You can finally stop your search for plants and compost online. Garden centres are now being allowed to open under the latest guidelines from the UK Government.
If you’re looking for garden centres open near you we have pulled together everything we know about who is opening and the new measures being introduced to keep you safe while you shop.
When will garden centres open?
Garden centres in England have been allowed to reopen from Wednesday 13th May, as long as they can ensure social distancing measures are in place. The decision to re-open has been welcomed by the horticultural industry. Especially, for garden centres struggling to continue to operate online during the lockdown.
‘We welcome the UK Government’s announcement that garden centres will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday. We are in peak season when 70 per cent of plants sold are between March and June,’ explains James Barnes, The Horticultural Trades Association Chairman.
‘Opening garden centres this week in England will be applauded by millions of gardeners and the garden industry,’ he adds. ‘This is not only a positive economic move but gardening benefits the mental health and well-being of so many people isolating at home and the importance of having something to do at home.’
How can I shop safely at a garden centre?
The HTA has put together Safety Guidance to help garden centres to reopen safely.
Overall the guidance is advising that the garden centre’s stick to a similar template as Supermarkets. Introducing separate entrance and exits, controlling the number of people in the store and marking out 2-metre guidelines on the floor.
Customers will also only be allowed to shop with one other person at the most.
You can also expect to wait in your car before entering the garden centre. To avoid long queues, centres will likely limit the number of people they allow into the car parks.
Will my garden centre cafe be open?
All cafes and play areas with be closed. However, centres such as Dobbies will be offering a takeaway food menu. However, the HTA guidelines advices that customers should advised not to eat any take away items on site.
Sadly, your local garden centre might also no longer be the best place to grab a bargain. Centres are being discouraged from launching any especially enticing offers that could lead to a flurry of customers.
It is also unlikely that you will be able to pick up any garden furniture during your visit. The HTA is encouraging garden centres to focus solely on selling plants and related equipment in stores, such as tools and compost.
How do I find garden centres open near me?
The Horticultural Trades Association has adapted their Plants Near Me website to show garden centres that are open and adhering to the Safe Trading Guidelines. Simply type in your postcode and you will be given a list of garden centres that you can safely visit near you.
‘Due to the popularity of gardening, we know that there will be a huge surge in demand,’ explains James Barnes. ‘We would ask customers before setting out on their journey to check first that their garden centre is open.’
‘The Plants Near Me website will show which garden centres have signed up to the Safe Trading Guidance. We hope that the public will be patient with us while we adapt to these new trading conditions.’
Which garden centres are re-opening?
Dobbies will be re-opening all its stores on Wednesday. A limited number of customers will be allowed in the store at one time and a queuing system will be in operation outside the store.
There will be hand sanitising and trolley cleaning stations and store entrances. Protective screens have been installed at the tills and customers will be encouraged to pay with card or contactless.
Garden centres across the UK are working hard to make sure they have the necessary measures in place to keep customers and staff safe.
‘We have taken care to ensure we are following guidance provided by the Government, British Retail Consortium and Horticultural Trade Association to reopen responsibly,’ comments Graeme Jenkins, CEO of Dobbies. ‘Our team is well prepared, social distancing measures are in place and we look forward to welcoming customers back into our stores across England.’
Hardware stores such as B&Q were allowed to stay open during the lockdown. B&Q reopened many of its stores in April, and it is expect that you will continue to be able to purchase plants from the garden section of the store.
On the 2nd May Homebase choose to reopen many of it’s stores with strict distancing and safety measures in place.
Are you happy to see garden centres reopening?