After a traditionally quieter period in the first three months of the year, Evergreen Exterior Services Ltd generally springs back to life in mid-to-late March, and once the momentum kicks in, it’s full steam ahead for the rest of the year. Market Times talks to Manager Paul Fairhead about the firm’s fortunes and his family’s long history at Covent Gardens Old and New
When we catch up with Paul, it’s a busy Wednesday morning in late March, and during our conversation, he helps trade and non-trade customers with all sorts of queries. It’s the time of year when the plant game re-awakens. “We are always very busy in the run-up to Christmas, with Christmas trees, foliage, cyclamen, etc.,” Paul says, “but the second half of winter is our quietest time. It doesn’t stop, of course, during that period, people are generally tidying up and topping up what they bought before Christmas for their window boxes and gardens – when it snowed in early March, for instance, a lot of customers came in to regenerate things before Spring arrived.”
The tipping point that normally sees winter trade move into spring bedding tends to arrive in mid-March, but snow in mid-December did a lot of damage and necessitated replanting in January, then that March cold snap further set a season that will last until the end of June back a fortnight or so. By March 28th, 2022, we’d sold 40 trolleys of geraniums,” Paul says as an example. “This year, we’d only sold two by that date, and things were still slow. We know we’ll catch up, but it definitely condenses trade into a shorter season, which makes it a bit trickier for both us and our customers.”
All the jobs are still there for the gardeners and landscapers to get on with when the weather allows, but they are starting later too, and the concertina effect was about to lead to a very busy April window. “We all know how it goes, and they’re in exactly the same situation as us, so we all work together to get through it,” says Paul.
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