Predicting the Future. Part 1
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
Every year, I get asked to give my thoughts on what the next trends will be in horticulture and gardening and I enjoy attempting to predict the future in this manner. 2020 will be one of the most interesting prediction years for a long time as we have many political issues looming over us currently, which will in a UK scale impact on horticulture. It may not have a great impact on gardening and gardening trends, however and it will be interesting to see if any of the predictions that I make over the next few days come true at all.
So arbitrarily, today, as it is as good a day as any, I'm going to make my first prediction. I have my Crystal Ball at the ready and I predict that...
Brexit (assuming it does happen in 2020) will actually be good for UK Horticulture.
I'm not going to debate the myriad pros and cons of Brexit. I didn't want it, but it was voted for and while I believe that there were options beyond In/Out and the facts weren't clearly represented, it is what it is and it would seem that it will be forced through by hook or by crook anyway.
So, how do I arrive at a positive situation for UK Horticulture then?
Well, there may be many areas of UK life that are likely to suffer as a result of Brexit, at least in the short term; Horticulture in the UK has experienced a steadily weakening position here over the last two decades at least. Nurseries are closing every week and few new nurseries being established; things are actually pretty bleak in this respect and I think there is good opportunity for a win for those willing to commit. I believe that the potential for increased border security, both as a result of tightening Biosecurity protocols and checks from customs at ports will make European imports more costly and slower than ever before giving UK growers with a positive attitude an opportunity to capitalise with increased sales.
It won't end European imports, which would be a bad thing for everyone, but it will make some plants more advantageous to buy from a UK source. One such plant will be Lavender, much of which currently bought in the UK by consumers are relatively cheap Dutch imports. As prices rise and reach parity with, lets face it, more robust, UK grown plants, the market should be able to capitalise on a plant that is a potential Xyllela vector host (see link below), often mislabelled from European imports and commonly struggles with phytophthora and other fungal rots when taken from a protected growing environment and transported.
Over the last six months, I have seen a number of great UK nurseries doubling and tripling their production of both Lavandula and Rosmarinus (Salvia rosmarinus (still don't like that new name)), so I'm hoping for big things in terms of UK grown plants in 2020 and beyond.
To have a look at Defra recognised Xyllela host species, please clink this link. If you are thinking about buying any of these plants, make sure they are UK grown to protect our biosecurity. Buy from professional nurseries and question your garden centres on point of origin. We really can't afford for it to become an issue in the UK.
So, watch this space for further predictions and we will see what happens soon enough.