Since last writing at the very beginning of the lockdown I can now get back to this. The long gap is not due to complete and utter despondency but to having been extremely busy!!

After the first two or three days of flopping around feeling lost my daughter came up with the idea of putting photos of bundles of plants on local Facebook pages. Using a system of ‘click and collect’. I gathered together a ‘blue/purple’ bundle and a group of plants for shade in another bundle. Immediately there were orders and a reason to get up in the morning. It quickly spiralled and there were many collections to get ready for people and appointments made for the customers to pick their order up. Since those first few days I have offered a mix of alpines and a ‘random’ bundle. It has been a steep learning curve (you can teach an old dog new tricks) and a lot of extra work in the evenings responding to enquiries on the internet but it has all been good.

Many of the customers are my regulars but it is noticeable and very pleasing to see that a lot of people who have never gardened before are now wanting to make their gardens look good (and it’s also a way to fill in some time). People have cleaned their cupboards, sorted out the garage and read War and Peace and need to get outside and get some fresh air.

I’ve met a whole lot of new people, mostly very local, who are all so grateful to be able to buy plants and to get a bit of advice thrown in at the same time. The sun has shone nearly every day so it’s only natural to want to be outside.

At the beginning of this huge change in all our lives I’d said to Sarah and Teresa that I wouldn’t need their help for the foreseeable future. Within days I was asking them both to come back to work (keeping safe distances) because I simply had no time to do any gardening. All my time was taken up with producing plants and getting orders ready. Himself was doing most of the watering, thankfully. The potting had to be done mostly early in the morning because the temperatures rose during the day making it too hot to be in the tunnel. Luckily I had previously split many of the plants into p9s so they were ready to just pop into larger pots. There is still a real sense of urgency and not enough hours in the day.* I’ve been holding off doing more marketing so I can catch up on some of the nursery work.

I’m now also offering appointments so people can be here on their own to look round the nursery, this too is working well. Thank goodness we had the electric gate fitted earlier in the year and we can wave the remote from a distance to open it.

*I know I’m lucky, I have oodles of things to do to keep me dwelling on the horrors of the outside world. Many people are finding it hard to occupy themselves, we have all had to find ways to adapt.

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