Westcountry Nurseries' lupins
I was at the Gardener's World Show last week with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and the bumblarium, and reflecting on the price of plants. Regular garden show goers tend to get a bit blase about the floral marquees, which we shouldn't be. We're so blessed to have such fabulous nurseries in the UK, and how on earth any of them pay for these displays, let alone make a living, is quite beyond me.
By way of contrast to a floral marquee I spent two hours in Ikea yesterday evening. Among other wonders were beautiful pots of lilies in flower for £1.80. £1.80! Half the cost of a regular latte at the show. It costs me the equivalent of three lattes to buy a fruit tree from one of our (British) growers at wholesale prices. These might be heritage varieties, so rare there might be fewer than 20 sold in the world in a year. The process of growing them isn't exactly quick or easy; the rootstock is established, then planted out and budded in June/July. The following year the rootstock is pruned back and new growth trained and supported with a cane. From that autumn the maiden plant is lifted (sometimes in the snow) and wrapped. Three lattes - is it any wonder so many of our plants are imported?