THE owners of a garden centre say they will not offer a delivery service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Perrywood, which runs garden centres in Tiptree and Sudbury, has thanked customers for their support after closing their doors.

Owners Alan Bourne and his children Hannah, Simon and Tristan, said they would not be giving plants away or setting up a delivery service.

It comes after the Horticultural Trades Association warned millions of plants, shrubs and trees could be binned in the coming days and weeks.

It is asking the Government for financial assistance of up to £250 million to help the industry avoid collapse.

In a statement the family said: “There has been much discussion in the news about what is happening to all the plants which are not being sold.

“In our plant nursery we have stopped seed sowing, taking cuttings and ordering in young plants, to minimise waste.

“Those young plants we already had in our propagation greenhouse are now being transferred into larger pots and trays, and a small amount of plants are being thrown away to make space for these.

“In our retail areas we are continuing to care for plants, and hope to sell many of them once we re-open.

“As time goes on, and to enable our skeleton workforce to function, we will have to throw some plants away. We will keep as many as we can.

“During this current lockdown period we are not going to give away plants.

“We will also not be offering customers a delivery or click and collect service. We understand this may seem frustrating.

“As a family who is passionate about plants, we absolutely hate the idea of anything going to waste but this crisis is bigger than all of us, and each business has to make their own decision on the best way to operate.

“Most importantly, we are committed to looking after our team and to playing our part in this public health crisis.

“By minimising our contact with others, we believe we are doing the right thing – for the Perrywood family, for the NHS and for society as a whole.”

The family said it was now operating an extremely small workforce to keep costs down.