April update during CV-19

Who’s sick of 2020 already!

Well….. We scraped through Mother’s Day before our lives got turned completely upside down with Covid 19. I hope you are all safe and I am sure we will all come through this with a different perspective on how we live our lives.

I thought I would give you an insight into how we are progressing over here in South West Ireland.

On the bigger picture our government and our people are doing a pretty good job of flattening the curve and minimising the number of people in hospitals and Intensive Care Units. Hopefully in 3 weeks we may see an easing of restrictions and a return to some level of normality.

Of course our beloved industry has taken a huge beating and we have all seen the videos from Holland of millions of auction flowers being dumped and flower growers having to continue to cut huge quantities of flowers only to dump them to protect the crop long term.

Some of my grower friends in Italy that I am in contact with are obviously having an incredibly tough time but the widespread turmoil in the industry is being felt really hard in places like Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya and all over Europe.

A lot of exporters, distributors and wholesalers are also struggling to survive and the only certainty is that there will be a massive change in the supply chain of flowers and foliage when the dust settles.

What products will be available? Where will they come from? What wholesalers will be supplying each area? What about prices?

Foliage growing has a lot of unique features that we need to consider over here.

Most crops take 3-4 years to reach full production. So plants that go into the ground now will not be producing heavily until 2024! What will the market look like then? What products will customers be looking for? I have learned over the years that these questions are nigh on impossible to answer and to trust that there will always be a strong market for high quality foliage with a great service.

In the short term, April and May are the ‘moving months’ when all the money is spent on the crops. Pruning is being done now, fertilizer is being applied and weed control begins also. Invest now to get a return at Christmas- we will surely be back to normal by then?!

We have taken the decision to plough on ahead with all crop maintenance and indeed our new planting program of 20,000 plants. We have taken over a new production site of 40 acres of Nobilis and 20 acres of Eucalyptus to ensure we can meet demand. I will share videos and pictures of this as we begin work.

I am sure we will return to a completely different market- A lot of florists, suppliers and grow will not return to trading for various reasons. 

The back log of summer 2020 weddings that is building up will have to be fitted into weekdays of Autumn/Winter 2020 and Spring Summer 2021. We will all need to maximise these opportunities.

I am also sure that the most creative, experienced and talented people will win in a changing market.

I feel so lucky that we can get out to work in fields at this time and serve the customers that are still able to fulfil contactless orders. We are open for business.  Please stay safe and remember to support your local UK and Irish suppliers when things get back to normal!

James

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