourite local, independent growers names and details for a start!! We launched knowing we had huge gaps and slowly they are being filled. Spread the news far and wide and visit these amazing places, talk to the growers and let others know they exist. Share our posts on social media, linking to your favourite places. And spend your pennies locally, in your local economy!!
And finally, I must thank my co-contributors. Matt Currie has worked tirelessly at night and on weekends to first build and then populate the site. His commitment to this project is huge and unfailing, and we could never have come to this point without him. 
And then there is Sacha Hubbard, who has trawled through the Internet finding the details of the nurseries, emailing them and sending their info on for inclusion. Running the tea room at Hill House Nursery in Devon, supporting her husband Ray in the running of the nursery and doing the work on this must continue to be a constant juggle and I salute her determination.
And my roll? Well I'm the mouthy one, with the bit between my teeth not only about supporting our British growers and the industry I love, but also passionate about seeing local economies gain strength and saving our land based industries from the corporate power that threatens to overwhelm. 
And I also love a well grown, loved plant, that's been grown by someone I can speak to about it. So I unashamedly do not apologise for going on about the Independent British Nurseries Guide, either now or in the future.
Sometimes action speaks louder than a thousand words-let's hope this action help make change for the gardening community and the nurseries helping our gardens to become places of success and growth.