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February 2017

Celebrating the greatest teams

INSIDE T H I S I SS U E SOLEX 2017

10th anniversary show The big outdoor living exhibition shaping up to be the best yet p8-9

Nursery open days Early season look at new ranges for 2017 p18 GTN’s 8th annual Greatest Christmas Awards were presented at the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate. This year over 120 garden centres were nominated in GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards 2016, which meant the judges made visits to nearly 300 teams and travelled the length and breadth of the country. From Inverness to Plymouth, and Belfast to Norfolk, the results show the standard of teamwork has been higher than ever and Gold, Silver, Bronze or Regional Awards were presented to over 40 different garden centres. editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

New for this year, a sackfull of Santa Special Team Awards were also presented in recognition of the great Christmas retailing efforts and events that contributed to a record-breaking Christmas trading period for UK garden centres. As one of the judges said: “I am amazed by the excellence of Christmas in garden centres and the dedication from the teams who design, construct and maintain the displays over such a long period. Our Industry should be proud of itself!” HTA CEO, Carol Paris, who presented the awards alongside

GTN’s MD Trevor Pfeiffer, told the audience of over 200 guests: “This is the fourth year I’ve been able to be a judge in The Greatest Christmas Awards. I continue to be amazed at the outstanding quality of the 100s of Christmas displays seen by the expert judges. No wonder the high street is having such a bad time – garden centre Christmas retailing really is – Better than the High Street!” In this special issue we thought it most useful to bring you a selection of the great retailing ideas we discovered during the judging. garden trade news

Garden Re-Leaf Day

Start planning for March 17...a day when everyone benefits p23

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in touch

gtn news digest Your catch-up guide to the past month ‘Business as usual’ for Scotts in UK

Scotts Miracle-Gro UK general manager Sheila Hill’s Christmas message was that it’s “business as usual” for the company despite speculation its company’s future in Europe and talk of redundances. When asked by GTN Xtra about the rumours Hill said: “As you may have heard, our US parent company has announced its intention to exit the European business. In the future we expect this will mean working with a new strategic partner or new investor. We believe this will provide the best platform for the business and therefore should be regarded as exciting news. We have great brand equity and any new partner will want to invest more intensively in the business to continue to grow it. We do not believe that this development will impact our UK customers. We have great brands, a dedicated team and extensive experience of the marketplace. This development will help us leverage all that even more effectively and further enable the business to realise its full potential. As yet no decisions have been made and therefore it's business as usual. We have consumers who love our brands and customers counting on us to deliver. As soon as we have more to communicate, rest assured, we will.”

Christmas smells set off asthma attack A 54-year-old Wisbech woman ended up in hospital with a life-threatening asthma attack two days after festive aromas from Christmas displays at a Peterborough garden centre caused an allergic reaction. Anne Murray was born with asthma and is allergic to certain spices and scents. She has to avoid mince pies and cakes at Christmas, as even inhaling orange zest aromas can trigger breathing difficulties. She was off work for a month.

Cupar becomes Caulders’ fifth centre

Caulders made the first garden centre purchase of the New Year, when it acquired Cupar Garden Centre, Fife, the group’s fifth outlet and its first in the east of Scotland. Founded by husband-and-wife team Colin and Mandy Barrie, who opened their first centre – then a small plant centre – in Mugdock Country Park at Milngavie in 1999, the group have three other centres in the Glasgow area, at Kirkintilloch, Newton Mearns (Braidbar) and Erskine.

Hillview group buys Shipley GC

The Hillview Group was understood to be taking over Shipley Garden Centre at Heanor in Derbyshire, it’s 11th site. Shipley had been in the Beale family for more than 25 years, with the third generation involved.

New landlord for Van Hage site

Norwich-based commercial property investment, development and management company Targetfollow acquired Peterborough Garden Park, where Van Hage Garden Centre is the anchor tenant. Other retailers on the site, which was opened in 2010, include Cotswold Outdoor, Romans, Pavers and The Works. Targetfollow CEO, Corin Thoday said his team was working on exciting plans and initiatives for the site.

Bob Hewitt takes Kelkay non-exec role

Following his retirement as chief executive at Klondyke, Bob Hewitt (below right) has taken up a part-time role as non-executive director at Kelkay, which he will run alongside his non-executive chairman’s duties at Klondyke. Hewitt began his garden retail career at Wyevale almost 30 years ago and had been at the helm at Klondyke for the past 10 years. Kelkay MD Antony Harker (on the left) said Bob Hewitt’s experience and insight into the needs of garden centres, large and small, would be “so valuable”.

Bents staff get plush new facilities

Bents Garden & Home at Glazebury opened its new £700,000 staff facility, making the quality of its backof-house operations as impressive as its retail store. Previous staff facilities and offices were housed in portable cabins. The new facilities, located above the centre’s £10m phase two development, include the Bents’ Bistro dining area with relaxed seating, quiet zones and bar style seating with views over to the distant hills of Rivington and beyond, run by the inhouse chefs. There are meeting pods in the form of small sheds, larger meeting rooms named after the business’s founders and new training rooms.

RHS’s Sue Biggs awarded CBE

RHS director general Sue Biggs was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year’s Honours 2017, for services to the environment and horticulture. She has been the society’s DG since 2010, (having previously headed up travel company Kuoni for 25 years), transforming the charity and growing its membership to 467,000.

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING The Garden Communication & Media Company Ltd (TGCMC), The Old School, 4 Crowland Road, Eye, Peterborough PE6 7TN Tel 01733 775700 Fax 01733 775838 gardentradenews@tgcmc.co.uk www.gardentradenews.co.uk THE GTN TEAM Editor Neil Pope neil.pope@tgcmc.co.uk Associate Editor Mike Wyatt mike.wyatt@gardentradenews.co.uk Managing Director Trevor Pfeiffer trevor.pfeiffer@gardentradenews.co.uk Publisher Mandy Davies mandy.davies@tgcmc.co.uk Advertising Alan Burdon alan.burdon@tgcmc.co.uk Ben Greenwood ben.greenwood@tgcmc.co.uk HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Subscriptions Tel 01733 775700 subscriptions@gardentradenews.co.uk

Subscription rates UK: £145 Subscription includes a password for full access to GTN Online plus a weekly copy of GTN Bestsellers OUR PUBLISHERS GTN is published by The Garden Communication & Media Company Ltd (TGCMC), who also publish: 4 www.gardentradenews.co.uk website and weekly GTN Xtra newsletter 4The Little Green Book, Official Glee Catalogue and Glee Daily News Online – the only official guides to the garden industry’s leading annual trade show SMALL PRINT All material © TGCMC 2017. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information contained in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. TGCMC Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage

Full versions of these reports first appeared in GTN Xtra, our weekly e-newsletter mailed direct to registered email addresses to keep readers in touch with industry news as it happens. To register, send your email address to: trevor.pfeiffer@tgcmc.co.uk and put ‘GTN Xtra’ in the subject line.

caused by reliance on information contained in this publication or in the event of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

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WINNERS’ SPECIAL

the Greatest Christmas display teams - p6

Over 120 garden centres were nominated in GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards 2016, and our expert judges travelled the length and breadth of the country. In this special issue we reveal the secrets of the gold winners.

Brookside do the double! Brookside Garden Centre in Kent were crowned the Greatest Christmas Garden Centre Team and also won gold in the Greatest Grotto Team category when the awards were presented at a special event in Harrogate. Alison Shead talks to GTN about how her team creates such a stunning Christmas treat for their customers. The awards are an amazing achievement for us and our team as we do everything in house. Almost every member of staff has some contribution to either the construction or the running of the grotto. It’s an incredible feeling and a great boost for team moral especially after our hectic Christmas season. We owe our success to all the team that are involved and also to our loyal customers. Without them our grotto wouldn’t be what it is today. They push us to be innovative with how we can make the grotto that tiny bit more magical each year. Each family has a unique journey through the grotto which creates an intimate and magical experience that is very hard to find. At the end of the day it really is all about the children and seeing their amazed faces as we take them through. That’s what keeps us going. Our first inspirations for the grotto came from taking our own family to see Father 4

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Christmas in Finland. We use Finnish BBQ huts in which the children visit Santa, creating a more authentic adventure. Although our initial ideas draw from our own experiences, over the past eight years the members of the team who build the grotto – Graham, Matt, Chris and Simon – have come up with various ideas from their own interpretations of Christmas. We do keep our grotto with the same theme; a magical journey to see Father Christmas in which each family gets their own personal elf to tell a story on their way. We know this formula works extremely well so we aren’t looking to change that any time soon. Our customers who come year in year out do expect a few changes but overall never want us to stop what we are doing! This year we kept the essence the same as we always do with our natural theme. But we made some slight adjustments to the layout of the grotto as well as some upgrades such as three large water features located right at the centre to really give it that wow factor. We also included scents this year for example – through the magical forest section we had a scent that made it smell of Christmas Trees, in the snow section we had a ‘frosty’ type of smell and Father Christmas’ hut smelled like Christmas pudding!

garden trade news

The Greatest Christmas Grotto Team Finalists: Arcadia - BGCG, Baytree, Brigg - BGCG, Brookside GC, Chaplins, Chessington, Codsall & Wergs, Fair Gardens Plant Centre, Frensham GC, Frosts Woburn Sands, Gouldings, Hayes Garden World, Hetland, Hillmount GC, Hillside Garden Centre, Hornsea - BGCG, Keelham Farm Shop, Kershaws, Notcutts Woodford Park, Perrywood, Pughs Radyr, Pughs Wenvoe, Ruxley Manor, Scotsdales Cambridge, Silica Lodge GC, Squires Badshot Lea, Sturmer Nurseries, Sunshine, Whitehall Lacock, Woodbank SMALL ANd Mid-Sized CeNtReS Bronze: Codsall & Wergs Garden Centre Bronze: Silica Lodge Garden Centre Silver: Gouldings Garden Centre Gold: Brookside Garden Centre, Kent Gold: Pughs Radyr Garden Centre LARGe CeNtReS Bronze: Brigg Garden Centre Bronze: Whitehall Lacock Silver: Squires Badshot Lea Gold: Chessington Garden Centre

The Greatest Christmas Garden Centre Team Regional Winners: Home Counties Winner: Waresley Park Garden Centre North Winner: Birkacre Garden Centre Scotland Winner: Merryhatton Garden Centre Wales and West Winner: Pughs Radyr Garden Centre Bronze: Bosworths Garden Centre Silver: Summerhill Garden Centre Gold: Brookside Garden Centre editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


Hozelock

gtn promotion

Hozelock Pure A natural solution The NEW Hozelock Pure range has uniquely tapped in to the top gardening trend for 2017 – supporting mainstream gardeners to care for their environment by natural and homemade recipes. A recent survey revealed that 58% of gardeners want to use natural products on their gardens. There are easily accessible recipes for soap sprays and comfrey and herbal teas available to support people who want to garden in this way. The main issue, however, is how to administer them evenly and correctly without waste or ruining conventional spray equipment. Hozelock Pure has come up with the answer: two sprayers in useful sizes that are specifically designed to handle homemade recipes effectively and efficiently. What’s more, highly resistant seals mean they will withstand more acidic substances such as vinegar whilst filters ensure that homemade compost teas such as comfrey can easily be applied. High quality spray nozzles ensure that soap solutions can be applied effectively to all leaf surfaces for natural pest control. The development of Hozelock Pure reflects a growing trend towards more natural solutions to weed and pest control. More people say they care about the environment and there is growing recognition of the importance that gardens play in providing sanctuary for wildlife; just think of the current campaign to protect British bees for example. Such views aren’t restricted to the environment either. Many people would like to ensure their children and pets are able to use the garden safely even while pests and weeds are being kept under control, and many home-growers want only natural

ingredients to be used when nurturing their best fruit and veg. Hozelock Pure has links with the Terre Vivante French natural gardening organisation, and many natural recipes to support gardeners are available to use from them. There are a number of alternatives to chemicals available to concerned gardeners, such as mechanical and hand-weeders, gas and electrical weed-killers and even biological controls which are gaining in popularity. Hozelock Pure now adds to this natural-gardening armoury. A natural gardening feature in your garden centre is certain to attract the ever increasing market of “green gardeners”. This eye-catching range has been designed in bright lime green colours with handy translucent tanks so that users can easily see the product fill. Products details are: 2L Pure sprayer 4Small pressure sprayer adapted for natural products 4Total volume 2L, user capacity 1.5L 4Filter for plant infusions/manures 4Specific highly resistant seals 4360-degree function reverse spray (ideal for spraying under leaves) 7L Pure sprayer 4Sprayer sized to support use across the natural garden 4Two spray nozzles adapted for natural products – one for weed-killing 440cm fibreglass lance resistant to acidic products 4Filter for plant infusions and manures 4Ergonomic handle 4Transparent hose and tank

With the quality assurance of the Hozelock brand, Pure products are boxed and clearly labeled so that benefits are clearly communicated for a strong instore display. With more and more people joining the home-grown, homemade revolution, Hozelock Pure offers a solution your customers will be delighted to find on your shelves. Hozelock UK Marketing Manager Carol Wright says: “Many gardeners are looking for new ways of caring for their gardens using more natural methods of weed and pest control. Gardeners are reverting to the more traditional homemade recipes using easily sourced ingredients such as vinegar or black soap, and making homemade nutrient feeds from plants such as comfrey. “The Pure range features highly resistant seals and filters that are important when using these recipes, and the quality of the Pure range sprayers ensures these solutions are applied efficiently and precisely – even to the underside of the plant leaf, so that the recipes have best effect.”

4To find out more about Hozelock Pure call 0121 313 4242 or visit www.hozelock.com editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

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WINNERS’ SPECIAL

The Greatest Christmas Display Team (Midsized) - p10

Total Christmas Barton Grange reigned supreme again with their Christmas Displays. Marketing manager Kate Ford talks about how this award-winning garden centre continues to impress.

When do you start planning your displays? We start thinking about next year’s displays as we’re building our current year’s displays. There’s nothing like being totally immersed in something for getting the creative juices flowing! Ideas are discussed and the themes and colours are mostly decided prior to the end of the current Christmas. By January, when buying starts, we more or less know what we are going to do When do you start building them? We start creating our displays in the summer, usually June or July, away from the garden centre in another building on-site. Building of fixed displays in the centre itself starts in the first week of September. What makes your Christmas offering so special?

Individuality, creativity, attention to detail and totality (it’s a floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall operation). We’re talking ‘total Christmas’! Are plants still a main feature at Christmas? Very much so. Our Houseplant department is the first thing our customers see and it is full of seasonal colour - Poinsettia, Cyclamen, Schlumbergera, Amaryllis and so on. Outside, berried plants such as Skimmia and holly take centre-stage alongside potted and cut trees. Plants and container arrangements are promoted as gifts and we feature fresh wreaths and garlands. Do you run special events through the festive season? We have an amazing grotto which we start taking bookings for in early September and which sells out fast. It’s open from late November to Christmas Eve. We offer breakfast, lunch and tea with Santa in our Riverside Café and, in partnership with our local canal boat company, we offer Santa Cruises on the Lancaster Canal.

The Greatest Christmas Display Team (Large Centre) Finalists: Aylett Nurseries, Barton Grange, Bents, Chessington, Hayes Garden World, Hillside Garden Centre, Perrywood, Planters - Tamworth, Raemoir, Scotsdales Cambridge, Van Hage Great Amwell Van Hage Peterborough, Whitehall Lacock, Woodbank Nurseries and Garden Centre Bronze: Whitehall Lacock Garden Centre Bronze: Perrywood Garden Centre Bronze: Woodbank Garden Centre Silver: Bents Garden & Home Gold: Barton Grange Garden Centre

The Greatest Christmas Sizzle Team

(Group Centre)

Finalists: Colleta and Tyson, Fairways, Gordale, Haskins West End, Hayes Garden World, Hillmount Garden Centre, Langlands Leeds, Mere Park Garden Centre, Sunshine, The Old Railway Line Bronze: The Old Railway Line Garden Centre Bronze: Hillmount Garden Centre Bronze: Gordale Garden Centre Silver: Fairways Garden Centre Gold: Hayes Garden World

Finalists: Blue Diamond - Fryers, Blue Diamond Grosvenor, Blue Diamond - Le Friquet, Blue Diamond - Redfields, Blue Diamond - Trentham, Brigg - BGCG, Haskins Roundstone, Haskins Snowhill, Haskins West End, Hornsea - BGCG, Notcutts Woodford Park, Squires Badshot Lea, Strikes Garforth Leeds, Strikes Lady Green Bronze: Squires Badshot Lea Silver: Brigg Garden Centre - British Garden Centres Gold: Fryers Garden Centre - Blue Diamond

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editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


greatest awards

Great ideas at Silverbirch GC

Original and unique Graham Bodle, of Walkers Nurseries, reveals how his team impressed the judges with their Christmas displays. When do you start planning your Christmas displays? We do buying in January. I make notes through the build-up process starting in September. I’m always keeping my eyes open for inspiration especially for the window displays and grotto. When do you start building them? We start in September depending on how complicated the displays are. What makes your Christmas offering so special? We try to achieve something original and unique.

The Christmas Display entrance at Silverbirch ticked all the boxes for creating a wow. Plenty of sparkle in classy aspirational displays plus movement, fragrance and warmth from the lit candles. No wonder their silver and crystal ranges were their bestsellers this year.

Are plants still a main feature at Christmas? The plant displays are always important, as we are a nursery. The festive plant displays are located in the centre of the business layout which works well. Do you run special events through the festive season? We run ‘Breakfast with Santa’ which is in its eighth year and is very popular. We do a festive afternoon tea with entertainment. We normally have an animal theme as well.

The Greatest Christmas Display Team (Small Centre) Our Greatest Christmas Awards judge really liked this idea – a label hanging down, right at eye level in the middle of the walkway that draws direct attention to the display above. They sold loads of these at £52. And more baubles so that customers could re-create the look completely. editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

Finalists: Fair Gardens Plant Centre, Fresh @ Burcot Garden Centre, Hillview - Burford House, Keelham Farm Shop Thornton, Kirktown, LBS Garden Centre Colne, Munros, Scotsdales Fordham, Seven Oaks Garden Centre, Silverbirch, Snowdonia, Southwood, Walkers Nurseries Bronze: Scotsdales Fordham Silver: Hillview Burford House Gold: Silverbirch Garden Centre Gold: Walkers Nurseries

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FEBRUARY 2017 7


gtn promotion

SOLEX 2017

SOLEX 2017 S

OLEX, the Summer Outdoor Living Exhibition, a key fixture in the calendar for trade buyers, opens its doors for the tenth time this year – and it promises to be the liveliest, most featurepacked to date. LOFA (the Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association, the body behind the event) is set to announce the biggest exhibitor line-up since the show, now firmly established at the NEC, Birmingham, was launched at Telford. New features designed to further enhance the visitor experience are likely to be announced in the spring. After its first edition at Telford (where it remained for five years) the show quickly built a reputation as a relaxed, friendly but business-like event and is admired across the industry for its professional

presentation. This summer’s event will set out to attract even more visitors, including professional specifiers of garden products like landscape architects, designers and contractors. Ideas to generate greater media interest are also proposed. SOLEX is an annual three-day event attracting national and international retail/contract purchasing directors and managers. This unique event brings together all the leading manufacturers of outdoor living products – furniture, barbecues, gazebos, parasols, outdoor lighting and play equipment and more – and provides a showcase for exciting new developments in design, environmental manufacturing, sustainability and production for both the retail and contract markets.

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Exhibitors must join LOFA and meet strict membership criteria before they can show at the event, ensuring that visiting buyers will see the best the outdoor living industry can offer. Representing the best in design and innovation, LOFA’s outdoor and garden furniture members offer products made from hardwood, softwood, woven materials, aluminium, cast iron, tubular metal resin and re-cycled materials in contemporary and traditional styles. For the barbecue market, charcoal and gas grills, outdoor ovens and smokers to suit all budgets always attract keen attention at SOLEX. Many feature state-of-the-art technologies and are accompanied by a huge range of acessories. Garden lighting and equipment for camping and other outdoor pursuits make SOLEX a virtual ‘one-stop shop’ for any retailer’s outdoor living department. Although many buyers use SOLEX to make top-up choices for the current season , the event’s July date is designed to meet the earlier leads times required for shipping products for the following year. An increasing number of products on display at SOLEX now sport accreditation labels from LOFA’s Made Aware scheme, established to encourage member companies to reduce their impact upon the environment. Participating companies have committed to operate their businesses with due regard for the environment and their workers, and seek ways to improve the environmental and ethical impact of their products and their own activities. As consumer awareness of these issues grows, the scheme will give stockists, designers and specifiers a useful promotional tool.

info@gardentradenews.uk.com


SOLEX 2017

10th anniversary show will be the best to date

gtn promotion

essentials Dates 11-13 July 2017 Venue National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham Parking Free of charge Accommodation TSC Hotel & Venues are the official hotel booking agency for SOLEX. To book accommodation at special show rates follow the link on the SOLEX pages of Lofa’s website (lofa.co.uk/solex/visiting-travel.html) where you can visit TSC and book online, or call 01335 345655 (Email: hotels@tschotels.co.uk, Fax 01335 348114) Exhibitors list to date 4 Seasons Outdoor UK A Mir & Co Ltd AEL Solutions Alexander Rose Ltd Anchor Fast Products Ltd Ascalon Design Ltd;Barlow Tyrie Ltd BDP (Bramblecrest) Beefeater Europe;Bonnington Plastics Ltd Brundle Gardener Cadix UK Ltd Campingaz UK Char-Broil Cozy Bay Ltd Daro Outdoor Living Limited Desser and Co Ltd Extreme Lounging Fallen Fruits Ltd Firepits UK Ltd Gardeco Ltd Garden Furniture Global Ltd Glencrest Seatex Ltd Glendale Garden & Leisure Grakka Limited Hartman Outdoor Products UK Ltd ;Innovators International Jonart Design;Kadai Firebowls by Wilstone Kettler (GB) Ltd Mercer Agencies ltd Quest Leisure Products Ltd;Urban 10 Essentials Wolf Steel (UK) Ltd Woodlodge Products Zest4Leisure

info@gardentradenews.uk.com

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WINNERS’ SPECIAL

The Greatest Festive Plants Team - p12

A magical experience Gold in the Greatest Christmas Display, midsized garden centres, category went to Castle Gardens. Mike Burks, managing director at The Gardens Group, revealed how his team made it happen. When do you start planning your Christmas displays? The Christmas displays begin taking shape in January when Louise Burks travels to the big trade fairs in Harrogate, Birmingham and London, to see the exciting new products and displays from over 45 different companies and seven countries. At this stage, the themes are decided and Louise begins planning how to display each theme at all three garden centres. When do you start building them? The stock starts to arrive in July and is then dealt with by a dedicated team of staff who unpack and price up each individual item. In October, the team begins to build the displays, allowing about two weeks per garden centre from start to finish. The entire team gets involved across all three centres and helps with erecting walls, partitions,

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painting, stapling fabrics onto surfaces and decorating the many Christmas trees! What makes your displays so special? There are some talented people working at The Gardens Group who are brilliant at making displays and coming up with innovative ideas to create a truly magical experience for everyone who visits during the Christmas season. It’s all about making Christmas extra special for our customers and the team never loses sight of this. Are plants still a feature at Christmas? The Gardens Group stocks thousands of plants all year round. Customers are encouraged to utilise the soil’s warmth and moisture during autumn, when the Christmas displays are being built, to plant and prepare for winter and the following spring, so even when the Christmas displays are in full swing, a wide range of plants, bulbs, seeds, trees, bushes and hedging are still available. As we get closer to December our already busy houseplant department hits top gear with its wonderful indoor range, full of vibrant Poinsettia, exotic orchids and

garden trade news

prickly cacti. Out in hardy plants the team continue to be busy with trees, roses and hedging as well as planted pots for gifts and a great range of winter interest shrubs and herbaceous plants. Do you run special events? Throughout December each garden centre hosts several free family activities, such as story time, bauble decorating and snowman treasure hunts, as well as paid-for events including wreath making, Father Christmas visits and charity evenings.

The Greatest Christmas Display Team (Midsized Centre) Finalists: Burleydam, Castle Gardens, Creative Gardens Donaghadee, Fairways, Fron Goch, Glendoick, Jacksons Boutique, Sunshine, The Old Railway Line, Timmermans, Waresley Park Bronze: Fron Goch Garden Centre Bronze: Jacksons Boutique Garden Centre Silver: Burleydam Garden Centre Silver: Sunshine Garden Centre Gold: Castle Gardens

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

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WINNERS’ SPECIAL

Plants are key Marcus Cousins, Horticultural Manager at Aylett Nurseries, explains why the awardwinning garden centre still puts plants at the forefront of its Christmas displays. We strive to ensure we serve our gardening customers needs throughout the year so plants remain a key element of our Christmas displays. December is our fourth biggest turnover month of the year – this is made up of all Christmas-related products from artificial trees and baubles through to living trees and plants, Poinsettias and gifts. Our plants team work hard in merchandising our product to promote seasonal interesting plants from hellebores, cornus with stem colour, Christmas box, and many others outside though to wonderful tower displays of home grown Poinsettias inside our house section. We also try to drive many links sales - at Christmas this will include pot covers for Poinsettias and orchid feeds. Our team will

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also gift wrap the plant to make that perfect gift. Outside we drive that extra thing for the living Christmas tree from stands to pot covers depending on how or where you intend to use it. We also sell many planted seasonal arrangements made up by our Nursery team using home-grown Primroses etc and purchased plant stock. Our home-grown Poinsettias are one of the largest selling plant line through December, followed closely by orchids and hellebores. We our proud of our Poinsettias and our till staff are passionate that each plant arriving at home is in the same condition as it left the nursery, so everyone is wrapped with loving care. We must not forget our shop team who also strive to make customers welcome when entering the business by sharing the knowledge of where our products are, which departments they need to go to or to advise a customer what sort of propagator

garden trade news

The Greatest Festive Catering Team - p14

The Greatest Christmas Plants Team Finalists: Aylett Nurseries, Barton Grange, Bents, Blue Diamond - Trentham, Burston, Castle Gardens, Cowells, Creative Gardens Donaghadee, Fron Goch, Haskins Roundstone, Haskins West End, Hayes Garden World, Hornsea - BGCG, Keelham Farm Shop Thornton, Mains of Drum, Munros, Owl Lane, Perrywood, Scotsdales Cambridge, Snowdonia, Sunshine, Walkers Nurseries, Webbs, Woodbank Nurseries SMALL & MiDSizED CENTRES Bronze: Fron Goch Garden Centre Bronze: Walkers Nurseries Bronze: Snowdonia Nurseries Silver: Cowells Garden Centre Gold: Creative Gardens Donaghadee LARGE CENTRES Bronze: Bents Garden & Home Bronze: Perrywood Garden Centre Silver: Barton Grange Garden Centre Silver: Burston Garden Centre Gold: Aylett Nurseries the need. I believe many businesses forget the gardener at this time of year but we certainly don’t. We are all very aware at Ayletts that the customer’s shopping experience is important and they only remember their last one.

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


greatest awards

Haskins make it special Haskins were given a Special Judges Award for their outstanding Christmas efforts. Buying director Conna Powles reveals how much planning goes into the company’s displays. Do you try to come up with something different every year? Our regular customers expect to see something new each year, and this includes the entrance foyers as well as the themes. Sometimes we have a traditional focus and sometimes a contemporary focus. This year we built a Victorian-style shop front to house a Christmas florist as you walked in. We felt this was in keeping with being a garden centre. We kept to our garden centre roots with Lemax too as we built a display around a large pre-lit orange tree with smaller village scenes in the branches. The centre-piece was a huge sledge filled with everything Christmassy! Who do you involve in the creative side of your Christmas displays? It is a joint effort, initially starting with the buying and retail teams, who visit other retailers for inspiration. Then we liaise with marketing, who add the final pizzaz, before passing on to an external display team who implement the displays, whilst the retail ops team lay out the departments to a pre-planned map. All our staff have been recently trained in the principals of visual presentation, so they are all equipped to create beautiful displays. Last Christmas we visited several retailers in Milan for inspiration and they were amazing. No two Christmas displays are the same and we learn and get inspiration from other retailers all the time.

What sets you apart from the rest? I think it is Christmas as part of the overall business and retail experience and not just Christmas in isolation. You can come to Haskins to buy a great quality tree and decorations, then shop for high quality branded gifts such as Radley handbags, Barbour or White stuff clothing, L’Occitane or Cowshed body and bath gift sets or pick up a great quality living gift of an added-value houseplant or planted container. You can then get it gift wrapped, whilst enjoying a freshly made pizza with a bottle of wine or a cup of Costa coffee with a cake or scone, all home made by one of our chefs. We are fortunate enough to have a lovely environment and give great customer service so it all adds to the overall experience.

GTN’s The Greatest Christmas Awards are sponsored by...

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

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WINNERS’ SPECIAL

The Greatest Christmas Pets Team - p16

Festive feast Mains of Drum made it two years in a row when they picked up gold in the Greatest Christmas Festive Catering category. Catering manager Emma Milton explains how her team did it. We were not sure how this Christmas was going to turn out due to the economic downturn in oil industry in the Aberdeen area. We decided we would keep our prices the same as the previous year for this reason and go back to basics. It was the right decision as we found the majority of our Christmas lunches were customers or groups who dined with us before. We had some new bookings this year through word of mouth. This year we sold approximately 543 Christmas lunches from the December 1-24. This was down slightly on last year but our sales increased for that month. We also added a Festive Panini or Sandwich option to our existing menu, consisting of turkey, oatmeal stuffing and cranberry sauce. These

are by far our most popular fillings during the festive period. Our menu this year consisted of Roast Turkey, Aberdeen Angus roast beef served with all the trimmings, Scottish Salmon and Topped Portobello Mushroom. We’ve had lots of fantastic comments from our customers and our best seller by far was the Roast Turkey. Our ‘Not Feeling Festive’ menu proved popular last year so we decided to carry it on this year. This is a mixture of our best selling dishes offering our customers a wider choice and variety. Every year we make our own mincemeat pies. These go down a storm at this time of year. We are always asked at the start of the festive period whether we will be making them again this year. Our colleagues love it when Linda accidently breaks one taking them out of the tin. They truly are too good to waste. Catering plays a major part in our business. It allows us to showcase just how lucky we are to have such a wide choice of locally sourced and grown ingredients, reducing our carbon footprint and supporting local farmers by staying local.

The Greatest Festive Catering Team Finalists: Aylett Nurseries, Barton Grange, Blue Diamond - Redfields, Burleydam, Chessington, Haskins Roundstone, Haskins West End, Hillmount Garden Centre, Jacksons Nurseries & Tea Room, Mains of Drum, Munros, Perrywood, Planters - Tamworth, Rosebank, Ruxley Manor, Scotsdales Fordham, Waresley Park, Whitehall Lacock Bronze: Burleydam Garden Centre Silver: Munros Nurseries Garden Centre Gold: Mains of Drum Garden Centre Gold: Barton Grange Garden Centre

Premier voted best Christmas supplier The team at Premier Decorations is celebrating after again being voted The Greatest Christmas Supplier. In a close fought category, Premier Decorations pipped Kaemingk to the gold award. Pravin Patel, director at Premier Decorations who accepted the award, commented: “We are delighted to have been voted as best supplier again. This category is voted by retailers, so we are very pleased that our customers feel that we are getting things right and look forward to delivering the same excellent level of service in 2017.”

The Greatest Christmas Supplier Bronze: Noma Silver: Kaemingk Gold: Premier Decorations 14

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WINNERS’ SPECIAL

Pets are special at Bents Bents Garden & Home picked up gold in The Greatest Christmas Awards for its outstanding pet team performance. Here we discover why the pet category is so important to the garden centre’s success. How important is the pet sector for Bents? The pet sector is an extremely important part of our business. We understand pets are a huge part of people’s lives and we believe that this should be shown by the quality of our Pet Place, which is another added value to our overall offering. Can you give details of your pet features? In addition to our retail element one of our main features is our Pet Café where customers can dine with their pets, with refreshments for both humans and hounds! We have an interactive selfie booth and encourage customers to take pictures with their pets and upload them to social media using #petsagram, which is proving very popular. We also offer puppy training classes, teenage tantrums and a guided walk around Windy Bank Woods, which is to the rear of the centre and our pet behaviourist, Lesley, can give specialist information about your pet. In addition we have an instore groomers, spa and vaccination clinic with a viewing area.

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We offer a huge range of products and a friendly atmosphere that enables our customers to come and enjoy their visit. What special events did you hold for pets and their owners at Christmas? We had various offers on products combined with specific offers for our privilege club members. We really embrace Christmas and buy seasonal products for pets such as coats, stockings, toys and festive treats. We had a Christmas selfie competition, with a prize for the best dressed dog and we have had a book signing from the author of the Pug a Lugs book series. We also have a on-going partnership with the local branch of our RSPCA who erected a pledge tree in the run up to Christmas. Other animal charities are also encouraged to join us at the weekends. Do your customers comment on the fact that Bents is so pet-friendly? Our Pet Café provides somewhere that people can socialise with each other and their dogs. It is always very busy as it is one of the few places within retail that allows pets in. Our colleagues are all extremely enthusiastic about pets and spend a lot of time discussing any problems our customers have with their pets.

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Do you think the pet features help attract customers to your centre? Our customers always comment on how good it is to have somewhere that they can bring their pets for something to eat and drink. The selfie booth allows customers to dress their dogs in outfits and is proving a very popular point of interest. The groomers also provide a very professional service which our customers value and recognise and as such they are always extremely busy.

The Greatest Christmas Pets Team Finalists: Bents Garden & Home, Blue Diamond - Le Friquet, Codsall & Wergs, Haskins West End, Planters Tamworth, Squires Badshot Lea, The Old Railway Line Bronze: Le Friquet Garden Centre Bronze: The Old Railway Line Garden Centre Silver: Planters Tamworth Gold: Bents Garden & Home

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look ahead

Nursery open days

Nurseries give plant buyers early season look at 2017 ranges Hilliers Nurseries, Europlants and Classiflora will all be opening their doors to trade visitors over the next few weeks.

the UK agent and distributor for leading Tuscan producer Vannucci Piante, so an Italianstyle lunch is on offer for visitors.

Hilliers (7-8 February) is the first to run. The programme each day includes a welcome from Robert Hillier OBE, tours of the various nurseries and a talk from special guest, Sarah Eberle, who is designing the Hillier garden for the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show.

Contact: Pat Lawrence on 01707 649996 or email: pat@europlants.net

Contact 01794 368733 or email sales@hillier.co.uk

Europlants (22-23 February) at Hatfield is next. The company is

Classiflora Zelari (2-3 March), which also produces its plants in Tuscany, has held its open days on the first Wednesday and Thursday of March for the past 28 years. The team will spice up your visit with live music and also provide a lunch with a Mediterranean theme. Contact: classiflora.com/openday or call 08700 600 420.

TOP RIGHT: Sarah Eberle, guest speaker at Hiller Nurseries trade days. BELOW AND RIGHT: 2016 displays and entertainment at Classiflora. BOTTOM: Guests enjoy lunch and promotions at Europlants last year.

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National Nest Box Week

wild bird care

Capitalise on national wild bird campaign Gardman is encouraging retailers to stockup and boost sales during high-profile conservation-led events, including The British Trust of Ornithology’s (BTO) National Nest Box Week (14-21 February). Natural nesting sites for birds such as disused old buildings or hollows in trees are fast disappearing. Taking part in National Nest Box Week gives people the chance to contribute to bird conservation, with the added pleasure of observing the breeding birds their nest boxes attract. Gardman has produced eye-catching point-of-sale material to highlight the event and includes a helpful leaflet containing information about the range of Gardman

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nest boxes available and the best places to site them. All of Gardman’s wooden nest boxes are crafted from sustainable FSC certified timber and are endorsed by the BTO. The range for 2017 features a number of new lines, including a Robin Nest Box, Multi Nest Boxes with interchangeable fronts to attract a variety of species and an attractive Beach Hut Nest Box finished in sage green. Gardman is urging stockists to create aspirational displays ahead of these events to emphasise the importance of feeding and providing shelter for garden birds at a crucial time of year when temperatures are low and natural food is scarce.

Create themed displays Peckish Nest Boxes are designed to BTO standards and are made from FSC 100% certified wood. This means you can guarantee they have been made with safety firmly in mind, such as ensuring entrance holes are the correct size and the wood is strong enough to deter predators. A total of 3 different styles are available: Blue Tit Nest Box – This powdered blue and white design features an entrance hole small enough to only allow access to Blue Tits. With easy to clean side openings and drainage holes to prevent a build-up of moisture. Robin Nest Box – A white and green design with an open fronted entrance which is preferable to the Robin species, this nest box is made from the highest quality wood and includes drainage holes to prevent a build-up of moisture. Easy Change Wood Nest Box – An attractive wood design with interchangeable fronts to attract a variety of birds. Includes drainage holes to prevent a build-up of moisture. Peckish also produce Peckish Nesting & Young Bird Mix specifically for the nesting season. Packed with protein and our unique Calvita mineral and vitamin supplement, this wild bird seed mix helps adult birds reproduce and develop healthy eggs. It’s also great for building up the strength of young chicks. Rachael Dickinson, Senior Marketing Manager for Peckish, said: “The National Nest Box Week is a well-publicised event, which attracts a substantial amount of coverage in the national media each year. “By creating themed displays in the front of store, link selling Peckish nest boxes together with Peckish Nesting & Young Bird Mix and feeders, retailers can create attractive displays that meet consumer needs and provide encouragement to increase till spend.”

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in touch

Industry news

Further growth for Harrogate Harrogate Christmas & Gift 2017 exceeded all expectations once again with an increase in visitor numbers for the sixth year running. The show, which also had a rise in exhibitors having to open two new halls to cater for demand this year; welcomed almost 5,000 buyers through its doors – five per cent more than in 2016. Simon Anslow, show organiser, said: “We are delighted that Harrogate Christmas & Gift continues to gain momentum. Since 2010 the show has been attracting a diverse array of new exhibitors with home and gift ranges as well as products to cater for diary events the entire year round. Consequently, we have seen an average of five to eight per cent growth in visitor numbers year on year and once again we welcomed new buyers visiting for the first time. Feedback from both exhibitors and visitors has been extremely positive and we can honestly say that the show is now firmly on the map for UK retailers and buyers in festive, gift and visitor attraction sectors.” Exhibitor Emma Wakeling of Floralsilk said: “We had a great show this year. We were rushed off our feet from Sunday through to Tuesday and good footfall continued on Wednesday.” Alan Pimm of Sifcon also

reported a successful show stating: “We had orders and enquiries from lots of new customers and will definitely be returning next year.” With two new halls opening for 2017, Hall Q and the Kings Suite, some companies took the opportunity to move to a new location and the Playwrite Group moved from its regular position in Hall C to Hall Q. Bill Cornelius of the company comments: “What a great show. We moved our stand position this year as we needed more space to show our Christmas range and we couldn’t be happier. We saw lots of new customers and

many old friends, doubling our order take on 2016. This show is always the most fun show of the year and Harrogate never disappoints. The organisers did a great job and nothing seems too much trouble.” Visitors also enjoyed a successful event with Jill Pattison of Sam Turner and Sons Ltd commenting: “We attended for two days and found it very worthwhile. It’s an excellent show in a great location with a wide range of products on offer and we placed orders on the day and picked up catalogues for consideration later. Harrogate is very important for us and vital for our Christmas buying. We will definitely be attending next year and hopefully for many years to come.” Lindsey Brown of Thorntons attended Christmas & Gift for the first time and said: “I thought it was a great show and the diversity and quality of exhibitors fantastic. I’ll definitely be visiting again.” The dates for Harrogate Christmas & Gift next year are 14th to 17th January 2018 and priority booking for 2017 exhibitors is from 1st to 31st March 2017. New companies wishing to participate in the show will be able to reserve space from 1st April 2017. Full information is available on the website at www.harrogatefair.com

Grange introduces new products for 2017 For those retailers who are keen to keep up with the latest developments in garden trends for 2017, Grange Fencing has introduced a trio of cleverly constructed and stylish new products. From the new modernistic, trellis-topped Elite Lille Panel to the luxurious Contemporary Vogue Panel, which features timber slats on both sides of the frame for absolute privacy, the new products provide a combination of both on-trend looks and a structural quality that is over and above anything else currently available on the fencing market. Including the Elite Meloir Double Driveway Gates, these new products benefit from cutting edge Mortise and Tenon jointed frames for maximum strength and durability as well as a super smooth, planed finish. For the ultimate garden makeover, the new pieces fit seamlessly into existing Grange collections and can be used alongside matching products in the range to create a beautifully coordinated outdoor space. As with all Grange products, the new Panels and Gate are pressure treated for longevity and are available under the company’s Home Delivery service. Retailers can find out more by visiting www.grangefen.co.uk or can contact the company on 01952 588 088 or by emailing sales@grangefen.co.uk 20 FEBRUARY 2017

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Special event in honour of Brigitte Canale In honour of Brigitte Canale (Renato’s wife), who died just over a year ago, family and staff at Europlants released some ballons on the first anniversary of her passing away. editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


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look ahead

events • diary dates • previews

this month

Heston to help Kettler fire up BBQ market

5-9 February 2017 Spring Fair, NEC Birmingham Spring Fair opens at Birmingham’s NEC from 5-9 February (DIY and Volume halls a day earlier on Saturday 4 Feb) with a new DIY section, appearances from high profile keynote speakers including Mary Portas and Baroness Karren

Brady and a raft of exhibitors new to the UK. With the value of sterling being hit, swings in consumer confidence and the likelihood of shop price rises, many retailers will be looking to international opportunities to invest in new

products. Despite challenging times, retail has proved itself to be one of the most resilient sectors. According to the Office of National Statistics, retail purchases increased in volume by 7.4% in October 2016 compared to the same month the previous year ago – the largest year-on-year growth since April 2002. International influences are also becoming vitally important to UK retailers. For example, the hugely popular hygge trend from Scandinavia has seen consumers seek very particular soft furnishings, fashion accessories and homewares. Spring Fair’s 14 sectors cover the entire UK gift and home market.

Kettler GB (stand 9E77) has been appointed as UK and Ireland distributer for the ‘Everdure by Heston Blumenthal’ BBQ range. The deal was signed following a successful launch at SPOGA, where Mike Westrup, CEO of Shriro Australia Pty, who developed the range with Heston Blumenthal, negotiated the deal with Kettler GB’s MD, Paul Bevington. World-renowned chef Heston Blumenthal was actively involved in the design of the barbecues. The range has been designed from the ground up and, says Bevington, promises to change how people think about barbequed food. The line-up comprises three charcoal and two gas powered BBQs, plus a number of accessories including roasting racks, cooking gloves, apron and BBQ covers. Each model has a host of innovative and easy to use features. The charcoal products feature the patented Fast Flame Ignition System that allows for cooking in 10 minutes, and an integrated rotisserie system, all in a sharp, contemporary design. The range also includes the CUBE, a smaller BBQ, ideal for camping, picnics and trips to the beach.

HTA February Plant of the Moment: Camellia for colour in late winter/early spring Few hardy shrubs signal the end of winter better than camellias, highly valued for their stunning floral displays and glossy, evergreen foliage. With dozens of varieties, stockists are spoilt for choice – pick from shades of pink, red, white and cream. Because camellias (like azaleas and rhododendrons), are ericaceous plants, make sure purchasers know they need to grow in an acid or lime-free soil. Display soil test kits kits nearby, along with ericaceous composts and fertilisers. Camellias carrying the RHS Award of Garden Merit (AGM) for superb garden performance include: 4‘Donation’ Semi-double rose-

Camellia knowledge to pass on

Photo - ©Adam Pasco Media pink flowers. Upright habit. Strong growing. Always reliable. 4‘Adolphe Audusson’ Bright red flowers. Strong growing. 4‘Debbie’  Peony-form pink flower. Upright. Strong growing. 4‘Lavinia Maggi’ Large double white flowers with pink stripes. Medium vigour.

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1. Early flowering camellias can be damaged by frost, so position plants in a sheltered spot. Move pots to sheltered sites during bad weather. Cover bushes with sheets of fleece to protect buds and blooms on frosty nights. 2. Water camellias with collected rain water if possible, as some tap water contains high levels of lime 3. If leaves turn pale and yellow, feed with an ericaceous plant food or iron sequestrene to help them regain their glossy green appearance. 4. Camellias start forming flower buds during late

summer and autumn, so make sure plants never go short of water through the year. 5. Make the most of the green framework of camellias to provide support for summer flowering clematis planted in the shade at the base. Plants to sell with camellias • Azaleas • Conifers, including yew • Crocus • Cyclamen• Daphne • Ferns • Forget-me-nots • Forsythia • Hydrangeas • Japanese Maples (Acer varieties) • Lily of the Valley • Narcissus • Pieris • Pulmonaria• Rhododendrons • Snowdrops (Galanthus varieties) • Tulips • Witch Hazel (Hamamellis)

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


look ahead

Garden Re-Leaf Day

March 17

...a day when everyone benefits The gardening industry will burst into promotional activity when it celebrates Greenfingers Garden Re-Leaf Day on Friday, March 17. The event was created to benefit the Greenfingers charity, but don’t forget that at the same time garden centres, growers, suppliers and trade associations all benefit from the combined effort to start the gardening season with a bang. It’s like lighting the blue touch paper of the gardening season. The whole UK sky is lit up with special offers, exciting promotions

and exhausting walks and event. It’s fun and great for staff morale and customer appreciation. Everyone benefits – even your bottom line. In 2016 Greenfingers Charity benefited by more than £140k - the most successful Garden Re-Leaf Day ever. This year Garden Re-Leaf weekend starts on March 17 so there’s not much time left for you to sort out how your business will benefit. There are lots of ways to get involved, but here’s a couple of ideas to whet your appetite… 24 HOUR PLANT-ATHON Last year, Studley GC, Altons GC, Squire’s GC, Fryers GC and Byrkley Park Garden Centre created amazing publicity and raised loads of money holding 24 Hour Plant-athons. Klondyke’s Bob Hewitt said: “Having taken part in the 24 hour Plant-athon, I urge

TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Organise a run or take part in Greenfingers Garden Re-Leaf Walk. This year’s walk will be held in Cambridge thanks to the sponsorship of Scotsdales Garden Centre. Already it’s looking set to be the biggest and best yet. Several suppliers have booked in their teams to walk between editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

garden retailers and suppliers to get involved in this huge opportunity to connect with staff and customers whilst raising significant funds for Greenfingers Charity. So why don’t you invite your customers, colleagues and friends to support you as you continuously plant up pots for 24 hours? Your local media will love the story and your customers will love buying your spring planted pots for charity. Boyd Douglas-Davies has agreed to again do the honours at Studley Garden Centre, Warwickshire, in return for a continuous supply of tea and coffee.

Scotsdales’ sites at Horningsea to Great Shelford via the centre of Cambridge and its beautiful river and colleges. Permission has been granted from the Botanic Gardens and Jesus College to walk through this historical centre. There’s a 10 or 20 mile route to choose from and spaces are still available for a fun day out with friends, family or colleagues. garden trade news

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