Pinchbeck flower grower talks business

Sue Lamb.
Sue Lamb.
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The tulip season has been full on since Christmas with Valentine’s, Mother’s Day two days later followed by International Ladies Day, which gets more important to us as the years go by, writes Sue Lamb.

Now it’s Easter, which is not huge for tulips but there are increased sales.

We then have the long haul through to late May for the end of the season and it is in the last few weeks profits (or not) are determined. So we want pleasant days and cold nights, which we like so people are still spending on flowers and not moved into the garden. Obviously the bedding boys would like to see Easter and onwards frost free but as always we take what we’re given.

We remain to wrestle with how we are going to cope with the Living Wage. Like many things the government pours out these days, I think this idea was conceived in a back room without too much thought as to the implications, and industry is left to make it work. I know our local MP has been invited to many nurseries to help him gain a better understanding, but so far I have yet to hear of a confirmed visit. As I have said before, we are all for paying a wage people can live on and they work jolly hard for it, but the time-scale given to implement this change gives us huge problems, especially when price increases are met with resistance from customers. I am afraid we have had cheap food since the war and ornamentals rub along with the same ilk. Some would say more automation is the answer, but that all has to be paid for. My concern is we shall be seeing increased amounts of imported food and ornamentals on the shelf, and believe me when that happens it is extremely difficult to reverse, hence long-term this will result in a shrinking of our industry.