Ireland is one of those European countries that has suffered more than most in the post recession period. Along with Greece, Spain and Portugal it has seen a faltering economy and the government having to invest heavily to keep the economy going. Linda and I have just been in Ireland where I was talking to the garden retail industry. The mood was very upbeat. House prices may have dropped by 40% and many retailers may be suffering, but that also means some retailers are seeing the benefits. Garden retailers are one of those sectors where growth will come from. If your house price has dropped and there are no signs of it improving and your debt has gone up, you are going to spend less on the luxuries in life and you are going to stay put in your house. That means you will spend on small luxuries in the home and garden and the garden retail sector will benefit. This week the Government released a report on the state of the industry and consumer trends, this is the first one since 2008. Four out out of six consumers are still buying flowers and the main buyers are between 35 and 54. As you would expect herb sales have increased by 17% and herbaceous plants by 13%. Those ready made hanging baskets that were the rave of three or four years ago have seen a drop of 9%. What is the message? Customers are looking for smaller plants that they can nurture and they want to do it themselves. If a retailer is prepared to adapt there product mix they can have profitable business, even in a downturn economy.