Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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Garden Centre Retail ISSUE 53


December 2020/January 2021









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Life may have looked a little different this year, but we’re all set for Christmas 2021.


Book your visit now:

Come and view our beautiful Christmas 2021 collections in our centrally located 6,500 sq ft showroom. Be inspired, see our quality first hand and get your Christmas buying done. 01778 425 205 Showroom: Bourne, Lincs, PE10 0BQ

There can be no substitute for seeing our collections in person but if this is not possible, we also offer virtual appointments.

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03/12/2020 08:47

W elc om e


Garden Centre Retail I

t’s undoubtedly been one of the toughest years for retailers, at least in my lifetime. We’ve had to overcome a complete lockdown, new safety measures to implement, the various forced closures of restaurants and the scaling down of Christmas. You’d have (hopefully) forgiven us for being nothing but doom and gloom in our last issue of the year – but that would be too easy. Instead of focusing on the obstacles 2020 has thrown at us, we’re looking to the year ahead. There’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon, with news of a vaccine to be rolled out next year and, as I write this, we’re a mere day away from the second lockdown coming to an end. Garden centres can reopen their cafes and restaurants to the public and reignite some festive cheer. And the other good news? With nothing but green spaces for sanctuaries throughout lockdown, the British public has fallen in love with nature, bringing huge opportunities for garden centres to promote their products – such as those from Bloomin Amazing – and their environmental benefits. Let’s not forget, though, that selling gardening products does not make for an environmentally friendly business. In our dedicated Green Issue, we’re sharing some of the switches garden centres can make to boost their sustainability – and hopefully sales along with it. From discussions around cutting down food waste and single-use plastic to using local and organic suppliers, this issue of Garden Centre Retail is focused on the future of retail, which we’re happy to say is refreshingly green. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Garden Centre Retail.

Subeditor – Sam Seaton Tel: 01903 777 570 ADVERTISING Head of sales – Jessica McCabe Tel: 01903 777 587

Nina Mason Head of content, Garden Centre Retail

Garden centres can reopen their cafes and restaurants to the public and reignite some festive cheer

Sales manager – Tina Savelle Tel: 01903 777 584 Horticulture Careers – Ben Cumberland Tel: 01903 777 570 PRODUCTION Design – Kirsty Turek Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd MANAGEMENT Managing director – Jim Wilkinson Director – Lisa Wilkinson Business development manager – Jamie Wilkinson MARKETING AND CIRCUL ATION Client relations – Amber Bernabe Tel: 01903 777 581 Subscription enquiries – Jessica McCabe Tel: 01903 777 587 Garden Centre Retail is published bimonthly by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2021 subscription price is £95. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, non-commissioned photographs or manuscripts.

@GardenRetailUK Garden Centre Retail Garden Centre Retail

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EDITORIAL Head of content – Nina Mason Tel: 01903 777 570

Subeditor – Katrina Roy Tel: 01903 777 570


Eljays44 Ltd 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA

Deputy head of content – Rachael Forsyth Tel: 01903 777 570

Nina and the GCR team

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Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

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C on ten ts

Garden Centre Retail ISSUE 53


December 2020/January 2021








A round-up of the latest news from the sector




47 03/12/2020 17:20

Products for new gardeners Hozelock


How effective are air-purifying plants?

Striving for self sufficiency



Could plastic be replaced entirely? Henry Ejdelbaum on timely accounting Is sustainability still captivating customers?






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Food distribution charity FareShare









With Andrew Burton, Malcolm Scott Consultants



Packaging with Bloomin Amazing

35 GREEN ZONE Dr Ian Bedford



Eco-friendly offerings in the market



Alternatives to black plastic pots





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Coffee logs from bio-bean

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 17:24

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NEWS CENTRE Simpsons Garden Centre expands into north-east with acquisition


nverness based Simpsons Garden Centre has acquired an Aberdeenshire garden centre for an undisclosed sum. Happy Plant, based in Mintlaw, was established in 1984 and is one of the largest garden and gift centres in the north-east and a four-star Scottish Tourist Board garden centre. The firm’s 30 employees will transfer to Simpsons under their existing terms and conditions. More jobs will be created as Simpsons plans to invest in the longrunning business. Plans include upgrading the centre’s facilities, including the restaurant and introducing new garden and furniture product ranges. Andrew Simpson, managing director of


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Simpsons Garden Centre spoke of his appreciation of previous owner Moira Smart: “Happy Plant is a long running business that has been part of the Mintlaw and wider Aberdeenshire community since the early 80s. Moira and her team have created a fantastic local business and we are excited at the prospect of continuing their work and building on their achievements. “We plan to refurbish the garden centre, including the restaurant, where we will be launching a new menu with the focus on quality local ingredients. At the same time, we intend to expand the range of garden and furniture products on offer, again with the emphasis on quality and the type of products that keen gardeners expect. “We will also be creating new employment opportunities at the garden centre, which is further good news for the local community.”

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

Tong Garden Centre wins Outstanding Employer award


popular Bradford garden centre has won the Outstanding Employer award at the 15th annual Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business awards. Tong Garden Centre’s head of people and culture, Neil Barwise-Carr, represented the team at Tong in a unique online awards ceremony that was hosted by former BBC news presenter, Harry Gration. “The Outstanding Employer award celebrates employers who value and reward their staff and empowers employees

to play a role in moving the company forward, so we’re absolutely delighted to win the award,” says Neil. Tong Garden Centre employs 196 local people at its Tong Lane site. Neil and his colleague, Becki Smith have spent the last 18 months developing a raft of initiatives including e-learning platforms, enhanced staff benefits and improved communication and employee engagement to ensure that Tong continues to be a great place to work.

Notcutts reports rising profits


otcutts recorded another year of profit growth in the year ending February 2020 with operating profit up 13.5% to £1.72m. This followed a 52.5% increase in operating profit on the prior year. Gross margin improved by 1.4% points to 48.9%. Total sales of £76.1m were up 1.9% despite significant disruption to normal trading patterns as Notcutts continued with its progressive redevelopment and garden centre improvement programme. Capital expenditure was £9.2m in the year. Restaurant redevelopments were completed at Woodbridge, Cranleigh and Ashton Park.

Full centre redevelopments, covering both retail environments and restaurants were completed at Booker, St Albans and Garden Pride (Ditchling). In each of these schemes Notcutts’ trade mark show gardens were included as part of the developments. Two further show gardens were added in Maidstone and Victoria (Pontefract) and a woodland heritage walkway was opened for customers in Woodbridge.

03/12/2020 16:02

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Hillier to open new garden centre at Syon Park Estate


illier Garden Centres and the Syon Park Estate have announced the spring 2021 opening of Hillier Syon Park. Hillier will work with the Estate to transform the garden centre and improve the site. Following handover of the site, both Hillier and the Estate will be investing significantly into Hillier Garden Centre Syon Park. Visitors will be able to look forward to browsing a great range of top-quality plants. Many of these will be grown by Hillier at the company’s nurseries. Organised in plant areas using ‘plant for purpose’ displays, gardeners will easily be able to find the right plant for the right place. “We are delighted to be adding

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Syon Park to our Hillier Garden Centres family,” comments Chris Francis, Hillier Garden Centre and Wholesale Nurseries director. “Syon Park is an outstanding destination in south-west London and a great fit with our existing centres. Not to mention already being part of our Hillier heritage, with the company founder working there many decades ago! We are looking forward to getting to know the local gardening communities and inspiring them with our great range of quality plants, Hillier expertise and creating a real destination for them. It is very exciting times ahead.”

Change at the top for Gloucestershire garden centre


n independent garden centre in Gloucestershire has strengthened its management team with the appointment of a new board member. Tim Armstrong, who has been general manager at Highfield Garden orld for five years, oins motherand-son team Joan and Tim Greenway, plus planteria manager Jon Mason, on the board of directors. Tim Armstrong’s agile approach to the challenges faced throughout the pandemic played a hand in the timing of him being asked to oin the board. Managing director Tim Greenway explains: “Tim brings an array of skills to the table,

and it’s great news that he’s oining the board. Since he came to Highfield his input has become pivotal in every aspect of running the business, and never more so than over the last nine or ten months. Now feels exactly the right time to recognise his contribution and to strengthen our lead team as we look to the future.” Prior to oining as general manager in 2015, Tim Armstrong had already built strong links with Highfield during 15 years spent as a regional manager for World of ater – the first concession to set up shop at Highfield back in 1995.

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N ew s


Dobbies launches series of Christmas podcasts


s Christmas approaches, Dobbies has released the first of three festive themed podcasts. Sharing advice on everything from festive decorations and at-home Christmas crafts, to how to choose and care for a real Christmas tree, the Dobbies podcast series is full of top tips for the festive season. Research commissioned by Dobbies and undertaken by

Censuswide highlights that 49% of 25 to 34-year-olds agree they will be going all out when it comes to making their home e tra festive this year and nearly a fifth (18%) said they would be decorating their home earlier. Almost a uarter (24%) of respondents across the age categories plan on putting their Christmas tree up earlier in the year than they have done previously, with Dobbies’ podcasts providing the tips and inspiration for a range of festive looks. The first episode in the Christmas series is all about decorating the home. Host Louise Midgely is oined by Dobbies Christmas buyer, Lynsey Abbott, to chat about Christmas décor and styling the home for the holidays. In the episode, Lynsey talks through the inspiration behind some of Dobbies’ own festive themes and shares her top tips on how to make your home sparkle this year.

HTA launches its Sustainability Roadmap


he Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has launched guidance on how the horticulture sector can lead the way in sustainable business practices and efforts to reduce climate change. Building on the strong foundations that already e ist in UK horticulture and landscaping, the HTA has worked with its members to delvelop its first ever Sustainability Roadmap. This work identifies five key areas to place horticulture and landscaping at the forefront of sustainable business practice. Designed as a framework for collaboration, with ambitious targets for 2025, achievement against the roadmap’s goals will make a significant contribution to the government’s 25 ear Environment Plan. HTA chairman, James Barnes, called on the industry to embrace the ethos of the roadmap, saying Horticulture has an intrinsic connection to

the environment – we are a community who cares about the natural world and it is in our interests to safeguard its future. The Prime Minister recently announced his 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution – I believe we have an essential role to play in the government’s plan to transition to a greener economy. As a sector which contributes around £24bn to the UK’s GDP and supports over half a million obs, we must demonstrate how we offer real oppertunities for green employment and a more sustainable economy as the UK recovers from the impact of C ID-19.

Call for action to save cash payments


etailers across the country alongside consumer group hich? are today making a oint appeal for the government to intervene to safeguard millions of consumers and businesses who rely on cash. hilst cash use has been falling in recent years, according to the British Retail Consortium, cash purchases totalled £78bn in retail sales last year. It remains an important method of payment with 2.2 million people entirely dependent on cash in the UK.


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Furthermore, two-thirds (67%) of consumers use cash more than once a week and one-infour (28%) people retain a preference to pay via cash. The pandemic has led to a further drop in cash purchases as customers chose alternative channels. et, even as the number of cash transactions have fallen, retailers are finding it increasingly difficult to secure basic cash services – such as store collections – while the cost of these services levied by banks and other providers has risen.

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

Andrew Cregan, payments policy advisor at the British Retail Consortium, says Cash is a key part of the payment mi , accounting for 37% of all retail transactions last year. hilst the pandemic has resulted in an increase in card payments, ongoing economic uncertainty will place further pressures on customers who rely on the availability of cash. ith cash services increasingly difficult to obtain and the cost of these services rising,

the BRC is calling for fair compensation for retailers providing financial services to their customers which will in turn protect access to cash for many vulnerable people.

03/12/2020 16:06



INTERVIEW Food redistribution charity FareShare


GREEN THINKING Andrew Burton of Malcolm Scott Consultants


GROW YOUR OWN The growing value of self-sufďŹ ciency


PLASTIC USAGE Could plastic be replaced entirely?


TAX RETURNS Henry Ejdelbaum on the value of timely accounting


CATERING FOCUS Is sustainability still relevant for customers?

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03/12/2020 15:35

B u s in es s I n terview




Food redistribution charity FareShare is striving to feed as many mouths as possible with edible waste. Could you, or your suppliers, help?

ir David Attenborough’s appeal to the public in Blue Planet II sparked a nationwide war against single-use plastic. Individuals swapped grabbing water on the go for reusable bottles and businesses pledged to seek plastic alternatives, all eager to stop contributing to the eight billion tonnes of plastic dumped in the ocean each year. Laws were even passed to ban plastic straws and more from October. Luke Wiechula is hoping a similar catalyst will occur for food waste. “There needs to be a David Attenborough moment before we see impactful change; it’s one fantastic example of how much can change in a relatively short space of


time when the right spotlight is shone on a problem,” says Luke, community and corporate partnerships fundraiser for

There needs to be a David Attenborough moment before we see impactful change FareShare, a national network of charitable food redistributors. For the last 26 years, FareShare has sought to turn surplus food into meals for those in need. It was an initiative founded

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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by homeless charity Crisis and retail giant Sainsbury’s in 1994, becoming its own independent charity a decade later. FareShare operates with ‘the belief that no good food should go to waste, especially when people are going hungry’. And there are plenty of people going hungry in the UK. The UN estimates a staggering 8.4 million people struggle to afford food. This statistic is harder to swallow after hearing that the food industry wastes 1.9 million tonnes of food each year, 250,000 tonnes of which is edible, according to WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme). “The amount of edible surplus that’s available in the UK every year can fill

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I n terview B u s in es s a stadium eight times over,” says Luke, recalling the figures from RAP. That’s the e uivalent of 380 million of your standard recycling bins. Currently,

the amount of edible surplus that’s available in the UK every year can fill a stadium eight times FareShare is accessing ust 7 to 8% of that food. Despite that relatively small number, that was enough food last year to create 57.3 million meals. That’s ust with surplus food. So, with a greater awareness across the UK, imagine if we could get another 5 or 10% of that surplus. The shame is that a lot of companies will either send it to the skip, to animal feed or to anaerobic digestion, which is the process to turn it into energy. Those last two are great options when it can’t go to human beings. ne third of all food grown globally is wasted, yet there are hungry people that food could feed. It’s not one problem completely solves another, but we’re turning an environmental problem into a social solution at FareShare. That’s the larger premise of the organisation. So, what counts as edible surplus’ and how can you donate it? nce meat, fish and dairy has passed its use-by’ date, it’s no longer considered edible – and enough notice needs to be given to FareShare in order for them to process and utilise the food before it passes this date. Best before’ dates with fruit and vegetables, however, are more e ible. Ambient foods, such as tins, dried pasta and coffee, are also accepted, as is fro en food. It doesn’t ust have to be food approaching its use-by date, though. Surplus can also occur from labelling or packaging errors, damaged products or samples, or from forecasting errors. Those supplying garden centre shelves and restaurants could benefit from a waste walk’, where FareShare visits sites to see where waste stock could be minimised and whether there is edible waste’ which could be donated. And for those concerned about the cost of redistributing food, there’s FareShare’s Surplus with Purpose scheme, where businesses could be eligible for up to £50k worth of funding to cover the additional costs. Last year, we got our first bit of government funding which we put towards the pilot scheme of Surplus with Purpose. e’d been speaking to those in

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the food industry for a number of years and a recurring reason for not donating their food was cost. They were working to tight margins, particularly farmers. So, we trialled Surplus with Purpose, where we’d make up to £50k cost neutral for businesses to do the right thing, and that went really well. Last year was a recordbreaking year for us, and Surplus with Purpose is a programme that we are very much encouraging the government to not ust e tend but e pand on as well. This year, we’ve taken donated stock and we’ve actually had to buy stock as well for the first time in our 26 years, that’s how big the demand is at the moment; but we

want to get back to ust surplus because we know there’s so much more out there. I know things can be tight, especially this year, but we need to ask ourselves as a nation and as a business hat do we want to stand up and be counted for? Do we want to be purely run by the bottom line or, where possible, consider giving FareShare or other organisations a call? If we can’t take your food, we’ll put you in touch with someone who can. Since lockdown first began, more than 40 million meals have been provided by FareShare to those in need. Footballer Marcus Rashford has been working hard to raise the issue and to offer his support, 

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


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B u s in es s I n terview Luke. “We have had the good fortune of being in the spotlight, most for the humanitarian angle of what we do, but we need to grow the environmental message as well now. hen waste food ends up in landfill, it rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dio ide in the first two decades of it being released, according to a report by EDF. With FareShare providing food to the hungry, striving to lower food waste and helping to reduce greenhouse gases, it’s a charity the retail and hospitality industries can work with to make a difference and boost their green credentials at the same time. It has been chosen as one of three charities supported by the Times and Sunday Times Christmas appeal this festive season, and all donations will be doubled up to £2m as a result. If you’d like to get involved with FareShare, visit for more details. w partnering with the charity and forging the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, of which FareShare is a member. With COVID-19 continuing to impact people’s finances, there could be even more people in need of FareShare’s services over the next few months, and with the hospitality sector being forced to close for such long periods over the last year, there has been an uplift in terms of edible surplus. Waste can be donated from restaurants, but more so from suppliers, who garden centre owners and buyers can put in touch with FareShare and spread the word. Businesses, no matter how big or small, can also donate funds to FareShare, a process made easier by the charity’s partnership with Work for Good. “As a company, to donate to a charity legally and above board can be time consuming and there needs to be a commercial partnership agreement in place, which can be longwinded. Work for Good removes as much of this red tape as possible, making it straightforward for businesses to donate using an online form. “The number of small organisations that have signed up over the pandemic to work with us through Work for Good has been really heart-warming. Even a pound has the capacity for great change at FareShare. It costs us 25p to redistribute a meal, so every pound is the equivalent of four meals.” And being a regular donor to FareShare, or other charities, can have numerous benefits for a business, from engagement with customers to boosting staff morale to potentially driving sales – and helping to tackle the issue of food waste along the way. “A lot of people don’t know it’s a problem in the UK,” says


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03/12/2020 15:56

magrini high chairs The Magrini Breeze commercial high chair stacks up to 8 high for easy storage and comes in a choice of colours that will not fade or peel. The strong, sturdy design allows your smallest customers to feel safe and the chair pushes up to the table to create a relaxed family mealtime. The Breeze high chair is manufactured in the U.K. by Magrini.

tried & trusted by young professionals safe - strong - stacks Tel:t:01543• • w: 01543375311 375311 • •Email: e:

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03/12/2020 08:50

B u s in es s An drew B u rton



Andrew Burton of sector support specialists Malcolm Scott Consultants tell us why sustainable solutions are the future for garden centres


n a world where sustainability and environmental responsibility are becoming must-meet requirements for many consumers, it is in businesses interests to ensure their organisation ticks as many boxes as possible. 2020 may have brought an entirely new concern to the sector, but the demand for businesses to step up and demonstrate their green credentials has not gone away,

the demand for businesses to step up and demonstrate their green credentials has not gone away and those garden centres who have taken that expectation on board and set out to deliver on it could reap the benefits when it comes to increased footfall and reputation. While garden centres have been championing green policies and sustainability for many years, an increasing emphasis on these has produced in owners a real appetite to take responsibility for improving their environmental footprint via partnerships


with likeminded and/or local suppliers and using and offering products in the centre that comply with their green credentials. There are many ways for a centre to implement responsible practices in its business, from mindful water usage, whereby waste-water is re-used and irrigation tanks are stocked by rainwater, to supplier support from the Growing Media Association (GMA), a body that works closely with DEFRA and is striving to meet the government’s aim of continuing to reduce peat usage. It’s also become common for garden centres to focus on ‘plant miles’ and emphasise links with local suppliers – highlighting the positive effect this has on the business’ carbon footprint to customers. ne area of significant change has been catering facilities. From offering paper straws and cups, to substituting plastic bottled products for glass ones, catering departments have taken the opportunity to share the fact that they care about the environment. Behind the scenes, materials are collected for recycling via specialist contractors, while glass and packaging are recycled, recyclable or biodegradable. That recyclable or biodegradable approach translates instantly to packaging, where there has been a massive impact

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across garden centre retail areas, with many working to ensure plastic pots are recyclable and/or made from recycled plastic. n the retail oor, FSC Timber products have been prominent for many years, and there is an expectation that all wooden garden furniture is sourced from suppliers who can prove all products have been legally and sustainably harvested. The MSC team has also worked with garden centres on planning permissions and business development plans to help clients reduce energy consumption with the introduction of biofuel measures, solar panels, wind turbines, sensor activated lights and low energy lighting. Garden centres continue to be real leaders in environmental improvements, something which, surely, we will see evolve further in the future.w

03/12/2020 11:42

NEW for 2020/2021 A Complete Makeover for Lawn Seed Mr Fothergill’s range of high-quality grass seed benefits from new formulations and new packaging for this season. The packaging aims to clearly show consumers which one is best for their needs. Available in 250g, 500g, 1.5kg or 1.25kg cartons and 10kg and 20kg bulk bags, the new formulations include an extra tough TOUGH LAWN, now resistant to dog patch yellowing as well as heavy wear and the all new premium blend, QUICK LAWN, which geminates in just a few days but is slow growing for


reduced mowing. The full line up of lawn grass seed blends also includes ALL ROUND LAWN, SHOW LAWN, SHADY LAWN and a with and without rye 250g patch packs. Suggested selling prices for the cartons range from £3.25 for the with rye patch pack up to £20.25 for the 1.5kg Quick Lawn. Bulk display options are available for the 500g cartons of both ALL ROUND LAWN and TOUGH LAWN.

Oh sow simple…



Mr Fothergill’s RHS Award of Garden Merit flower and vegetables ranges have been hugely popular since their launch 3 years ago and this year sees the expansion of the RHS seed offering with new flower seed mixes aimed at novice gardeners. These mixes are easy to sow and grow. There are 6 mixes to choose from, each packaged in cartons containing enough seed to cover 20 square metres. The seed is diluted with buckwheat husks to make sowing easier. Mixes include Flowers for Wildlife Cool Mix, Flowers for Wildlife Bright Mix, Cottage Garden, Flowers for Bees, Flowers for Insects and Flowers for Birds. They all have a RRP of £5.99.

British native wildflowers have been a real focus of interest for gardeners in recent years and Mr Fothergill’s have responded with an even greater choice of seeds of these popular varieties for the 2021 season’s range. The previous offering of 14 varieties in its main ranges has been extended to 25 along with the introduction of a wildflower and wildlife attracting hot spot stand. The new hot spot displays all 25 wildflowers along with a selection of 27 cultivated flower varieties that are particularly good for wildlife, providing a good source of pollen and nectar for many insects and seeds for birds. RRP’s from £1.85 to £3.60.

For more details visit

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03/12/2020 15:43 08:51 25/11/2020

B u s in es s G row Y ou r O w n


SELF-SUFFICIENCY arden entre etail finds out various opinions and experiences of those already involved in the practice of grow your own


n the years leading up to 2020, the UK had already seen a growth of interest in gardens, gardening, biophilic living and, generally, creating ‘greener’ lifestyles. One action being taken that has seemingly grown in popularity – particularly this year – has been becoming more environmentally cautious by learning and applying self-sufficiency. During lockdown, experienced as well as first-time gardeners spent plenty of time – inside and out – growing vegetables, fruits, herbs, and more, for reasons such as e ercise, mental health, finance, and simply, entertainment. Liz Zorab, who writes about and teaches gardening and self-sufficiency skills, moved to Byther Farm with her husband in 2015 to slow down and live more with the rhythm of nature. Their gardens now produce approximately 85% of the food and drink consumed at their kitchen table. Liz tells us: “The reasons for turning to self-sufficiency are as varied and individual as each person’s experience

Most commonly, I hear people want more control over the way the food they consume is grown and are mindful of the environmental impact of industrialised agriculture of it. Most commonly, I hear people want more control over the way the food they consume is grown and are mindful of the environmental impact of industrialised agriculture, as well as wanting to reduce their food miles. As our self-sufficiency in food increases, so does our resilience to the impact of the effects from the wider world. For example, in March, as the nationwide lockdown loomed and supermarket


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Lee hard at work teaching the next generation

03/12/2020 10:44

G row Y ou r O w n B u s in es s

Early autumn harvest, all grown from seed each year shelves were emptied of some foodstuffs and loo roll, I checked our food pantry, freezers and the vegetables still growing in the garden. “We had enough food to see us through, at the very least, the next couple of months – it might have been a limited diet, but we could feed ourselves healthily without worry – and if we did run out of loo roll, I knew which plants in the garden could be used as a substitute. I’m so glad that we didn’t need to resort to mullein leaves in the bathroom!” Liz has even written a book on the matter, ‘Grounded’, which shares her e periences of turning a bare field into an abundant garden, and aims to inspire gardeners to start their own journey to self-sufficiency (no matter the si e of growing space available). And Liz isn’t the only one who’s benefitted from the increase in selfsufficiency. This year, UK garden centres experienced a mini-boom as people were urged to work from home, The Guardian states. The Blue Diamond Group also says it saw a boost of customers purchasing compost and seeds, which were up by as much as 250%, while propagation products saw a rise of up to 150%. Garden centres have indeed been a fundamental part of the public’s journey into self-sufficiency, and their roles of encouraging customers’ environmentallyfriendly habits are now as important as ever. Lee Connelly, podcaster for The Skinny Jean Gardener Podcast’ and gardener presenter for CBBC’s Blue Peter, comments: “I can see in 2021 we are going to have so many more gardeners dipping their toes into growing their own,

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and it’s most certainly up to the garden centres to promote this the right way. It’s quite a big responsibility, as at the same time garden centres have to sell the idea

I can see in 2021 we are going to have so many more gardeners dipping their toes into growing their own, and it’s most certainly up to the garden centres to promote this

more about living a ‘greener’ lifestyle; an opportunity that surely garden centres will be encouraging and benefitting from. Colin Barrie, managing director of Caulders – an environmentally-friendly garden centre group in Scotland – says: “We keep trying to add ways in which we can improve our environmental accountability and help promote sustainable business. More and more, the enthusiasm is coming from our younger staff who want to make sure we do our bit in saving the planet! “Caulders and many other garden centres are very trusted by their customers, and they are happy for our team of experts to educate them when it comes to all things gardening and environmental awareness. So, when we promote ‘grow your own’ or explain what plants will attract bees or butter ies, our customers are happy to buy these products and follow our lead. Sometimes, people are just not sure where to start, so making it easier always helps. “I think giving people the information they need to make informed decisions is the best way to help our customers.” As we inch closer to the greener future that is hoped for, it will be interesting to see how ‘grow your own’ develops and evolves. Lee comments Self-sufficiency is definitely something that over the years has grown in popularity and been on peoples’ minds so much more – especially after 2020 where we find people wanting to rely on supermarkets less and less. “Families wanting to learn and teach children where their food comes from has also risen higher on the list of importance. In a world full of uncertainty, knowing that you can grow your own and at least start to be self-sufficient is the one thing that you can control.” With the apparent interest of selfsufficiency and home-growing increasing, hopefully the outcome of this will be positive for both the industry and the wider world. w

of being self-sufficient, they also have to get people to realise that they won’t be feeding a family of four overnight. But it should be the garden centre that they head to, and it’s up to them to position themselves to be that go-to place; through putting out this information on social media and positioning themselves as the authority over it.” It’s no secret that in recent years there’s been a boost in gardening for youth and young adults – whether this is thanks to inspiring social media posts, environmental warnings, or even just the desire to spend more time in nature. Nonetheless, it seems as though there could be an eager generation Savoy cabbages are reliable, of gardeners coming easy to grow and taste wonderful though, ready to learn

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 10:46

B u s in es s P las tic U s ag e




Garden centres across the UK are working towards reducing their single-use plastic, with some scrapping it altogether from their shelves


ingle-use plastic continues to face fierce opposition, and sample sachets are the most recent target. According to A Plastic Planet, 122 billion sachets are distributed by the personal and home care industries each year, and it wants rid. The campaign group has written an open letter on its website calling for these sachets to be included in wider bans of single-use plastic. It follows the ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds coming into place in ctober as well as a plastic packaging ta announced in November, which applies to all plastic packaging used in the UK – including imports – that contains less than 30% recycled plastic. This will be introduced in 2022. That the government has introduced laws around single-use plastic is progress, and whilst there is plenty more work to be done, it would be somewhat improper in our Green Issue not to praise the headway that has been made. The 5p charge for single-use carrier bags, for instance, has led to an 86% drop in disposable bags being issued by supermarkets in the last five years, according to Defra. And this charge is set to double to 10p from April ne t year, e panding to include small retailers as well. But what about the horticulture industry? The Horticultural Trades Association recently announced the launch of its Sustainability Roadmap which strives to see 40% or more of the combined weight of plant pots and packaging, garden chemical containers and growing media bags to be sourced from recycled plastic by 2025. It’s ambitious, but there are garden centres and suppliers across the UK which are reducing single-use plastic in the industry already.


Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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03/12/2020 15:40

P las tic U s ag e B u s in es s When we spoke to general manager Sam Lowe last year, Garden Centre Overstrand in Cromer had overhauled some of its operations to cut out plastic. Its tearoom, for instance, had started to use compostable takeaway cups, lids, stirrers and napkins. All of its soft drinks were served in glass bottles which, when empty, would be taken to the local bottle bank. The garden centre was also no longer using small plastic packages of condiments and biscuits. “It started in small steps,” says Sam, when we spoke recently amidst a second, month-long lockdown. “We looked at simple things, like no longer buying butter in individual portions. They’re small steps, but they’re actually quite big changes. That’s where we started, then it seemed natural to look at the garden centre as the bigger part of our business.” Pallet wrap is now coloured rather than black plastic to enable it to be recycled, and the compost Garden Centre Overstrand sells is from Growmoor, from which all plastic packaging can go into domestic recycling bins. Plastic pots and trays are donated to local schools too, and plastic bin liners are a thing of the past; instead, empty bird food bags are used once their former contents have been decanted. For the festive season this year, Sam says its Christmas tree netting is biodegradable, and for the new year it has sourced a bedding plant grower in the UK which uses plastic-free biodegradable pots, with plants in peat-free compost. Products lining the shelves are also carefully chosen, with sustainable options where possible. “We’ve looked at plastic alternatives for propagation, we have lots of bamboo products, and we use elho – all their plastic is made from recycled material. Their whole ethos is sustainable, it’s a really great brand.” Patty Willems, PR manager for elho, says its products are always created with nature in mind. “Last year, elho used 8.4 million kg of recycled plastic in the production of its pots. 80% of the raw materials used in all elho products is from recycled plastic. Which, in turn, means that all elho products are 100% recyclable. This commitment to recycling and the use of recycled products means that elho is having a positive effect on reducing the amount of plastic going to landfill sites... In the coming years elho will work on the circularity of the company including its ambition to use 100% recycled material.” Edibleculture in Kent is taking its stand against single-plastic one step further when it comes to stock. “We made the bold decision to stop selling any products

plastic usage.indd 19

with single-use plastic from January 2019, which for us was the only natural firm commitment to do something about the problem, and we made the investment in processes to make it work,” says director Chris Williams. “In essence, the biggest challenge is really changing what is an entrenched reliance on a material that is literally in nearly everything in an

the biggest challenge is really changing what is an entrenched reliance on a material that is literally in nearly everything in an industry industry that should be leading on positive environment change… “We looked at all aspects of what we sell, and the key products that generated lots of single-use plastic, other than plants, was compost and plant feeds. Compost sales for us are big, especially because we pride [ourselves] on selling 100% peat-free compost. Like the process with plant pots, we knew that we would need to think about an easy and effective method of buying compost without the single-use plastic packaging. This is when we decided to do a ‘Compost bag for life’ scheme. We invested in re-usable strong plastic bags which are waterproof, and we buy our compost is 2,500L bales which we can decant into the bags in 40L amounts.

We worked hard with our supplier, Melcourt, on this scheme, so much so they have adopted it as a product for other customers too. “Feeds we sell either loose and by weight into re-usable containers or paper bags, we sell organic seaweed feed in reusable glass bottles and many other products where we source in bulk, with minimal packaging, to decant into portions depending on what customers need.” Offering sustainable products is just the start, though. Consumer attitudes might be leaning more towards environmentally friendly options, but are they willing to spend more on them? “As a garden centre, you have to have enthusiasm behind you because a lot of customers are still led by price,” says Sam Lowe. ”I’m not saying that’s right or wrong – some people don’t have that much disposable income – but if you and your staff can back up a recommendation with a sustainable story behind it, then people are more conscious.” So, training staff and encouraging them to be enthusiastic about sustainability, and the steps the garden centre is taking to improve its own sustainability, is crucial for winning over customers, says Sam, and the garden centre has seen a demand for greener products as a result. The drive and determination to find solutions therefore already appears to exist within the industry and amongst consumers. With garden centres and suppliers striving to cut back on single-use plastic, the HTA’s sustainability roadmap suddenly seems far more achievable. w

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 15:40

B u s in es s T ax R etu rn s



Henry Ejdelbaum explains why garden centre owners needn’t stress over self-assessments


f 100 garden centre owners were in a room (or probably this year, on Zoom) and were asked to vote on the biggest headache of running their business, they probably wouldn’t say it was ordering in enough fir trees for the Christmas season, or ensuring that staff knew their tulip bulbs from their daffs! The winner would undoubtedly be filing the annual tax return. Indeed, with tax returns stretching to nearly 100 pages, it can be too much for many small business owners to handle. The 2018-19 tax returns, due 31 January earlier this year, were due to be submitted by a record 11.56 million people, and 93.6% of returns were received by the deadline; however, 730,000 made the deadline only by the skin of their teeth, with 26,000 people submitting in the final hour before the deadline at 11.59pm. Furthermore, more than 700,000 people missed the deadline completely and had to pay a fine of at least £100. HMRC will accept reasonable excuses such as illness or the death of a partner or close relative. Every year, however, HMRC is inundated with excuses which really don’t meet


those criteria. For our amusement, HMRC publishes a list of the worst excuses. Here are a couple of my favourites: • ‘I was too short to reach the post box’ • ‘My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me’ If you were one of many business owners who only ust made it’ or received a fine for submitting late because you had a headache every time you thought about your tax return, then you should consider the benefits of a ualified accountant, who can take the stress away by keeping you on track and submitting on your behalf. Some reasons to hire an accountant: 1. It will save you time so you can concentrate on what you do best – running your garden centre; 2. It may save you money – a good accountant can find areas where you can save money and reclaim on expenses; 3. They are up-to-date – tax limits have a habit of changing on a fre uent basis – overlook a critical change, as you could end up losing out. If I planted a tree every time I’ve heard the moan “I should have hired an accountant” from a small business owner who tried to do a return themselves and got it wrong or submitted late, I’d have saved the Amazon Rainforest from deforestation! Getting it wrong, even a simple mistake, can lead to HMRC investigating your business and

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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cause you huge stress. A really good, ualified accountant will take away that worry. It may not even cost you a huge amount of money. Fees are usually

If I planted a tree every time I’ve heard the moan “I should have hired an accountant” from a small business owner… I’d have saved the Amazon Rainforest from deforestation! decided on a case-by-case basis as it depends on the income of your business and how good-a-shape your existing accounts are in. So, it seems sensible to hire an accountant, relieve the stress, and get your self-assessment tax return done right the first time. w ABOUT Henry Ejdelbaum is managing director of AIMS Accountants for Business. AIMS is the largest nationwide independent association of professionally ualified accountants in the UK specialising in the accountancy needs of smaller and independent businesses. AIMS is currently offering 15% off the price of self-assessment for new clients (Ts &Cs apply).

03/12/2020 15:50

C aterin g F oc u s B u s in es s


SOURCING Garden Centre Retail explores whether diners are still putting sustainability as a priority when eating out and how restaurants can meet this demand

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etween setting up a takeaway service for lockdowns and introducing social distancing measures for reopening, it wouldn’t be surprising if restaurants had put sustainability on the backburner. After all, making the switch can be costly and time consuming. There’s waste to consider, and packaging, as well as sourcing local ingredients and alternative energy sources. But could these restaurants be burying their heads in the sand? A survey by Paymentsense earlier this year, for ďƒ¨

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 12:01

B u s in es s C aterin g F oc u s instance, revealed WHAT IS ORGANIC AND WHAT ARE THE of our existence in it. All the research that two-thirds BENEFITS OF ORGANIC PRODUCE? shows that people (66%) of Brits take Mark Manchin, supply chain development do not want to just into account ethical manager at the Soil Association let things return considerations when ‘Organic’ is a farming system and method choosing where to of food production built on the principles of to how they were, and citizens want to eat out, with more ecology, fairness, health and care. Organic make choices that than one third farmers take a ‘whole system’, or holistic will support people, (36%) seeing locally approach, to farming, that considers the animals and our sourced food as entire food system, from soils and farm environment.” key. And if you are animals to the health of people, nature And rather sourcing your food and the planet. than hindering locally, be sure to Choosing organic means: restaurants from promote it – 28% of - Supporting wildlife making the switch those surveyed said - Helping to combat climate change to local and they were more likely - Supporting high animal welfare organic produce, to visit a restaurant - Enjoying food as it should be lockdown has been that is transparent - Reduced exposure to pesticides a surprising catalyst about the origin for this supply of its food. Gardeners have long known about the chain, says Mark. The Soil benefits of organic gardening techni ues “Historically, supply Association increasing wildlife, and the same goes for chains for organic Certification’s Eat organic farms, where we see 50% more Out Survey also biodiversity and up to 75% more pollinators. into hospitality settings have been found that more than underdeveloped, 50% of respondents making sourcing some organic categories would choose to eat somewhere which challenging. Lockdown has seen the made its ethical or sustainable credentials shakeup of supply chains and the rise of easily identifiable. The big uestion, small-scale producers seeking more direct though, is whether lockdown has changed routes to market. Organic producers have diners’ priorities and, with restaurants always excelled in the box scheme space being forced to close for lengthy periods, and now cafe operators looking for local whether we can draw any conclusions and sustainable suppliers can do this more around diner habits at all. easily than ever. “The good news is that the retail “Supporting local organic producers is sector has been particularly buoyant over a great way to tell your menu’s food lockdown and has some key insights on journey, bringing the food to life shopping habits that gives food service operators a strong indication of the trends they should be looking out for to stay ahead with their offer and return value to their customer base,” says Mark Manchin, supply chain development manager at the Soil Association. “The standout insight from the lockdown period has been consumers’ commitment to source local and sustainable food. Organic food sales have grown at twice the rate of conventional food sales over this period at an impressive 6.1%. “COVID-19 has shaken our complacency about where our food comes from to the core. But more than ever, citizens are appreciating the world we live in and the fragility


Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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through the relationships you form with your local food network and take action to reduce the menu’s impact on the world. Rosebourne has embraced this at its garden centres, each of which has its own restaurant. “At Rosebourne, our philosophy is to try and use fresh and local as much as practically possible in our food halls and restaurants,” says director Salim

At Rosebourne, our philosophy is to try and use fresh and local as much as practically possible in our food halls and restaurants Sajid. “We also try to make sure that the same supplier’s products are used in both areas where possible.” The meat, for instance, is from the centres’ in-store butchers, and bread and other baked goods are provided by local artisan bakers producing small batches. Its free-range eggs come from local producers, and its milk is bottled in Southampton and delivered fresh daily. The honeys, jams and chutneys are all local, where possible, as are the cheeses. Rosebourne also uses a small range of local award-winning beers, gins and wines. On top of this, the coffee in its cafe is freshly roasted locally by companies using partnership plantations that get direct investment from every kilo of coffee beans they produce. These local suppliers are promoted on Rosebourne’s website and – prepandemic – through in-store sampling events, to enable these suppliers to meet the garden

03/12/2020 12:02

C aterin g F oc u s B u s in es s centre’s customers. Using local suppliers doesn’t just pull in customers to use the restaurant; it can be used for products to sell too. “Our kitchens use a lot of ingredients that are then made into Rosebourne Kitchen products that customers can buy and take home to eat, such as our range of scones, Danish pastries, orange juice, soups, coleslaw, pizzas, sauces, sausage rools, pork pies and other pastries. We’ll continue to develop our Rosebourne Kitchen range over the coming 12 months.” Organic and local produce is just one way for garden centre restaurants to lower their carbon footprint, and waste is one of the biggest challenges. According the UKHospitality’s Future Shock report, the UK food and drink sector produces more than a whopping 10.2 million tonnes of food waste each year, and only 700,000t is redistributed by manufacturers, retail, hospitality and foodservice. The United Nations estimates that a staggering one-third of food produced globally is waste before it even reaches the table, resulting in a rise of greenhouse gases from landfill. How can this be avoided? FareShare provides a few answers to this on page 10, and Rosebourne has sought a variety of avenues to prevent its food waste contributing to global warming. “Our food waste is used by Alra – the company that bottles our milk – to power their plant using an anaerobic digester. We also recycle our cooking oil so that it gets used to power the food delivery lorries that come to Rosebourne. Our ovens and dishwashers recycle their heat back into energy to reduce their consumption also.” Outside of food, Rosebourne aims to separate and recycle its waste as much as possible, using napkins and packaging made from recycled materials which can then be recycled themselves after use. Its buildings have solar panels installed which generate hot water, rainwater is used to irrigate plants, and its LED lighting is set to timers and motion detectors to avoid unnecessary usage. “We will continue to explore ways in which we can reduce our energy costs, carbon footprint and food miles, continuing to be the preferred destination for our customers for quality, local and value convenience with great service.” When it comes to sustainability, there’s a lot to digest, but with consumers still seeking ethical retailers and restaurants, making the switch to greener alternatives could be good for business – and good for the environment too. w

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Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 12:03

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03/12/2020 18:15



GIMA Entry-level products for new gardeners




PLANT FOCUS How effective are air-purifying plants?


BIOTRANSFORMATION The latest in packaging with Bloomin Amazing


GREEN ZONES Dr Ian Bedford on the value of natural areas




LATEST PRODUCTS A wide variety of exciting, ecofriendly products




BLACK PLASTIC POTS What alternative do garden centres have?




ANATOMY OF A PRODUCT Coffee logs from bio-bean

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03/12/2020 16:00

As a year of unprecedented challenges across all industries draws to a close, elho continues to grow and further its reputation as one of the leading synthetic container suppliers in the UK.

Full UK sales rep coverage

elho’s commitment to its customer service is highlighted with the appointment an experienced new sales rep to cover the south west, meaning the company now has full UK coverage.


Despite lockdown, elho has continued to innovate, design and create, ensuring that its new product launch plans are unaffected. The 2021 product launches continued as intended and the 2022 lines will be announced earlier than ever at spoga+gafa, with the show now taking place in May. This continued drive and growth helps push the sector forward and sees the company firmly placed as a leader of it.

Unaffected supply chains

This commitment to its customers is further demonstrated as the flow of product and supply of stock to garden centres has remained steady, with lead times being unaffected even by lockdown measures. elho has been working hard to ensure that it has been able to easily fulfil demand, which has been at unprecedentedly high levels this year. Sales manager, David Nicholson said: “We have fully caught up with the high demand over the last five months (70% higher) and we are back to delivery rates of 95%. We have made extra investments in extending our production and warehouse capacity. Our stock levels are higher than normal this time of the year to support customers the best we can and we will further build extra safety stock for the new season.”

Expansion of garden centre offering

The elho sales team now has full UK coverage.

The elho Group brand is also launching easyday in January, to offer more variety to garden centres and meet the demand for an affordable, basic range that others have been unable to meet. The range includes a watering can, flowerpot, trough and balcony planter, with RRPs starting at £2.99.

For more information on any of the above and for details about stocking the new elho collections please contact Advert template.indd 6

03/12/2020 08:54

G arden in g P rodu c ts G I M A

LATEST FOR LEARNING GIMA members focus on easy gardening products that hold high appeal to the nation’s three million new gardeners


ith the HTA reporting that almost three million people took up gardening during the pandemic, a new army of gardeners is set to ock to retail outlets in spring 2021. GIMA members have a wealth of innovation that will captivate this edgling, greenfingered audience ne t season. “Maintaining a garden can seem like a daunting task for beginners, but having the right equipment can make it easy, fun and rewarding,” says Hozelock’s Sarah Dixon. The company is throwing the spotlight on its Superho e, an ultra-lightweight, kink-free and easy to manoeuvre hose that’s ideally suited to new gardeners. Sarah adds: “The Superho e can be merchandised on a D P off-fi ture or using purpose-built P S. From 2021, Superho e will be packaged in a recyclable cardboard bo . Gardena points out that market trends show an increased focus on grow-your-own and sustainable, natural solutions for plant protection. A Gardena spokeswoman e plains Gardens must not only look good, but be healthy too. Gardena’s new range of pump and pressure sprayers from 0.45L to 12L capacity now offer improved features such as an insertable filter for filling selfbrewed liquids and EasyPump Battery solution with no pumping required on certain models. The sprayers can be used indoors and outdoors year-round for propagation, watering, spraying, fertilising, plant protection and cleaning.”

Get kitted out for success

Westland Unwins With more people growing their Home Grown Microgreen own and cooking at home than Growing Kit ever before, Westland’s head of marketing, Natalie Searle, says the company’s new Unwins Homegrown kits contain everything that gardeners need to grow produce indoors in small spaces all year-round. This includes a Windowsill Microgreen Kit, Chilli Growing Kit and Salad and Herb Kitchen Garden Kits. Natalie adds: “The new Unwins Partner Plants range helps to  Primeur recycled rubber stepping stones Leaves Brown

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Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


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G I M A G arden in g P rodu c ts packed in the UK using 100% recyclable packaging. It’s eco-friendly gardening made easy, available in video display units for ma imum impact. Following the success of ECO Shake n Rake® seed shakers, we have launched new Flower Seed Bombs for an easier, fun way to encourage novices.

Fallen Fruits DIY set plant terarrium

naturally protect plants from pests, handpicked to give the best companion plant varieties to repel common pests through scent, while attracting beneficial insects. Fallen Fruits is responding to rising sales of indoor plants by encouraging consumers to create mini-gardens with its range of DIY Plant Terrariums – the AGG62, a three-litre closed terrarium, and new for autumn 2020, the AGG92, a threelitre half-open terrarium. Fallen Fruits’ Lucy Warren says: “Both kits include a funnel, soil, carbon, stones and tools. Made from recycled glass, the DIY Terrarium Kits make perfect gifts and have witnessed a surge in popularity. Kits are high priority in the grow-yourown category, too, as Taylors Bulbs’ business manager Ian Clark reveals: “Our Vegetable & Seed Growing Kit won the Garden Plants, Seeds and Bulbs category at the 2020 Glee New Product Awards. It’s an ideal impulse line for novice gardeners, bringing seeds and bulb/tuber-grown vegetables together in one handy kit . Taylors offers a Potato Growing Kit, too. At G Plants, Adele Hewitt explains how the company is nurturing new gardeners: “Bee Friends® with nature is a great range of easy gardening products

Garden health made simple for beginners

as 4 . Mark adds New gardeners are looking for informative packaging that’s recognisable and easy to understand for a uick purchasing decision. Slug Gone, 6X and Plant Guard have all proved popular along with our new organics range which is already a top-seller this pre-season. At LAVA-LITE, Dominic Tompkin believes the company’s 100% natural, non-toxic, child/pet safe, eco-friendly and nutrient boosting horticultural, pest control and growing media products are ideal for novices and specialists. Tom says: “Derived from volcanic deposits, LAVA-LITE products are naturally lightweight, pH neutral and sustainable. As well as being decorative, they’re easy to use, provide great results and don’t re uire careful handling.

Empathy’s new 250g Bulb Starter with Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi is quick and easy to use, appealing to new and seasoned gardeners alike. ne application works for the lifetime of the plant, giving bulbs, corms and tubers the best start. The formula strengthens plants, reducing the need for synthetic fertilisers – a plus point for ecoconscious customers. e now have 500g and 250g Bulb Starter Pots of potential packs available; the new smaller Elho says its Brussels Herbs pack has been introduced to All-in-1 planter is a popular maximise linked sales within choice with novices. An elho retailers’ bulb display areas, fully spokeswoman explains: “It supported by effective P S, keeps herbs healthy and fresh, says Empathy’s Simon Taylor. and has a convenient watering Hygeia’s Tom Stolworthy system that ensures the plant Empathy Bulb is highlighting Nature Safe will automatically get the right Starter 250g Probiotic, new for 2021. Tom amount of water required so it explains: “Unique to the market, the needs minimal attention. The stylish pot product mimics the concept of akult. fits into any kitchen or windowsill and with Each 125ml contains one billion friendly the uni ue herb scissors attached, it’s easy bacteria – increasing yield, improving to cut herbs whenever they’re needed. immunity to disease and decreasing the Lechuza draws attention to the fact that need for additional fertilisers. It can be Royal Horticultural Society houseplant used on everything from lawns to edibles, sales have increased by 60% in the last houseplants and shrubs. 12 months, although many new consumers Mark Butler, national sales manager have little space to garden. A Lechuza at Vitax, reports strong demand for spokeswoman says: “Adding greenery organic and eco-friendly products “along to the balcony, kitchen and windowsill with tried and tested’ favourites such has never been easier. The Lechu a Cube

LAVA-LITE product collection


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Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

03/12/2020 12:38

G arden in g P rodu c ts G I M A Color Triple Self-Watering Planter offers room for three grow pots and is easy to use without repotting. Thanks to the Lechuza wick system they receive the right amount of water for many weeks.” At Woodlodge, managing director Michael Wooldridge believes that this year’s events have created a “new breed of post-Covid consumers who are looking for products with instant impact and sustainable credentials”. Michael says: “Woodlodge’s Bee Kind range, which Thorndown wood paint Parlyte Green and Bath Cream on Hutton Triangular Corner Arbour

Taylors Bulbs’ Vegetable and Seed Starter Kit Zest 4 Leisure GresfordPlanterSet

Burgon and Ball National Trust children’s range small group

GARDENA Pump Pressure Sprayers

Lechuza CUBE Color Triple slate

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features butter y and ladybird designs, will appeal to consumers who are keen to make changes in their garden to help nature, as well as being a pretty and practical addition to outdoor spaces. The range is backed with attractive POS and when linked with pollinator plants will drive sales in wildlife gardening, whilst highlighting concerns over bee decline.” Sprucing-up lawns is key for new consumers. DJ Turfcare’s new organicbased Lawn Boost provides the ideal feed solution for lawns where moss is not a problem and is safe for use around children and pets, giving it mass consumer appeal. For use in spring and summer, DJ Turfcare’s David Jenkins says Lawn Boost kickstarts lawns after winter by encouraging healthy growth, vibrant colour and strong grass. Johnsons Lawn Seed has also innovated to bring to market new products, all tailored to deliver clear messaging to novice gardeners at the point of purchase. Launched this year, Tuffgrass with Dog Patch Resistance is a UK first that solves the problem of dog urine damage to lawns, while Quick Lawn with Acceleratortreated seed delivers rapid performance. Johnsons’ Lawn Seed’s Guy Jenkins says both products will drive growth in the lawncare category. A newcomer to the market is Clear ‘N’ Collect, an innovative multipurpose rake that’s made from recycled car dashboards and former electrical goods, engineered to easily rake, clear and collect garden debris from lawns, patios and hard standings. Clear ‘N’ Collect’s

James Coneron explains: “The Clear ‘N’ Collect can be used year-round, meaning that debris can be quickly gathered and removed using one lightweight tool, making it an ideal choice for gardeners who suffer from issues with their backs.”

Ramping-up garden leisure sales

Primeur points out that its recycled rubber innovations, made from former tyres, tick all the boxes for novice gardeners. Primeur’s Sarah McLafferty says: “From award-winning, self-watering Tierra Verde planters to our Recycled Rubber Border Collection and Stepping Stones, the entire portfolio has been engineered for easy gardening, featuring virtually indestructible innovation that’s simple to install and won’t crack, fade, rot or stain.” Thorndown director, Caroline Thornborough, says: “For new gardeners, there is an emphasis on instant colour for immediate results. The use of Wood Paint on features such as timber buildings, arbours and planters satisfies the desire for instant effect with heightened awareness of sustainability, with Wood Paint like Thorndown’s being water-based with minimal VOC, and designed to prolong the life of timber products.” A Zest 4 Leisure spokeswoman believes novice gardeners are looking for convenient ways to plant-up veg, herbs, and owers, saying The Gresford Planter Set from Zest is perfect as it comes ready-built, in three different sizes, using sustainable timber that is pressure treated for longer life.”

Hozelock Superhoze 30m

Finally, kids’ gardening will be at the forefront of driving demand in 2021, as Rainer Schubert, managing director at Burgon & Ball explains: “Children’s gardening has gained huge momentum in 2020. Burgon Ball’s National Trust Get Me Gardening’ range of children’s garden tools and accessories offers retailers a high-quality licensed range that brings the garden to life. Created to appeal to six to ten year-olds, the range offers unique market positioning; colourful and fun.” For more information, call (01959) 564947 or email w

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 12:39

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03/12/2020 08:54


Multi Nozzle


Designed by gardeners for gardeners, with a 60-year heritage – Hozelock’s head office is based in Birmingham, proudly engineering and manufacturing over 75% of its products in the UK. From garden watering, spraying and plant protection to Hozelock Cyprio pond equipment and Hozelock Pure for natural gardening, Hozelock is not only Britain’s leading watering expert, it is one of the country’s most loved gardening brands continually updating a comprehensive range of products. Hozelock has an impressive 80%+ brand share in UK garden centres thanks to a dedicated, specialist sales team exclusively supporting centres with full in-store

Micro Reel

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Electric Sprayer

Hozelock looks back on 2020 whilst preparing for the year ahead with new product launches

support, including set-up and merchandising, staff product training and point of sale. Hozelock had a cautious start to 2020, as COVID-19 brought uncertainty worldwide, prioritising safe working environments for all employees but continuing to manufacture at a reduced level. During April, there was huge consumer demand for gardening equipment; Hozelock was able to react uickly, significantly increasing production levels within two weeks to support customers. By May, manufacturing and distribution were back to 75% operating capacity within COVID-secure guidelines. Benefitting from predominantly British manufacturing, Hozelock

could supply when offshore competitors struggled and delivered products to the global customer base throughout the year. Reacting to demand, Hozelock was able to develop and offer a new disinfection sprayer dedicated for use with bleach; this was ready to distribute across Europe within weeks. Learning from a challenging year and keen to improve service levels for its valued customers, Hozelock is looking ahead to 2021. Throughout Lockdown 2.0, Hozelock has continued manufacturing, preparing to fulfil all preseason orders. Innovation is still a top priority with a new, complete sprayer range launching in 2021, including everything from decorative trigger sprayers to a new 15L Electric Sprayer offering a constant spray at the touch of a button for treating large areas. The new Pulsar range of pressure sprayers provides an offering for all, from the amateur grower to a gardening expert, depending on treatment and equipment requirements. The innovative Multi Nozzle offers the user three nozzles in one – conical mist, wide fan and narrow fan – ensuring the user always has a suitable spray pattern for the specific treatment. Also launching is the new Micro Reel with an original

‘Click & Go’ design. Simply ‘click’ the connector onto the tap and let the rotating drum unwind the hose as you walk. Equipped with 10m of hose and a nozzle that can be kept tidy when not connected to the tap, it is ideal for watering small gardens and balconies.


After more than 25 years with Hozelock, head of UK sales, Peter Martin is retiring. The changes and growth that Peter has been a part of have been phenomenal and he will leave the business in good shape, with a team who will continue to build on his success. Chris Hepburn, another longstanding member of the UK sales team, will step up to Peter’s role. A familiar face to many UK garden centres, Chris will take over as direct contact for key garden centre group customers whilst continuing management of Hozelock’s dedicated field sales team. INFO

Hozelock Ltd, Midpoint Park, Minworth, Birmingham, B76 1AB 0121 313 4242 Sales enquiries Press/marketing enquiries

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 10:23

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5 Plants to Purify the Air These five houseplants are supposedly great for cleaning the air of indoor pollutants

Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) Mother-inlaw’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Common ivy (Hedera helix)

Money plant (Crassula ovata)

Devil’s ivy (Epipremnum aureum)


Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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Our homes are full of things which emit chemicals into the air. These can have adverse effects on health. We take a look at how effective plants are at removing these chemicals and how they do it.


he European Environment Agency recently published new data insisting that if stricter air quality standards are not introduced, people will continue to suffer unnecessarily. The air quality in Europe 2020 report states: “Air pollution is a major cause of premature death and disease and is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe.” Startling statements – but what about our indoor spaces? Polluted air can easily infiltrate our homes and work spaces, but chemicals are also emitted from everyday

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P lan t F oc u s P rodu c ts things within homes. According WHO (World Health Organisation): “incomplete combustion of solid fuels or kerosene for cooking, heating and lighting are associated with serious health risks. Other indoor air pollutants include mould, building materials, home products, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and naturally occurring gases like radon.” In addition to this, Sick Building Syndrome – symptoms you get while working in a particular building such as headaches, dry, itchy skin or rashes – is linked to poor air quality and lack of ventilation but highest of all, the VOC’s found in indoor air.

So, is there anything that can be done to reduce this?

A study conducted by NASA looked at the ability of plants to reduce indoor air pollutants. This study investigated plants’ leaves, roots, and soil and its ability to remove high concentrations of cigarette smoke, organic solvents and radon. The study concluded: “Low-light requiring houseplants, along with activated carbon plant filters, have demonstrated the potential for improving indoor air quality by removing trace organic pollutants from the air in energy efficient buildings. The study goes on to say: “This plant system is one of the most promising means of alleviating the sick building syndrome associated with many new, energy-efficient buildings. According to plants@work, while plants are absorbing the CO2 in the air in order to transform this into sugars and oxygen using light, they also absorb other chemicals in the air. As plants@work puts it: “Plants and their root microbes are nature’s biological cleaning machines.” But not all plants have these airpurifying qualities. Air So Pure specialise in plants which neutralise harmful gases, improve humidity levels and generally

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make the air healthier. The company sells “the purest product range” with plants including Asplenium ‘Amy’ and Ivy, advising that the most effective air purifying plants are those whose interior is more accessible for the exchange of substances. OGreen also offer plants which have air purifying qualities. In fact, its product range is limited to plant species that can clean an area of more than 10m2 and has an above-average air-purification score. It’s important to note that NASA’s study – and subsequently plants’ ability to purify air quality – has been disputed by Dr Michael Waring, an environmental engineer and indoor air quality expert at Drexel University. He argued that the conditions within the sealed chambers during the NASA experiment do not scale-up to the conditions of real indoor environments. Within his publication he wrote: “Our conclusion that plants have negligible impact on indoor VOC loads is consistent with the results of field studies that did not observe real VOC reductions when plants were placed in buildings.” Despite these findings, many companies continue to research plants’ air purifying qualities with positive results. Fytagoras is among these, claiming to have tested 50 types of indoor plants for air-purifying properties in different locations with great success. In 12 classrooms in various locations, there was: “10-20% CO2 reduction; demolition of “unsavoury odours” within 45 minutes to 0-level; 7% less health complaints; more creativity; and a more than 20% better score at tasks and test (a 35% better score at the cryptography-test).” Whether we are to side with Dr Waring or others who believe in potted plants’ ability to purify our air, there is no disputing that indoor plants have a positive impact on the people around them. w

Air pollution is 2-10 times higher indoors than outdoors UTS

Houseplants can reduce symptoms such as headaches and feelings of depression UTS

Around four million people die prematurely each year from illnesses attributed to indoor air pollution World Health Organization

68% of gardeners take into account a plant’s health and wellbeing benefits prior to purchase

Wyevale Garden Centres’ Garden Trends Report 2018

Indoor plants improve productivity by 47% at work Exeter University

Rooms with houseplants contain up to 60% less airborne moulds and bacteria than those without A study by NASA

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 16:47




Bloomin AmazingTM is set to be packaged in one of the most sustainable, practical options available to gardeners yet


espite the distraction of the COVID-19 crisis and the challenges it brings for shoppers, British consumers continue to demonstrate a growing interest in all aspects of product sustainability. This is no more prevalent than in the gardening sector. Recent research has demonstrated that British consumers believe that the responsibility for the environmental sustainability of products, and especially packaging, lies firmly with manufacturers. Garden products with strong sustainability profiles are, therefore, set to become the brand leaders of the future. The recent success of Bloomin Amazing™ is a great example. Launched in 2018, the product has quickly grown to be one of the UK’s best-selling soil improvers and mulches and is now widely stocked in more than 200 garden centres across the country. Bloomin Amazing™ is a by-product of the production of green gas. Locally grown crops are fed into a bio-digester which produces green gas for up


to 7,500 homes, in Poundbury – the Duchy of Cornwall’s urban development project in Dorset – and the surrounding area. One of the by-products from the process is a lightweight, organic soil conditioner which is perfect for use in the garden and allotment in place of well-rotted farmyard manure. Gardeners also report great weed suppressant properties, better soil moisture retention and the added bonus of an effective slug deterrent. Making the product available to gardeners through the normal supply chains means Bloomin Amazing™ has to be packed and transported in manageable (50L to 70L) bags. To date, no one has been able to come up with a viable alternative to conventional plastic film. The problem with some of the new alternatives to conventional plastic film made from ‘compostable’ materials is that they may start to break down too uickly, or find their way into recycling streams where they become a troublesome contaminant! Bloomin Ama ing will be the first garden product to be packed in a new and revolutionary plastic film that is designed to prevent accidental environmental pollution from plastic waste. This innovative new material is effectively ‘programmed’ to decompose completely into carbon dioxide and water if it is discarded in the environment. Its unique properties also mean that when recycled, it will behave exactly as a normal plastic film – which gives it all the beneficial

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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properties of a compostable film without the drawbacks. Bloomin Amazing™ have partnered with Flexipol and the inventors of the new material, Polymateria, to develop their new 50L bag. With so much change in compostable and degradable plastics, it’s also good to know that there is now a new British Standard for biodegradable plastics (PAS 9017). This has been introduced to ensure that brands, manufacturers and consumers can be assured that the material they are choosing is genuinely – and practically - biodegradable. Polymateria’s new Cycle+ product complies fully with the new standard. Speaking about the introduction of the new 50L Bloomin Amazing™ Rich Planting Stuff, managing director Nick Finding said: “I am delighted to be working with Polymateria and Flexipol on this innovation which will ensure that no plastic waste from our product will contaminate the environment, even if it is irresponsibly or accidentally discarded.” The new 50L Bloomin Amazing™ Rich Planting Stuff biodegradable bag will be available from late November for delivery to garden centres, with an RRP of £5.99 (inc. AT). To find out more, go to, contact Nick at or call the head office on 01305 889 525. Flexipol are leaders in innovative e ible packaging. Learn more about it at: More information on the Cycle+ product and Polymateria can be found at:

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Have you considered a separate area for products deemed ‘environmentally friendly’? Dr Ian Bedford tells us why it might be a good idea for garden centres

ntomology is the study of insects and their interactions with the environment and other organisms and, for as long as I can remember, it’s always fascinated me. This explains why I’ve gone from a young lad collecting, breeding and releasing butter ies on the South Downs in the mid-60s to a lengthy career as head of entomology at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, Norfolk. Even now, having retired from science after 42 years, I continue working as an independent consultant entomologist and as an invited speaker for businesses such as garden centres, where I also hold plant pest and disease clinics. These venues enable me to highlight the problem we face with declining global biodiversity and the different factors that are driving it. In particular, the potentially catastrophic fall in invertebrate numbers and the worryingly high number of species that are teetering on the edge of extinction. It’s clear to me, though, that the vast majority of gardeners are all too aware of the problems, with many having already e perienced biodiversity loss first-hand

Dr Ian Bedford

within their own gardens. It’s reassuring, too, that many have also made changes to the way they garden in order to encourage and protect the wildlife, and many realise the importance of home gardens in addressing the wider problems. Unfortunately, though, creating and managing a wildlife-friendly garden does take time, as does reaching the point when it finally begins to function as a self-sustaining naturally balanced system. Absolutely key to this will be acquiring a basic understanding of the natural processes that operate within a balanced

gatekeeper butterfly

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system, particularly the food chains and their pyramidal order of consumers. Also, knowing when and how to help those food chains establish, particularly in the early stages of their development. An example being when aphids first appear on garden roses during early spring, especially where there’s ineffectual numbers of natural aphid predators. Without an intervention, the aphid infestations would likely escalate to plant-damaging levels, long before the natural predators began appearing in effective numbers. But, if we are able to reduce the infestations ourselves without harming the natural predators, the plants will be protected from damage whilst the predator species establish and then reach the levels where they’ll control the aphids naturally. This can be achieved quite easily within a home garden by simply using appropriate products that either have a non-toxic ‘physical’ mode of action or deter the plant pests from infesting the susceptible plants in the first place. However, this isn’t always as simple as it might seem. From my experience, many gardeners find it very difficult, if not 

Buff-tailed bumblebee

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


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Protecting nature in home gardens

examined, which had been purchased from a range of major outlets, contained neonicotinoids (long-lasting systemic insecticides that are notorious for their harmful effects on bees and other insects), commonly including the ones that had been banned for use on owering crops by the EU. This included plants with an RHS label that identified them as ideal for pollinators. It appears, then, that it might not just be a lack of desire, effort or commitment when gardeners fail to increase their garden’s biodiversity, but perhaps it’s a lack of information relating to the products they use. A possible solution would be for retailers to help their customers decide on the most appropriate products to buy, perhaps by allocating a specific area within their shops where only the products (and perhaps plants) that are most suitable for wildlife-friendly gardens are on display. Many of these types of products are already on the market and are produced by companies that ensure the environmental safety aspects of their products are clearly defined on the packaging and labels. This provides an assurance to the users that their products are safe and suitable for wildlifefriendly gardens. However, since products that are not so suitable for use in wildlife-friendly gardens are unlikely to reveal this on their labels, it would surely help gardeners if the retailers displayed them in a different location to the ‘friendlier’ products which, for simplicity, could be termed the ‘green’ products. A recent Twitter poll found that out of 107 people, 88.8% voted in favour of a green product zone’ in retailers, whilst 3.7% were not in favour and 7.5% were not bothered.

impossible, to determine whether pest control products are suitable to use within wildlife-friendly gardens or not. For example, slug pellets – whether they’re metaldehyde-based, which are widely documented as being toxic to birds and mammals (but will be banned from use after March 2022), or Ferric phosphate-based pellets, they’re both broad-spectrum molluscicides. This means that the 70% or so slug species that are deemed beneficial to the environment are also killed, such as those which eat and recycle decaying vegetation, fungi and moulds as well as those that predate So, what could garden centres on other slug species, such as the do to provide this? leopard slug. bviously, there’s a lot more to gardening It’s not just pest control products, than using pest control products, so either; fertilisers, weed killers and a garden centre could perhaps set up their fungicides might also contain ingredients ‘Green Zones’ to that inadvertently cause provide customers harm to the garden’s with a much wider natural food webs. range of wildlifeRecent research friendly products. undertaken by the Alongside the Goulson Lab at the plant protection University of Susse products that revealed that even deter pests rather retailed plants could than kill them, risk harming the garden Non-toxic plant pest deterrents habitat boxes, bird wildlife. They found will protect biodiversity and hedgehog 70% of the plants they


Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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Homebase goes green Homebase took it upon itself to launch the UK’s first green aisle’ in partnership with Smart Energy GB. The new area showcases a range of energy efficient and environmentally friendly products to help shoppers make more sustainable choices. ater-saving products, for instance, included Ho elock’s Sensor Plus Controller for Automatic Watering System and a Slimline ater Butt. It follows on from the retailer’s recent Great British Green Up campaign, which encouraged people to ‘green up’ their outdoor spaces throughout the summer to improve biodiversity. Chris ’Boyle, trading director at Homebase, said: “We know that more and more of our customers are looking to make environmentally friendly decisions as they embark on home and garden improvement projects. ‘The Green Aisle’ not only puts some of our most sustainable and eco-friendly products all in one place for those who know what they’re looking for, but will also provide advice and inspiration, supported by our expert teams, for people who need a hand turning their green ambitions into reality.” food, wild ower seeds, and even plants for pollinators that carry pesticide-free assurances from the wholesale nurseries could be included. Information and advice, too, from literature that the product manufacturers would undoubtedly be willing to provide. Garden centres could then hold event days to promote various aspects of ‘wildlife-friendly gardening’. Having been involved in some of these already, such as butter y gardening’ days, which include a drop-in plant pest clinic, I know how popular they can be with customers. Attracting them in to learn more about their native garden wildlife as well as having an interesting day out at their local garden centre. If you’re interested in creating a ‘green zone’ within your garden centre, get in touch with Dr Ian Bedford w

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ZEMBRA Natural ingredients

Zembra’s ethos is to use only natural ingredients to produce non-toxic products for home garden plant pest control. Primarily pot toppers and surface-dressings, its products are olive pomace-based, then blended with natural ingredients that originate from only sustainable sources. A unique selling point of Zembra’s products is that they don’t harm the wildlife that live within gardens but provide protection to susceptible plants from pest damage. The natural colouration of its products and their clean granular appearance create an attractive and tidy surface to pots, containers and hanging baskets throughout the growing season before they ultimately biodegrade.

Every creature that lives within a garden has a role to play in helping maintain the balance of the garden’s biodiversity. So, even those that we call plant pests will be an important food source for others, who might not survive without them (e.g. snails as food for thrushes and hedgehogs). Sadly, Britain’s native wildlife is declining, and so many people are now trying to help by creating nature-friendly gardens at home. Zembra’s non-toxic, natural products have been created for use within a wildlife-friendly garden, enabling gardeners to protect susceptible plants by deterring plant pests but not harming them.

‘Z’ Range

Zembra’s ‘Z’ Range of garden products also includes olive pomace-based mi tures for various root y control. Used in a similar way to Zee No Weevil, its Zoot-Off Cabbages, Zoot-Off Carrots and ZootOff Sciarids, provide a barrier around the stems of plants which inhibit the egg-laying adult ies. Unlike traditional Cabbage Collars, Zoot-Off products can simply be hoed into the ground at the end of the season where they’ll biodegrade within the soil. Zants and Zoley Moley are two further products that are in Zembra’s ‘Z’ Range and have been created to help keep lawns free from ant nests and mole hills respectively.

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Zee No Weevil

Zee No Weevil is Zembra’s most popular product to date, undoubtedly because Black Vine Weevil have become such a problem within gardens, particularly for pot and container-grown plants. Although chemical treatments are available for controlling vine weevils, many gardeners do not wish to use them as these chemicals also kill the beneficial insects which include the pollinators – Zee No Weevil offers a totally safe alternative for vine weevil control. Used as a pot-topper, it creates a dry yet porous covering over the compost which acts as a barrier to egg-laying vine weevils.

Wildlife-friendly gardening


Zembra’s range of garden products have been created with nature in mind. The company tells us more about its SKUs in our new feature

Zlug and Z-Total

‘Zlug’, a blend of olive pomace with Mediterranean herbs, is used to encircle plants that are susceptible to mollusc damage. The dry barrier it creates deters molluscs from traversing. When used as a pot topper, Zembra’s products also reduce water evaporation from the compost and maintain a more stable environment for plant roots to grow within. The ‘Z-Total’ product has been blended with humic acid that will leach into the compost and promote plant growth.

Contact Tel 01493 368477 Email Website

03/12/2020 16:29

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VEGGIEPON plant substrate LECHUZA

The Eco Gardening’ ower seed range features 100% recyclable packaging. Bee Friends Seed Shakers are made with a natural by-product – bran – which makes them greener’ than some other options that use vermiculite. New Flower Seed Bombs are made in the UK in-house using peat-free growing medium, for the easiest way to create a natural wild ower display.

LECHU A introduces EGGIEP N the brand’s first substrate specifically developed for growing vegetables. This substrate is 100% vegan. The nutrient-rich EGGIEP N is fortified with vegan fertiliser and premium vegetable coal, which means that you will always have an optimal, rich harvest that is in harmony with nature. Available in 6L or 12L.

Launch date anuary 2021 RRP From £4.99

Gro-Boost Durston Garden Products Ltd Durston has worked hard to create its very own peat-free ingredient Gro-Boost, which has proven to be e tremely popular. By mi ing a scientific blend of peat-free ingredients together, the result has been to create an incredibly stable product. ver time, it has proven to be both consistent in nutrient value and uality and one which is widely used by both professional and amateur gardeners alike. Launch date Available now RRP P A

Launch date Available now RRP From £11.99

fuente range elho The new fuente collection is a sustainable owerpot made with recycled plastic. It is available in three si es and three different patterns a lush foliage motif, modern rings around the pot and an embossed pattern. The bottom of the pot has a handy plug which gives the option to use both indoors and outdoors to stop water over ow. Si es available 30cm, 38cm and 47cm. Launch date anuary 2021 RRP From £14.99

Green Protect Slug & Snail Barrier Pellets Pelsis Group The Green Protect Slug Snail Barrier Pellets are a chemical free solution to protecting the garden from slug and snail damage. They are packaged in a bottle made from recycled plastic and the 1.5kg pack will provide coverage of up to 30m. The product is safe for use around children, pets and garden wildlife including hedgehogs. Launch date February 2021 RRP TBC

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Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


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Onduline Classic Onduline The trend for innovative and sustainable building solutions is driving demand for corrugated roofing systems. nduline’s roofing sheets are made from 50% to 60% of recycled materials, making them the ideal choice for environmentally conscious consumers. The product is also strong and durable, but e tremely lightweight when compared to other roofing materials as well. Add this to the longevity of the solution – up to 100 years – and you can see why this is fast becoming a desired product.

ee No eevil is part of embra’s environmentally safe, wildlife friendly plant protection product range. It’s used as a pot-topping to deter vine weevil from infesting pot plants. Using high uality Tuscan olive pomace, dried herbs and natural minerals, all of embra’s products are nonto ic, deterring plant pests without harming them or the beneficial wildlife that often feed on them. Its products not only protect biodiversity within gardens, but also the susceptible plants. Launch date 2021 RRP £11.99

Eco Garden Primeur The Eco Garden line-up includes Primeur’s highly acclaimed Tierra erde self-watering planters, as well as Recycled Rubber Stepping-Stones, Deck Tiles and e ible Garden Borders. ith 1.5 billion tyres worldwide reaching the end of their useful life every year, and more than 200 ingredients going into making a single tyre, waste tyres can take up to 80 years to decompose. However, 6kg of rubber crumb can be recycled from each tyre, and that ingredient holds the key to creating durable garden products that are almost indestructible.

Launch date Available now RRP £18

Paper Pot Maker Burgon & Ball This Paper Pot Maker from Burgon Ball allows the gardener to make an endless supply of paper pots for seedlings from old newspapers, helping to reduce the amount of plastic used in the garden. Seedlings can be planted straight in the ground when ready, minimising root disturbance. Crafted in FSC -certified wood, the paper pot maker is a popular self-purchase by gardeners interested in more eco-conscious gardening, also making an ideal gardening gift. Launch date Available now RRP £12.99

Launch date 2021 (new design) RRP From £9.99

Draper 180L Compost Tumbler Draper Home composting is a sustainable trend that’s growing in popularity as consumers look to increase their recycling efforts and reduce food and garden waste. There’s a uick and easy way to produce garden compost with the Draper 180L Compost Tumbler. Gardeners simply load the barrel and turn every few days the tumbling action accelerates the composting process, with compost usually available in si to eight weeks. Launch date Available now RRP £134.99


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Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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Odda Hanging Natural Woven Lined Planter Ivyline

Coffee Logs bio-bean Ltd

This sustainable, natural seagrass, green and biodegradable planter is eco-friendly with a low carbon life and is handmade. Like many suppliers, Ivyline utilised single-use plastic to safely package products to minimise damage whilst in transit but Ivyline has now confirmed that this plastic has been fully replaced with recyclable paper on all online products. This will help to remove hundreds of thousands of metres of plastic packaging from reaching UK waste sites every year.

Coffee Logs are winter fire logs for indoor wood burners and stoves. Made from recycled coffee grounds collected from UK coffee shops, they not only reduce waste, but they also save 80% on greenhouse gas emissions compared to the grounds degrading in landfill. Coffee Logs come in fully recyclable bags and are made in the UK. Launch date Available now RRP £6.99

Launch date February 2021 RRP £14.99

The Little Crate Kindwood

H20 Collection Tilnar Art Tilnar Art’s H20 Collection make great ethical gifts. These copper water bottles reduced the use of single-use plastic water bottles. They are not only sustainably sourced, but are recyclable and plastic-free, coming in a beautiful, recycled paper gift bo . The bottles are hand finished by Fair Trade artisans in India in beautiful patterns that are designed in Great Britain. Launch date Available now RRP £19.99

Kindwood is an exciting new business providing a range of new and innovative wood fuel products in beautifully branded packaging. All of its products are kind to the planet the wood is sourced from sustainable forests in Norfolk, kilndried from a recovered heat process and with minimal, mainly reused or reusable packaging, such as apple crates for The Little Crate. Launch date Available now RRP From £20.97

vibes elho

By using GoodToBee wa food wrap, your customers can cut out single-use plastic, reduce food waste and fill their homes with beautiful timeless designs. Replacing a product that none of us really liked anyway with one that is simply a oy to use, it’s made from G TS-certified organic cotton using ethically sourced ingredients. It is handmade in the UK and is available in either beeswa or vegan plant wa . The food wraps and sandwich bags are reusable for a year or more and are home compostable.

As the most sustainable company in its category, elho makes designer plants pots for both indoor and outdoor use. ith sustainability dominating the news, and an estimated 60% of the world’s population living in cities by the end of this decade, elho wants to bring greenery into people’s homes and support them in taking care of their plants. The new vibes pots, like all elho products, are 100% recyclable and are made from 80% recycled materials.

Launch date Available now RRP From £12

Launch date Available now RRP £4.99 (14cm) and £10.49 (22cm)

Beeswax & Vegan Food Wraps & Sandwich Bags GoodToBee

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Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


03/12/2020 11:16

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Soft ‘n’ Squishy Training Bites for Dogs Denzel’s: Healthy Snacks for dogs



This range of soft ‘n’ squishy bite sized rewards come in six highly palatable avours. They are all hand baked in eco-friendly ovens, using 100% natural and sustainably sourced ingredients including fresh wonky fruit. ou get roughly 110 in a completely plastic-free and resealable pouch, that will biodegrade in normal landfill in under 30 weeks. A real-world solution to the plastic problem. Launch date Available now RRP £2.90

National Trust Recycled Bird Feeders CJ Wildlife Available now from CJ Wildlife and part of the new National Trust Garden Wildlife Range, the Sam Fat Ball Feeder and Anna Peanut Cake Square Feeder are made from 100% recycled beverage packaging ensuring waste gets a second life and can be merchandised with National Trust Ultimate Fat Balls and Peanut Cake Squares. Every purchase from the National Trust Garden Wildlife Range contributes to the National Trust’s conservation pro ects that directly benefit wildlife. Launch date Available now RRP From £2.49

Earth Rated Dog Wipes Su-Bridge Pet Supplies These USDA Biobased Certified wipes are plant-based, vegan, strong, hypoallergenic, and contain no alcohol, paraben or sulfate. These wipes are gentle enough for daily use and contain only the best ingredients, including: aloe vera, known for its healing properties; shea butter, rich in vitamins K, A and E; chamomile, with antimicrobial properties for calming and soothing irritated skin; and cucumber, for soothing skin and packed with antioxidants. Launch date Available now RRP £7.99

Fair Trade Artisan Nesters Wildlife World Handmade by Fair Trade workers in Bangladesh, using natural sustainable sea grass and recycled saris, the sari patterns make every nester uniquely different. The products support artisan workers at this time of global pandemic which has resulted in the decline of the clothing industry. They have a sturdy inner frame for support, metal hooks at the rear and a long supporting loop at the top. Launch date Available now RRP £12.99


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Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

Plastic Free Products range Norfolk Industries for Disabled People The product is completely plastic free, and the raw materials used in this range are also recycled; they are waste materials from other manufacturing processes. The product and packaging are also fully biodegradable. This range was released at PATS Telford in 2018 and won Best Small Animal Product. Up until then, the company’s products had traditionally been produced in printed poly bags for efficiency however, it became clear that a completely environmentally friendly product was in great demand. Launch date Available now RRP £1.29

ildflowers or Seedball


ildli e



With the status of UK Hedgehogs recently upgraded to ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN, now more than ever is an important time to help garden hedgehogs. This hedgehog friendly wild ower mi will provide shelter and attract insects for hedgehogs to feed on. The balls are made from wild ower seeds, clay, peat-free compost and chilli, and the tin is made by the last tin can maker of London with the help of a solar farm on the factory roof. Launch date Spring 2020 RRP £6

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©Essington Farm

UnpackagedAT refill systems Unpackaged (in collaboration with Cotswold Fayre)

UnpackagedAT is a one-stop solution to help independent retailers reduce plastic packaging in-store. Brought to you by zero waste specialists Unpackaged in partnership with fine food distributor Cotswold Fayre, UnpackagedAT allows customers to bring their own containers to fill instore, instead of buying products in single-use packaging. It combines premium refill systems with a bulk range (including nuts, pulses, dried fruits, grains and sweet treats), plus e pert guidance to help you make a success of refilling.

TWIG Floramedia

Made from untreated, responsibly sourced FSC® certified wood, T IG is a natural product suitable for home composting. Easy to use, there is no ‘right way up’ and a label can be uickly fastened to either top or bottom. T IG holds a label in a fi ed position, with little risk of rotation. Developed for both indoor and outdoor use, T IG is currently available in lengths of 16 and 21cm. Launch date Available now RRP From £76.50

Launch date Available now RRP From £3,765

Stroodles Pasta Straws Stroodles Pasta Straws Stroodles are pasta straws saying “pasta la vista” to soggy paper and plastic straws. They are 100% biodegradable (made from wheat and water), avourless and edible. But Stroodles is not just a straw company; Stroodles is a movement. The company says it is here to inspire the world on how fun and easy it is to make small sustainable changes ‘one Stroodle at a time’. Stroodles are available in retail packs of 40 or bulk packs of 750. Launch date Available now RRP £3.49 (retail pack of 40). From £0.325 per Stroodle for bulk packs

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Nest Acopia Is ecommerce packaging causing you challenges? You’re not alone! It’s a big juggling act between protecting your goods, cost, sustainability and making the package look great. Enter Nest, Acopia’s 100% eco-friendly ecommerce range that is fully recyclable and has FSC accreditations. Ideal for garden centre retailers, Nest has a wide variety of mailing solutions and protective wrapping that’ll work for all your ranges – from gifts to fashion to plants. Launch date November 2020 RRP From £2.10

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


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The new 24/48 DUAL VOLT system One battery, dual voltage, any task. PROFITABILITY.



The Greenworks 24/48 Dual Voltage Range offers fantastic trade terms to stockists, with full support through marketing, training, spare parts and warranty, as well as being a highly profitable addition to your business.

Our battery tools offer zero emmissions, with no cables or fuel to deal with, as well as having less vibration, less noise, and significantly lower running and maintenance costs than traditional petrol powered alternatives.

The range offers the best of both worlds as the innovative battery can switch power between 24v and 48v depending on the task in hand. With almost 50 tools in the range, simply change the battery from one tool to the next.

The Garden Equipment Wholesaler

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Become a Greenworks stockist today Call 01793 333220 or contact

03/12/2020 08:56



Garden Centre Retail explores the sustainable cordless power range available from Greenworks, one which has something for any gardener

The need for all of us to become more focused on living cleaner, more sustainable lifestyles is already upon us, with manufacturers across all industries looking to develop environmentally friendly products, including a major shift from fuel to battery technology. The Greenworks cordless brand – produced by Globe, the world’s largest cordless garden tool manufacturer – provides its customers with a full complement of garden and power tool equipment run solely on battery power. Greenworks identified the need to provide different voltage platforms to address the demands of different customer groups whether they are beginners and small garden owners, those who aspire to maintain a perfect garden or serious gardeners and semi-professionals. Greenworks is dedicated to battery products and has nothing to do with petrol. This is a big difference to the competitors which have

to navigate between the old and new technology. Interchangeable batteries can be used on all products within the same range/ family; that means they are interchangeable when used on products with the same voltage whether in a lawnmower, grass trimmer, hedge trimmer or any other tool – the main ethos being zero emissions, no fossil fuels or wastage, and total convenience. With this in mind, Greenworks is preparing to launch a new 2 x 24v platform that can deliver 48v power in tools

where additional power is necessary such as lawnmowers, blowers and chainsaws and also run a full complement of 24v hand tool equipment by utilising just one of the batteries, putting complete e ibility back in the hands of the customer. With nearly 50 products in the 24v and 48v range, there is every tool for the home and garden, from trimmers and mowers, to drills and jigsaws. Greenworks strives to produce products which deliver strong performance and reliability, affordable prices, and a cleaner, quieter and more

convenient hassle-free solution which is fuel or cable free. An example is the cost to run Greenworks tools over the course of a year; for the average size UK garden, to mow and trim over a 12-month period could cost less than 50p (based on 24v platform with 52 charges in a year). That’s despite the numerous benefits of reduced noise, no emissions, low vibration, no fuel trips, refilling and so on.

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Greenworks tools allow the freedom to move around a garden with ease, simply swapping batteries into different tools for the task in hand. With various platforms to suit any customer from 24v, 40v, 24/48v dual volt, and a powerful 60v range for larger gardens. The Greenworks range also offers fantastic trade terms to stockists, with full support through marketing, training, spare parts and warranty, as well as being a highly profitable addition to your business. For more information, call 01793 333220 or contact


Greenworks is distributed in the UK by Handy Distribution, Dorcan Ind Est, Murdock Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN3 5HY 01793 333 220

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


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B lac k P las tic P ots P rodu c ts



Are there viable alternatives to black plastic pots? Garden Centre Retail explores why black plastic has lost its edge and how it’s part of a wider issue in the industry


ingle-use plastic has fallen out of favour, and fast. From cheap and convenient to wasteful and damaging, individuals and businesses alike are seeking alternatives to the villainous material. Black plastic is getting the worst of it – it can’t even be sorted by most recycling plants, so often ends up in landfill or incinerated, neither of which is having a positive impact on the environment. As a result, garden centres – which have long used black plastic pots in the masses – are striving to switch. But how easy is it to find alternatives? “Most plastic pots were originally produced in black as it was affordable and available,” explains HTA futures and sustainability manager David Denny. “The issue of black plastic not being able to be sorted at the recycling plants was also not realised. In fact, very little plastic was recycled; the technology was not there when plants were first containerised nor were the issues around plastic so high up the environmental agenda as a whole. “The plastic plant pot still is the single best material for containing plants for sale. As a lightweight medium, it is easy to transport, it is long lasting, and it can be used repeatedly. Commercial plant growers use plastic containers and pots as their lightweight and waterproof characteristics make it ideal for efficient irrigation and fuel-efficient transport through the supply chain.”

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Taking into account its long list of benefits, it’s hardly surprising plastic remains so widely used, and in particular black plastic. So, why is the industry now looking to steer clear? The issue is that black plastic cannot currently be recycled through kerbside collections, as the automatic sensors at recycling facilities cannot detect plastics that contain carbon-black pigment,” says David. “The market value of dark polypropylene also means that recyclers are less inclined to deal with it. Because it

cannot yet be sorted automatically, it must be collected in bulk from collection points. So, whilst it is still recyclable, it is just not sortable – and you can only make black plastic into more black plastic, it is difficult to make it into another colour. The lighter the polypropylene colour, the easier it is to recycle into a range of other colours.” If black plastic is no longer an option, then garden centres need to find alternatives which not only please ecoconscious customers but also the store’s balance sheets, and there are viable 

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


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P rodu c ts B lac k P las tic P ots choices available. “The industry has made significant progress and introduced recyclable non-black plastic pots which represent the best option for recycling at this moment in time,” says David. The pots are designed to be kerbside recyclable where accepted and replace the traditional black plastic plant pot originally

The pots are designed to be kerbside recyclable where accepted and replace the traditional black plastic plant pot favoured as an industry standard. The idea is that any plant producer can ask their chosen pot manufacturer to supply them with a recyclable pot to replace black, as long as it fits the specification. Plastic pot and tray return schemes for customers are also popping up, such as that offered by Dobbies Garden Centres, which horticultural director Marcus Eyles says has been very successful and well received nationwide . He added Looking ahead to 2021, we’ll be relaunching this service with a new focus and increased promotion in-store to encourage all customers to get involved. e don’t want plastic pots ending up in landfill. As a company, we are actively moving all our growers away from black pots. e understand the issues with black pots and the damage they have on our environment. We actively encourage the use of green coloured pots. That’s not the only way Dobbies is reducing the amount of plastic which ends up at landfill. The garden centre chain has introduced a range of houseplants in coconut coir pots, which include Philodendron hite Measure’ and Calathea insignis. ur houseplants range in sustainable coconut coir pots have been hugely successful, says Marcus. e have a fantastic relationship with the grower, so have been able to work together to secure more stock to support rapid sales. These degradable pots are made from natural rubber and coconut shell which are much kinder to the planet. hilst it’s great to see garden centres – especially a chain as in uential as Dobbies – take a stand and actively seek alternatives, there’s an argument that black plastic has perhaps been falsely vilified. From our point of view, black plastic isn’t the ma or problem here, says Chris illiams, director of Edibleculture,


which made the decision to stop selling any product with single-use plastic from anuary 2019. The problem is the increased production of plastic pots which have been marketed to be a greener alternative for gardeners and growers, when in fact all it does is create the same problem in a different format. Recycling plastic pots and packaging is virtually non-e istent in domestic waste disposal systems, meaning that most pots will go into general waste for incineration or landfill. ur local council, for e ample, will not take any form of plastic plant pot as their sorting systems are not designed to deal with this type of waste. e have reclassified our relationship with plastic pots and see them as a useful growing tool that is not a singleuse, throwaway item. e decant plants, at point of sale, into purpose-made (by us) paper pots, called P SIpot, for the customer to take away. P SIpots allow the gardener to plant the whole thing in the ground, and we are left with the plastic pot to clean and re-use. At the end of life, we can commercially recycle the pot, so the cycle stays within the industry. It’s a simple but very effective and saves 40 to 50,000 plastic pots a year going into people’s gardens. Chris adds that moving away from a reliance on single-use plastic doesn’t have to be a financial burden . He says customers are buying into sustainability and sales have actually increased over the last year as Edibleculture has promoted how it grows and sells its products. It is important to be organised and have a process in place for it to work effectively, as this makes it cost effective and simple to understand for the customer. It really doesn’t have to be a problematic process. To help businesses look at ways to reduce their environmental impact, the HTA is working with members and stakeholders to develop solutions for the re-use and recycling of horticultural plastic through its forthcoming sustainability roadmap. e want to play our part in increasing the reuse and recyclability of plastics and continue to work with local government and the waste industry to increase kerbside recycling of plastics used in horticulture, says David. Sustainability is a key issue for us all and so it is important that we play our part in the drive to protect our planet. The forthcoming launch of our sustainability roadmap provides the opportunity for the industry to come together to put the UK horticulture industry at the forefront of sustainable business. w

Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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EKJU Based in Latvia, EKJU is one of Europe’s biggest manufacturers and exporters of timber garden furniture and has been supplying products into the UK for several years. Here, the garden furniture specialist details its vast range of products available to UK customers.


KJU is a team dedicated to high standards, with a love for nature and craftsmanship, always using quality materials to create long lasting products. It has nurtured a carbon neutral manufacturing process for its entire range, with respect for it forests. Working with FSC live wood from northern Europe, EKJU can keep its promise of being environmentally friendly, because of its high density and durable qualities, that is maintained in every product it crafts.

Picnic Tables

A robust range of quality timber picnic tables seating up to eight people and featuring space saving options such as fold-up seats. Pressure treated to protect the timber against rot and decay, each product is finished to the highest uality with clear drill holes and neatly packaged ready to be assembled by the end user.

Tables and Chair Sets

Chairs and Benches

The range of table and chair sets are designed to bring people outdoors closer to nature and closer to each other. Designed to last many garden seasons, all table sets feature durable FSC-certified timber, finished pressure treated in green or brown. The range includes compact options for smaller outdoor spaces and more substantial sets for larger gatherings.

Relaxation and comfort are central to the design of all EKJU chairs and benches. With traditional and contemporary styles available, all SKUs have high uality finishing and easy to assemble construction, giving retailers peace of mind. There is also a range of colour treatments which prolong the life of the timber in the outdoor environment.

Grow Your Own and Planters

Growing solutions ideal for beginner growers as well as enthusiasts. EKJU encourages growing no matter what size garden with smaller size raised planters, differing shapes of planters and several raised bed options.

Contact Email Austris Intenbergs

Website Speak to the UK sales team for further information

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Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021


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COFFEE LOGS Lowering emissions The UK’s love of coffee sees us drinking 95 million cups of this hot brew every day. But what happens to all the waste coffee grounds (around half a million tonnes annually) from our collective caffeine consumption? Typically, they’re disposed of in general waste. They end up in landfill where they emit harmful greenhouse gases, like methane, and contribute to climate change. But Coffee Logs provide a better solution. By diverting waste coffee grounds from landfill, and instead recycling them into Coffee Logs, they save a whopping 80% on greenhouse gas emissions!

Made from coffee grounds Coffee Logs are eco-friendly fire logs made from used coffee grounds. The grounds are collected from coffee shops, rail stations, airports and more, across the UK. In fact, each log is made from the grounds of around 25 cups of coffee. But there’s no need to worry that your home will smell like the local coffee shop – Coffee Logs smell more akin to wood than coffee when they’re burning.

Burn hotter for longer Designed for use in indoor wood burners and multi-fuel stoves, Coffee Logs burn 20% hotter and longer than kiln-dried wood. This is because coffee has a naturally high calorific value (higher than wood), and Coffee Logs contain only around 10% moisture (whereas wood typically holds around 20% moisture content). Coffee Logs can be used either on their own or together with dried, seasoned wood. Though bio-bean does recommend using only two to three Coffee Logs at one time – they kick out a lot of heat!

Sustainable ethos Coffee Logs are a truly sustainable winter fuel. They’re made from used coffee grounds, giving our daily lattes a second life. They’re packaged in fully recyclable paper. They reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and they contribute to a circular economy, helping the UK to build back greener. Not to mention they’re made here in the UK at bio-bean’s recycling plant in Cambridgeshire.


Garden Centre Retail December 2020/January 2021

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Suits consumer demand Shoppers are increasingly becoming aware of their ecological footprint. According to the British Retail Consortium, 79% of customers are changing their preferences based on the environmental impact, inclusiveness or social responsibility of their purchases. And 88% of customers want brands to help them live more sustainably.1 So, stock Coffee Logs this winter and meet your customers’ growing demand for ethical and eco-friendly products. Stock Coffee Logs this winter, and help your customers to snuggle in, sustainably. 1. Product Coffee Logs Manufacturer bio-bean Ltd, a Certified B CorporationTM Launch date Available now RRP £6.99 Awards Garden Press Event – Best New Product 2018 Café Life Awards – Best New Product 2017 GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund 2017 Kevin McCloud’s Green Heroes 2017 Tel 020 3744 6500 Email Web

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New and second hand aluminium benching: Fixed, Semi rolling, mobile and sales benches.

VALEKA BV • Heliniumweg 14 • 3133 AX Vlaardingen, The Netherlands Tel: +31-10 599 74 02 • •

FOLLOW US! Garden Centre Retail




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