If you have followed my blog you will know that the nursery trade has been a little steady this spring. For this reason imagine how the little burst of warm weather and the apparent lifting of grumpy faces towards the fiery, gaseous swirling ball of heat we worship and adore affected us at the nursery. People started to buy barbeques and adopt Australian accents and a love of crustacea. Bedding plants that had been scorned were stacked so high that all you could see was a hairdo pushing a trolley, and the sustainable teak forests were being bought up wholesale to adorn the slabbed runway that we all know as 'patio'.
So yes, sales have improved and the faces of managers and owners alike have lightened from an ever darkening grey to a flustered pink. This is not remarkable or interesting but what is, is the fact that we could not supply the whole country with red white and blue.
'So what?' I hear you say. 'They just couldn't plant up the place'. Well this is the remarkable thing. My love of all things British stems from a nations ability to make do and say 'it's not red but it's a very dark pink.'
I have, for a number of years, wondered if this was gone - this concept that we can create something more wonderful from 'not-quite-rights' than we would if we had exactly what we need. People bought what was available and spent some time talking to staff about how they could use it. Things were purchased that never sell because they aren't the norm, which instantly put a smile on my face. Most importantly we had very few miserable customers. They were, for the most part, happy to wait in that true British way and they didn't complain when the queue was jumped (except to mutter gently to a partner that it really wasn't the done thing) and overall they were enjoying themselves.
What made this year so different? Well, the weather made life pretty dull for a fairly long time this year and because we all had to wait for Mother Nature and not some snotty nosed assistant there was no one to blame and we had to get on with it. We also have the promise of the jubilee and the olympics that stretch over a long enough period that there is the prospect of good weather at some point.
I know that some people don't get on with the concept of a royal family and I also know that some people don't care too much for sport but in a year that is so full and special for Britain lets take one chance in time to enjoy it for what it is without too much discussion. For my money, if it could be like this every year and we sell a little less I would be happy. In truth I think it would only serve to help sales but that's not the point. The point is I love a happy Britain that is willing to change and adapt whether it be a new plant or a different curry. Go on - be a bit British!