f you’re lucky enough to have outside space, even a windowsill, right now, chances are you’ve never appreciated it more. Indoor gardening, too, is a solace for many.
Being able to grow something – whether flowers, herbs or vegetables – in these shaky times is a therapeutic pleasure that has seen national seed and plant suppliers swamped with orders.
Just as spring deliveries of plants arrived at small neighbourhood nurseries across London, lockdown hit.
These precious oases of green in the city rely on weekend footfall as Londoners drop in for plants, coffee and cake. Many of these small businesses don’t have online shops.
Spring sales are their boom time, seeing them through the leaner periods of the year. But right now, rows of healthy plants are sitting there behind locked gates, itching to be planted out into window boxes, pots and borders.
There are green shoots, however. While a lot of local nurseries have closed completely for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown, some are delivering plants, seeds, pots and compost to your doorstep if you live nearby.
Since many have small teams who live locally and walk to work, they are able to keep their plants watered and sent out to customers. They can only take limited orders, but they are doing all they can to keep their businesses open and our gardens and window boxes blooming - so let’s support them.
Here’s a round-up of London nurseries currently delivering plants and more.
Just one tip to speed up orders: try to be as specific as you can. “I have a garden and want some flowering plants - what do you recommend?” is a phone call that could take some time when there are others behind you waiting to get through.
The Nunhead Gardener, SE15
Online store taking orders for local contact-free delivery to selected London postcodes – see website for details.
Follow Instagram @Nunheadgardener for stock updates. “We were packed to the gunwales with stock, prepared for our busiest two months of the year,” says manager Peter Milne.
“We’ve had to completely reinvent ourselves. We had a small online shop just for indoor plants but we’ve adapted it to add outdoor plants, compost and equipment. When demand gets too high we may have to shut the online shop to catch up but only temporarily, so keep checking back.”
The Secret Garden Centre, SE19
Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood
The Secret Garden Centre is taking delivery orders but there may be a delay in receiving items, so please be patient.
Collection available. Call 020 87718200 to order before 4pm.
Alexandra Nurseries, SE20
This delightful neighbourhood nursery in Penge is carrying out small-scale local deliveries (free delivery for orders over £30).
Call the shop on 020 8778 4145 from 10.30 to 3pm or email email@example.com.
Follow @AlexNurseries on Twitter for updates. Visit alexandranurseries.co.uk.
Dulwich Pots and Plants, SE21
Taking very local deliveries to Dulwich and Herne Hill. Email orders to firstname.lastname@example.org. The website can be viewed here.
The Palace Gardener, SW6
Will deliver plants, pots, chemicals and compost, even garden furniture and barbecues to south-west London with contactless drop-offs and can also leave pre-paid purchases outside its gates for you to pick up.
“People include it in their daily walk or grocery shop,” says general manager Jorge Rodriguez of The Palace Gardener in SW6.
“It’s edibles, particularly herbs, that people are wanting just now. Tomato plants are flying out the door. So are tiny tools for children and indoor plants to purify the air.”
It’s best to email orders, to email@example.com or failing that, phone 020 7099 6006. Check Instagram @thepalacegardener or Facebook for stock updates.
The Chelsea Gardener, SW3
This upmarket nursery specialises in container plants and “instant” gardens – plants in flower. Pelargoniums will be in stock from this week to smarten up your window boxes.
The team at The Chelsea Gardener will deliver plants, sundries, compost and pots across London “as much as we humanly can”. Delivery charges apply. Call 020 7352 5656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
World’s End Nurseries, SW10
World's End Nurseries are taking phone and email orders for collection or local delivery of plants, compost and pots.
Call 020 7351 3343 or email email@example.com. Check their Instagram @worldsendnurseries for updates.
Rassells of Kensington, W8
Rassells of Kensington are taking orders for online sales and delivery where possible, subject to limited stock.
Please send your plant requests to firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and phone number and they will contact you.
Phoenix Rose Garden Centre, EN2
The Phoenix Rose Garden Centre in Enfield has closed its gates but is delivering all its usual range of plants, compost, tools and sundries free within Enfield, or citywide with a delivery charge.
Spring bedding plants and compost are particularly popular right now.
Call 020 8367 3377 or email email@example.com with your order.