'Biggest' UK tulip grower stockpiles bulbs over Brexit
The UK's biggest outdoor commercial tulip grower has said it has been stockpiling bulbs as uncertainty over Brexit continues.
Belmont Nurseries, near King's Lynn, said the future of the UK's relationship with the European Union (EU) was a cause of major concern.
"We're very much UK based, but we do also sell to Europe," nursery director Mark Eves said.
The nursery said it brought forward a lot of its Dutch imports to give itself a "buffer" while it awaits further movement in Brexit talks.
Mr Eves said the decision was taken because of fears of any delays at British ports that could be caused by Brexit.
"If the lorry is held up at port for any length of time the bulbs simply won't get the fresh air they need blown across them during transport which means they won't flower - basically, they'd be ruined."
The EU has granted the UK a six-month extension, eliminating the immediate threat of a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Eves said: "We haven't got a problem with Brexit, we've got more problem with MPs not knowing how much sugars they want in their tea - let alone what they are doing to sort out trade deals.
"I appreciate the complexities, but the fact they can't agree with themselves - it's disappointing, to say the least."
In 25 years, Belmont has reached the point where it is producing about 75 million bulbs a year.
None of the millions of tulips in the field, which is not open to the public, make it to a vase - when the time is right the flowers are beheaded by giant mower-like machine to remove the petals.
"People still wonder why we take the heads off, saying it seems such a waste, but if we don't take the head off we don't get the higher quality bulb and this is all about getting the best quality bulb we can," Mr Eves said.
"It's a challenge every year with the weather- so to see them growing well is an absolute pleasure."