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Rosy Hardy, Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants:

UK: “To maintain the new gardeners, we need to give them the proper information”

“Sometimes we have to be honest with a gardener and not sell a certain plant to them, as we know it will not survive under their conditions. It is important to give the new gardeners the proper information, so that they will succeed instead of giving up,” says Rosy Hardy, Co-Founder of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, an independent nursery in the UK that is mainly known for their herbaceous perennials.

Rosy Hardy

Telling customers no
According to Hardy, it is important to give their customers the proper information, otherwise they might give up on gardening. “If their plants end up dead, they will not want to continue gardening. This means that we have to be honest with our customers. If they want a certain variety that I know will not do well in their growing conditions, I have to tell them no and advise them a different variety. It is all about building that trust by being honest, and ensuring that the gardeners are succeeding.”

Rob Hardy and Rosy Hardy, Founders

Helping gardeners succeed through education
Especially with the new gardeners, Hardy has noticed that they are eager to learn. “They are interested in the information we give, and we always work together with the gardeners even after they have made their purchases. If something does not work out, we try to work out the problem with them. Perhaps they are over-watering or there is something in the soil that the plant doesn’t like. In addition, we are giving monthly talks at the nursery, where people get to learn more about how to take care of seasonal perennials, as well as posting YouTube videos. Some of the new gardeners don’t understand the difference between an annual and a perennial, so we are giving them the information they need to succeed.”

British flower shows
Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants is a home-based company that only supplies to the UK, and they have joined lots of plant fairs over the years. For this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, they were picked as the Master Grower for the RHS, while attending the show for the 31st year. Hardy explains that the British plant fairs are quite unique compared to those in other countries. “At our fairs small nurseries can come and showcase their plants, and we show them as they would look like when planted. We don’t just pick a couple of the best looking cut flowers, but are giving the consumer the proper representation of what those plants would look like in their garden.”

Brexit impact
Even though Hardy’s provides their products for the local market, Brexit does have an impact. “We import some bare root plants and plug materials from the Netherlands or Belgium, for example. WE now have the added paperwork, as we need to have declarations done and the phytosanitary checks also add some costs. Luckily, we have worked it out by now and it is not impacting us much anymore. It does mean that we had to increase our prices, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. In our industry, we are bad at undervaluing ourselves even though there is a lot of knowledge required to properly grow plants.”

For more information:
Hardy's Cottage Garden Plants
[email protected]