Brexit disrupts plant and seed supplies to Irish gardeners

Take the convoluted, far-reaching consequences of a global pandemic. Add the painful, messy divorce that is Brexit. The result is a perfect storm for Irish gardeners, with many long-established Irish suppliers struggling to keep certain items in stock while others in the UK are forced to turn away valued customers.

The situation as it stands is particularly frustrating for anyone in search of hard-to-get seed/bulb/plant varieties, tools or equipment that can’t be sourced in Ireland.

Before Brexit, the next natural port-of-call was Britain, whose large gardening population and centuries-old tradition of horticulture has long supported the flourishing businesses of a clutch of award-winning niche suppliers.

Examples include Essex-based Rose Cottage Plants, prized by gardeners throughout Europe for its huge and exceptional range of dahlia varieties; Oxfordshire-based Chiltern Seeds, whose catalogue is a treasure-trove of many of the newest and/or most coveted varieties; Cheshire-based Chrysanthemums Direct, whose catalogue lists more than 420 different varieties of chrysanthemums (those lovingly packaged rooted cuttings whose arrival in the post was one of spring’s special thrills); and Staffordshire-based Ashwood Nurseries, known for its wonderful range of plants, including many kinds of choice hellebores and snowdrops.

Bureaucratic burden

Up until December 31st, all did a roaring trade with Irish gardeners. But citing a lack of clarity as regards the new post-Brexit rules and regulations, increased costs and the financially unfeasible, time-consuming. bureaucratic burden of additional paperwork and inspections, they’ve joined the growing number of small British suppliers that have reluctantly decided to suspend their mail order service to Irish customers in recent weeks.

“We’re really hoping that our deliveries to our customers in Ireland, some of whom have been with us for more than 40 years, can resume once we get a clearer picture of what’s involved,” said a representative of  Chiltern Seeds. “But at the moment there’s just too little information available regarding issues such as VAT, customs duties, customs declarations, licences, permits and the costs of obtaining phytosanitary certificates for each individual order.”

Anne Barnard, co-owner of Rose Cottage Plants, echoes those sentiments. “While we’re lucky that our family-owned business isn’t reliant on orders outside the UK, we’ve always valued our EU customers. But so much hangs in the balance at the moment as regards possible additional costs that we’re holding off taking orders until things become clearer.”

If and when that happens, she suggests that likeminded Irish gardeners should consider reducing the potential additional costs by pooling their orders rather than placing small, individual ones that will prove especially costly.

Other well-known British mail-order suppliers are continuing to take orders from Irish customers while warning them of any potential additional charges they may face as well as new rules governing the delivery of plants.

Source link

Add a Comment