We are open | National Lockdown #3

National Lockdown #3 has been put in place to try to prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed. However, essential shops can remain open during this time and garden centres have been classified as essential.  Below are some of the reasons why garden centres are allowed to remain open at this time and details of the measures we have put in place to make Greenshutters Garden Centre as safe as possible and minimise the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus.

The benefits of gardens and gardening to mental and physical health

Gardening has been shown to have many benefits to mental and physical health. Anything that helps in reducing anxiety and stress at the present time is a positive, especially as gyms and organised sport has been restricted. If you are fortunate enough to have a garden, then it can provide an area to exercise as well as being an space where you can create beauty and wonder. The University of Exeter found that people who spend time the garden are more likely to report good health and mood as well as greater physical activity levels.

There is nothing quite like the scent of a Honeysuckle or Daphne in late winter, or the sight of the bulbs you planted produce a mass of colourful flowers to herald the spring.  The view of a Magnolia or Flowering Cherry Tree in full bloom will also lift the spirits as does the achievement of harvesting your own crop of tomatoes that you have grown from seed.

I find getting outside into a garden can lift my mood, especially when the sun is shining, helping to get that essential vitamin D that also has many health benefits.

Gardening keeps people occupied and at home

Allowing people to visit garden centres, especially ones that are mainly outdoors, means they have something to do during lockdown. Over 3 million new gardeners have taken up gardening as a hobby since the first lockdown. With garden centres closed, the gardening websites and delivery services could not cope with the demand from everyone during the first lockdown. People were frustrated that they could not get the plants, seeds, compost and other garden sundries they needed to allow them to carry on gardening at home.

Garden Centres are local shops and support British growers and jobs

Rural garden centres, such as Greenshutters, are local shops providing local jobs, that can be travelled to from the nearby villages without the need to go out of your local area. Additionally, British wholesaler growers are dependent on selling their plants through garden centres. Many plants are perishable and will not keep for long, especially bedding plants. In the first lockdown, millions of plants were thrown away and wasted, resulting in financial hardship for UK growers. As a result, plant production stopped as growers did not know when garden centres would be allowed to re-open. This resulted in a shortage of plants when garden centres opened again in May 2020.

What can I do in the garden in winter and early spring?

Winter is a great time to plant trees or hedging. Planting a tree at this time will allow it to develop a better root system before the soil dries out in spring. This will mean that your tree will need less watering in the spring and summer.  Trees (and all other plants) have many benefits to the environment, absorbing the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere as well as creating a beautiful specimen that you can watch grow.  We have one of the largest selections of ornamental and fruit trees in Somerset from small to more mature trees available.

Winter is also a good time to plant a hedge. At Greenshutters, we specialise in hedging plants from native mixed hedges of hawthorn, field maple, hazel, spindle and blackthorn (to name but a few options) that are particularly good for birds and other wildlife to evergreen screens created from hedges of Laurel, Portugal Laurel, Leylandii, Western Red Cedar or Griselinia. If you would like privacy in your garden, then we would recommend planting a hedge that will last much longer than a fence.

You can also plant shrubs and evergreen herbaceous plants in the winter. Hellebores, Camellia, Winter Honeysuckle, Rhododendrons, Daphne and Skimmia will provide colour in late winter or early spring.  In February, you can plant spring bedding plants such as violas, pansies and primroses to add colour to your garden and you can start to plan and sow your own vegetables under protection.

Providing a safe environment to shop

Our aim is to provide a safe environment for our customers and staff so we have measures in place to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These include:

  • A limit of two groups of customers in our shop at any time (max 4 people)
  • Please sanitise your hands with our antiviral gel as you enter our shop
  • Please keep a safe distance from our staff (preferably 2 metres)
  • Wearing a facemask is compulsory in the shop and tunnels, we also recommend you wear it when speaking to staff or other customers outdoors
  • Please park in the newly marked bays in the car park to allow us to regulate the number of customers in the centre.

Our opening hours in January are 9am until 5pm Mon to Sat, and 10am-4pm on Sunday.

Roger Eavis