Backyard facilities in London can now formally reopen – however many have chosen to not


On Sunday evening everyone expected Prime Minister Boris Johnson to post some pretty hot horticultural tree news amidst all the other new guidelines for Britain ending life under lockdown. From the looks of it, it was actually quite a confusing speech that didn’t shed much light on future action. And that didn’t include a mention of the much-touted question of whether or not garden centers will reopen this week. What a disappointment for London’s aspiring Titchmarshes.

The good news is that government guidelines have confirmed that garden centers can officially reopen their doors to the public starting today (Wednesday May 13th) after having been closed for nearly two months. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has worked closely with the government to ensure garden centers reopen as soon as possible, as the loss of plants due to the lockdown was catastrophic and crops from farmers never make it to customers this spring – the best time to bloom . Since many UK garden centers are large open spaces, making social distancing all the easier, the HTA has successfully advocated an early reopening.

However, here is the bad news. Many have chosen not to face the difficulty of maintaining social distancing measures. Alexandra Nurseries in Penge will not reopen their doors despite the policy change and will post the following statement on their website:

‘We have decided to remain closed to the public for the time being. We understand that this can be disappointing to our customers and friends. We currently have little faith in the HM government’s guidelines regarding our business and safety, and we strongly believe that reopening is inadvisable and unsafe for both our employees and our customers. Our small size and layout wouldn’t allow for detached shopping or safe browsing. ‘

Other centers are not quite ready to take the plunge just yet. The Secret Garden at Crystal Palace is among those looking to upgrade their systems and ensure the arrival of PPE equipment for their employees before they venture to reopen.

Among those making the bold decision to welcome customers back is the Boma Garden Center in Kentish Town. It has implemented a disposable system and controls the number of customers to ensure a safe environment. And, lucky north Londoners, the Camden Garden Center is reopening today.

The Palace Gardener in Fulham also has plans to reopen later this week, shortening business hours and allowing one customer at a time. Nearby Chelsea Gardener has announced its return by Friday and Rassells of Kensington opens next week.

Do you fancy a trip? Check out the best London garden centers that deliver during the lockdown.

Or visit the Chelsea Flower Show virtually this year.

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