Facing a potential winter at home is seeing locals stock up on items such as plants and paint

SELLING FAST: Lynda Posa from Scone nursery Plants on Maine says items such as vegetable punnets are selling fast as people stock up on their at home lockdown essentials.
SELLING FAST: Lynda Posa from Scone nursery Plants on Maine says items such as vegetable punnets are selling fast as people stock up on their at home lockdown essentials.

WHILE this virus has come as a cruel blow to many, other sectors of the economy are rushing to keep up with high demand.

Business partners Lynda Posa and Hilton Ariel run Plants on Maine garden centre in Scone where items such as seedlings and vegetable and fruit punnets are flying off the shelves.

As we move further into autumn and face a potential winter at home, there has been an increased interest in sustainable vegetables patches and at home garden projects as an activity to do with your family and children.

The chaos in the big supermarket isles is also seeing more people get their DIY items and food from the smaller businesses such as butchers, fruit and local hardware shops.

"At this moment in time nurseries are considered an essential business," Lynda said.

"As long as we have stock, we can serve people as long as we are keeping social distancing measures in place and making sure that everything gets a good disinfectant frequently and keeping up with good hand washing techniques."

HIGH DEMAND: Vegetable punnets are flying off the shelves.

HIGH DEMAND: Vegetable punnets are flying off the shelves.

Lynda said there has been a big increase in demand for vegetables, and as she directed me to her shelves which are normally packed with punnets I could see there was only four small containers of onions left.

"In winter, you grow Brassicas which is cabbages, Brussels sprout, cauliflower, etc and we are seeing them walk out the door," she said.

There's also been an increased demand for seedlings.

"As long as people are quite patient, we've got three loads of seedlings coming in this week - Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," Lynda added.

"We can't guarantee that the wholesalers are going to have the demand met because they're completely overwhelmed by this unprecedented unreality."

GARDEN LOVE GROWS: More people are seeing gardening as an attractive at home activity with many other alternative leisure activities banned.

GARDEN LOVE GROWS: More people are seeing gardening as an attractive at home activity with many other alternative leisure activities banned.

The business is already discussing the future and online and over the phone purchases and the potential for people to pick the orders up from outside.

"At the moment, essential services and freight is still getting through borders despite them shutting," she added.

Autumn is the best time to garden, and if people are patient there is plenty of gardening to be done.

"Lots of mums are discussing gardening projects because they're going to have to keep their little ones occupied, which is great," Lynda said.

"We've got a great range of succulents, there's new bulbs in, lots of hedging plants."

However, Lynda is encouraging people to call ahead to minimise face-to-face business and is really pushing the 'stay at home' message.

"I'm really sure that things are going to get worse before they get better unfortunately," she said.

"It's just the nature of the beast. In three weeks time the number of confirmed cases will spike exponentially so just a big shout out to everybody who's travelled - please, please go into isolation, ring a friend to get your groceries and drop them off at your door."

At Scone Timber and Hardware it's a similar situation, their business is still operating as normal, despite adhering to social distancing and hygiene rules and items such as paint are in high demand.

Many are seeing the extra time spent at home as the perfect chance to do at-home renovations.

"We have been selling a lot of paint because people are deciding that if they get stuck at home they might want to repaint everything," the staff told The Advocate.

Metho and masks are also in high demand, with the recent bush fires making keeping up with the demand for masks even more difficult as stocks were already low.

"We have a small nursery at the front of the shop and all the vegetable seeds are nearly gone.

"But we're still open and we're just operating with restricted staff and the customers have been fantastic and understanding."

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