Changing and Challenging Times

Sitting here at my desk, in what would normally be the cafe, looking out through the rain streaked window at a sodden plant area being buffeted by unseasonably high winds, I finally get the time to reflect on everything that has changed this year.

Coming into 2020 I had high hopes of a good year.  The nursery was establishing well with the polytunnel finally becoming more than a distant dream.  The weather was exhibiting it’s usual contrariness, but that was ok, spring was on the way, and we all love spring.  These days I spend my life wishing for spring, it seems, then suddenly bish, bash, bosh it’s arrived and gone again in little more than a flash.  This year was the same, but in one very significant way completely different.

Coronavirus.  No-one was ready for it.  No-one understood it.  It was a completely new experience for all of us, and heralded changes to all of our lives.

Usually on a wet and windy summers day like this, when even the hardiest of gardener’s think twice about venturing out, we have the cafe to bring people in.  At this time last year it would have been full of people, the delicious smell of Jimmie’s cooking, banter and laughter.  Today it has me in it, staring out at the rain.

We don’t yet know when we will be able to re-open; certainly not until we believe it’s as safe as it can ever be for both our wonderful customers, and of course our staff.  Having previously made a virtue of being a pocket sized establishment we now long for more space to do things in, to make reopening the cafe a viable option.  We have plans to sell Jimmie’s bakeware on a takeaway basis, via click and collect, and we’ll look at the viability of takeaway coffee’s and teas for now - but it’s not the same, especially on a damp and dreary day like this.

On the other hand, the garden centre has kept going, largely thanks to the incredible loyalty shown by our incredible customers, and the tremendous attitude displayed by our tremendous staff, and we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

From lockdown day one we started home deliveries, accepting orders by phone, e-mail and Facebook.  We built our web shop in about six weeks after thinking about it, planning it, and failing to do it for the previous six years.  Massive thanks to Peter and Jimmie for managing that between them.

We managed our plant supplies well, largely due to the excellent relationships we’ve built with our suppliers, and our policy of using smaller local growers wherever we could since opening.  Growing more of our own has also helped, and helped to reduce our carbon footprint through zero travel miles.

Thanks for your support, your understanding, your patience and your many, many words of kindness.  I’m not sure how the world will actually be when we finally emerge from the shadow of the virus, but for now I actually think it’s made us into stronger, more resilient, more patient people.

And there is always next spring to look forward to!

June 29, 2020 — Andrew Lay



Alan said:

You all have a lot to be proud about! Well done guys, small is beautiful!

Sue Mann

Sue Mann said:

Well done to all at Lay of the Land for enabling us all to keep going in our gardens. Your hard work, patience and reliability have been greatly appreciated and you have definitely been one of the real positives in these interesting times. Thank you.


Jamie-Rose said:

Lovely to see Andrew enjoying the scabious. We are looking forward to the time we can just wander in for coffees, cake, plants etc and to see you all.
Thank you for the compost delivery a while ago, it’s got the tomatoes growing fabulously!

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