When I was a child, we would often drive to Wisbech to visit my mother’s cousin, Brian. He lived with his family at Waverley Nursery. He was a market gardener and had several huge glasshouses, where he grew tomatoes and chrysanthemums. We weren’t supposed to play around them but we did. We never questioned what his business entailed or the impact on demand of a recession.
Chryses, like roses, are cultivated flowers, mainly destined as cut flowers. They don’t for me, have the romance of roses, they’re commercial flowers.
We enjoyed our times there and looked forwards to going there, usually for a few days. We grew older, my mother died in the late 80s and we moved further apart.
The last time I saw Brian was probably in the early 90s. I was on holiday in the area, a short drive away and so drove over to see him.
He took me into the packing shed and showed me a pile of boxes, taller than me. The boxes were about 4 inches deep, rectangular, bunches of Chryses were interred therein from head to toe.
“You see that pile of boxes”, he said, “20 years ago that pile would have been going to Sheffield alone, maybe 2 or 3. Now that pile is going all over the country.” He explained that in a time of recession, the first thing people cut back on is luxuries such as cut flowers.
This recession is like no other. We’ve been forced to cut back on luxuries. I’ve no idea how florists are doing at the moment but chances are demand will decline as reality bites.
I’ve no idea whether Waverley Nursery still exists.
This is the fifth in a series of stories about flowers. The last one was about Roses and the next is: Forget-me-nots.