TRUMPETS of yellow fill the fields and glasshouses at M & G Congreve’s farm at Whaplode, but grower Lance Whittington is finding what the consumer wants at the moment is “cheap and cheerful”.
Lance and his father-in-law Maurice Congreve are known for the quality of their daffodils, winning prizes at Springfields Horticultural Exhibition on a number of years to prove it.
To achieve that quality Lance says he and Maurice crop the flowers themselves, and adds: “Presentation is important. My father-in-law and myself and two workers do all the cropping ourselves to produce good quality. We produce nice quality indoor daffodils, but this year unfortunately they want cheap and cheerful rubbish.
“The recession has hit this year and people just aren’t buying things. I don’t know if it’s going to be a good year for outdoor flowers. If the buyers aren’t there and people have a lot of flowers in the cold store and get worried and dump them all, that brings the price down.”
Lance classes the family business as a “small growers”, with five glasshouses and about 25 acres of outdoor daffodils, supplying the markets at London, Liverpool and Manchester. In addition, they grow alliums and alchemilla in summer, arable crops such as potatoes, wheat and sugar beet, and operate the popular maize maze.