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gtn MAY 2017

Advice and information for garden centre professionals

Put pests in their place with Nippon As spring gets in full flow, gardeners are turning to pest control favourite Nippon to put pests in their place and keep them in check as summer approaches. Nippon is one of the UK’s leading and trusted pest control brands, with a wide range of products available to tackle most garden critters. From ants to wasps and rodents to moths, there is a product for every situation. Nippon’s Ant range is a firm favourite amongst gardeners. Consisting of nine products, best sellers include: Nippon Ant Killer Powder and Nippon Ant Control System. Nippon Ant Killer Powder is highly effective on ants and other crawling insects. Used both in and outside the home, users simply puff the powder down cracks or skirting. Long lasting, one application can last up to six months. If customers are looking for a more discreet pest control system, the Nippon Ant Control System is perfect. Containing two refillable ant bait stations and Nippon Ant Killer Liquid, it eliminates ants and their nests without a trace. Simply lay next to the ant trail, the ants will take the bait and return to their nest. For aerial threats, Nippon also has a range of fly, moth and wasp solutions. Nippon’s wasp range consists of three products: Nippon Wasp Control System, Nippon Wasp Nest Destroyer Foam and Nippon Wasp Nest Powder.

The Nippon Wasp Control System is safe to use around children and pets, and simply hangs from the tree. Containing a trap and attractant, it can last up to three months providing a wasp-free environment over the summer months.

For more information about Nippon, please visit:

From left to right: Daniel Wilkinson – Vitax’s managing director, Mark Butler – Vitax’s new sales manager and Colin Wetherley-Mein – Vitax sales manager.

Mark Butler joins Vitax As part of Vitax’s growth plans, the garden and horticulture product manufacturer has appointed a new sales manager to help expand into new markets. With almost 30 years’ industry experience, Mark Butler will be working alongside existing sales manager Colin Wetherley-Mein, who will be stepping down from his UK-wide role later this year to concentrate on Vitax’s key national accounts. Mark joins Vitax from Town & Country where he has spent the past three years as national sales manager. Prior to joining the fashion retail brand, Mark spent eight years at Solus and 18 years at Sinclairs working his way up from sales rep to key account manager. The appointment of a second sales manager is a first for Vitax, but essential to ensure a smooth transition for both customers and the existing sales team as Daniel Wilkinson, Vitax’s managing director, explains: “The success of Vitax is embedded in its sales team. Our customers trust not just our products, but also the relationship it has with its sales representatives and the company. “Colin has worked for Vitax for over 25 years and is well-respected by all. To ensure continuity and prepare for Colin’s change of role, we needed to appoint an individual that not only knew the industry, but also knew our customers too. Mark’s experience speaks for itself and we are delighted to have him on board.” In addition to working with customers and managing the sales team, Mark will be responsible for streamlining the existing sales system. “It is an exciting time to join Vitax as it has ambitious plans to grow its product range and is already investing in its online presence in preparation for that growth,” says Mark. Colin and Mark already have a great working relationship having spent the past three years on the GIMA Council together.

8-PAGE L SPECIA a boost

Women in gardening Michelle de Lavis-Trafford on the growing success of Choice Marketing p6


Give your sales orable by creating mem es nc rie pe ex er custom

Fit for business Marathon effort pays dividends for go-ahead firm p10

Advice and information for garden centre professionals

MAY 2017

Hands-off approach works a treat!

Looking ahead to Chelsea Special Preview p14-16

Guy Topping reveals the secrets of success Exclusive interview p2-4

THe TOP InTervIeWs People in the news


“My general manager Russell Winteridge is totally opposite to me. The last thing you want is two people like me running a centre”

HANDS-OFF APPROACH WORKS WONDERS As the first groundworks started on The Flower Bowl Leisure development, GTn met Guy Topping at Barton Grange, Brock. We wanted to find out the secrets behind his successful hands-off management style. Guy Topping admits he was more hands-on when he started out but realised he had to change when the business expanded to three garden centres. After adding Woodford to the centres at Bolton and Preston, Guy realised he couldn’t be at all three every weekend. “Warren Haskins told me the hardest step was going from two centres to three. When you go from one to two it isn’t so bad because you can oversee both. When you get to three you are suddenly a multiple and you can’t expect two shop managers and two planteria managers to pick up the phone and liaise because there is always a third person so it becomes a different game all together. “Once you’ve designed a system that works for three and you add a fourth, actually that’s not as big a step. “When we went to three we went through a lot of pain because we had to get far more systemised than we ever had been. We had to work out what our core values were, what it meant to be a Barton Granger. We had to have systems agreed for everything.” Guy Topping gives his acceptance speech after Barton Grange won the GCA Destination Centre of the Year for an incredible sixth successive year. Was it a difficult process to go through? Working with Lindsay Muir at Cedar Associates helped us to work out what we needed to do to keep the essence of Barton Grange running across three centres. Had we just stayed at one i’d never have done all that. We came up with a very detailed management folder with all the policies and procedures for everything in it which was agreed across the team and then as we downscaled all that stood us in good stead. We’d got the systems of a bigger company and then beyond that it’s come down to having some really good people.

Eddie Topping, Guy’s father and company chairman, visits the centre every day. Here he is with Rising Star Dan Holden keeping an eagle eye on retail standards.

2 May 2017

How important is it to have good people around you? The way i manage only works because of the people i’ve got. i’ve been extremely fortunate with russell Winteridge, the general manager here at Brock.

i’ve worked with russell for 16 years now and up to that point i’d always thought i’m good at managing a garden centre so i need to go and find someone else like me. That had regularly failed to deliver and when i took russell on he was totally opposite to me. When you think about it the last thing you want is two people like me. You’ve got to find people who can bring something into the business that you don’t possess. i like getting out and about, being away and coming up with new ideas. it’s pointless having someone else like that. You need someone who wants to stay here and be very pragmatic and make sure everything runs day to day. i was never any good at that because i got bored with it. Working closely with russell on the development of Barton Grange, Brock, has played a key part in the ongoing success of the business. He and i spent six years planning Brock.



Facts Figures

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 THE GTN TEAM Editor: Neil Pope Associate Editor: Mike Wyatt Managing 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


consecutive times winners of GCA Destination Garden Centre of The Year



covers in the Riverside Café and the Willows Restaurant




berths in the Barton Grange Marina

curling sheets and 6 bowling lanes when the FlowerBowl opens in May 2018 square meters of Reverro covered planteria million annual turnover

Did you have a master plan? We worked with Ernest Werthiem to get a master plan together so through that very lengthy process it helped Russell get an understanding of where I come from and for us to jointly agree what it was we were trying to deliver. That was a great education for Russell and myself. We spent a lot more time together talking about what it was we wanted and what our vision was than we would have done if he’d just come in and was running a business that was already there.

How do you manage to recruit the right people? Training, recruitment and induction play a big part in the life of a Barton Granger. All our managers and supervisors do training with Lindsay Muir, and even down below that. We are constantly putting quite a number of staff through those courses. I think that is vital because most people have never had any management training at all. You become quite good at something but no one ever (continued over the page)

OUR PUBLISHERS GTN is published by The Garden Communication & Media Company Ltd (TGCMC), 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 © 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 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.

May 2017 3


Work starts on the site of The Flower Bowl, planned to open in May 2018 with curling sheets, 10-pin bowling, crazy golf and cinema screens.

Curling comes to Barton Grange Enjoying your job, doing a good job and communicating well with customers. Being a Barton Granger starts right at the front door! tells you what it is you are meant to be doing and how you are meant to behave so that’s vital. it’s life skills really. All our recruitment is done through group interviews. we’ve been doing this for 15 years. Unless you’ve got the right personality you won’t get through the first interview. Qualifications and experience are irrelevant. Are you able to communicate in a group of people? Are you friendly? Have you got a bit of humour? Do you look people in the eye when you meet them and so on? Tell us a bit about your interview technique. i love our interviews. People forget they are in an interview as part of a group playing a bit of a game. their natural self comes out and you see what people they really are. You get 10 people in for an hour, it’s very time efficient. that’s been a big part of our success, getting the right people in. Before attending interviews, all applicants are sent a copy of what it means to be a Barton Granger. the first thing is about enjoying what you do and doing a good job, that’s very important to us. Communicating well with your colleagues and customers and being honest are at the top of the list too.” How important is it to have a stable workforce? Most of our department managers are very long standing, most have been here from when we opened Brock and before so they know what’s important to us and russell is very good at ensuring consistency and that everybody continues moving in that direction. it just works really and it’s probably better i am out of the way. How involved are you in the operational side of the garden centre? i don’t get involved in any of the garden centre operations directly. i did in the early years have a little bit of input still into Christmas and furniture buying where it is a big upfront commitment and big values of stock. i still felt i had a part to play but

4 May 2017

as time has moved on and it’s now less of a gamble than it used to be i don’t get involved in that anymore either. How is the excellence of Barton Grange consistently achieved? russell once said he hated being managed so his motivation is to get everything right so i don’t have to manage him which was great for me because i don’t particularly like managing people. we do have quite good management information. we’ve only got quarterly accounts but we have detailed gross profit reports every six months. it’s not instant but each period we know exactly whether we’ve delivered in each department. every quarter we know how the wages are against budget and over the past 15 years russell has delivered every time on gross profit, wage control and cost control so it’s almost become self-managing in a way. Will your hands-off approach extend to The Flower Bowl with its curling sheets, 10-pin bowling lanes, cinema screens, crazy golf and restaurants? Although i’m project managing the build, russell will manage the Flower Bowl as well Brock, making sure it runs like clockwork. Last year we recruited elizabeth Long as Operations Manager for the garden centre so russell gets a lot less involved in the day to day operations. it’s going to be very systematic over there. the garden centre is different because of seasons with big shifts in stock whereas the restaurant or a bowling alley are the same things happening day in and day out. Where do you see your main competition? “it’s the trafford Centre and the Lakes. i don’t think we are retail really – you look around here and we are just here for a leisure experience really. with the Flower Bowl we will be adding to the experience of coming here, moving us up people’s agenda of when and how often they come. visiting Barton Grange can mean watching a film in the early evening, getting fish and chips on the way out or playing crazy golf.

Why did you choose curling as the main activity for The Flower Bowl? It’s Sue Allen’s fault actually. She had been curling with her reading group at a rink in Tunbridge Wells called Fentons. I went down there with the family and seven of us booked a sheet of ice for two hours and we had a great time. I thought what a great sport. When I returned home I was approached by Preston Curling Club. Preston is actually the first English province of the Royal Caledonian Curling Club (the equivalent of the R&A for golf). It’s the longest standing English curling club and Preston has a rich tradition of curling. They currently curl at Lockerbie every fortnight so I joined the club to find out how it works and I’ve become a really keen curler along with my brother Pete. Preston Curling Club is really struggling, if we weren’t doing what we’re doing it would be about to disappear. It will be great to help keep it alive with its amazing history and trophies. The average age of curlers is 63 so it’s the ideal market for us. If you’re going to be good you do need to start young as with any sport but it’s actually an older person’s game. There’s a rich tradition of it around here so there will be quite a lot of interest, and there’s a lot of Scottish people in the North-West so they are a target audience. At Fentons in Kent, 90% of their business is corporate curling, so it’s businesses coming for a day out, team building, birthday parties, rotary clubs, WIs and that is what they are aiming at, not regular people. We will probably have one night a week when it’s serious club curling and the rest of it will be people hiring it out for them and few friends to come and have a go. We want it to bring more people into the garden centre, then it makes the whole site more attractive for the day.

“The average age of curlers is 63 so it’s the ideal market for us“


Women in gardening Michelle de Lavis-Trafford CEO Choice Marketing Ltd

How and when did you get started in the garden centre industry? My involvement in the garden industry started way back in 1992, managing the commercial operations of a small timber benching company before joining Stewart Plastics in 1993. As their Marketing Manager for garden products, the role gave me a solid foundation in determining what retailers were looking for in our industry. I became interested in the development of buying and marketing groups for independents which eventually led me to working with the founders of Choice Marketing Ltd. Have you been at Choice since the start in 2002? Yes, I have worked with Choice since Day 1 when the group comprised just 10 members. Because of my background on the supplier side of the industry, I was able to develop sound relationships with the group’s suppliers to establish true working partnerships to achieve common objectives. Why would garden centres want to join Choice? Rebates, trading terms and marketing have to be our top three reasons. Choice members retain their autonomy whilst benefiting from the economies of scale through group purchasing, leading marketing initiatives and being treated as a ‘multiple retailer’ when it comes to service levels. Equally important, Choice looks after the interests of its members, who value the comradeship, working together, support and learning from each other. It is a true co-operative. Choice is a ‘not for profit’ organisation, meaning that all the supplier annual rebates go back to members, which in the last seasonal year accounted for a massive £1.35 million. The growth in member garden centres over the last decade is testimony that the model is working. Do you have expansion plans for the group? Choice now has 39 member centres within the group and there are more additions planned for 2017 as our enquiry levels continue to grow. Our group turnover is now in excess of £110m.

6 May 2017

What are the biggest issues your members face? Competition from the internet and discount retailers. We are trying to combat this by buying better and offering our members a constant stream of deals and marketing solutions. What’s the most difficult part of your job? It’s a challenge to please all our members and suppliers all the time. It can be a bit of a juggling act, particularly with the busy start to the season we are currently experiencing. What do you think is your biggest achievement at Choice? The growth and success of Choice Marketing – although this has been a team effort. My role has been to bring together all the elements required to drive this success. I am particularly pleased with the highprofile status which we now enjoy within the industry. We have gained the respect of our suppliers by delivering exactly what we promise. Our annual members’ conference and trade show in October is now a sell-out event too. How far ahead do you plan your promotions? Depending on the product range our lead times can be anything up to 14 months. But having said that, we can react very quickly to promotions that come in from our suppliers on a daily basis. What kind of marketing do you undertake for members? The Choice team is extended by our external Marketing Team. We have four tiers available to our members, depending upon the level of marketing they wish to undertake. All activity is totally bespoke to individual members’ requirements and currently includes mailers and leaflets, reward cards and loyalty schemes, e-newsletters, banners and POS and assistance with social media, web content and design. We now have over two million leaflets going out at key times of the year. For more information on Choice Marketing Ltd visit

How do you choose an Associate Supplier? Within our membership, we have enormous experience and expertise. our forums comprise members with specialist knowledge who regularly assess products and commercial packages offered by existing and potential suppliers. We work with a limited number of suppliers and cannot take on too many competing ones as this dilutes what we are working to achieve. We also monitor closely what is happening in the market and can quickly identify and respond to changes. Is there any flexibility in what products members can take? Yes absolutely. in order to secure the best deals for our members, we negotiate terms and pricing linked to agreed group sales targets. However, with garden sundries, we have a number of ‘major Suppliers’ where members are required to purchase an agreed percentage of stock from the selected supplier, usually not less than 70%. But we don’t tell our members what to stock, they can choose their own ranges from within the agreed stock listing.


Crowd pleasers As we approach peak season for growing media and plant food sales, we talk to Manos Kanellos, Sales & Marketing Manager at leading manufacturer Growth Technology about the increasing popularity of orchids. GTN: Manos, Growth Technology products make regular appearances in GTN’s Bestsellers Top 50, against stiff competition from other leading brands. How have sales been this year so far? MK: Simply put, beyond expectations. Our sales grow steadily every year and in March we reached a new record. 2017 promises to be our best year by far. GTN: What is it about the quality of Growth Technology products that makes them special? MK: We focus on plants for unparalleled quality. We don’t cut any corners and we go the extra mile to create truly excellent products. For example our fertilisers are urea free, and they contain all of the 14 nutrients plants need. Our Orchid Focus Repotting Mix is simply graded bark for the best results with orchids. In turn our products enjoy a great

reputation and a loyal following with the public. GTN: Persuading consumers that your products are the best is a big challenge. What’s the best way to help garden centres get that message across? MK: Our product design and packaging conveys quality, and people respond to that, but we also try to educate garden centre staff and customers with talks. Information leaflets, online tutorials and talks all help to convey the message. GTN: What kind of service can stockists expect from Growth Technology? MK: We are a good company to do business with. We always try to go the extra mile for customers. We have a wide range of products, a minimum carriage paid order of just £200 and we normally dispatch within one to two days. We supply product stands where required and we help stockists increase sales with events aiming to educate customers on how best to care for orchids. We have helped stockists organise more than 60 events this year so far with excellent feedback from stores and customers. GTN: What happens at Growth Technology’s ‘Orchid Day’ events? MK: The format is flexible but an orchid day

normally consists of two talks about orchid care, each followed by a plant clinic. People are encouraged to bring their own plants for an MOT and possibly repotting if needed. We have had people bring as many as ten plants for repotting. The average audience is 40 to 50 people with talks often attracting over 70 orchid enthusiasts. These talks are a great way for garden centres to differentiate their offer from other outlets. We have been helping garden centres organise such events for over eight years now and they are growing more popular every year. Our team of orchid experts include Peter White (President of the Orchid Society of Great Britain), Chris Channon (retired orchid grower), Ian Parsons (Vice-President of the British Orchid Council) and myself, a plant scientist by training. The calibre of people who are involved in these talks is a testament to the quality of our products. They are long days but very rewarding. It is a great feeling to share our enthusiasm about plants and help people grow better orchids. GTN: Do you have any tips for stockists on how to merchandise your product range to maximise sales? MK: A brand specific stand in the houseplant area seems to increase sales especially where we attach a TV showing how to best use the products and how to repot an orchid. We are looking to increase the quantity of video clips with tips on how to care for and repot other plants.

8 May 2017


What garden centres are saying about Growth Technology’s Orchid Days Jo Dales, marketing manager, Tong Garden Centre: It was an extremely successful event in store that we are keen to repeat. It generated lots of interest and customer feedback was excellent. We saw an increase in both the sale of orchids and orchid-related products. Katrina Holford, Parker’s Garden Company: Our orchid day was a huge success with over 80 people attending the talks. Houseplants and sundries sales were much increased as a result. Thank you for an extremely interesting and informative orchid day.

Orchid Day at Perrywood. Image: GAP Photos Ltd. 2017

Hannah Powell, Perrywood Garden Centre: We have run Orchid Days with Growth Technology for several years now, and they are always well attended. Saturday is always more popular than Sunday. The talks from Peter White and Manos are very informative (although we have to be on hand to stop them talking, they are so passionate!) and the re-potting service is extremely popular, with some people bringing in their entire collections. The main benefit for us is the opportunity to buy in a larger range of orchids for two weeks, and to showcase these stunning plants. Customers keen on orchids know that it's the best time of the year to come in and buy at Perrywood and are delighted

Tong Garden Centre, Bradford when we have something a bit different for sale. Sales of products and orchids do increase as well, and the extra footfall drives sales in the rest of the garden centre and coffee shop. Daryl Pollard, Sunshine Garden Centre: We have hosted several Orchid Days over the past couple of years. They are usually held twice a year, spring and autumn. Attendance is usually between 20-30. The event is advertised with flyers and posters provided by Growth Technology. Manos gives talks on a host of orchid species and fields all sorts of queries. He also runs a repotting clinic where customers can bring in an orchid for a health check and a repot, resulting in a sale for pots and compost. Customers usually ask when the next one is. GTN: Does the market you operate in have potential for further growth? MK: Absolutely. Houseplants and orchids always brighten our homes. As the average house and garden gets smaller houseplants satisfy a basic need to have plants and beautiful flowers around us. And let's not forget we also manufacture and sell products for a wide range of plants from

palms and olives to tomatoes and chillies. GTN: Finally, do you have plans for new products or projects that you can share with us? MK: We have a number of new products in the pipeline but as one of my favourite TV characters says: “I couldn’t possibly comment...”

Scotsdales, Horningsea

May 2017 9



minutes with Steve Morgan Managing Director, Zest 4 Leisure

Steve Morgan ran the Manchester Marathon with 24 other Zest 4 Leisure employees to raise more than £9,000 for Cancer Research UK. Here he explains GTN how Zest is committed to employee fitness and long-term well-being.

How did you manage to persuade 24 of your staff to take part in a marathon? Zest is a family company, but we are actually just more like a family. Everyone knows that I love physical challenges, and I hope they also know how passionately I believe in taking everyone on the journey with me, regardless of ability. The Manchester Marathon started with a post-Christmas dip; people felt like they had over-indulged, the weather wasn’t great and we all needed renewed focus and vigour. It was at that point the staff voted for our chosen charity, and we decided we needed to do something inspirational and ambitious. We asked all managers to get on board and encouraged anyone who wanted to take on the challenge. The incentive of a personal trainer twice a week, with healthy diet plans, time off work to run and an inclusive stay in a spa hotel afterwards (with plenty of re-hydration and refueling!), helped us get a fantastic number of people to sign up. We trained at 7am in one of our warehouses before having to move out to other spaces in the company. This, and speaking to people, made everyone want to get on board and get fit.

me space and thinking time that ends up with great ideas that do not always occur in the office. What motivates me is the result. When I have completed my 1,000 mile 2017 challenge, I know it will inspire others to take on their own challenges – like a local group of schools who run a triathlon inspired by John Vaughan, our Fencing and Timber Buildings Manager, or other employees from Zest or P&A Group. It’s also about having a clear goal. Running for hours or miles of sea swimming makes a long day in the office easy by comparison. It’s about getting the most out of life, and also supporting those who need support such as our local community and charities like Cancer Research UK.

How proud are you of your team’s efforts? I am unbelievably proud of my team’s efforts, and I believe that what we did is unprecedented in the horticultural business in terms of percentage of staff to run, and complete, a marathon. It’s no secret that teams who play sport or train together, pull together and work better together. What shone out was the absolute grit and determination shown by so many individuals who overcame personal obstacles, all because they decided they would. It’s true what they say, ‘if you think you can or you think you can’t you’re probably right’. I know a few people wobbled at times and hit some dark places, but we all got through it because no-one gave up. That tells me we have people around us we can rely on – they do what they say they will do.

Will you do this type of thing again? For those people that missed out on the fun and the blisters this time around, there are other opportunities just round the corner – so get your trainers on.

Did you stick together in the race? It was never going to be possible that everyone’s pace was going to be the same come race day. But what we achieved collectively was far greater than the sum total of everyone’s individual efforts. I couldn’t ask for a better team. Thank you to everyone who motivated and supported us along the way.

What motivates you to take part in extreme sports? I complete a lot of Ironman challenges and I push myself as I know that we are all capable of going beyond our limits if we try. Fitness and well-being is fundamentally what I want for me and the team. All the training gives

10 May 2017

“A fit and healthy workforce makes a happy workforce” Do you think a fit and healthy workforce helps productivity? Absolutely. As a company Zest is committed to employee fitness and long-term well-being. we were delighted to be able to arrange training sessions at our warehouse at 7am twice a week with a personal trainer to help everyone focus on the goal. A fit and healthy workforce makes a happy workforce. the team really came together as a unit; through the tough training sessions and also in victory. it also impacts on those not running, as they are all proud to be part of the P&A Group or working for Zest. we are into our peak time now and looking at another busy season, so the need to support each other is as important as ever. this achievement makes me feel even more confident that we will achieve success – we just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and aim high!




Thompson & Morgan has reiterated its commitment to retailers following its recent purchase of by multi-channel retailer, BVG. Chief executive Iain Burgess said: “BVG is a truly multi-channel retailer and 33% of our business is through retail outlets. We totally support T&M’s retail seed business and we’re fully invested in boosting this vital side of its business – we see it as an area of substantial potential growth.” Thompson & Morgan’s head of operations Mark Tibbenham commented: “We will not be leaving our valued retailers in the lurch. A key part of BVG’s interest in purchasing Thompson & Morgan was to enhance its retail offering, and we’re already working together to do just that.” Thompson & Morgan’s 2018 retail seed range launches in mid-May.


This year’s Rising Stars Programme has begun with 25 hopefuls competing to win the prestigious title of Rising Star 2017. The programme, run by Westland Horticulture and the GCA, is now in its ninth year. The Northern Masterclass kicked off at Barton Grange Garden Centre (above) while the Southern Masterclass took place at Squires Badshot Lea, which also featured a special guest appearance from The Sun journalist Peter Seabrook. Each Rising Star will now embark on their first project, transforming a space in their garden centre into a selling hotspot, which will inspire and educate customers while increasing sales.


This year’s GIMA Charity Golf and Activity Day dinner will be hosted by Richard Pitman. Pitman, a retired jump jockey, rode 470 winners in his career including Lanzarote in the 1974 Champion Hurdle and 4000 losers, which includes Crisp in the 1973 Grand National when he was pipped to the post by the legendary Red Rum. He joined the BBC TV racing team in 1976, and since then has become an author, he has written a total of twelve books, seven of which are based on racing. The Charity Dinner will take place on the evening of 8th June at Telford Hotel and Golf Resort following the annual golf day and the inaugural Kwik Cricket and Laser Shooting Challenge.


The 2017 Love Your Plot industry campaign has been launched with a new website. The new website is designed to provide inspiration and information for non-gardeners across the seasons and the individual months of the year with the aim of getting people to make more of their outside spaces, no matter the size. Website visitors will be asked to sign-up to receive a copy of a new consumer newsletter. This year, the Love Your Plot campaign is offering companies the chance to sponsor an industry category for a calendar month. First to sign up was National Garden Gift Vouchers for the month of March, promoting vouchers as the ideal Mother’s Day gift. Grange Fencing and Elho also signed up for April and May respectively.


A second Bunnings Warehouse store has opened its doors to customers on Hatfield Road, St. Albans, Hertfordshire. Over 50 new jobs have been created, in addition to 30 new positions at the first Bunnings Warehouse store in Griffiths Way, which opened in February. The company, part of Australia’s Wesfarmers Group, plans to invest up to £500million rolling out the Bunnings Warehouse format in the UK and Ireland over three to five years.

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

12 May 2017

Career Moves

A familiar face amongst Glee’s marketing team has reason to celebrate as they become the show’s new permanent Senior Marketing Executive. Luke Murphy will be well known to many Glee exhibitors, thanks to his involvement in the 2016 show under his previous role as Senior Partnership Executive, which also saw him work across Spring and Autumn Fair. Luke will be leading the development of Glee’s brand and marketing plans, and helping to build the long-term strategy for the show. The Senior Marketing Executive role will also see Luke responsible for the management of Glee’s full marketing campaigns across online and social media channels.

Stuart Staples has joined Westland as Head of Technical for Lawns, to lead its innovation push. He will have a key leadership role in Westland’s expanding technical team alongside Mark Hamill who will head up the Growing Media technical function. Stuart will focus on lawn care and lawn seed development, building on the success of recent product additions – such as Westland SafeLawn and Gro-Sure Smart Lawn Seed. He will be tasked on driving forward product innovation, channel developments and extending geographical reach of Westland lawncare product offer. Stuart has over 20 years’ experience in the lawn and fertiliser sectors and has a strong track record of bringing innovative products to market for both the horticultural, amenity and agricultural market sectors.


Ambitious ideas will make up for this year’s lack of sponsorship Show garden numbers in Main Avenue may be down – there are only nine this year, with some regulars absent – but the 2017 RHS Chelsea Flower Show promises its usual bumper bundle of ideas and inspiration, with sustainability a recurring theme. There are 24 show gardens in all. In addition to the Main Avenue creations from world class designers like Chris Beardshaw and James Basson, there are nine biggerthan-ever artisan gardens (a record), five Fresh Gardens and the RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden designed by Olympic Park guru Nigel Dunnett. And, of course, there’s the incomparable Grand Pavilion, which will host more than 100 displays. The context for Professor Dunnett’s design, which will not be judged for a medal, is an urban high-rise and apartment development, to demonstrate the multiple benefits of plants and gardens in even the smallest of areas, and provide a vision for the future development and use of private, communal and social spaces. In the Show Garden category, James Basson will be aiming for his third consecutive Gold medal with a re-creation of a quarry landscape in Malta for main show sponsors M&G (who have said they will not be renewing their sponsorship deal with the RHS next year). The garden will promote the idea that abandoned industrial sites can be rejuvenated using plants. Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins team up for the third time with The Chengdu Silk Road Garden which combines architecture

Gary Breeze’s design will feature a replica of an 800-year-old boat discovered in the Norfolk Broads.

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Chelsea’s Grand Pavilion with ts 100-plus floral exhibits is regarded as the jewel in the RHS’s crown.

and planting in a conceptual East-West landscape with a dramatic ‘Silk Road’ bridge linking the different elements. Lee Bestall’s garden will celebrate 500 Years of Covent Garden , while Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam aim to highlight endangered heathland for Wellington College. Chris Beardshaw, going for his 12th Gold, is working with the National Youth Orchestra, which will perform, in an oak pavilion in the heart of the garden, a composition inspired by the design. In the Artisan Gardens category, Gary Breeze will build a garden featuring a replica of an 800-year-old boat that was discovered in the Norfolk Broads. Ishihara Kazuyuki returns for his 12th year with Gosho No Niwa inspired by the Kyoto emperors of Japan. The unique work of inspirational Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí is the

focus of Sarah Eberle’s Viking Cruises Garden of Inspiration. Fresh Gardens include Jack Dunckley’s The Bermuda Triangle which will resemble an active volcano surrounded by tropical planting. At 23, Jack is one of the youngest garden designers ever to exhibit at an RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Kate Gould’s City Living demonstrates how to create a usable green space in an urban apartment block, and Mind Trap by Ian Price is about his personal experience of depression. In the Great Pavilion, Hilliers will be aiming for its 72nd consecutive Gold medal with the ‘Hillier’s Spring’ display, which features a 4.3m high metallic spring. Burncoose is focusing on plants for unexpected pollinators such as flies, moths and beetles. Birmingham City Council celebrates the weird and whimsical world of quirky inventor Rowland Ernett and, new to RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Hare Spring Cottage Plants, which holds the largest collection of genus Camassia after amalgamating its own with that of the late plantswoman Margaret Owen. Also in the Great Pavilion, the Discovery Zone features the Come to Your Senses Eco Garden by Scotts Miracle-Gro, aiming to tackle the overstimulated and sedentary lives of children with a design that encourages them to enter a garden haven. The British Ecological Society’s Delight in the Dark will showcase the diversity of shade-tolerant plants.

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Radio 2 gardens bring Chris Evans breakfast show to Chelsea Five ‘feel good’ gardens designed in collaboration with BBC Radio 2 to show how plants can enrich and indulge the senses are to be created at the Chelsea show. Each will be named after a Radio 2 presenter and will take one of the five senses – touch, taste, smell, sight and sound – as its theme. The designers – Sarah Raven, James Alexander-Sinclair, Jon Wheatley, Matt Keightley and duo Kate Savill and Tamara Bridge – aim to demonstrate how gardens provide havens to calm the body, relax the mind and make us feel better. The gardens will uplift the senses and encourage people to lose themselves amongst a feast of sights, scents, sounds, flavours and textures to make you feel happier, calmer and generally better about the world. The project, which will include an outside broadcast by Chris Evans during his breakfast show, also celebrate BBC Radio 2’s 50th anniversary. Chris Evans says he was “beyond thrilled” to be taking the Breakfast Show to Chelsea, where he will be working alongside with Mary Berry on one of the gardens. “We’re going al fresco and gardening bonkers for a very special show at the world’s most prestigious horticultural happening. We cannot wait,” he added. Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says: “Growing plants and gardens help us to feel better both physically and mentally. We spend too long at our computers or on our phones; these gardens are a reminder that

16 May 2017

we need to give our senses a treat, get out into the garden and get close to nature.” Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 said: “We know many of our listeners take great pleasure from the great outdoors and I’m looking forward to seeing how the designers of the gardens interpret the spirit of Radio 2 and our presenters in flower and vegetable form!” The five BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens: 4The Chris Evans Taste Garden designed by Jon Wheatley (illustrated above) 4The Jo Whiley Scent Garden designed by Tamara Bridge, 2015 RHS Young Designer of the Year, and Kate Savill. 4The Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden designed by Sarah Raven 4The Jeremy Vine Texture Garden designed by Matt Keightley (illustrated below


4The Zoe Ball Listening Garden, designed by James AlexanderSinclair to simulate the ‘feel’ of music through the body. The gardens are half the size of Chelsea’s big show gardens and will have the Royal Hospital Chelsea as a backdrop.

Industry’s Chelsea garden will celebrate Peter Seabrook’s 40 years at The Sun The design has been revealed for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show industry showcase exhibit entitled ‘40 Sunbury Road’. The garden, the first back garden exhibit to be staged in the Great Pavilion at Chelsea, is a collaboration between the HTA, Peter Seabrook and The Sun and is a celebration of Peter’s 40 years working at the newspaper. The aim is to create a typical modest suburban back garden that will inspire consumers and offer some new and interesting ideas to copy. The garden will contain a patio area and small children’s garden, hanging baskets and containers, a wildlife area, a shed, greenhouse and living walls. Trees and shrubs and other structural elements will be provided by HTA and APL members and garden product supplier members. The HTA is sourcing a wide range of plants for this year’s exhibit, including annuals and basket/container plants, perennials, shrubs, small trees, cordon fruit trees, vegetable, salad and herb plants. Over 100 companies contributed last year.

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Creating a memorable experience


How to keep customers flocking back GTN’s Greatest Awards reward excellent teamwork and creative ideas that help to drive footfall and growth. in this 8-page special we pick out some great examples of how you can boost your sales. As GTN’s team of experts start to make the hundreds of garden centre visits for this year’s Greatest Awards, a review of the 2016’s competition reveals an interesting retail phenomenon that is setting UK garden centres apart from other retailers. GTN has discovered that the greatest garden centres are delivering what’s been described as Creating Memorable Experiences, a phenomenon that sets them

apart from the rest in the eyes of their customers. Every time a garden centre creates a truly memorable experience they increase the potential for that customer to return and for them to tell others about their experience and encourage them to sample it too. As you’ll see in this 8-page special, memorable experiences in garden centres come in all shapes and sizes. But the key is

INSPIRED BY CHELSEA Memorable experiences start by the front door at Perrywood Garden Centre in Essex. These photos taken during Chelsea Flow Show week 2016 make the link between the glorious TV images and plants that were on sale in the garden centre planteria. Satisfaction guaranteed for customers inspired to plant in this style.

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delivering customer satisfaction, something great garden centre teams have at the core of their retailing ethos. Who needs consultants and ‘experts’ from other areas of retailing to inspire us? A tour around some of the Greatest Garden Centres in the UK provides a plethora of ideas and stimulation. We hope you agree and we look forward to meeting all of the great teams nominated for glory in 2017.

WINNING WITH HERBS Main picture: This was the most memorable herb display the GTN experts saw last year. No wonder Bents Garden & Home near Warrington are constantly re-stocking their herb sales area. Far left: That final purchase at the till can make all the difference when it comes to customer satisfaction, and for Scotsdales in Cambridge fresh herb plants are a winner.


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MAKING AFTErNOON TEAS MEMOrABLE At Green Pastures near Norwich they underline the memorable moment of their afternoon teas by serving them in a garden trug, decorated with edible flowers and salad leaves grown in their own polytunnels.



Afternoon tea, properly executed, is a surefire way to create a memorable experience. Walkers Nurseries near Doncaster hold monthly afternoon tea specials with entertainment to add to the ambience.

Award winning centres in GTN’s Greatest Awards like Fron Goch in North Wales make sure they shout about their wins and their homemade baking. That’s a winning combination that’s sure to generate more vists.

GrOW YOur OWN SALAd LEAvES During the height of the season 60 different salad leaves are grown at Green Pastures meaning their chef team always have the best selection of produce for their uniquely memorable dishes.

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inspiring and enticing A visit to Mains of Drum in Scotland starts with this memorable view from the car park and then a dramatic statement in the entrance lobby. So crisp, inspiring and enticing!

grow your own salad leaves During the height of the season 60 different salad leaves are grown at Green Pastures meaning their chef team always have the best selection of produce for their uniquely memorable dishes.

top oF tHe pots Right: Even in deepest rural Scotland the plants team at Mains of Drum know they can make more memorable sales by being Top of the Pots.

make a stunning welcome ➜

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STOP AND LOOK AT THIS! Memorable displays start in the gift area at Walkers Nurseries near Doncaster. These Buddhist monks were spotted by the garden centre’s team during a Dutch study tour. They created a real ‘stop and look at this’ moment as well as high value sales.

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WONDERFUL WELCOME What would High Street retailers give for being able to create a memorable welcome like this display at Scotsdales, Cambridge? It looks good, smells great and acts as a living label to drive sales inside.

TEMPTING PLANT OFFERS NEAR THE ENTRANCE “If people take a trolley when they come in we know they will buy more. That’s why we have a fantastic plant offering by the front door every day, all year round,” explained the Scotsdales plant team. “Pick up one of these offers and you need a trolley.” That’s an idea worth remembering.

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Staggering diSplayS of plantS This was the most beautiful plant display in a garden centre we saw last year. Not A-Z, not even grouped by variety. Just arranged to create a staggering display as it could appear in a real garden. It drew customers out into the Timmermans planteria, Nottingham, and inspired many an impulse purchase.

making the right choice “Is this the right pot for this plant?� is the most asked question at Bents Garden & Home, Warrington. No surprise when customers are inspired by these classy and dramatic pot and plant displays.

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VIBRANT AND INTERESTING And every pot display looked vibrant and interesting at Timmermans, even on a damp summers day. They all had plants with them, after all that’s why a customer buys a pot, to put a plant in it!


DAZZLING DISpLAYS WORK WONDERS Dazzling displays of Manhattan Lights West Country Lupins at Bents created memorable moments in the ‘Open Sky’ covered planteria, and then in thousands of gardens in the area as they were checked out through the tills by the trolley load.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS Knowing your customers is a key to delivering special experiences. At Raemoir they have plenty of customers stopping off on their way to Balmoral so anything with a Royal theme will always sell well.

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Home-made The DIY approach to a café startup When a Rutland wholesale nursery decided to add a fullscale garden centre to its business, they adopted a totally in-house approach to planning, designing and project managing their new cafe. Mike Wyatt reports. Welland Vale Nurseries at Uppingham has been a respected supplier of plants to garden centres and landscapers since the 1970s, but as making a living as a wholesaler became more difficult, owner Trevor Burns and his family decided three years ago that the future for the business lay in retailing direct to the consumer. Like many nurserymen before him over the past 50 years, he chose to develop part of the site as a full-blown garden centre, but with the emphasis very much on plants rather than the lifestyle approach adopted by many modern destination centres. There is still a limited wholesale operation on the site, plus a targeted trade cash-and-carry and an on-line department supplying hedging plants and climbers. However, the jewel in the crown – and the part Trevor expects will expand further in time, is Garden Inspirations, the new garden centre that opened its doors in the spring of 2014. It’s location on the outskirts of Uppingham is a sloping site with the access road running through the middle. Like Frosts at Woburn Sands, the road dissects the operation: the cafe, the main planteria and the car park are on one side, the covered plant sales area and garden shop building on the other. Although unusual and, to some I suspect, counterintuitive, the link between the two has been cleverly and imaginatively realised by lining the pathways and railings with plants all the way to the entrances.

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Whichever route you choose to walk from the car park, you are in no doubt that this is a serious plant centre. The main planteria,which is the first place you are invited to explore from the car park, eschews conventional A-Z benching in favour of informal floor level groupings that allow you to appreciate the plants as they might look in the garden. But, of course, as we all know, garden centre man can’t live by plants alone and a catering offer of some kind is de rigueur these days. Many businesses call in the consultants at the planning stage, as catering is a specialism often regarded as best left to the experts. But the Burns family decided to go it alone and handle the entire project themselves, from planning the layout, choosing and decor and managing the project through to its conclusion. “We just worked out how we wanted to do it and just got on with it, with inputs and skills from a lot of different people,” Trevor said. The starting point was the almost-derelict potting shed, now amazingly transformed into the Orchard Café, an attractive, homely and extremely comfortable place in which to enjoy coffee and cakes or a freshly cooked meal. With 10cm of insulation in the floor, roof space and walls, the cafe has unusually soft acoustics in which voices do not carry far. “The acoustics in some garden centre

restaurants we visited are atrocious,” Trevor said. “You can’t even have a conversation.” Trevor and his wife (who, incidentally, chose the colour scheme and decor) went for espresso coffee made by trained baristas, rather than the faster and easier filter option. Probably the biggest decision was to offer a food-to-table service, as distinct from a servery, as part of the Orchard Café’s quality proposition (“Serving only freshly-prepared wholesome food”). The total investment was around £200,000. The Orchard Cafe made a loss in the first year, broke even in the second and is heading for profit this year, with a turnover around £250,000 within sight. “The café has a very relaxing atmosphere,” Trevor says. “We are pleased with the overall ambience and we’re very proud of what we have achieved here.”




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May 2017 27


The DIY approach to a café startup continued from prevous page The Orchard Café at Garden Inspirations aims to echo the garden centre’s character as a plant centre. It has an unashamedly traditional homely feel to it. The final picture, bottom right, gives you an idea of how seriously the business takes its plant sales. You walk down a path lined with plants and railings dotted with planted Elho containers on your way to the covered plant sales area, the garden shop and, at the bottom of the site, the Orchard Cafe.

28 May 2017

SUPPORTING RESPONSIBLE PEST CONTROL Pests are about to start invading gardens. Left alone they can destroy the hard work put in at the beginning of the season to get gardens ready this spring and summer. Garden centres that alert consumers to the challenge and offer straightforward advice on these efficacious products will benefit.

Responsible Pest Control Provado®, the UK’s number on insecticide brand, accounting for 41.2%1 of the market by value, advocates a two-step process for responsible pest control. Step one: stay alert. Gardeners who identify the pests as they arrive can pick them off individually. Step two: if a pest colony has established a foothold, apply the solution as per the instructions on the pack, then stay alert and pick off any that return. Provado® Ultimate Bug Killer contains deltamethrin. A contact insecticide, it’s fast acting and can be used on ornamentals and an incredibly wide range of fruit and vegetables. The Ready to Use formulation provides control for up to two weeks and the Concentrate for up to four weeks. For gardeners preferring a natural option, Bug Free is certified by the Organic Farmers and Growers and contains natural fatty acids. In a Ready to Use formulation, it can be use on a wide range of ornamentals and edibles and tackles a broad spectrum of pests. Provado Ultimate Fruit & Vegetable Bug Killer also contains deltamethrin. The Concentrate formulation is used by professionals on a comprehensive range of fruit and vegetable plants and the Ready to Use formulation is ideal for tackling most insect pests in the garden. Tackling slugs and snails An infestation of slugs and snails can be devastating, stripping plants of lush vegetation overnight. A few slug pellets, sprinkled sparingly around the plants can make all the difference. Ultimate Slug & Snail Killer is the UK’s number 1 slug killer brand2. For use on the bare soil around edible and non-edible plants, it’s fast and effective and the unique dosing cap makes it easier to apply the correct amount. Slug Killer is certified for organic gardening by the Organic Farmers and Growers. The naturally occurring active ingredient, ferric phosphate, breaks down into iron and phosphate to enrich the soil around the plants.

1 GfK July 2016 12 months 2 GfK GB Panelmarket, excl Ironmongers, Slug Killer MAT May 2016, value

Bug Free contains fatty acids. Provado® Ultimate Bug Killer Ready to Use contains deltamethrin. Provado® Ultimate Fruit & Vegetable Bug Killer contains deltamethrin. Ultimate Slug & Snail Killer contains metadehyde. Slug Killer contains ferric phosphate.

Provado is a registered trademark of Bayer Intellectual Property GmbH.

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Masterchef winner heads to HTA Catering Conference Reigning Masterchef champion, Jane Devonshire, will be the speaker at this year’s HTA Catering Conference dinner which takes at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield in June. The dinner is being staged on the evening of Tuesday 13 June, after the first day of the Conference, which this year is sponsored by Compass Group. Since winning MasterChef in 2016, Jane has taken the bull by the food horns and tested herself further by working with top chefs, including Marcus Wareing, Atol Kochhar, Jason Atherton, Michel Roux and

Michael O’Hare at their restaurants. Jane has presented at numerous food and drink shows around the UK, including BBC Good Food Show and Foodies. Her travels have taken her from Edinburgh to Brighton and loads in between, where she has discovered a love of presenting her recipes and chatting to people about food. The past year has been incredibly busy for Jane and is getting busier by the day. She’s really enjoying the experience although she still loves being a ‘stay at home’ mum washing socks and making dinner!

IT’S A PIECE OF CAKE! Recruitment, food psychology, barista training and communicating allergens are some of the topics included in a packed programme of the HTA Catering Conference – A Piece of Cake? which takes place on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 June at The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield. The two-day conference and dinner, sponsored by Compass Group, is a must attend event for all garden centre catering operators, from business owners and garden centre managers to catering managers, chefs and front of house staff. With a focus on strategy and operations on day one and food on day two the programme draws on speakers from inside and outside the industry. The conference is supported by an exhibition and the programme allows for plenty of networking with delegates and suppliers. The speakers include Martin Christian Kent, Executive Director of People1st, who will talk about the all important topic of recruitment. In live cooking sessions Rob Owen, Development Chef from Food Creed Services, will demonstrate his latest ideas and recipes – complete with mini tastings. Coffee company Matthew Algie will run a workshop session on best practice and the important role that a trained barista can have in your business. In association with Dawn Foods experimental psychologist Professor Charles Spence from the University of Oxford will share his latest research about food psychology, covering topics such as the way our palate changes with age. Caroline Benjamin from Food Allergy Aware will run a workshop looking at the ways of communicating information about allergens. Communicating what you offer and how your procedures back this up are an important part of ensuring a safe customer experience.

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Timmermans, Green Pastures and Fron Goch were honoured in last year’s GTN Greatest Catering Awards, receiving their certificates from Trevor Pfeiffer (far left) and actress Lisa Faulkner.

Find out who’s the Greatest GTN’s Greatest Catering Team Awards are back again! The third year of these most prestigious awards for excellence in garden centre catering will be handed out after dinner on the Tuesday night and a presentation about the winners and the new trends picked up during the judging visits will be made by Trevor Pfeiffer on Wednesday 14 June. This year there are two new categories that the judges will be collecting information for: The Greatest Wash Up Team – that vital part of the catering jigsaw that keeps the whole show running like clockwork; and The Greatest Garden Centre Baking Team. GTN’s Greatest Awards always takes size of centre into account so there is as much chance of a small

centre winning as a destination centre. “It’s the Greatest we are looking for each year, who are truly creating memorable experiences with their garden centre catering,” explained Awards organiser Trevor Pfeiffer. To find out how to enter the award turn to p32. Full list of GTN’s Greatest Catering Awards: The Greatest Afternoon Tea Team The Greatest Coffee Team The Greatest Wash Up Team The Greatest Baking Team The Greatest Chef Team The Greatest Front of House Team The Greatest Catering Team Overall

For further information and to book your place visit


GTN’s Greatest Awards will be bigger than ever... After the continued success of Gtn’s Greatest Awards in 2016, by popular demand we’re back with updated categories in 2017 to truly reflect all the areas of excellent team work that goes into making a successful garden centre in today’s competitive retail environment. By attending a series of focussed existing industry events we’re able to reward more of the great ideas and teamwork that make garden retailing in the UK so good. “Once again, we are expecting to visit a record number of centres and teams in our quest to find the Greatest,” says Gtn’s MD trevor Pfeiffer. “And we’re really happy to travel the length and breadth of the country to meet every single team who are nominated. It’s the only way to truly find out which teams are really worthy of a Greatest Award.” Gtn’s Greatest Awards already have the highest garden centre participation of any garden industry awards and once again in 2017 we fully expect to break all records. Winning a Greatest Awards Gold, silver, Bronze or Regional Award following on from our judging visits or through public voting is highly coveted by garden centres the length and breadth of the UK.

4GTN’s Greatest Catering Awards at HTA Catering Conference, June 13th 2017 4GTN’s Greatest Plant Retailing Awards at National Plant Show, June 21st 2017 4GTN’s Greatest Outdoor Living Retailing Awards at SOLEX, July 11th 2017 4GTN’s Greatest Garden Re-Leaf Day Awards at GIMA Awards, July 14th 2017 4GTN’s Greatest Garden Centre Awards at HTA Futures, Oct 4th 2017 4GTN’s Greatest Marketing Awards at HTA Marketing Forum, Nov 15th 2017 teams from UK garden centres can be nominated by garden centre owners, managers or team members themselves and by supplier’s reps, agents and business consultants. If you know of a team that’s pulling up trees this year and worthy of a Gtn’s Greatest Award nomination just send an e-mail to: thegreatestawards@ and then we’ll make arrangements to visit and find out their story. For sponsorship opportunities which include weekly branding and awareness slots in Gtn and Gtn Xtra from April through to november please contact mandy. or call 01733 775700.

Will Timmermans retain their multiple Greatest Awards in 2017? Their clutch of gold, silver and bronze awards across catering, plants and marketing gained them plenty of local publicity and what great kudos to tell customers they are The Greatest!


Entry into GTN’s Greatest Awards is free. Teams just have to be nominated in a category via e-mail to and then a member of the GTN Experts team will come and visit you to find out the story behind your greatness. Nominations can also be made by phoning the GTN office on 01733 775700.

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May 2017 33


Store within a store

Van hage great Amwell are the latest garden centre to open an Elho branded store inside their main operation, and early signs show it has been a huge success. We discover why... When launching an Ambassador store, Elho involves its store designers based in holland to deliver a bespoke concept that’s based on the individual garden centre’s customer demographics and the ranges stocked. From design to delivery, Elho manages the whole process. “their support, advice and enthusiasm has been second to none since the early conversations,” says Ben stevenson, Van hage’s Category Manager. “We know they can offer the delivery and product service we would require, and are sure we will receive all the support through the next few busy months.” Ambassador stores also receive strong lifestyle branding to help attract customers and inspire them instore. “Elho is a product range very much taken from the European market. We have seen a definite shift in interest and customer demand for more lifestyle driven items, bright complimentary colours and new bold inspiration. Elho ticks all of these boxes,” comments Ben. “one of the key things we do at our Ambassador stores is to plant up pots,” says David Nicholson, Elho’s sales Manager for UK and ireland. “We believe – and sales prove – that customers want to be inspired. We attract them with beautiful displays, inspire them with lifestyle imagery and then we make purchasing of products really easy with planted up pots. “Working with our Ambassador store garden centres we create a great customer experience from start to finish.”

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More info: W: W: F:


Creating a united voiCe to taCkle Brexit ConCerns Vicky Nuttall DiReCtoR oF GiMA

At the recent GiMA Day Conference there was one word that continued to echo around the room - Brexit. with Article 50 now well and truly invoked, Brexit is very much part of our future. But no matter whether people were ‘Brexiteers’ or ‘remainers’, one thing is for sure: we now must focus on delivering a strategy that is to the benefit of the whole country. Already the garden retail industry has felt the weight of Brexit upon our businesses, and as we prepare for an uncertain future, we are all working hard to protect the bottom line. the rising cost of imports is the main aspect that suppliers are focusing on, whether they are manufacturers or importers of finished goods. Cost inflation is now reaching around 20%, added to that extra pressure from increases in freight costs, and price increases are inevitable.

Suppliers are trying to absorb some of this pressure, but are also reliant on retailers to work with them to absorb these increases all the way to the consumer. whilst most retailers recognise the fact that these macro economic pressures our out of our control, there are still some larger retailers refusing to accept increases. it’s now more important than ever that we all work together to ensure continuity of supply. Another factor of significant concern is the cost and availability of seasonal labour. we aren’t yet sure exactly what sort of deal european workers will have, but many expect those previously taking advantage of peaks in demand will suffer from stricter freedom of movement. Many say the workforce is already here – just walk into any job centre in the country – the only challenge perhaps being expectations on pay and skills.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. there are ways we can safeguard ourselves from the fallout of the most prolific ‘divorce’ of our time. Respected parliamentary lobbyist, Michael Burrell, who joined us at the conference, best described our biggest opportunity as ‘the squeaky door that gets the oil’. that is, if politicians hear nothing from you, they will assume nothing is wrong. A united voice will shout louder than any single voice can, he stated, and that the industry could benefit from a joint industry board with regards to Brexit. the HtA, with full support from a number of industry bodies, has already began spearheading a taskforce on this. But there’s still opportunity for more associations from all areas of our sector, including suppliers and retailers, to get involved. As a significant industry sector,

surely we have the potential to create a singular voice that speaks for everyone. From lobbying Mps to providing a platform for discussion across the market, the taskforce will be aiming to make sure the gardening and horticulture industries feature in the government’s negotiations. whilst these may be times of uncertainty, with doom and gloom headlines making it hard to remain positive, we must remember that we have survived tougher storms than this. As an industry that essentially revolves around the weather - it’s what we do best.

CONTACT GIMA To find out more about GIMA and its many member benefits please visit the GIMA website, get in touch with the GIMA office on 01959 565885 or email

The GIMA Day Conference.

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Profile for Garden Trade News

GTN May 2017  

GTN May 2017