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Classiflora Open Day

gtn APRIL 2019

Crufts Review

Build for the future

Advice and information for garden centre professionals

THE TOP INTERVIEWS People in the news

Interview with Jody & Richard Grimmer

Growing alongside the leisure industry


Growing alongside the Are you amazed at how the business has developed over the past 12 months? Anyone who was at Harrogate Christmas and Gift Fair this year will know that we started 2019 with a bang! We were delighted with the impact of our NOMA Christmas stand at the show, and the NOMA 80th Anniversary Gala Dinner was a night to be remembered, with great food, live music, comedy and singing waiters. It was the perfect chance to celebrate the success of the NOMA brand with some of our valued customers. In the past year there have been some significant changes in the LeisureGrow business, with the sale of Erin Horticulture and the acquisition of Petface. Erin was a brand Richard had owned for 40 years so he naturally had a strong attachment to it, but we believe it was the right time for change with increasing environmental issues. And Petface is an exciting new challenge! We spent the first six months concentrating on the fundamentals; stock control, logistics and distribution, and we’re now in a position where we’re developing exciting products and moving the brand on in line with our vision for its future. It’s also the 20th birthday of LeisureGrow this year - will you be celebrating? We’re thrilled to be celebrating 20 years of LeisureGrow and we will be marking the occasion with all our staff. Other than that, it’s business as usual! Did you see the company growing into the size it is today? Twenty years ago, Richard saw a gap in the market and moved from his then business of garden accessories into furniture – and quickly found he had a talent for furniture design. He invited me to join the company and since then we haven’t looked back! We’ve always had big ambitions for the business, but we’ve been careful to make sure we have the right people in place and that we haven’t grown too quickly.

Now in its 20th year, LeisureGrow has lived up to its name by evolving along with the garden and leisure industry it serves, thanks to some clever steering by father and son team Richard and Jody Grimmer. Richard is now Chairman of the company and son Jody is MD. GTN caught up with Jody to uncover the secrets of their family success. 2 April 2019

Is it easy to keep a harmonious fatherson relationship when tricky business decisions have to be made? Ha ha! In any business where you have a board of directors there are always differences of opinion, but that’s often when the good decisions are made. Richard and I have very separate roles at LeisureGrow and, regardless, we tend to agree on all the important things. In particular we are determined to keep the same ethos that we had when we started LeisureGrow 20 years ago – those strong values such as providing carefully designed products with no compromise on quality; delivering excellent customer service 12 months of the year; and treating all of our staff, suppliers and customers with respect.

leisure industry


Jody in the BBQ Lodge enjoying lunch with customers and a talk by the company’s BBQ Blogger Marcus.

EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Garden Trade News, Potting Shed Press Ltd Dairy Drove Thorney Peterborough PE6 0TX Tel 01733 775700 Fax 01733 775838

Do you have a similar style of management and approach to business? We both bring different skills to the table but the one thing we always agree on is that people are key to a business. We stick by our ethos that treating people well is key to the success of the business. We believe the industry is lacking in certain areas, and it is too easy to access markets by copying products, which unfortunately is happening too often. In a marketplace like this when many people are competing solely on price it makes it even more important that we have both relevant and exciting products, as well as the right team in place. At LeisureGrow we have separate product category teams with a wealth of experience and product knowledge, who can deliver designed products that are quality controlled with technical expertise, and who can manage a consistent supply of products.

Are you happy with the progress made by Petface since you took over the business? Richard was an original investor in Petface Ltd after recognising the need for a one-stop solution for our garden centre customers. Unfortunately, a combination of issues – especially Brexit – affected the company with the fall in value of the pound. Whilst Richard lost his original investment he believes in the concept of the business, and we all have confidence that bringing the business under the LeisureGrow umbrella will give additional stability and excellent service to Petface customers. We spent the first six months ironing out the fundamentals in the Petface business, making sure stock availability, logistics and the correct infrastructure was in place. The first six months was always going to be about stabilising the brand. Now we’re moving forwards into 2019 things will start to get exciting. (Continued on page 4)

THE GTN TEAM Editor: Neil Pope Associate Editor: Mike Wyatt Director: Trevor Pfeiffer Publisher: Mandy Davies Advertising: Alan Burdon Ben Greenwood HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Tel 01733 775700 or email 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 Potting Shed Press Ltd, who also publish: * website * Weekly GTN Xtra and Pet Trade Xtra newsletters * Garden Radio * 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 © Potting Shed Press 2019. 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. Potting Shed Press Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage 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.

The NOMA and Petface sales team at Glee last September.

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INTERVIEW larger outdoor lighting pieces much easier for consumers. With SOLEX shortly upon us, the furniture category team is putting the final touches to the LG Outdoor 2020 furniture range. Look out for more contemporary rope and aluminium collections, as well as extensions to our popular ranges such as the Oslo and Turin. And onto BBQs, this year we introduced a revolutionary hybrid gas-charcoal system that got great feedback from the selected partners we worked with. So, for 2020, we will be including this in more of our Grillstream products to make the technology available to more of our customers. The Hinxworth showroom has been a huge success. Have you brought the business back to the Dewmead Farm site? Yes. It’s great that we’re now all on one site at Dewmead Farm in Hinxworth, Hertfordshire. It’s a bit of a squeeze but having the whole LeisureGrow team together in one place is really important to us in terms of keeping the great culture that we have here. Everyone is part of a wider team in the LeisureGrow family and for that to work best we need to all be together. Is the Grillstream BBQ brand growing as well as you’d hoped? We’ve made great ground with the Grillstream brand since we introduced it seven years ago. John Lewis is a great supporter of the brand, and we’ve made some good progress with key garden centre groups and leading independents. We believe that once you’ve cooked on a Grillstream you’ll be hooked by the revolutionary no flare-up system. There are of course other players in the BBQ market who have huge marketing budgets behind them, so we do have a big job competing with them. That’s why we’ve made investments over the past 12 months in some great point-of-sale and marketing tools for Grillstream, including videos, shopin-shop retail solutions, and packaging. Has all the effort and cost of establishing your on-site showroom paid dividends? We want to make sure our customers get the best possible experience when they come to visit us at our Hinxworth showroom. The showroom has 2,000m2 of floor space dedicated to displaying our LG Outdoor furniture, NOMA Christmas, NOMA Outdoor Lighting, Grillstream and now Petface products to their best advantage, and we think it’s well worth the visit. For example, we’ve got a custom-built lodge where we like to treat customers to a gourmet BBQ lunch cooked on one of our Grillstream barbeques, complete with views overlooking the Hertfordshire countryside – whatever the weather. We certainly think that spending this time and effort with our showroom is well worthwhile. We take inspiration from all our foreign buying trips to create a space that’s on-trend and inspiring as a display space, as well as of course showing off all of our great products.

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Do you think your showroom is more important from a sales point of view than exhibiting at trade shows? Trade shows are a great place to touch base with people and give a snapshot of what we have to offer – but really it is only a snapshot. It’s impossible for us to display all of our products and do justice to them at one show. And, of course, buyers at shows have multiple brands to see and packed schedules, so getting that one-to-one time to really drill into the products’ unique selling points, or to help them curate a range that’s going to be a sell-out for them, can be difficult in the timeframe of a show. We like people to come and see us at Hinxworth to get a real feel for who we are as people, to meet our customer services and sales team, and most importantly to see the full range of products and brands we have on offer. What plans have you got for all your brands in 2019/20? This year will be an exciting one for our latest venture, Petface. We’ve been working on a new concept that will be a first for this industry and will give our retailers an exciting new selling point. We will be launching it at Glee in early September, where we look forward to welcoming our customers onto our inspiring new stand. As for NOMA Garden Lighting, following the great success of our NOMA Christmas dual power outdoor figurines, which we launched at Harrogate in January, we are developing a similar concept for NOMA Garden Lighting. This is going to be very exciting, and we believe it will make buying

Celebrating NOMA’s 80th anniversary.

How have you approached all the uncertainty caused by Brexit? Well, I wish I had a crystal ball that’s for sure! With our manufacturing partners primarily based in the Far East and our purchases being made in US dollars, like many of our industry partners there have been consistent currency challenges. The ongoing issue will be the effect on consumers for the 2019 season. For all of our brands we’re concentrating on the things we can control rather than those that we can’t. These include making sure we’re designing new products to excite our customers and consumers, and ensuring all of the many reasons to buy from LeisureGrow remain strong: namely great quality products and excellent customer service for 12 months of the year. What are your goals for the company beyond the immediate future? At LeisureGrow we’ve never rested on our laurels. We’re always looking for the next innovation, whether that’s in a revolutionary product design – such as the Easytimer on our NOMA lights – or predicting the next trend for outdoor furniture such as our rope weave designs, which we introduced four years ago for LG Outdoor. We’ve been through some changes over the years but we’re in a strong position now where we have synergies across our customer services, warehousing, and logistics. We’re looking forward to growing from this base, particularly in the pet and lighting categories where we have a lot to offer to customers who maybe haven’t considered us in the past but may well do now.


The new generation of wireless freedom GARDENA’S new range of battery operated devices offer cordless gardening convenience for the passionate gardener. The new range of cordless devices for lawn care, shaping and hedge trimming feature the latest GARDENA Li-ion battery technology. With no memory effect, the battery can be charged at any time as required. And all batteries have a long life with consistently high performance. The handy GARDENA POWER info indicator provides easy battery life status, and best of all the range is extremely lightweight and robust.

GARDENA EasyCut Hedge Trimmer For effortless hedge trimming closer to the ground, the extremely lightweight yet powerful integrated battery and precise cutting results give the new GARDENA EasyCut cordless hedge trimmer an impressive edge. The device is fitted with a 40-cm-long knife and fits comfortably in your hand in any cutting position thanks to its ergonomically designed handles and perfect balance.

GARDENA Accu-Telescopic Hedge Trimmer Powered by a high quality 18V Li-Ion system battery, the lightweight handle is telescopic, and permits the safe trimming of hedges at heights of up to 3 metres. The tiltable head lets you conveniently cut hedge tops as well as groundcover, for the best ergonomic working position. It has optimal blade geometry, ensuring efficient, clean and quick cutting.

GARDENA SmallCut Grass Trimmer For perfect lawn edge trimming or cutting grass in those harder-to-reach places, the new GARDENA SmallCut cordless trimmer also powered by an integrated battery, is light-weight, with a comfortable design and ergonomic handle. This trimmer is especially suited to smaller gardens, and has a running time of up to 40 minutes.

GARDENA EasyCut Grass Trimmer The GARDENA EasyCut trimmer is powered by the 18V Li-Ion system battery and has a running time of up to 60 minutes. With clever features like the Plant guard which protects your precious flowers while edging borders, trimmer head angle adjustment for cutting under obstacles like benches or trampolines, and a telescopic handle and adjustable front handle for ergonomic working, this grass trimmer is guaranteed to become your favourite.

GARDENA Grass Shears And to complete your lawn care tasks, the new range of battery integrated grass shears from GARDENA. Cordless, handy, compact and lightweight – the perfect finish for lawn edges and smaller shrubs/ boxwood. The grass shear blade comes with skid plate – for perfect cutting and maximum safety. Switch effortlessly between the grass and shrub blades. Pair this with the telescopic handle and wheels (only applies to the ClassicCut model), for cutting lawn edges and floor cover plants in an upright position, for the perfect ergonomic working position.

For more information on the battery garden power range from GARDENA, please visit or see instore.

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Shaw Trust, a charity helping to transform the lives of young people and adults across the UK, purchased two Midlands garden centres from the Hillview Group – Billing in Northampton and Pavilion in Wolverhampton. Both garden centres are part of shopping villages. Boyd J Douglas-Davies, CEO of Hillview Garden Centres, said: “This is part of our on-going strategy and I’m delighted that the Shaw Trust has taken on these sites. Their unique model will suit these locations and I think they’ll do very well. I wish them and our former colleagues all the best for the future.” Shaw Trust already owns Palmer Gardens Garden Centre in Trowbridge.

3 Wyevale Nurseries is now using recyclable plant pots for all future retail plants that it’s currently potting. The company has started to phase out its black plastic pots replacing them with taupe coloured pots, supplied by Aeroplas in the West Midlands, in a bid to fight the war on plastic. Steve Reed, Production Director of the Container Division at Wyevale Nurseries in Hereford, said: “We plan to produce plants in more than 700,000 of the new recyclable pots this year. There will be a big overlap for customers as everything we have potted in 2018 is in black pots but by the autumn most of our stock will be supplied in taupe pots to retailers.”


Wyevale Garden Centres announced the sale of two more centres, Barnett Hill and Seven Hills. Barnett Hill has been sold to Cherry Lane, the value garden centre group (part of QD Group) and will continue to be run as a garden centre by the new owners. Seven Hills has been sold to a property development and investment company. WGC will continue running Seven Hills under licence for up to six months during which time the company will be looking to find alternative employment for all staff members.


The horticultural industry can look forward to welcoming more bright students to the trade with the backing of the David Colegrave Foundation through its scholarships. Scholarships worth £13,000 have been awarded to 10 students with interests that include research, sustainability, crop management, breeding, horticultural therapy and commercial wholesale. Jeff Colegrave comments: “This year we received a record number of applications from horticultural students studying at 22 colleges across the UK. We believe we have selected some excellent candidates who are very worthy recipients of the David Colegrave Foundation Scholarships.”


The Plant Pyramid, supported by Peter Seabrook, returns to the Floral Marquee at BBC Gardeners’ World Live in June with four new satellite pyramids. The Pyramids will play host to a monumental display of up to four thousand plants, all new introductions for either 2018 or 2019. Following their support of the first Plant Pyramid at BBC Gardeners’ World Live in 2018, Dutch breeders Florist return with a brand-new clutch of Garvinea, the Garden Gerbera.

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: and put ‘GTN Xtra’ in the subject line.

6 April 2019

People News

Jane Lawler has joined the GCA’s team of inspectors. Jane, who has more than 35 years’ experience in marketing and business development, will be responsible for inspecting member garden centres in North Thames, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Jane join Alyson Haywood, Michael Cole and Gordon Emslie on our team of inspectors. She will be integral in helping us to ensure consistency and raising standards through our membership.”

Smart Garden Products announced the following staff had joined the company from Briers: Tara Truman – National Account Manager Charlotte Prentice – Key Account Manager Domenic Guglielmucci – Assistant Category Manager April Raven – Graphic Designer Emily Swindells – Data & Content Controller Jonathan Stobart, Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this cohort of Briers personnel into our business which will help us integrate the Briers product ranges into Smart and develop the brand. We now have a firm grip on the supply chain for gloves & boots and are rebuilding stock levels as fast as we can to help customers with supply ongoing.”


Grow your sales with Benefits to garden centres Diversify your product range with a unique, new-to-market product. Here we reveal why Vegepod is destined to become a bestseller.

Independent garden centres, including Altons, Mill Race,Meadow Grange and Morley, as well as key groups like Dobbies, Blue Diamond, Marshalls and Horkans, have been impressed by the potential sales growth of Vegepod and are stocking the product, with many more stores expected to follow suit.

So what are the benefits of this unique product to garden centres? 4Low capital investment with generous margins – starter packs are available. 4Linked sales opportunities. 4Low saturation of product availability (not available everywhere). 4Heavy focus on staff training, free demonstration units, and advertising. 4Crucial customer service focus. 4After-sales support through social platforms and through Vegepod UK direct.

Since launching into the UK market at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2018, the revolutionary raised garden bed product Vegepod has seen sales take off in a big way. Vegepod was designed and developed in Australia nine years ago by Matt Harris, who was frustrated by his failed attempts at growing his own fruit and vegetables. The unique product has been brought the UK by husband and wife team Neil Urry and Alex Allen, who saw the amazing potential of Vegepod. Neil and Alex, directors of Vegepod UK Ltd, have forged ahead with significant growth and presence in both the consumer market and wholesale channels across the UK and Ireland. Such has been the worldwide attraction of Vegepod it is now sold 10 countries globally, prompting Neil to say: “We are confident that the UK gardening public will embrace our product. In 2019 we plan to continue to develop the market by offering it to sale to

selected garden centres. We stand by our ethos of ‘making growing vegetables easy and fun for everyone, everywhere’. We want to make it achievable for those less likely to be gardening.” The benefits of using a Vegepod vs a traditional in ground or wooden framed garden bed include: 4Waist height gardening solution easing aches and pains common with in ground gardening. 4Fully contained gardening system including commercial grade canopy. 4In built self-watering irrigation system making it ideal to set on timer when going away on holidays. 4Made from durable and food grade safe quality polypropylene plastic, guaranteed to last 10+ years 4Certified organic growing in your own home. 4Mobility friendly with trolleys available to assist those with mobility needs.

Get in touch with Vegepod to arrange a no-obligation product demonstration with the team. W: E: T: 0800 978 8656 April 2019 7


Peat-free composts head in the right direction In his new monthly column, associate editor Mike Wyatt discusses the thorny subject of peat-free composts and asks whether the industry is making satisfactory progress. Peat-free growing media started the decade with a somewhat battered reputation but should in theory end it in rather better shape. As a gardener who uses hundreds of litres of composts every year, the evidence of my own eyes tells me that the best of today’s peat-free composts are streets ahead of first- or second-generation products. I declared myself a huge fan of Sinclair’s original New Horizon, but confess I was probably more in love with the concept of a viable growing medium made from a sustainable supply of re-cycled green waste than I was with the stuff on my potting bench. I stayed loyal to it for a few seasons, on principle. As a gardener, I was keen to play my small part in reducing demand for a product whose extraction from the bogs was threatening natural habitats. However, when, after some distinctly dodgy results, it became clear that quality control could not be maintained from batch to batch because of the variability of the source material, I resumed peat-based habits, although by then, I could partially salve my conscience by using some of the increasing number of peat-reduced products reaching the market. When Westland acquired Sinclair, an early decision to abandon green waste in favour of its own

wood-based material was a brave attempt to restore the brand’s currency with retail customers. Gardeners are fussy buggers (excuse my Spanish), hence peat-free’s difficult sales history. Not only were gardeners disappointed with the performance in general of peat-free composts, many said they didn’t get on with their texture and appearance, which was much coarser than the peat-based products they had been used to. So, in the eyes of many, peat-free composts were not going to get a second chance. However, things have moved on, driven by Defra pressure on the industry to get on with peat reduction and the Growing Media Initiative launched by the Growing Media Association (GMA), which represents all the major UK producers and suppliers. In my book, Vital Earth, whose products are now handled by Bord na Mona, set a worthy benchmark with consistent quality in growing media produced in meticulous closed-vessel composting of kitchen and green waste. Melcourt’s outstanding RHS-endorsed SylvaGrow ranges – blends of recycled timber waste with coir – have produced brilliant results for me in the past two Spring seasons. They are top-notch for looks and

The new mixing line under construction at Melcourt Industries to meet growing demand for its peat-free SylvaGrow ranges.

8 April 2019

New Horizon BIO3, which is now appearing in the GTN Bestsellers Growing Media Top 20.

texture and deserve to be more widely stocked, even at the slight price premium they command. Westland, meanwhile, have re-engineered New Horizon once more, based on its BIO3 blend of wood-fibre West+, Coir+ and something they call Biofibre, a natural ingredient that helps root take-up of moisture and nutrients. I have yet to check it out, but they claim this breakthrough mix means consumers will no longer have to accept a compromise between eco-friendly and performance. As it has now started to appear in the GTN Bestsellers Growing Media Top 20 in the first season following its re-launch at Glee, it looks like a winning formula.

‘We only need one big retailer to say they are going to go for it [peat free]. That will shake the market up and others will follow or make an alternative offer’ Next year – the big 2O – is when Defra expects the UK horticultural industry to have honoured its voluntary commitment to remove peat from composts for gardeners. Professionals have been given until 2030. Will it happen? Most probably not. But the excellent peat-free products we have at last show we’re heading in the right direction. As the GMA has said, “to compete with peat, it has had to be good”. It’s still not fast enough, though, for critics like Garden Organic (formerly HDRA), which believes the industry’s voluntary agreements are not sufficient to shift an industry intent on protecting its bottom line. What would do the trick? Melcourt MD Andy Chalmers believes retailers are the key. “What will happen is 2020 will come and go – although we only need one big retailer to say they are going to go for it [peat free]. That will shake the market up and others will follow or make an alternative offer.” Over to you…

One-stop for garden furniture supply The Royalcraft brand covers all your Garden furniture and Accessory needs A-MIR are suppliers of quality Garden Furniture for over 28 years at highly competitive prices. Please visit our website for full information. Quality and service are what makes us your perfect partner. We serve Major Retailers, Garden Centres, Wholesalers and provide a direct home delivery service. Our latest innovation for 2019 is our unique Royalcraft Weather-Shield Fabric on cushions which features Weather Proof and Stain Resistant performance.

By popular demand, Royalcraft have expanded the hugely successful Seychelles range

Stocking a wide range of sets in different materials plus accessories

A.Mir & Co Ltd, Mir House, Taylors Lane, Oldbury, West Midlands, B69 2BN. Tel: 0121 544 1999


A to Z of AMES It’s 12 months since Kelkay was acquired by Griffon Corporation, the US public company with around USD$2billion in annual revenue. Bringing together Kelkay, La Hacienda, True Temper and more recently the new brand Woodshaw, Antony Harker and his team have been


working hard to develop their growth and development strategy with a strong focus on UK garden centres. We thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the most interesting aspects of the business and what is contributing to their success. Part One: A to F...

is for Aggregates

Kelkay’s range of decorative aggregates has been a foundation of the business for nearly 20 years and under AMES UK they are set to grow even further. In 2019 the business will see the 100 millionth bag dispatched! Kelkay were real innovators with their unique merchandising concept which has now become a category standard. The principles on which it was developed have since been successfully rolled out across several other AMES UK product categories. 2019 sees the launch of two new premium blends – Tuscan Glow and Nordic Frost – that reflect the latest trends in outdoor landscaping.


is for Barbecue Pizza Ovens

Responding to the rapidly growing trend for home pizza ovens, La Hacienda developed their BBQ Pizza oven which transforms any barbecue into an efficient pizza oven. Maintaining the AMES UK principles for space efficient and informative merchandising, it is supplied in a compact card FSDU and there is also a stylish partner display of add-on sale accessories.

10 April 2019


is for Chimeneas

Originating over 400 years ago and traditionally based on a baked clay construction, La Hacienda have more than 30 years history in the design and marketing of Chimeneas. But, consistent with the AMES UK development strategy, they have identified new ways to make this traditional category appeal to a wider consumer audience. The new Santana steel chimenea is a sleek and contemporary design which has helped La Hacienda reach sales of 1 million Chimeneas since the business was founded.

The leading brands that make AMES UK a key player in the garden industry.


is for Displays

A cornerstone of the AMES UK customer proposition is the unique way in which quality product is supported with effective merchandising solutions. Making retail space work as hard as possible, AMES UK’s display stands and point of sale material are designed to work in garden centre environments – inside, outside or in covered merchandising areas. Easy Fountain’s display and merchandising of water features has lifted this category from a comparative niche into a mainstream and high value product segment. Garden centres that have made the range a central attraction in the retail customer journey are reaping huge benefits from increased sales volumes and consumers trading up to much larger purchases.

The Easy Fountain installation at Tong Garden centre for 2019 showcases the AMES UK approach to effective merchandising. Presented with the opportunity to make water features a focal point in the centre, the AMES UK team have designed and built a unique octagonal island that provides discreet themed areas demonstrating three very different garden styles. The commitment Tong Garden Centre made to range and stock levels allowed AMES UK, in partnership with Tong, to create this unique merchandising concept.


Sharon McNair at Tong says: “We have seen the sales of water features steadily grow over recent years and we felt that there was an opportunity to make a high impact display the real focal point for the entrance to the centre. AMES UK have been instrumental in driving the total category growth with the widest range of styles and price points. They also have the merchandising expertise and point of sale material to make the category work really hard for us. We are already seeing an uplift in sales volumes compared with last year.”


is for Endangered

AMES UK are working closely with RHS and The Wildlife Trusts on their Wild About Gardens project which aims to encourage people to use their gardens to help support nature. License fees associated with the sale of their successful RHS Endangered Species stepping stones go directly to RHS for use in promoting wildlife friendly gardening.

Sarah Winn, Marketing Director, said: “It’s great to know that our commercial activity is also benefiting such a great cause.”

is for Firebaskets

La Hacienda supply the widest range of firebaskets which are similar to traditional firepits but with higher sides. It’s these new deep bowl designs that are gaining in popularity, with the steel banded, bronze-effect Brava proving to be a 2019 best seller.

Coming Soon: Part 2 of A to Z of AMES UK

April 2019 11



Brand Development Manager Divine Imports Ltd Divine Imports Ltd created lots of interest at the Garden Press Event with its new Dr Organics Plant Pill. We asked Mike Smallman, Brand Development Manager, to tell us more about the product.

Left: Mike with chemist Andrea Atwell, a DIrector of Divine Imports Ltd. How does the plant pill work? After about 24 hours the pill breaks down, releasing the benefits by firstly conditioning the soil or compost. On clay or poor soil it begins to change the physical strata whilst with quality mediums the pills, through their Pro-biotics, enable the release of the inherent nutrients in order that the plant can truly benefit. The plant pills are full of goodness in their own right with a very healthy NPK value that all plants can benefit from. The root of the plant is encouraged to grow big and strong, this increases the surface area of the root and therefore has an increased ability to take on goodness and nutrients that promote good healthy growth, a better more prolific flower and/or harvest.

What’s your ultimate goal? The Dr Organics Plant Pill is a little miracle and hopefully will kick start a revolution that will change the attitude of the novice gardener right through to the largest agricultural grower. Our intent at Divine Organics is to over the years have a significant impact on the reduction of chemicals that poison the land. We want everyone to use good organic practices and the starting point for us is Mr and Mrs Jones, the ‘average gardeners’. How do you see your brand developing? Launching the Dr Organics brand to the public is fundamental for our long-term goals as the use of the product will not only benefit the user with the feeding and care of their plants but will raise the finance through the plant pill sales to fund projects with agricultural growers and governments where the real problem lies. Already we have interest from the Argentine and UAE governments, where over the next few months they will be looking at the possibility of using our bulk product to reclaim poisoned damaged land. The bulk product is exactly the same as the content in the Dr Organics Plant Pills. Do you really believe a small pill can have such a huge impact? The use of the plant pill starts with a

psychological prompt for the most naïve as it encourages the individual to water the plant, all humans are programmed to take a drink of water when they take a pill and this action should be automatic when they give their plant a pill. It’s likely that the action of watering will save the plant. For the slightly more discerning gardener through to the commercial horticulturalist, the plant pill is perfect for everyday use, pushing one pill into the ground or pot near the roots of the plant then watering will transform the health and success of the plant.

Are there any other benefits? The pill has a few secrets that can also protect the plant from pests such as Red Spider Mite and fungal diseases like mould and mildew – the list is lengthy I can go on and on about what the pill can do but in short it is a very special all organic plant food that has the ability to protect from a host of pests and problems. Whether it is used by the complete novice or the commercial expert it has a very serious application and a big future in the horticultural and agricultural industry. Is the pill totally organic? The pill is 100% organic, even the capsule. The content is a pure concoction of humic and fulvic acid. You cannot overdose or scorch. You can even split a capsule, dip the roots into the powder and use it as a fantastic rooting compound. It is truly fantastic. How much will the product cost the consumer? The launch price of a packet of 50 pills will be £3.99. It’s available online at www., and hopefully will be stocked in hundreds of garden centres and stores soon. How can interested garden centres contact you? We would like to hear from interested retailers. I can be contacted by phone on 07707 479853 or by email

12 April 2019

Living the dream


Kadai has revolutionised outdoor living and cooking since being introduced to the UK in 2004 by Christo McKinnon-Wood and his dedicated team in rural Shropshire. With green credentials at the heart of the Kadai’s ethos, the bowls are repurposed from old Indian cooking bowls or disused oil drums by skilled artisans in Rajasthan to Christo’s own designs. The relationship between the two has proved highly productive ever since with the addition of attractive new bowls, different height stands and one of the best barbecue and fireside accessories ranges in the UK. Christo commented: “I have always appreciated great design, both from a visual and functional point of view. A Kadai should be something people enjoy looking at, gathering round and cooking on at any time of year. I get inspiration too from talking to our stockists at events like Spring Fair and Glee who have really useful feedback about what their customers want.” Visitors to Spring Fair at the NEC were the first to see a number of exciting developments in the Kadai range for 2019. The new 5 year guarantee on bowls was launched to very positive feedback coming hand in hand with the launch of Kadai Beads which prolong the life of the bowl by not only providing heat insulation but are waterproof and washable too. The new Kadai Care Kit is also available to protect the bowl against New accessories launched for 2019 also included a new barbecue tool for flipping steaks, teak chopping boards, hand forged utensils, a Kadai Shelf, a folding trivet table and a kindling axe. With so many accessories in the Kadai range the company recommends slat walling to display the products and supplies slat walling dressing ideas with planograms. Christo commented: “We wanted to help our stockists by producing a product display that pulls customers in and educates them about how the Kadai is far more than a barbecue.” Anyone who didn’t make it to the Spring Fair will be able to see Kadai in action at Solex from 8th July or can call or email for a full price list and product brochures. CONTACT: 01694 771800

April 2019 13


Majority of millennials want gardening to be simple and easy

Recent research reveals that 84% of millennials would not garden unless it was simple to do, their gardens were easy to maintain and they would appreciate gardening being made easier. The research was conducted by Common Sense Gardening, an initiative from the Garden Group of the Crop Protection Association. “It has already been reported that the UK is hungry for horticulture and there has been a 29% increase in millennials enjoying gardening. Our research highlights how we can keep growing their interest and sew the seeds for their continuing involvement,” said Gary Philpotts, chairman of the Common Sense Gardening initiative. The Common Sense Gardening initiative’s latest research also highlights that: of millennial gardeners grow produce to cook with almost half growing tomatoes, strawberries, carrots and even potatoes, over a quarter grow their own herbs. said they grow their own produce as a cheaper alternative.



14 April 2019

45% 60%

ever conscious of their own wellbeing, grow their own produce for health reasons garden in their very limited spare time as a hobby, and to improve their wellbeing. Interestingly, the initiative’s 2019 research which showed the need for simplicity, ease of garden maintenance and gardening in general to be made easier, backs up the statistics which came out of The Common Sense Gardening initiative’s 2018 research which showed: would likely spend less time weeding their gardens believe that garden care products are fundamental to the proper maintenance of their gardens need a faster impact on remedying problem areas

40% 25% 37%

The Common Sense Gardening initiative works to ensure the safety of garden care products and assists consumers with any of their gardening issues.

“It provides gardeners with tips on the safe usage, storage and disposal of the garden products they use on a day to day basis, which helps to meet the growing environmental concerns of millennial and other gardeners alike,” said Philpotts. “With the increase in millennial gardeners, it is not surprising that the latest Gardening Trends Report last year stated that the overall UK garden market is now worth over £5bn annually. If we want the market to continue to grow, the entire industry needs to make sure that we help millennials to garden how they want, and that they ‘keep gardening’.” Visit


Be creative with colour This April tell your customers to paint their garden with colourful plants and brighten their outlook throughout the year! With help from the HTA’s ‘Gardening is Good for You!’ campaign, supported by National Garden Gift Vouchers and sponsored by IMARA for April, customers can get creative with colour. Whether your customer wants a calming area to relax or a vibrant space to party, show them colour themes to suit their mood, combining plants and accessories to create the perfect garden for their health and well-being. Encourage them to plan the colour of their outdoor space as they would their interior by considering the colour of fences, walls, structures and landscaping materials as well as pots, ornaments, furniture and other features to combine with their favourite plants and flowers. Different colours can influence on your emotions in different ways: 4RED – bold, bright, exciting and stimulating 4ORANGE – warm and vibrant, happy and fun 4YELLOW – cheerful, stimulating and welcoming 4GREEN – fresh, natural, calming and peaceful 4BLUE – simple, cool, calming and relaxing 4MAGENTA-PURPLE – striking and powerful 4WHITE-SILVER – pure, simple, clean and classic DO YOUR CUSTOMERS KNOW? Colour can influence your visual perception of space. By growing bright red plants at the end of a long, narrow garden you can make it appear closer than it actually is, while cool, blue flowers will look further away, giving the impression that the space is larger. Vibrant colours like red and yellow grab your attention, drawing the eye away from eyesores or views you’d prefer to ignore, while pure white and gold shine out on dull days and brighten a shaded spot. COLOUR THEMED DISPLAYS Garden centres can develop displays of plants around different colour themes. Plants can be grouped into different colour themed combinations to help customers choose perfect planting partners. Include colourful plants that add immediate impact as well as things that provide continuity to keep the colour coming right through summer, highlighting colour from foliage, bark and stems, autumn colour, as well as flowers, fruits and berries. Retailers can also promote colourful accessories, fencing, furniture and finishing touches. PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Retailers can choose plants to fit their selected colour themes. Perhaps use the principles of the Colour Wheel to create displays, or have fun with colourful groupings or partners. Highlight good planting companions eg 4PURPLE & YELLOW/GOLD – Geranium, Achillea, Rudbeckia. 4RED, YELLOW & BLUE – Solidago, Scabious, Camassia, Scilla peruviana. 4PURPLE, GREEN & ORANGE – Geum, Alchemilla, Geum. 4VIOLET, ORANGE & GREEN – Campanula, Erysimum, Salvia, Verbascum, Hosta, Euphorbia, Bergenia, etc. For further information go to or contact

April 2019 15


App will match up buyers and sellers at Glee Glee will introduce an app this summer designed to help suppliers and retailers to get the most out of their time at the show. Developed in response to the industry’s feedback, the new AI-powered event matchmaking solution - from market-leading experts Grip – works on a platform that has already proved its worth at leading events across the globe. Visiting retailers will be able to better measure – and even increase - their ‘return on time’ spent at the show through personalised exhibitor recommendations, and an easy to use meeting scheduling function. The app will also include an overview of the exhibition’s wider educational content and seminar programmes. For exhibitors, it provides a powerful new way to generate leads and manage meetings.. Exhibitor-focused features include the ability to filter and refine visitor recommendations via smart recommendations, as well as meeting delegation across the sales force. The smart

16 April 2019

meeting link makes it easy to invite existing clients to meetings, and an inbound leads section highlights the retailers interested in your company. The app is fully integrated with Outlook, Google Calendar and Apple iCal. Glee’s event director, Matthew Mein, said: “We’re excited to announce the introduction of the new Glee app. The industry has been calling for such a tool for some time, but we wanted to ensure we had the best possible platform at our disposal before launching. Grip has a great track record, and utilises responsive, live data to provide the most efficient and hardworking ‘matchmaking’ tool for both our exhibitors and visitors, helping to improve and increase the exhibition ROI for both. We look forward to rolling out the Glee app, and working with the market to make it go-to tool.” The app will be available on Apple and Android from early June and a web-based platform will ensure accessibility across all platforms and devices.

Leading supplier Trixie joins Pets at Glee 2019 One of the world’s leading pet product suppliers, German-based Trixie, has confirmed it will be exhibiting at Pets at Glee, further cementing the show’s value for pet and garden retailers. Bringing with it over 40 years’ experience, world-wide knowledge of the pet market thanks to its penetration in over 80 countries, and access to over 6,500 product lines for dogs, cats, birds, small animals, fish and reptiles, Trixie represents one of the biggest pet product suppliers active today. Making its debut at Glee in 2019, Trixie’s presence at Glee marks an exciting development for the dedicated pet sector. Ines Fanslau, Trixie Sales UK/Ireland, said: “At Trixie we pride ourselves on bringing to market the widest selection of product innovation; products that tap into the latest consumer trends and ensure pet owners are confident that they are making the best possible purchasing decisions for their much-loved pets. For us, Pets at Glee represents an unrivalled opportunity to showcase these products to a captive audience made up of both independent and multiple pet retailers. Additionally, Pets at Glee also gives us the opportunity to meet with garden retailers, online stores and high street shops – all of which represent a significant growth opportunity for us. “We’re excited to be at Pets at Glee this September, and hope visitors will enjoy the exciting new product launches we have in store including exciting developments within dog fashion. Additionally, we’ll be showcasing our bestsellers, and helping retailers to optimise those trends currently shaping our industry such as awareness and sustainability, and innovation and technology.” A number of other leading brands and independent manufacturers have also confirmed their presence at Pets at Glee in 2019, including Canine and Co, Jacobi Jayne & Company, Marriage Specialist Foods, RSW International, The Barking Bakery, Winners Europe, Bon EOOD, Global 1st Ltd and H.von Gimborn. 2019 marks a year of significant positive growth and development for Pets at Glee. The show has a responsibility to provide a platform for pet buyers to come together to source new product inspiration, learn more about the latest trends and issues affecting the market, and to facilitate better networking opportunities.


Building for the future When undertaking major building work at a garden centre it’s important to work with expert contractors. Newspan’s Dan Woods gives an insight into the company’s approach to all its projects.

How long has Newspan been involved in building works for garden centres? We have been operating for over 20 years in the garden centre industry. Prior to that both our Director and Administrator worked for Robinsons who were garden centre building specialists. The industry runs in the very core of Newspan and has done since we started. What current projects are you involved in? We are currently on site at Tong Garden Centre as part of the £4million investment to their site. We are just finishing off a job for Edward Tarbatt of Bridgford Holdings Ltd, building a 28m wide x 72m long retail unit on the same site as our previous project, Bridgford Garden Centre. Soon we will begin another exciting project, building a new centre for Haskins Garden Centres at their Snowhill site in Crawley. At what stage do you get involved in a project? We prefer to get involved with a project as early as possible. Building relationships is a really important element of what we do as it helps us really understand the aims and objectives of the development in the customer’s eyes. Our approach is always the same; to value engineer a project as much as possible – we feel the earlier the better with this plan of attack. We aim to assist not only the customer but also their chosen consultant with the practical application of their proposed plans. Planning permission will no doubt be part of the initial discussions and we can help out with examples of previous projects, typical design details and visuals of the proposed structures. However, dealing with planning authorities and hurdling necessary red tape is a skill in itself and we leave that to the experts in this field. We are happy to meet with customers and their consultants at an early stage and issue any information required from us in an attempt to make the planning process as straightforward as possible. Do you help with the design of the commercial buildings? With over 20 years of experience in the garden centre industry we feel in a good position to provide beneficial design advice to our customers. We have been fortunate to work with most of the top garden centres in the UK, allowing us to apply fact and evidence-based solutions to new projects.

18 April 2019

What a transformation! Newspan helped Henry Street Garden Centre to produce a stunning redevelopment. The degree of design input will depend on what point we become involved in a project. Our input can vary from initial sketches for the best way to fill a space on site or extend off an existing structure to being supplied with a finished architect drawing. For the latter there is still a vast amount of design work to do behind the scenes as every single detail and connection within our buildings is designed from scratch, in house. Building bespoke structures allow us to do what we love: to bring a customer’s drawings/visuals to life. How do you manage the building process so a garden centre can keep operating? Working in a retail sector means that any disruption to trade is a big deal for our customers. Whilst it is impossible to completely eliminate this with most projects, we are happy to work with clients to minimise impact on trade where possible. This can be achieved through amending the project plan or order of works if needed. For example, at Tong Garden Centre we changed our regular order of works to prioritise handover of an area of new plant canopy which allowed them to have utlise this new outdoor retail space in March. Refurbishments can be particularly challenging to maintain normal levels of service but we are happy to discuss such

elements with our clients but safety is paramount – if we can safely work in a way that helps their trade to continue with minimal impact, then we will. What do you say to a garden centre owner thinking of refurbishing their store? When planning a refurbishment to an existing building there are numerous things to consider; planning permission, the effect on trade during the project, the main aims of the refurbishment, total project cost and so on. The importance of these elements will be down to the customer to decide and they vary from project to project. Our advice would be to take a look at the existing structures you have on site. Existing canopies and Venlo buildings could offer opportunities for additional retail space or café seating, without the need to dig up the ground on site and erect new buildings. Consultation with us at an early stage will quickly let you know if these structures will be suitable for a Newspan refurbishment. We would always advise that you consult with your local planning officer before undertaking any works on site. Contacting Newspan T: 023 8026 9944 E: W:


Top retailing ideas GTN’s sister trade e-mail newsletter Pet Trade Xtra joined the record attendance of 166,513 at Crufts 2019 a few weeks ago in search of new products and great retailing ideas. Here are our highlights:

Company of Animals has launched a new version of the world famous Halti. Improved design for better dog comfort and built-in reflective nylon for safety mean you’re on to a surefire winner. Plus Dr Roger Mugford (above) has developed a No-Pull Harness that doesn’t require any skill to fit and adjust with three sizes fitting all dogs. And there’s more to come, Dr Mugford will be launching PupPod in the UK later this year. PupPod is a high tech gaming platform for dogs. E-mail:

20 April 2019

It was great to see a major pet food brand overtly sampling new customers and driving them into independent retailers. Barking Heads gave away plenty of samples and £3-off vouchers. With its high meat content this could be the premium wet or dry brand your customers are looking for. They also make Meowing Heads cat food. E-mail:

Looking for a completely different dog food offering for your customers? Different Dog may be served from freezers but it is cooked fresh each week to recipes developed by Charlie and Alex Thurstan who are seeking to “change the world, one dog at a time.” After Live TV exposure at Crufts 2019 Different Dog meals are sure to be in great demand. E-mail:

from Crufts 2019



If your centre is near an area where there are plenty of long dog walks with few or no bins for dog poo, Dickie Bags should be on your list of useful items to stock. Made of neoprene rubber as used for wetsuits, they are light, soft, strong, waterproof and smell proof. Garden centre pet buyers who saw them at Crufts were placing orders at the show. E-mail:

Natures Menu took the raw feeding benefit of smaller poos as its main marketing message for Crufts 2019. An extra large poo bag was the signpost for thousands of dog owners to sign up to the Poo Bag Challenge which gives them a week’s trial of Natures Menu raw food. Could you use the Poo Bag Challenge in your pet department to drive increased sales? E-mail:

As raw food sales continue to grow, Benyfit Natural offers something a little different with its Premium Raw dog food ranges. Launched at Crufts were the new World Explorer range, including Welsh Lamb, Italian Buffalo and Australian Kangroo. E-mail:

On a corner of the Petcetera stand at Crufts the Henry Wag Pet Noodle Glove Towel was selling like hotcakes. How about getting your pet sales team to demonstrate and use products during the day to create points of interaction and, of course, sales. E-mail:

April 2019 21

Sustainable solutions from elho

Gardeners are very environmentally aware and concerns about the use of plastic are causing many of us to seek more sustainable options. Gardening delivers a lot of environmental good but some activities come at a cost. Our customers know that the amount of plastic used in gardening is a problem and they are looking to retailers and manufacturers to find solutions. It’s important for the environment and for your business to meet this demand. That’s why elho pots and planters are made out of recycled plastic and produced using 100% wind energy. Our Green Basics range is made from 100% recycled plastic. The Green Basics Tomato Pot is made using old grow pots and around 12 recycled laundry liquid bottles go into producing a Green Basics Watering Can. Making it possible for your customers to grow their own fruit and vegetables sustainably and on a small scale.

matt finish and integrated water reservoirs make plant care easy for busy urban lifestyles and these stylish planters are all made from plastic production waste. Whether it’s indoor, outdoor or grow your own, use planted up pots and planters in your displays to create inspirational spaces in store. As the demographic of our customers changes, garden centres and suppliers across the industry need to work together to create displays that inspire younger customers. So that consumers who don’t have detailed gardening knowledge can come into a store and confidently make purchases – to get growing in a sustainable way.

The new Greenville collection of outdoor planters from elho is ideal for the style conscious gardener who is also environmentally aware. Trendy colours with a

22 April 2019

T: 07910 212155 E:





Action needed to avoid costly biosecurity breakdown Hillier Nurseries expert Hossein Arshadi reveals what’s needed from the government, media and public to prevent a costly breakdown in biosecurity. when they are already infected, making detection difficult.

Hossein Arshadi, divisional director at Hillier Nurseries, discusses why existing initiatives will not work in practice and what is needed from the government media and public to prevent a very costly breakdown in biosecurity.

What about Xylella? Xylella is one of the diseases that has a latency period and hundreds of host plants. If it arrives, it will be impossible to control.

In recent years there have been several plant health and biosecurity threats to UK trees and plants – for example, Ash dieback, Xylella and Oak Processionary Moth. How concerned is the industry? There are many wide-ranging businesses within the industry. Growers (or, real growers) are very concerned, others less so and some not at all. Are the steps DEFRA taking adequate to halt the spread of pests and diseases? No, I don’t think so. Look at the track record for the last 20 years – there has been a more than 600% increase in new pests arriving into the UK compared with the previous 20 years. What should DEFRA be doing? DEFRA biosecurity objectives should be putting in place systems that prevent host plants arriving in the UK (i.e. by banning host plants), rather than allowing the import of host plants and trying to identify or control them. This is a risky and very expensive strategy. There have been several biosecurity initiatives in the industry. What do you think of them? I know of two initiatives. One aims to work by quarantining imported trees for a period of 1 year. The other is the HTA’s Plant Health Assurance Scheme (PHAS). Both of these initiatives lack detail as to how they are supposed to work in all circumstances. A blueprint is needed to show how these schemes would work. Looking at the quarantine initiative, quarantine by definition means isolation. Therefore, trees that are in quarantine need

What are Hillier’s biosecurity objectives? Zero tolerance. We will not import plants that are host to major pests and diseases from infected areas identified by DEFRA. Are you against importing plants? No, not at all. We are only against importing plants that carry major risks to the industry and the wider environment. to be in a place where there is zero chance of cross-contamination. I am not sure this scenario exists. One cannot today quarantine thousands of trees in the same area, or even close to where other trees are grown and shipped out daily. PHAS is a scheme for traceability of host plants that will be audited. The scheme requires records to be kept from the plant’s place of origin all the way to its final planting location. PHAS requires plant importers to inform FERA (the Food and Environment Research Agency) before plants arrive so they can be inspected and detailed records kept as to where these plants will go. In addition, many other hygiene and husbandry records are required. In order for PHAS to work, all businesses without exception who handle and import plants must join the scheme. This includes nurseries, garden retailers, landscape contractors, traders, main contractors, online traders, local authorities, the Forestry Commission and any others who come into contact with plants. As we now know, it only took one oak tree with Oak Processionary Moth to contaminate thousands of trees. This continues to cost millions of pounds to keep under control. There are pests and diseases that have a latency period of 18 months or more, during which time plants show no symptoms even

What should the industry be doing to influence the behaviour of the public in relation to biosecurity? This is not a task the nursery industry can tackle on its own. It is a collective responsibility of the industry, the government and the media. They need to educate and inform the public and plant buyers of the seriousness of the risks. Hopefully, this will reduce the demand for imported, risky host plants. This may also lead to more UK nurseries growing such plants themselves – i.e. import substitution. What policy support from the government would you like to see to help bolster biosecurity? There needs to be very clear biosecurity objectives, not ones that are woolly and try to please everybody. The government should also set aside a compensation package to support nurseries who may suffer financially through no fault of their own. There should also be hefty fines for any businesses who don’t follow the rules. What can individuals do? Any individual buying plants can review the DEFRA Plant Health Risk Register and avoid buying imported plants that are on the list.

April 2019 23


Celebrating success Blue Diamond celebrated their annual awards last month at Chateau Impney in the West Midlands with Fermoys and Le Friquet winning the Acorn and Oak Cups for Blue Diamond Garden Centres of the Year. Trelawney and Redfields won the Blue Diamond Restaurant of the Year Awards and Managing Director Alan Roper was presented with a special award to recognise his 20 years at Blue Diamond. Over 500 staff from the 30 centres were joined by suppliers at the prestigious evening where winners were lauded across the group activities from Stock Management to Pastry Chef of the Year.

Award Winners 2019 Stock Management Award: 3 Shires Home Award: Carol Spain - Fermoys and Sarah Thompson - Redfields Christmas Award: Dennis Risdon - Trelawney and Matt Gouveia – Le Friquet Visual Merchandising Award: Suzie Young – Redfields

On receiving his award from Chairman Simon Burke and Life President Geoffrey Dorey, Alan said: “I’ve enjoyed every minute. There are 500 people in this room and there is a strong bond and strong connection between everyone of you. The energy, the sense of achievement and all being proud to work together as a great team..” Earlier in the evening Alan announced a new centre development had been agreed at Elveden in Suffolk with further developments in progress at Totley in the Peak District, Tewkesbury and Scotch Corner. “The group increased like-for-like turnover by 33% to £128m, excluding Wyevale acquisitions and East Bridgford, in 2018 and projected sales for 2019 are £170m.

Fashion Award: Helen Danning – Trelawney and Amanda Brown-Reed – St Peters Garden Care & Décor Award: Julie Sills – Harlow and Clye Hooper – Le Friquet Garden Features & Containers Award: Andrew Lloyd – 3 Shires Wild Animals Award: Suki Crook – St Peters Furniture & Outdoor Leisure Award: Tracey Uphill – Chatsworth and Matt Gouveia – Le Friquet Seeds & Bulbs Award: Fergus Keating – Brambridge Park and Tina Luker – Trentham Seasonal Plants Award: Martina [Mallet] – Matlock and Anna Lancaster – Redfields Hardy Plants Award: Peter Shirley – Fryers and Gemma Woods – Derby Indoor Plants Award: Katie Wardell – Newbridge and Kevin Fleming – Trentham Best Garden Centre for Social Media Engagement: Grosvenor Best Garden Centre for Customer Engagement and Loyalty: Fermoys Customer Service Superstar: All Blue Diamond Customer Service Managers Head Chef of the Year: John Waldron – Newbridge Pastry Chef of the Year: Tracey Miller – Chatsworth Restaurant of the Year: Trelawney and Redfields Core Garden Centre of the Year, The Acorn Cup: Fermoys Destination Garden Centre of the Year, The Oak Cup: Le Friquet.

24 April 2019

April 2019 25


Open for business Garden centre plant buyers were out in force and in positive mood at the Classiflora Open Days. Buyers from groups and independents, both large and small, were making the most of the Classiflora Open Day offers to buy large specimen plants, trees and other stock ready for the key selling season ahead. Buyers from over 160 garden centres attended the Open Days with orders placed over the two days up by 36% on last year. “We had a lot of buyers from centres that have added ex-Wyevale garden centres over the past six months,” said Sales & Marketing Manager Andrew Dayes. “We were already processing and delivering the £1m worth of Spring reserves that had already been booked but now we are packing and despatching 120 trolleys a day to keep up with demand.” Judging by the red tags out in the nursery the most popular purchases at the Open Days were Betula trees and red stemmed Acer’s Biho and Sango Kaku. Top: Buyers enjoyed a sumptuous Italian lunch. Above: The Kings of Exmouth team were buying extra stock for Sidmouth which they bought from Wyevale. Left: Red stemmed Acers were high on many garden centre shopping lists, including Root One in Oxfordshire. Right: Notcutts were adding plenty of Betula trees for their show gardens.

Looking great. The Nursery displays at Classiflora Open Day 2019.

26 April 2019

April 2019 27


Don’t mention the ‘B’ word VICKY NUTTALL DIRECTOR OF GIMA

At the time of writing we are 14 days away from ‘B-Day’. The Government has just voted to ask for an extension to Article 50 and a third meaningful vote is due to take place next week. At the time you’re reading this that date will have passed, and we might be on the next phase of our journey down the Brexit road. The goal posts keep changing, uncertainty is still in the air and that’s something businesses and consumers really don’t like. As an industry, we always glibly say that the weather is the single largest influencer on our businesses, but will that still be the case this year? Let’s hope so, we know how to cope with that! I’m going to stick my neck out and say that Brexit will probably not have a massive impact on the availability and prices of gardening products in the short term. Certainly for 2019 most suppliers will have already built their pre-season stock ahead of the peak, although I suspect there’s also been some extra stock piling going on. However, suppliers sourcing products from farther afield will probably still have containers

on the sea, not knowing what customs duty will be liable by the time they reach the UK ports. GIMA has made enquiries about what happens in these circumstances, and the truth is, nobody knows, so it’s a risk suppliers have had to be prepared to take. The UK domestic gardening market is served by UK, EU and businesses from around the world. GIMA represents companies from both the UK and the EU. Post Brexit, I suspect there will be winners and losers on both sides. Preparation and planning are often the key to success, but only advice on the outcome of a ‘No Deal’ scenario has been readily available to businesses, and the UK government are only now really engaging with the key industry bodies such as the CBI, and even they are struggling to provide any clear guidance. Many businesses have taken precautions to prepare for a ‘No Deal’ scenario, but could that be the ‘Millennium Bug’ all over again? Precious time and resource possibly wasted, or is it? Some businesses have even set up overseas subsidiaries or

logistics operations to prepare for the worst. Whilst the goal posts keep moving, the disruption to trade may be delayed further down the line. There is also the possibility of zero import tariffs on many goods which may well open the market up to cheaper imported goods. Great for the consumer, but this will undoubtedly have an effect on UK manufacturers. The Government has some difficult choices ahead of them, but a lot of the responsibility now lies with the EU and how willing they are to make sure a suitable arrangement can be agreed to move things forward. We have to be positive about the future, and I’m sure the ingenuity of our sector will ensure that consumers will continue to have their favourite gardening products on the shelves, but at what cost? Whatever the outcome, let’s hope the sun continues to shine. 4GIMA is here to hear the thoughts and experiences of its members, and would also love to hear from non-members also. Please share your experiences by emailing

GIMA AGM & Day Conference – Dobbies, Disruption & Megatrends The forthcoming GIMA AGM and Day Conference – 10th April, Ettington Chase, Warwickshire, CV37 7NZ – is set to focus on three main themes: Dobbies, Disruption and Megatrends. Headlining the Conference will be Marcus Eyles, the Horticultural Director at Dobbies Garden Centres. With 38 stores across Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, Dobbies remains one the leading garden centre chains, and during his presentation Marcus will be taking delegates on a journey as he outlines

28 April 2019

what Dobbies will be doing to develop the market going forward. Marcus’ session will also highlight how Dobbies work collaboratively with suppliers to create opportunities in the marketplace. The second speaker will be Steve Collinge, MD of Insight Retail Group Ltd, and Executive Editor of Insight DIY. In a special session entitled ‘The UK Gardening Industry – futureproof or ripe for disruption?’ Steve will tap into his knowledge garnered from a 30-year career at the likes of LG Harris, Spear & Jackson,

Cuprinol and Akzo Nobel Dulux, to look at the ways that our industry can prep itself for the unknown, as well as recognising its strength in a time of retail turmoil. The effect of consumer-facing megatrends upon the gardening of tomorrow will be studied in Philip Benton’s session. As Research Manager for Euromonitor International’s Home & Tech division, Philip will outline the latest ‘megatrends’ and will explain how they have the power to transform and disrupt entire product categories.

Recognising excellence & innovation at the GIMAs Entries for this year’s GIMA Awards, which returns for its 39th year this summer (4 July, Celtic Manor), are now open. Recognising excellence and innovation, the GIMAs have grown into the industry’s largest annual gathering of retailers and suppliers. There are nine product awards, three marketing awards plus Special Achievement, Supplier of the Year and Export Achievement awards. The overall product winner award, the Sword of Excellence (awarded to Neudorff in 2018) completes the array. Previous winners have included Gardena, Fallen Fruits, Willow Wand, Primeur, Burgon & Ball, Deco-Pak, Smart Garden Products, Apta, Vitax and Evergreen Garden Care (previously The Scotts Miracle Gro Company) Each has benefitted from the exposure that comes from being named a GIMA winner, including access to a panel of influential industry judges, recognition in front of hundreds of industry peers, and coverage in trade and consumer media. Vicky Nuttall, GIMA Director says the awards have gone from strength to strength in recent years. “The calibre of entries continues to raise the bar, reflecting the innovation that is driving our industry forward season after season. “I’ve no doubt that this year our judging panel – made up of top UK garden retailers and consumer and trade journalists, reflective of the omnichannel nature of our industry, will have their work cut out for them as the scale and quality of entries will continue to rise.” 4Closing date for entries is Friday 17 May, with the judging day confirmed for 18/19 June.

Animal Kingdom

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20 years of 1999-2019 20 years on and Fountasia remains a family run business. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our loyal customer base for all their support of our quirky and innovative products. We look forward to working with you for the next 20 years!

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GTN April 2019  

GTN April 2019