SOME garden centres in Gwent have re-opened this week after the Welsh Government gave them the go-ahead to start trading again – but others have made the decision to remain closed.

Among the centres to re-open after first minister Mark Drakeford said on Friday that these types of businesses were able to open their doors again was Raglan Garden Centre.

Owner Martin Davies opened on Monday morning to long queues after days of restructuring his store to ensure customers were safe.

He said the recent weeks had proven challenging for his business, and he was pleased he was able to re-open.

“We were struggling with the demand in terms of the orders with limited staff,” he said. “We stopped the deliveries at one stage because it was becoming too much.

Free Press Series: Alex Davies and father Martin Davies, who owns Raglan Garden CentreAlex Davies and father Martin Davies, who owns Raglan Garden Centre

“While we restarted deliveries, we had begun to run out of steam and the announcement was a relief – we can’t afford to miss a whole season.

“The challenge for us is supply. We feel positive about the sudden surge in interest, but I ordered some compost earlier and it will take three weeks to arrive.”

Mr Davies added his son Alex, who is the centre's managing director, is having to cope with an increasingly challenging time as well as “intense demand”.

Crown Hill Nurseries in Portskewett also opened on Monday, but manager Liz Cooke said she had thought about the decision at length.

“I was apprehensive to open over the weekend, for my staff as well as the customers,” she said. “Most of my staff have been self-isolating and those that have been here have been working so hard.

“I didn’t want to put them in danger, and I didn’t want to ask them to go that extra mile again if it would risk their health.”

Crown Hill has re-opened with strict social distancing measures, while they are continuing to operate deliveries which she says has given them a lifeline.

“We would have lost the business without our customers’ support in recent weeks,” she added. “We’ve had so many orders and we’re extremely grateful.

Free Press Series: Gavin TrinderGavin Trinder

“We’ve also seen some new faces, which has been a huge help for us. It’s fantastic that gardening has become so popular again.”

Abergavenny Garden Centre has decided to remain closed to customers and will only be operating a delivery and collection service by appointment.

Director Gavin Trinder said: “We feel the announcement has put unnecessary pressure on us and the industry and we felt there was very little information given that this would happen prior to Friday.

“We will remain closed until we feel that the safety precautions are in place for both the staff and customers, and will be operating an appointment system.”