Contract bedding and perennial plants grower Baginton Nurseries in Warwickshire, which has also hosted AHDB’s National Bedding and Pot Plant Centre (BPPC) since 2015, has ceased production. Owner Will Lamb, who is retiring, said the impact of Covid-19 on trade had been a factor in the timing of his decision to close.
“Closure was a decision we considered long and hard about a month ago,” he told The Commercial Greenhouse Grower. “We had a combination of factors stacking up, including the loss of some contracts because of Covid. We decided it wasn’t right to try to carry on with the business into next year with times still so unpredictable.”
Baginton Nurseries was established in 1981 as a wholesale bedding nursery and in recent years has concentrated on being a contract-only grower supplying plants and planted containers and hanging baskets to public authorities and to the private sector including businesses such as pubs, hotels and restaurants.
Mr Lamb said that while public sector contracts had held up, it was the private sector side that had shrunk, including the higher-margin products such as hanging baskets which the business had made its speciality.
And while the nursery had been able to continue growing to contracted schedules, some customers had to delay their delivery timings, leading to a doubling of transport costs when extra trolleys had to be used because of the resulting increase in the size of the plants, he added.
Baginton’s has been holding a closing-down sale to clear remaining plant stocks and Mr Lamb says he is ‘open to a range of options’ about the future of the nursery site. “We would like to see the nursery and existing infrastructure kept on, for someone to either rent or buy from us to run as a nursery, and we have already had some interest,” he said.
Consultant Chris Need, who manages the AHDB’s BPPC programme, said alternative future sites for trials and grower events were being considered, including the possibility of using several locations in different parts of the country. More use could also be made of webinars and online meeting platforms, which have taken the place of live events this year due to Covid restrictions, he added.