BUSINESS is blooming great at DB Garden Nurseries.
Though garden centres were shut for almost two months before recently re-opening, the independent Dukinfield business reinvented itself by providing a delivery service as a means of staying open and surviving.
And it has promoted itself on the Lockdown Live videos made by Gee Cross estate agent Annabelle Jardine-Jones to help local businesses.
Barbara Slate, who has run the garden nursery and landscaping business with her partner Derek Bradshaw since 2013, admitted they feared the worst when they were forced to shut their business.
She said: “I thought we stood no chance of survival when we locked the gates and did not know when we would reopen.
“While people were unable to come here to collect, we thought why not take taken things to them which was a way we could still operate.
“Introducing the delivery service means we have gone from the depths of despair to having a chance of seeing it through.
“I honestly felt if we had stayed shut all summer, we would not have been here next year.”
Barbara revealed the plants they grow each year number several hundred thousand and, like many nurseries, they had been geared up for the busiest time of the year.
“A lot of nurseries were prepped up for summer bedding plants and I don’t know how they will recover from this,” she added.
Barbara was disappointed by a comment from television gardener Monty Don who said it would not necessarily be bad if the bedding industry was lost.
“I don’t agree because bedding plants provide a lot of joy and pleasure,” she said.
The main concern for Barbara and Derek, who live in Gee Cross, is there is not enough time as they are currently working between 14 and 16 hours each day co-ordinating deliveries.
And they have been overwhelmed by the volume of orders. It is free delivery for orders above £50 and £5 for others, though there is a minimum buy of £30.
In the first four weeks following lockdown, Barbara and Derek sold 41 pallets of compost, which she joked was the new toilet roll with everybody clamouring for it.
And when normality returns at the garden centre, which dates back to 1948 when it was Kingston Nursery, Barbara said they will continue with the delivery service which has received positive feedback.
She added horticulture is good for mental health, an important issue at this time.
Barbara explained businesses are having to find ways to adapt and improvise to survive, also pointing to restaurants providing takeaway and delivery services.
She continued: “Businesses have to find ways to generate income or they will go under.
“Many small businesses are tightly run and operate with not big margins and I fear they won’t come through this.”
DB Garden Nurseries employs six people which, apart from the nursery, encompasses landscaping and garden maintenance. They also have volunteer help at the nursery which covers a two-and-a-half-acre site and includes a half acre greenhouse.