Pressures facing plant growers in South Holland today

British Flower Bulbs Association chairman for 20 years and chairman of Springfields Gardens Peter Ruysen. Photo: SG230514-219TW
British Flower Bulbs Association chairman for 20 years and chairman of Springfields Gardens Peter Ruysen. Photo: SG230514-219TW

It’s a big investment and can be a big risk, and often not very big returns on the investment for many people in the horticultural industry.

That’s the view of veteran horticulturist Peter Ruysen, who runs D & R Simmons at Pinchbeck.

It’s a tough marketplace because some retailers are forcing prices down and not all buyers are concerned about quality and giving customers value for money, believes Peter.

He said: “It’s very tough out there and the sad thing is a lot of growers wouldn’t start in horticulture now. There are some growers doing pretty well, but the profits generally are not that big, unfortunately.”

Added to that is the fact that very few young people are attracted to it, something Peter is concerned about, saying “The number of people attending horticultural colleges is much lower than it used to be.”

Peter has worked at the nursery since returning from world travels as a young man visiting growers, and probably saw the best years for the sector then when the nursery was growing bulbs. These days vast numbers of plants and flowers are imported, making it much more competitive for British growers.

Peter isn’t growing in vast numbers, other than a range of fruit and herbaceous plants. Apart from that he is trading in hedging and garden plants, flower bulbs and Christmas trees, supplying wholesalers and retailers nationwide, and exporting daffodils to the continent.

Peter’s years of service to the bulb industry were recognised by the award of the Carlo Naef Trophy for 2014.

In addition, he and Adrian Jansen received the Order of the Tulip at the World Tulip Summit held in Istanbul late last year in recognition of their “contribution towards the celebration and promotion of the tulip”.