Garden centres become some of first businesses to reopen in Harrogate district

Following the latest Government announcement and relaxation of some of the lockdown rules, garden centres are amongst some of the first businesses able to reopen their doors to the public.

Friday, 22nd May 2020, 11:36 am

And those across the Harrogate district have been putting plans in place to ensure customers are kept safe as they gear up to begin trading again.

With people now able to travel further and a forecast of good weather on the way, it is no surprise that gardeners are keen to stock up on supplies and purchase some new plants ahead of the summer.

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Instructor Tom Dickinsons tending to hanging baskets at Horticap.

The coronavirus lockdown has seen a rise in the number of people taking to gardening to ease their boredom - but no access to garden centres has made this tough for many, leaving them overjoyed at the news that nurseries can now start to open up.

And the reopening plans have been a blessing for the centres themselves, which have been struggling after the wonderful spring weather left them with lots of beautiful plants and no customers to sell them to.

Horticultural charity Horticap is planning to reopen its doors next week and has said it is excited to get back in business and serving customers - all whilst adhering to the social distancing rules.

Ian Bradbury, Horticap’s Manager, said: “We have amended our opening times which will be 11am to 3pm to allow staff time to water plants and prepare for the day.”

During the lockdown, Horticap has been running an online service to keep things ticking over and has been offering home-deliveries to residents across the district in a bid to generate extra income.

Ian added: “We have taken our time to reopen to ensure that all orders placed online can be fulfilled and to give staff the time to put in place safe systems to help protect both our customers and staff.

“This will take the form of a one way flow around the plant sales area with entrance and exits at opposite ends of the glasshouse. Staff will be taking payments in a protected area by card only but unfortunately will not be able to give direct assistance or advice to customers as they usually would.

“We will be asking customers to give themselves plenty of time as there will be a single line flow around the sales area with marked directions and two-metre indications on the floor around the route.

“Customers will be asked to stick to the guidance and if it becomes very busy to come back at a later date.”

Although the centre is reopening from Tuesday, May 26, the tea room will remain closed, as will all the outside garden areas.

And the charity has voiced its gratitude for its loyal customer base who has helped it to continue running throughout the pandemic, adding: “During the closure we have had tremendous support from customers and would like to thank them for using our online ordering system.”

As the garden centres are expecting to see an influx of people when they reopen, Daleside Nurseries in Killinghall has urged customers to be patient and respect the Government guidelines.

Stuart Townsend, Managing Director, said: “Please be patient with us as we want to serve you as quickly and safely as possible. We know that people value the quality advice that we provide but this may be limited due to reduced staff numbers so if you do have questions please talk to Nursery staff when you are in the sales areas.

“We will not have time to provide advice at the till areas. We appreciate that people like to coming to the Nurseries to wander around and get ideas – it would be really helpful for us if customers came with some clear ideas of what they wanted to buy.

“For safety reasons, we will now only be accepting payment by credit or debit card. We would ask people to comply with the measures that we have put in place and put the safety of themselves and our teams as their priority.”

Garden centres across the district have been updating their social media with information on their reopenings, with most set to be up and running again by next week.

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