Spring 2019 will be rather nerve wracking for florists. As we wait to find out what's actually going to happen with Brexit, the flower import business is looking on nervously. Most of the flowers you find for sale in the UK are grown abroad and imported over or under the channel from Holland. At the moment, I can order online from stock held by some of the biggest European wholesalers in the business. My order is picked and packed and delivered into my studio within 48hrs. Sometimes it's even cut to order. For the most part, my flowers come through the channel tunnel as road freight - it's all pretty quick and the actual import part is pretty seamless due to EU permits.
Brexit could mean extra time at customs for these deliveries. As they're a fresh product with a shelf life (and aren't shipped in water) this could be very detrimental to the quality and lifespan of the flowers. There's also the possibility of increased import duties with rises of as much as 20% being discussed. These increases will inevitably end up being passed on to the customer so cut flowers may become a lot more expensive post Brexit.
If there's 'no deal' we could end up without any flowers (and all sorts of other things that currently flow from the continent into the UK). If there are no trade agreements in place to be able to handle the imports we may have to wait until the powers that be sort it all out. And yes, there are British suppliers and growers out there but if every florist in the country is trying to get hold of the same limited stock, someone is going to miss out.
I was hoping that by Christmas the government would have given a clearer steer on where we're heading with this but it wasn't to be. As it is, I am nervous for the future and await March with trepidation.