When Cornelius and Theodora Van Hage started their business in 1953 from a small one-acre site in Broxbourne selling ‘English grown roses and Dutch bulbs’ they could never have foreseen the extraordinary and unsettling ramifications of the global pandemic facing all of us today. Sadly, they are no longer with us, but fast forward to 2021 and we’re still continuing the family tradition with the same aim in mind, to serve the gardening needs of our customers in the local community and beyond.

Garden Centres continue to be classified as essential retail, and with good reason. Gardening is good for mind, soul and body, and is one of the few activities we can do safely in lockdown, helping to retain a feeling of normality and continuity. Nurturing and growing plants supports wellbeing and it’s good to see individuals and communities using plant power to brighten up their homes, gardens and neighbourhoods.

According to the RHS, an estimated 3m people in the UK became new gardeners last year. For some, it’s a rewarding new pastime, and for others being in their own outdoor space creates a feeling of calm, respite and relaxation that cannot easily be found anywhere else. Whatever the reason, there’s been a huge upsurge of enthusiasm for all things horticultural, be it growing your own fruit and vegetables or creating that soothing and relaxing outdoor space.

For us, as for many other garden centres, it is both a privilege and a responsibility to be allowed to remain open and the safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers continues to be our first priority, with safe areas for queuing, reduced customer numbers and products well spaced-out, ensuring that social distancing is effective. Our three store managers Sheila, Dene and Jude and their teams, work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that all recommended government guidelines are being stringently followed in order to create a safe environment for everyone, and we’re very grateful to them for that.

We’re all massively looking forward to the spring, and better times ahead. Yes, it’s chilly and damp now, but already the days are getting longer and once February is here the occasional warm or sunny day will arrive, out of the blue, to remind us that spring is on the way. New green shoots will appear in the garden, followed by cheerful and cheeky golden yellow daffodils. The seed potatoes, onion sets, shallots, vegetable seeds, plants and compost have already arrived, and we have everything you need to start growing your own food this year, as well as pet food and wild bird food for our furry and feathered friends.

We hope you will continue to find your garden a place of calm and wellbeing, and if you are able to visit us in person you’ll find a warm welcome and a safe shopping experience to purchase all your gardening essentials. If you prefer not to leave home or are unable to come out, please remember we also offer a contact free ‘click and collect’ service and home delivery, via our website.

There is no doubt that these are anxious and uncertain times for everybody, but as a family business that has served the local community for upwards of 65 years, we and our colleagues at Amwell, Chenies and Peterborough will continue to work hard to make sure we get through this safely together, so that we can continue to provide the service for which Van Hage is known. The encouragement of our customers has been invaluable to us, and we would like to thank you for your loyal support over the past months, as we all look forward to safer and less turbulent times ahead.

With best wishes,

The Van Hage family