T he spirits of timber garden product stockists in our neck of the woods (Sevenoaks-under-water) have been a little damp of late. As far as we’re concerned Noah had it easy. Rain for 40 days. Bah! A mere drop in the ocean. Our deluge has lasted more like 120. Our garden consequently looks like the set of The Addams Family. Autumn pruning went by the board. The roses rambled , the buddleia bolted and the crocuses sprung up only to slump face first into the liquid mud.

But while everything looks a bit mushy at the moment, the garden products business has put down solid roots in the past few years. As our special supplement shows the market has not just grown, it has diversified phenomenally. Not so long ago sheds and trellis were about as exciting as it got. But, driven by the lifestyle press, home makeover shows spilling out into the garden, plus manufacturers’ creativity, we’re now talking a veritable forest of fencing designs, pergolas, timber pathways, summerhouses and a staggering variety of garden furniture. The choice in sheds and trellis has also blossomed.

And then there’s decking. Sceptics said it would flower for a season, then flop. Instead, it’s become a hardy perennial and given rise to countless offshoots: fixtures, fittings and special deck furniture.

More encouraging still for the future, the industry has underpinned market growth with major advances in product durability and, in the case of the Timber Decking Association, a body to ensure quality and consumer satisfaction.

As I write, the Kentish sky is darkening once more and it’s starting to hail and rain simultaneously. But the sun will come out tomorrow and the great British gardeners will be back planting their plots with timber products. I’m not looking forward to that pruning though.