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Urban gardening blooms as florist startups rise by two thirds

2-minute read

Simply Business

Simply Business

22 May 2017

The UK saw a 66 per cent increase in new independent garden centres, nurseries and florists in 2016, compared to the previous year, according to Simply Business data.

Simply Business found that independent garden centres, nurseries and florists are starting up at high rates in rural and urban areas across the UK. Seaside towns Southampton and Bournemouth are the cities where growth is strongest: 375pc and 280pc respectively.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place this week at a time when urban gardening has never been more popular. Small businesses and sole traders are starting up at an increasing rate, giving hope that the UK can enjoy some of its environmental benefits.

There was particularly strong growth in the North East and East Anglia, 138 per cent and 81 per cent respectively.

Startup rates in the North East of England outsripped the UK’s largest cities, as London, Manchester and Birmingham witnessed below average growth – suggesting that urban gardening is yet to catch on in places where it could make the greatest difference.

The below table shows the rise in new garden centres, florists and nurseries in the top ten largest cities in the UK:

1. Southampton375%
2. Bournemouth280%
3. Liverpool211%
4. Sheffield100%
5. Leicester100%
6. Bristol92%
7. Birmingham42%
8. London35%
9. Glasgow20%
10. Manchester19%

The below table shows the rise in new garden centres, florists and nurseries in every region in the UK:

North East England138%
East Anglia81%
North West England58%
The Midlands80%
South West England69%
South Central England68%
South East England53%
Northern Ireland163.6%

Fiona McSwein, Chief Customer Officer at Simply Business, said:

“The benefits of gardening are spreading from the grassroots upwards now with small businesses, including florists, small garden centres and nurseries, embracing the trend. Many of the finalists and contributors competing in the RHS Chelsea Flower Show’s prestigious awards come from outside of London - we know London is some distance away from becoming a garden city. Londoners have a wonderful opportunity to learn from pioneering cities like Detroit or Amsterdam where inner-city allotments are thriving.

“Gardening and allotment-keeping is community-focused too, so growth has created hyper-local hotspots across the UK - relying on local councils to provide allotments, as well as gardening clubs with initiative, a sense of community spirit, and enough space to organise their gardening activities. For city residents, converting outdoor public spaces into a community vegetable garden can have a transformational impact, on a local scale.”

Here is a list of the benefits of urban gardening:

  1. Growing fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs at low cost and without adding airmiles to your carbon footprint
  2. Less reliance on intensive farming prevents soil erosion
  3. You will find yourself supporting the local bee population
  4. Mental and physical exercise benefits people of any age
  5. Growing leafy plants can help to tackle air pollution problems

– ENDS –


Statistics are based on a total of over 3,000 requests for quotes (RFQs) by new customers from Simply Business across the UK.

About Simply Business

Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest business insurance providers, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and insuring over 600,000 small businesses and landlords across Britain.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 600 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.

Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.

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