IN the current scheme of things, garden centres wouldn’t seem to be a major player.

However, the news that they have been closed nationwide, not being seen as an essential retailer, doesn’t seem to have been given sufficient thought.

The unfortunate scenes at supermarkets seem to have been in the minds of decision makers.

But would there really be panic buying of petunias, battles over begonias and face-offs over fuschias?

More likely the section of society who are the backbone of garden centre custom would remain their steady, practical, mostly middle-aged to elderly selves and queue patiently to be admitted at whatever rate can be deemed safe in these virus-threatened times.

Granted, the now-universal café would be closed for post-shopping cuppas and the areas selling all kinds of non-garden things from books to giftware could be roped off.

But, even to a non-gardener, it is obvious that the vast numbers of the green-fingered would gain so much by being to indulge their passion during this peak season for buying and planting if only garden centres could be allowed to reopen.

The very real possibility that the industry founded on this almost uniquely national passion could almost vanish if it isn’t allowed to trade would leave a great gap in post-virus Britain.

This would be just at a time when, some having lost loved ones or being affected by economic woes caused by this modern-day catastrophe, could find solace in their gardens.

Empty flower and vegetable beds and fields and greenhouses of dead plants wouldn’t help the recovery we all hope will come sooner rather than later

So, can someone have a rethink before it is too late – please?.

Valerie Kendall

St Anne's Hospital