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Plant auctions

15 comments


I used to be a full time plant nurseryman and now do this part time.The remainder of my time is spent as a professional gardener and occasional garden designer/landscaper.

I sell about 2500 plants per year mainly at the local plant auctions in Wisbech but I also sell a few plants direct to my customers.

The photos below show the plant auctions and some of the plants I sell.

The photo above shows about 25% of one of 6 auction halls

My plants,awaiting sale,are on the right hand side of the row of plants running vertically up the photo. I take approximately 200 plants a week to auction for about 12 weeks starting in early May.

The photo above shows about 15% of one of 6 auction halls at two auction companies situated within 30 metres of each other .

Above is a photo of a typical box of plants I sell at auction.

This one contains,iris,marjoram,ornamental strawberry,osteospermum,ajuga,dianthus,hosta,geranium,crocosmia,campanula,gold and lemon thyme.

The exact contents vary depending on the time of year but I try to have at least 5 plants in flower eack week as most people won’t buy plants that are not in flower!.

I sell them in boxes of 14 and get between 35p (my reserve) and 75p each for them at auction. The same plants will be for sale in garden centres for £1.50 -2.50 within a couple of days!

I’ve added the following content to this blog entry in response to questions below about low auction prices and the high price of individual geranium plants in a florist..

Auction prices are very low. Nurseries selling direct to garden centres will probably get roughly double my minimum sale price. The reason why I do it this way is I haven’t got the time or big enough vehicle to trog around distant nurseries and make deliveries. I can just deliver a block of plants once a week and forget about it. There’s no problem about being paid .

I live in one of the chief nursery stock areas of the country and that’s why the auctions are so close. To get decent prices direct from garden centres I’d have to travel at least 50 miles or preferably further ( to London and the south east.)

A friend of mine used to do this and for some time made very good money but the hours he worked at peak periods delivering were horrendous ( 18+ hours a day)

He got out of the business 2 years ago because so many garden centres are now owned by conglomerate companies and they have central purchasing arrangements buying hundreds of thousands of plants at a time. small time nurseries are closing all the time. I get the same prices at auction today as I did in 1988!

Unless you can grow in a huge way or do it as a sideline as I do I would not recommend getting into the nursery business today

re: the £2.75 geraniums. … yes it drives me mad. I can buy 12 decent sized geraniums for £2.50. Potted up and grown on hey would sell for 5 to 10 times more in a few weeks but you do need the outlet and therefore get the overheads.

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Comments

 

ooooooooooo. :-)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))) thats got me thinking.

29 Aug, 2010

 

Unbelievably cheap Anchorman. I grow my annuals from plugs, online, about 7-8 pence each. There's a florist near me that was selling standard geraniums for £ 2-75 and petunias for the same price this year and people buy them. If only I had the room. I don't know of any auction places around here, but I'm going to google it, to try and find out. Great blog as usual.

29 Aug, 2010

 

Lovely plants but seems so cheap. It hardly seems worth the effort for u! If thats the going rate I wonder how nurseries make any money then.

29 Aug, 2010

 

Auction prices are very low. Nurseries selling direct to garden centres will probably get roughly double my minimum sale price. The reason why I do it this way is I haven't got the time or big enough vehicle to trog around distant nurseries and make deliveries. I can just deliver a block of plants once a week and forget about it. There's no problem about being paid .

I live in one of the chief nursery stock areas of the country and that's why the auctions are so close. To get decent prices direct from garden centres I'd have to travel at least 50 miles or preferably further ( to London and the south east.)

A friend of mine used to do this and for some time made very good money but the hours he worked at peak periods delivering were horrendous ( 18+ hours a day)

He got out of the business 2 years ago because so many garden centres are now owned by conglomerate companies and they have central purchasing arrangements buying hundreds of thousands of plants at a time. small time nurseries are closing all the time. I get the same prices at auction today as I did in 1988!

Unless you can grow in a huge way or do it as a sideline as I do I would not recommend getting into the nursery business today

re: the £2.75 geraniums. ... yes it drives me mad. I can buy 12 decent sized geraniums for £2.50. Potted up and grown on hey would sell for 5 to 10 times more in a few weeks but you do need the outlet and therefore get the overheads.

29 Aug, 2010

 

Anchorman - you do realise that you are feeding members plant buying addictions. lol

29 Aug, 2010

 

Lovely blog Anchorman!!!...........

29 Aug, 2010

 

If you lived near such an auction centre it would be very handy to bid for a box or two of plants

30 Aug, 2010

 

Wow, that box of your plants is such a bargain, and I for one would be quite happy to buy your plants flowering or not! Wish there was an auction place like that in my neck of the woods Anchorman. Well done with the landscaping too, it's beautiful.

2 Sep, 2010

 

Thanks everyone :)

5 Sep, 2010

 

There's nowhere anywhere in my 'world' that sells plants that size for less than £3!! It's really sad actually. I go to the local GC and buy expensive plants, and half the ones they sell won't survive in our climate anyway so if you didn't know your plants....what a waste. Then there's the terrible labelling which is usually so vague and uninformative. The local nurseries are much better, but they are not cheap either. It's a similar situation for cut flower nurseries I believe. In the UK we can produce amazing cut flowers, but the florist in my town (and it's a great florist) gets all their flowers from Dutch lorries. I'd much rather have in season cut flowers and foliage, but I can't get them anywhere in my area. Then there's British Wool.....and we could go on and on couldn't we!

11 Nov, 2010

 

Karen, on the subject of british wool, did you see countryfile last week. Adam's Farm..he showed what he did to try to get his Jacobs fleeces turned into a suit for himself. It was really interesting.
Goodness Anchorman, what a poor return for your work! A chap down the road from my friend put a leaflet on the board of the local OAP club and sells his summer bedding plants to a growing market of OAPs (including my friend) and is always sold out within a few weeks. He is disabled so cant take his plants anywhere, but people come to him, so he has created quite a social circle around himself and gives him something to do and makes him feel useful...
His prices are reasonable but better than that, the plants are big strong and healthy and are "what it says on the tin"!

Ive been in business so realise that the mark ups include rates and rent and staff wages, and the expensive bugbear Health & Safety! Oh..then there is the pilfering..so I dont grouse too much if the plant is healthy and strong and fairly reasonable.

24 Nov, 2010

 

Yes! I did see that! Wasn't it amazing....in fact I think it was exactly that programme that got me wanting to buy wool and do some knitting!! I agree with you about paying the prices for the plants too. I think they are well worth the money, especially my recent bargain standards which take years and years to train! What else can you pay a fiver fore and keep enjoying for years and years? Not much!

24 Nov, 2010

 

I live in West Sussex. The prices we have to pay for plants,whether perennials or annuals is mind blowing expensive.
Does anyone know of any auctions in the West Sussex area. We need an Anchorman.

26 Jun, 2012

 

are your plants all labeled what you sell at auction

31 Jul, 2012

 

No. Initially I tried doing this but it made no difference to the price I received and ofcourse it was time consuming to do and cost say 2p per plant to do. Prices at auction are generally so low it's not worth bothering with a label unless it is a special high value plant.

On the odd occasion when I'm selling a big individual plant in a large pot I do add a detailed label

I do label those I sell at my two road side outlets because I get near retail prices there.

31 Jul, 2012

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