An increasing number of people in the UK are emulating Tom and Barbara in the television series The Good Life — and garden centres are rubbing their hands in glee. The recession, concern about healthy eating and food miles have encouraged thousands to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
The Garden Centre Group, previously Wyevale Garden Centres, has seen its grow-your-own lines rise by 54 per cent in the six months to June 30.
“Grow-your-own has been a phenomenon this year — partly because of the recession,” said Nicholas Marshall, chief executive of the Garden Centre Group.
“For the price of a packet of tomatoes, you can buy a plant that will give you ten times that. And you have the fun of growing it and getting the children interested in gardening.”
Other retailers are also reaping the benefits. Dobbies, the Tesco-owned No 2 in the market, is to open 30 allotments in a pilot scheme at a store in Southport, Lancashire. Sales of greenhouses more than doubled in the first quarter, B&Q said, while William Sinclair, a compost supplier, noted a six-fold increase in sales of some grow-bags. In June, Homebase said its grow-your-own range was 50 per cent up on last year.
Even the Queen and the Prime Minister have jumped on the band wagon. Buckingham Palace has started a vegetable patch for the first time since the Second World War, while guests at Downing Street are now served food grown in the gardens. The latter was the brainchild of Sarah Brown, the Prime Minister’s wife and former public relations executive, who is often his most effective publicist.
So….pull on your wellies and plant your vegetables….YEH RIGHT