A SECOND-generation family business say they are seeing significant improvements as lockdown eases.

Herefordshire's Allensmore Nurseries produces and supplies five million high-quality perennial plants each year to 500 independent garden centres and retailers across the UK.

But as the coronavirus crisis took hold the horticultural sector was badly hit, and many of its customers were forced to close while thousands of plants were discarded nationwide.

Over the last two months, the business has seen a large increase in demand for its perennial plants due to shortage of plants in the market and the prolonged good weather, and is now carefully managing its stock levels after sustained periods of uncertainty to ensure it meets the demand.

The business has also launched Golden Valley Plants, a new online national retail delivery service for people unable to leave their homes to purchase plants.

One of the UK’s largest producers and suppliers of perennial plants, the business has secured a £2.5 million loan from HSBC UK through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to protect its 130 strong workforce as well as support its cashflow during the pandemic.

Mark Taylor, Managing Director, said: “For over 40 years, Allensmore Nurseries has supplied high quality plants to leading retailers and the very best garden centres across the UK. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit the horticulture industry very hard, with centres being forced to shut and retail stores prioritising essential items only.

"As lockdown restrictions are eased, we are seeing significant improvements across the business and thanks to the support from HSBC, we are adapting to meet a renewed demand.”

HSBC UK said it is working closely with the Government and UK Finance to identify emerging issues and make sure customers and businesses have the advice and support they need.

For tips and advice for businesses around planning for any possible disruption, visit www.business.hsbc.com/novel-coronavirus