GTN April 2024 - Garden Centres of the Year - Garden Trade News UK

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AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELYINGARDEN CENTRES NOW Advice &information for garden centreprofessionals APRIL 2024
The best tools for thejob




GOING DUTCH Dutch garden retailing 2024 BORDER CONTROLS Changes to plant importing Advice &information for garden centreprofessionals THE CHOICE IS YOURS Michelle de Lavis Traffordinterview APRIL 2024
Garden Centres of the Year Bents, Fairways and Blue Diamond Newbridge Nurseries
Comfort *D es ign *Q ua li ty More thanjustfurniture... Mindfully developed with Comfort, Design and Quality at its heart, Hartman elevatesoutdoor spaces, incorporating unique features, utmost versatility and uncompromising comfort to enable us to share special moments with friends and family.

Apologies to youall. Our plea for no April showers and awarm April obviously fell on deaf ears. Just as we thought the season wouldreally get going aweek or so of cold winds has slowedthingsdownabit.

The good news is that most garden centres we’vevisitedin the past fewweeks arenot panicking at all, just patiently waiting forthe rush to come. Theyhaveofcourse been there before, many times.

However, at Dobbies, after araft of new management appointments, theyhavejust startedalimitedtime promotion of 20% off all plants. We were very surprised to see this promotion considering Dobbies told us after Easter “Spring is averybusy time for Dobbies and we have newproducts landing in stores each

week. We closely monitor sales and weather trends acrosseach of our stores to minimise wastage.

“Dobbies Peterborough plant stock and sales areup year to date. Our colleagues areworking hardtoensureshelves arestocked but we also havetoberesponsivetothe weather- with wet and windy conditions overthe weekend, we had to consider what wasonthe shop floor.”

That was inresponse to our questions about large areas of planterias being empty

As an industryweneedthe group with the largest estateofgarden centrestobe performing well,sowelookforward to being able to interviewCEO David Robinsonand his newteamtofind out what the plan for Dobbies is going forwards.


EDITORIAL &ADVERTISING Garden Trade News Potting Shed PressLtd DairyDrove ThorneyPeterboroughPE6 0TX Tel01733 775700 THE GTNTEAM Editor Trevor Pfeiffer Advertising Sales Alan Burdon Features Editor Anisa Gress Digital Editor Neil Pope Subscriptions Karen Pfeiffer Design &Production AT Graphics Ltd
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Shed PressLtd Garden Trade News is published by Potting Shed PressLtd who also publish: GTNBestsellers, GTNXtra, PetTrade Xtra, Glee Daily News and the Glee Catalogue, and the Solex Sun. Potting Shed Pressalso supply Garden Radio to over100 garden centresacrossthe country. Director Trevor Pfeiffer SMALL PRINT:All material ©Potting Shed PressLtd 2024 No partofthis publication may ereproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the expresspermission of the publishers. The information supplied in this publication is published in good faith and everyefforthas been made to ensure its accuracy.Potting Shed PressLtd cannot acceptresponsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligenceorother damage caused by relianceoninformation contained in this publication or in the vent of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cassation of the trade of any company, individual or firmmentioned, is herebyexcluded. Front Cover AMES –The best toolsfor the job 6 Making the right choice –GTN Interviews Michelle de Lavis Trafford 10 Bents –GCA DestinationGarden Centreofthe Year 13 NewJournalsfromMuseums & Galleries 14 Fairways –GCA Garden Centre of the Year 17 Jardinopia bring Indian products to your door 18 Newbridge Nurseries –Blue DiamondOak Garden Centreof the Year 20 Vote foryour Glee 50 Year Hero products andpeople 22 Border Control–New plantimport laws 25 Retailing Dutch Style 28 Newplantsgalore-GTN Planteria 29 Ready forKnockers –EHG Column 30 Confidencestill high –HTA Column Advertisers in this Issue 4 Hartman 9 SOLEX Afterparty &BBQ Event 20 HandyDistribution 21 Fordingbridge 31 Algon 32 Solex 2024 April 2024 5 Don’t panic, it will get warmer In this issue...

Making the right choice

With 56 garden centres, Choice Marketing has more member centres than any other garden retailing buying group in the UK

Anyone who may remember seeing agroup of people sittingonhay bales at the back of the Four Oaks trade showin2001, might just have been witnessing the birth of the Choice Marketing group.This wasthe moment 10 founding garden centre owners decided to form their ownbuying group which became ChoiceMarketing the following February

Michelle de Lavis-Traffordwas thereat the start. As Chief ExecutiveOfficer, she has seen the group blossom from its 10 original members to 56 today with acombined retail turnoverof£210m. “From day one, our ambition wastohave50members. It

wasanabsolutepipe dream that seemed likeyears and yearsaway.And nowwe've surpassed that!” says Michelle.

Eight of the original 10 members remain, and in 2023/24,Choicehad it’s biggest growth period when afurther 12 others were welcomed intothe Choicefamily,including the four newest members: The Old Well in Devon, Codsall &Wergs in Wolverhampton, Moss&Moor in West Yorkshireand Charnleys Home and Garden in Cumbria. Individual turnovers within the Choicegroup range from £2m to £10m.

Michelle says afew members areonthe

lookout for newsites which will increase membership further,and another will join when its newly built garden centreisupand running.She is also pleasedthat St John’s Garden Centre, an established member recently subject to amanagement buyout, will remain

“We've probably got another half dozenenquiries at the moment. We don't advertise so all our enquiries come via word-of-mouth from our members or suppliers,”explains Michelle. Not every centrethat applies is accepted and there aregeographical restrictions,toprevent memberscompeting with each other

6 April 2024 Interview
Fairways Garden Centre wasone of thefounder membersof Choice.

Inner workings

Choiceisrun by asmall team,including MikeCook, Group Services Manager, but due to its increasing number of members and expansion of workload, it’sabout to begin recruiting for another full-time team member.“It’squitea big beast nowand we areonthe hunt for an additional person to come and join us,” admits Mike, who has been with Choice for eight years.

Choiceisalso extremely lucky to have an excellent non-executiveDirector assisting with thesteeringofthe Group. Terry Maywood,who has been in retail hiswhole

From one, our

From day one, our ambition wastohave 50 members.

working life,has been aChoice nonexecutive Director fornearly six yearsand is an invaluable part of theChoiceteam.

On the BoardofDirectors, Michelle and Terryare joined by up to six from the membershipwho sit forthree years, and can then put themselves forwardfor re-election.

“This seemstobethe right number of people –you don’twant toomany,but youneed

is makingthe big decisions,”says Michelle.

enough to run the business so no one person making the decisions,” says

Choicealsohas aProduct Forum of nine members whoare specialistsintheir category, plus Michelleand Mike.They meetfor twodaysevery quarter using the opportunity to welcomeinsuppliers to talk about businessand futureplans, product launches, better collaboration andhard hitting Choiceexclusive promotions

Thegroup works witharound260 suppliers coveringcoregardening,plants andgardensundries, furniture, Christmas, catering, gift and home, pets,retail services and lots more.

April 2024 7 Interview
MikeCook, ChoiceGroup Services Manager Michelle de Lavis-Traffod has been with Choicesinceits inception in 2002. Choice, spring marketing for Torwood Garden Centre.

Choicenegotiates preferential terms which comes with aslidingscale of a group rebate. Themorethe group buys,the larger therebate. Last year,Choice members shared arebateof£2.6m across pay-outs three timesa year.“So we all pulltogether to hitthosetargets,”saysMichelle. “We arenot prescriptive in telling our members what to buy, whatsizeorhow much, but our groupcommitmentgeneratesmultimillions forsome of ourbiggest suppliers.Our aim is to build true partnerships with ourkey suppliers, which we arerenown for”

Shareand sharealike

TerryMaywood is proud of the wayChoice and its members shareeverything,infact he has nevercome acrossabusinessquite likeit. “Thereisn't anything that someone hasn't done or got the answer to from staff issues to plastic packaging.Ifsomeone has abrokenpartona forklift, or wants support on the latest coffee machines, youcan be sureanother member will be able to help,” he says. ChoiceMarketing is atruecooperativeinevery sense of the word

Sales figures areshared weekly andagain monthly through an online portal so the members canbenchmark themselves against each other andkeeptrack of their trading history "This allows us to very quickly see aweekly pictureofour overall groupsales, including regionalvariances. Membersalso indicate if there's specific reasons forsales growth or decline.”

Figures arealso broken down by category so performance canbeanalysed.

“It’svaluable for members to share that information,”says Terry. “If someone's got acategorythat's abit stuck, butit's working well in another centre, theycan talk to them, or visit.”

Making adifference

Choiceisfundedbymembers through monthly subscriptions. They all paythe same, regardless of turnoverorsize, but the cost percentre doesgodownifthere aremultiple sites. Each member is also a shareholder.Currently there are38astheir multiple sitesmakeupthe 56 centres, and 100%ofwhatcomes into thegroup via rebates goesbacktothe centres.

ChoiceMarketing isn’ta brand, so its members’ customers havenoidea the centretheyshop in is partofa buying group.However, it hasrecently been working with anuber of keysuppliers to provide bespokeproducts. Newfor 2024,are furnitureranges, sold exclusively through Choicemembers, which come uniquely branded and barcoded. This came about through ameeting initially involving around 40 members –stock is nowinstore and selling very well, says Mike.

Members arekeptinconstant touch with daily emails, by phone and WhatsApp. “They arecommunicating withusand with each other all thetime,”saysMichelle. Also importantfor networking is theChoice annualconference and trade showfor members and associatesuppliers.Last year around 350 delegatesattended the conferenceand visitedthe 120 trade stands.

Suppliersare booking alreadyfor this year’s eventbeingheld on 22_23October,and it’s alreadylooking like it’s goingtobea sell-out withanevenbigger turnoutthan last year Access to afull-servicemarketing agency is also provided offering aone-to-one servicefor anything in digital or print, from marketing emails through to leaflet offers and point-of-sale. It's acompletely bespoke serviceand interestingly, this spring,some members haverevertedback to sending out, via RoyalMail, printed leaflets for seasonal promotions.

Michelleisexcited forthe future of Choice and it’scontinued expansion but accepts thatrisingcosts and theNationalMinimum Wage mayprove challenging. “Wewillall havetowork smarterand negotiatebetter by growing our group commitment.”

The eight original Choicemembers are:

•Abercorn Plant andGarden Centre, Essex.

•BosworthsGarden Centre, Northamptonshire.

•Fairways Garden Centre, Derbyshire.

•Fakenham Garden Centre,Norfolk.

•FletchersGardenCentre, Staffordshire.

•Glendoick Garden Centre, Perthshire.

•Raemoir Garden CentreLtd, Aberdeenshire.

•Vanstone ParkGarden Centre & Nursery,Hertfordshire.

8 April 2024 Interview
Charnleys Home and Garden is one of Choice’s newest members.

Summer is in the air at SOLEX 24

We are hosting twofantastic evening events

Welcome Drinks

Hot Buffet

SOLEX Awards

Subsidised Bar

Euro Semi Final Match on BigScreen and special guest

Ex England footballer

Dion Dublin

Afterpa ty &BBQ Event & B BBBQ Ev nt

Good Food

Cool Drinks

BBQ Competition

pit your skillsagainst the best in the business forthe coveted SOLEX BBQ Trophy

Tuesday9 July Tuesday y 9 J Wednesday10July Wednesday y 1 10 0 J July 6.30pm - 10.30pm 6.00pm -8.00pm

It’s officially the best destination

GTNvisits Bents Garden and Home in Warrington named GCA Destination Garden Centreofthe Year,tofindout what makes it such aworthy winner.

Oncethe GCA judges havevisited all membercentres andcollated all their marks across220 different factors on twoseparateunannounced inspections from different inspectors, it’stime for the awards.

Eagerly awaiting,the winnersare announced at the GCA annual conference in Januaryand greetedwith cheers and much applause.

The team from Bents Garden and Home in Warrington had much to celebratewhen it was announced Destination Garden Centreofthe Year.Anexample of garden centreretailing par excellence, this family run centre is at the top of its game.

“Bents scored over90% in 14 of the 24 categories so Ithink it’s fair to say youhaveto

be consistently exceptional acrossthe boardto win,”says PeterBurkes, GCA Chairman. “Bents had 24 categories covering everything from the roadside and approach to the toilets and everyretaildepartment including catering and concessions that arepartofthe main shop.Its highest scores were on checkouts and exit; the telephone survey, and Indoor lifestyle.”

10 April 2024 GCA Destination Garden Centreofthe Year
April 2024 11 GCA Destination Garden Centreofthe Year
Family history is proudly displayedatthe frontof the store. LikeChristmas, outdoor living displayedare themed. Garden Living and Summer in the Med arejust twofor 2024 Great Mother’s Day merchandising Special offer for fluffy friends in the pet department
12 April 2024 GCA Destination Garden Centreofthe Year
Children are welcome, and a play space makes a trip to the garden centre much more fun Spring promotions of bbq’sand Easter treats. Promoting the personal touch, Bent’ssignage actively encourages customerstoengage withmembersof the team. Grasses merchandised together for more impact Great deli selection Above:Informativepoint ofsale to makedecision making easy forcustomers. Below: Crowds gather to see Gino D’Acampo cooking on and promoting his newpizza ovens

Over the last decade, Museums &Galleries Ltd has developed its journals and notebooks collection into astunning and colourful array of fine art and design-led notebooks.

The Museums &Galleries Ltdfine artand design-led notebooks we see today arearranged in multiple options of sizes and types. The collection is accompanied with its ownbeautifully designed, sturdy stationeryspinner for in-storemerchandising,allowing customers to harnessthe powerofM&G’sbeautiful, quality stationeryproducts in their individual retail spaces to achieve returnon-investmentand creating acompelling destination for consumers.

Based in Corby, Northamptonshire, Museums &Galleries produces awide range

Museums &Galleries releases new premium clothbound journals

of licensed Everyday and Christmas greetings cards and notecards, as well as acomprehensive collection of licensed gift stationeryincluding gift wrap,tissuepaper,giftbags, writing sets, journals, notebooks, calendars, insulated bottles and mugs, travel mugs, kitchen textiles,paper napkins, jigsaws and playing cards.

Workingwith some of the most highly regarded heritage and arts brands in Britain and overseas, it also partners with contemporaryindependent artists and emerging creativetalent. g g

Inspired by its growing expertise with organic cotton, M&G’sdesign and productionand marketing teams decided to marrytextileswith stationerytocreatea newpremium range of cloth-bound Journals.

Around A5 in size, the journals’hardback covers arewrapped in printed organic cotton, haverounded corners and ribbon bookmarks, and contain asubstantial block of lined pages. The bindings arecleverly constructed to allowthe journals to lie flat when opened without bending the spine, making the journals apleasuretouse and writein. Colour or foil paper edging completes the luxurious look and feel.

The newclothbound journals have super-generous paper blocks containing 240 lined pages, so makeexcellent garden notebooks, diaries, or planners -either as agiftorfor personal use.

The clothbound coversgivea luxurious feel complementing the chunkybooks, but arecoveredinthe freshest, brightest colours with images inspired by gardens and the natural world.

Thereare eighttitles in the initial launch: three from the V&Awithone each from MatthewWilliamson,the Natural HistoryMuseum, the British Museum, Catherine Rowe,and Helen Ahpornsiri for Wild Press. All covers areherodesigns provenacrossM&G’sportfolio.

Helen Ahpornsiri’s‘Mint Meadow’ notebook is adelightful,contemporary take on thetheme, as is theNatural historyMuseum’s‘UlyssesButterflies’. Birdlovers willappreciateCatherine Rowe’s ‘Kingfisher’, MatthewWilliamson’s ‘Hummingbirds’orWalter Crane’s ‘Cockatoos and Pomegranates’. More Traditional tastes arecatered to by the V&A’s‘Kimono Cranes’and ‘Strawberry Thief’byWilliamMorris, and the British Museum’s‘Wave Pattern’ inspired by Hokusai block prints. The SRP for the new journals is £12.99

April 2024 13 Promotion

Cue the fanfare for Fairways

Fairways Garden CentreinAshbourne, Derbyshirenow proudly displays the Garden Centreofthe Year award–for the second time. GTNwent to discover moreabout this multi-awardwinning, 25-year-old business run by the Plumbly family.

multi-award winning, 25-year-old business run the family

Fromits origins as apick your ow which led to asingle glasshouse a planteria in 1998,Fairways in Ashb has become no stranger to awards. It h been named Midlands Garden Centreo the Year on fiveoccasions andhas now twiceraised the Garden Centreofthe Year trophy –2023and 2017.In2008, the family bought asecondcentrein Macclesfield and continuestomake changes and improvements. It is an

rom its as a pick your own farm to a single and in 1998, F ys in Ashbourne no to aw ds. It has Centre of Year on five occasions and has now

excellent of a business that refuses to stand still.

ellent example of abusinessthatrefusesto dstill

“Similar to Bents, was consistent across all areas categories, achieving check and exit, telephone survey, indoor lifestyle,” says Peter Burks, GCA Chairman. “From visits a number

SimilartoBents, Fairways wasconsistent ossall areas with the best categories, again eving scores in the high 90% including ck outs andexit, the telephonesurvey, oorlifestyle,” says PeterBurks,GCA Chairman.“From my visits to anumber of centres,those that have abig input from visual merchandisersinthe indoor lifestyle categorydoscore very highly.”

14 April 2024 GCA Garden Centreofthe Year
Ally Moseley, with proudmum Mrs Plumbly
April 2024 15 GCA Garden Centreofthe Year
PeterBurks with the Plumbly family and team at Fairways Ashbourne. Afloral welcome to the garden centre and separate Home store. Simple but effectivespringdisplay. In the Homestoreand the garden centre.
16 April 2024 GCA Garden Centreofthe Year
Strong visual merchandising in the Home storeand garden centre. Good merchandising stretches into bbq's, children's gardening and outdoor living (below). TheGarden Room Restaurant is on an upper levelwith beautiful views across the Derbyshire countryside. A great choice in the planteria

Bringing Indian garden products to your door

Winning abest newproduct awardatGlee 2018 and Spring Fair 2019,set Jardinopia on atrajectoryofsuccess.It’sBritish wildlife themed pot accessorybrands (Pot Buddies, Potty Feet,Cane Companions, and Feeder Friends) became instant bestsellers and are nowsoldin80+ countries.

‘Wedidn’tdeliberately set out to be a predominantlywildlife themed company,but it was so popular it has nowbecome akey underlying theme for us. As we have matured, this has reflected in the type of products we nowsell-and pretty much everything we do, has an Eco,Sustainable or Fairtrade story behind it,”says Tony Barnett, whowith his wife Andrea set up the company just six years ago.Jardinopia nowhas ahigh street storein Ledbury, which acts as ashowroom and place to trial newproducts. However, garden centres remain the companies’corefocus. “Thereare still many garden centres we don’tyet supply, and we arelooking at wherewehaveroom for growth both domestically and internationally acrossall of our ranges,”says Tony Newproducts for 2024

Theanimaland wildlife focus continues through thenew garden MetalDecor range, created using 100% reclaimed metal. And for thehomeand garden comesthe Munja

&Sarirange,featuring bird feedersand nesters to hangingplantersand pots. Madebyweaving togetherfabric from recycled sarisand munja grass, which growssustainably alongIndian riverbanks andcan reacha heightof7ft,products are handmade in aFairtradeenvironment. Both ranges aremadeto Jardinopia’sown designs. “Wedidn’twant to be a‘me too’and buyeverything off the shelf, andthis hasbeen important from theoutset. However, it gets more and moredifficult to bring newideas and ranges to themarketplaceand convertthose to good selling ranges,”saysTony.

Jardinopia has very quickly become amust-have garden centresupplier.Offeringjust 9sku’s in Jan 2018,itnow has morethan3000 in its brand portfolio, and with its new ranges and design and sourcing service, we aresurethisfigurewill continue to rise. Tel: 01935826622 Email:

WhiteLabel and Sourcing Service

Experiencegained from designing and selling licencedproducts, such as Disneyand Beatrix Potter workwear and tools,plusdesigning its ownproducts and sourcing themfrom acrossAsia, has ledto the establishmentof an office in JodhpurIndia,witheight permanent members of staff

Throughits Indian Sourcing Service, Jardinopia supplies awide range of both bespoke whitelabel andoff the shelf home and garden products. ‘’Wemanage the entireprocess for our customers, from conceptand design to checking factorystandards, logistics, QA and delivery’’. Current whitelabel customers include the RNLI, KewGardens and Buckingham Palace, and talks areunderwaywith some garden centre groups. “Wecan consolidateordersinour own containers so customers don’tneedtoplace large MOQs or spend time and moneysending staff to India to checkfactories. As atrusted partner,thisisall partofour service.”

All of these newranges, and the increased complexityofthe business mean Jardinopia is expanding.Assuch theyare recruiting fora Southern and aNorthern Sales Manager and arekeen to hear from anyone whomight be interested in applying on or 01935826622

April 2024 17 Promotion
Soon to be announced is the first garden centre to host aJardinopia Indian-themed room of antique furnitureplusold and newlines with an Indian heritage theme.
From the Metal Decorations and Munja &Sari range.

Plant-heavy centre sparkles

At Blue Diamond’s annual awards, Newbridge Nurseries in West Sussextook home the Oak Trophy for the best larger centreinthe group of 44.

Congratulations to the team at Newbridge Nurseries in Horsham for winning the Oak Trophy given to the best of Blue Diamond’slarger centres. This immaculatecentrewas looking fresh when GTNvisited in Marchand the planteria wasof aparticularly high standard. The selection of plants on offer gavecustomers plenty to choose from and it was great to seeshoppers in all parts of the planteria –eventhe area furthest away from the shop

Alan Roper,Managing Director of the Blue Diamond group says that as well as generating the strongest operating profit, Newbridge also

measured well for customer reviews. “Wehave aGoodDaysportalthatpolls the positivity and reviews on Trust Pilot, Google and in-store.”

He explains that consistency and high standards acrossall departments arealsotaken intoaccount along with attention to detail and targets in termsofcustomer spend.

“TheA-Z systemofplant retailingalso workswell whereteams can stillcreategreat promotionaldisplays butfeedplants that may be left into theA-Z benches.This massively reduces waste andhelps improve margins,”saysAlan

“Other centresinthe group were very close overall but Newbridge wasonpoint.”

Plant heritage at Newbridge

There’sbeenanursery on this site for decades and Fiona Holmes, Hardy Plant Manager,says the garden centre hasagreat reputation locally.Where possible, she says, plants arebought locally with Barnsfold Nurseries just six miles away supplying many seasonal plants. “Around75% of the plants aresourced by us,with 25% allocated by the group,” says Fiona.

It also relies on plant stock from Blue Diamond Nurseries which grow seasonal plants on its ownsix sitesacross the UK.

18 April 2024 The Best of Blue Diamond
Thetriumphant team at Newbridge.
April 2024 19
The Best of Blue Diamond
Origins offers tea, coffee and cakes while the menu at Stooks Caféincludeshot and cold food. Lovely planteria with the backdrop of Stooks Café Greeted by plants as you enter Newbridge Nurseries. Bespokepoint ofsale indicates the priceper litreofgrowing media Blue Diamond’s own range of ladies clothing is abig seller. Excellent rangeof garden essentials.

50 years of Glee: Votenow for your half-century champions!

As the Glee exhibition gets set to celebrate half acentury at the heart of the garden retail sector,the organising team is looking for your input.Inthe past 50 years, Glee has seen thousands of exhibitors pass through its doors, with hundreds of thousands of new products launched since the show’s humble beginnings in 1974.Tocelebrate the newness and passion that have shaped Glee and the broader garden centremarketduring this time, the hunt is now on to find the people and product that have driven the most change over the past five decades.

Whether advocatingfor sustainability or usingtheir influencetoincrease the reachofhorticulture, many diverse people havelefttheir mark on the world of gardenretail. They might be suppliers,retailers, industrypundits, or those whohaveundertaken rolesacrossthe full spectrum.Whatevertheir role,all of themhavebeenintegral to Glee's growth, andtheir work hashelpedmaintain gardening as oneofthe nation's best-loved

pastimes. Or perhaps thebestmemoriesof Glee involve alarger-than-life character. This person may play astarring role inGlee’s memoirs, providing endless smiles, friendly adviceand happyrecollections from those that knew them pacing theaislesofshows gone by Likethe people who createthem, gardening products havealsogenerated pivotal moments of change. From finally tackling an age-old problem, formulating an innovativebestseller

opportunity,opening ameaningfuldialogue about gardening's impact on the planet, or simply using technology to makegardening moreaccessible for the modern consumer, therehavebeenmanyheroproducts over the past halfcentury

Nowisthe time for Glee's audience to vote for their ownheroesand celebratethe peopleand producttheythinkhavehad themost impact on Glee'sfutureand that of thegarden retail sector


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Working in partnership with Glee's media partner,Garden Trade News, nominations are nowopen via the GTNXtrae-mailnewsletter and website:, or by e-mail to:trevor@pottingshedpress. (All nominations will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.) The deadline for making nominations is 31st May

•Most Influential Person of the last 50 years

•The Character of Glee's 50 years

•HeroProduct of the last 50 years

Following the nominations round, a panel ofjudges will draw ashortlist of names and products beforereaders of GTNXtracan placetheir final votesthroughout June and July

The winners will be announced onsiteat Glee 2024,the 50th edition of which will run from Tuesday,10th September,toThursday, 12th September,atthe NECinBirmingham. MatthewMein, Event Director at Glee, said: "The gardening world has changed so much from the early 70s, with each decade ringing in exciting newtrendsand innovation. Throughout all of this, Glee has maintained a constant presence, year-after-year providing a

place where the garden sector

placewherethe garden retail sector can come together to inspire, network and educate. Now, we want to celebratethose who have left amark in afun and reflectivelookback on Glee's half-century. We'reexcited to see the nominations, find out the eventualwinners, and areprepared for atidal waveofnostalgia and questionable haircuts!"

Glee connects the garden industryto inspirechange, drivegrowth, and promote innovation. To findout more or to register your interest in exhibiting,please visit or call +44 (0)20335459752.

Wanting to increase your retail space?

With building costs at their highest for years, how can you increase your space without breaking the bank?

Talktoourspecialistteamtodaytocreateattractive newcoveredareasforshowcasingplantandfurniture rangesandalfrescodining.Anddiscoverhowto upgradecanopiesintofullyinsulatednewretailareas atafractionofthecostofstartingfromscratch. Planning abrightnew future?

April 2024 21 Glee 2024
AyouthfulMatthewMein welcomes everyone to Glee 2013
Make it areality Contactustodayto arrangeacomplimentary sitevisit. 01243554455 Weareexhibitingat 10–12SEPTEMBER2024 NEC BIRMINGHAM
Left: Derek Bunker and BobHewittat Glee2015on crutches! Right: TheStig atGrange, Glee 2013 Nick Davies was“the most popular man at Glee” according to Glee Daily News in 2014

New plant import laws

The government’s phased move from EU to GB plant health importregimes comes intoeffectatthe endofApriland willchange howgardenretailers importplants and howmuch they pay Ensuringornamentals entering the UK areclear of pestsand diseaseisa top priority for thehealth of the country’s landscapes.Toensure the horticultural industry continuestothrive,the HTA has,for severalyears, beenworking withgovernment to understand how thepractical implications of the new rulesaffectits members

Forhorticulture, thechanges couldn’thavecome at amorecritical time with April and Maybeingits busiest months.Concerns aboutdelays arising from theimplementationof anew system, increasing costsand damage to plants arejust some of the industry’s worries.

Long awaited changes to border controls and imports coming into play at the end of this month will affect the pricing and availabilityofplants.

22 April 2024 Border trade and imports
13 inspection bays, 11
dock levellers, two reverse in bays and freezer and cold storage facilities. A CITES office is also based here.
Border Control Point at Harwich with

Costs to control:

Xylella -€20bn Ash dieback -€15b Phytopthora-£23m Asian longhorn beetle -£2m

Planning considerations for easing imports

1 Ask suppliers for loading plans so inspectors knowthe location of high and medium risk plants.

3 If possible, put high risk plants at the back of the lorry so they can be easily accessed.

3 Label absolutely everything. Teamsat checkpointsare not plant specialists so will rely on labelstofind highand medium risk plantsindicated on paperwork

4 Indicatetemperature regimes if necessary.

5 Ensureplant imports arepre-notified to APHA as early as possible.


Physical inspections

The value of plants and plant material entering the UK annually.

SinceBrexit, 7000 places of destination (POD) around the UK, usually nurseries for the horticultural trade, haveservedtohold imported high risk goods (such as lavender) so theycan be checked by Plant Health and Seeds Inspectors beforebeing sold. In England, Wales and Scotland thereare just 600 inspectors, not only checking the places of destination but also at borders. This current situation is described by Defraasmassively inefficient and not achieving the requiredbiodiversity resilience. Inspectors spend moretime driving from one POD to another than inspecting goods.

At theend of April,POD’s will cease. High andnow also mediumriskconsignments (which includes conifers under 3m and some cut flowers includingdianthusand gypsophila) will be inspected at Border Control Posts(BCP) at ports. Around 80%ofornamental plant traffic comes through Harwichand the government has createdits ownBCP at SevingtoninKent, some 22 miles from Dover, to accommodate the checks. Theindustryis concerned about thetimeitwill take forlorries to be inspected and theresultingdelays. Defra’sresponse is that paperwork, coupled with the planthealth risk register will identify,evenbeforethe consignment has arrived in theUK, which lorries need to be inspected so plant inspectors canbeready and waiting.The HTAiscalling forPOD’storemain and temporarily runalongsidethe newsystems until such timeasit’sworking efficiently, butat the time of writing this has not beendecided.

In realitythis means that, in some instances, plants and trees will havetobeunloaded for inspection and reloaded before the lorries can continue their journeys.

“Loading, offloading,and handling all different plant types and treesisaveryskilled process,” says AdamWhitehouse of Robin Tacchi Plants. “Itcan take years to traina nurseryoperatorto achieve theskill andexperiencerequiredtosafely and efficiently handle thefullrange of plants coming through the bordercontrol points.”

JamesBarnes, HTAChairman, adds that the capacityand capability of BCPs to handlethe checking of plant products is drastically deficient “Fromlacking the spaceand equipment to unload matureloads, such as trees, BCPsare not able to handle thecheckingofour sector’s goodsat thevolume and speedrequiredfor perishable products and ensure thefreeflow of imports.”

But StuartTickner,Production and Biosecurity Manager at Provender Nurseries in Kent which imports around 250 consignments

April 2024 23
trade and imports

ayear is morepositive. “This is amuch more beneficial processand will prevent inspectors driving around the countrychasing plants. It will better protect the industryand ourlandscape in the future,”hesays.

To help portstaff understand the issues of unloading and loading plants, the HTAhas organised ‘dummy runs’atHarwich. “Final recommendations arenot yetavailable. It’s alearning curve and we canexpect some teething issues, but apragmatic approach will be taken,”says Sally Cullimore, HTATechnical Policy Manager

Thereis an agreement that oncegoods are presented to inspectors, theyhavefour hours to inspectthem beforetheymust release them, howeverthis does not include the time the plants will wait to be presented. This is an unknownquantity at present, and Sally is keen for Government to introducea temporary agreementtocoverthe waiting time as well as the inspection time.


Other BCP’sare privately owned, but they toowill be charging to remain competitive. Exactly howmuchisstill unknown, but it’s expected to range massively between £57.42 and £737.“They will need to recovertheir costs,”says Sally Cullimore. “Each BCP nowhas anumberofbaysfor reversing curtain sided HGVsand will use thirdparty or portstaff to do the unloading,and reloading, so consignments areready for plant inspectors.”

Paperwork and question marks


Points of Destination in the UK for plant inspections replaced by 140 Border Control Points.

Not surprisingly,thisnew system will incurnew costs, in addition to the existing fees for plant inspections and phytosantiary certificates.Consignments entering the UK via Doverand checked at Sevington will cost £29 per high or medium risk commodity lines (defined by individual entries on the paperwork), up to amaximum of £145.“The charges will undoubtedly increase costs, potentially reduce consumer choice, and increase the likelihood of empty shelves,”says James Barnes.

However, Stuart Tickner believesitcould havebeenfar worse with amuch higher cost set. “The HTAand Defrahaveworked hardand havebeenfighting our corner,” he says. However, with the whole processstill notlive, Provender is unable to guarantee prices for quotes after the end of April which adds alayer of uncertainty to spring business.

Therehavealready been changes to paperwork and the previous form known as PEACH (Procedurefor Electronic Application for Certificates) wassuperseded at the beginning of April and replaced by IPAFFS(Import of products, animals, food, and feed system). This too has, and is still having, teething problems.Some havevoiced concerns that businesses on the Continent will find form filling tootime consuming andultimatelydecidenot to serve theUK.

With just afew weeks to go,other issues toohavestill to be resolved. One tiny example is around bringing in aplanted terrarium or tray of mixed houseplants. Sally Cullimoresays because each genus has to be declared separately,the total number of trays or items will not add up to the same number of phytosanitarycertificates and the consignment will fail thedeclaration. One HTAmember has said, that in this case, ‘it will havetostop importing these items’which is notgreat news for customer choice.

The industryispoisedfor an uncertain and potentially rockyfew months withproblems and their solutions hopefully becoming apparent. “The time for fighting against it has gone. It’sgoing to happen, so we need to get on with it. It will be alot of changes but, as an industry, we aregood at adapting,” says StuartTickner

Concerns about newplant introductions

NewControl Points

An alternativetohaving lorries checked at ports is for nurseries to become Control Points (CP). One has been created at Provender Nurseries in Kent whereRichardMcKenna, Managing Director,and Stuart Tickner,Production and Biosecurity Manager (pictured) havebeen working for severalyears to get up and running.Previously aPOD, the nursery has made significant and costly changes such as staff training, partitioning to allowlorries to be kept apartwhile beingunloaded and checked, and sealing the building to reduce the risk of insects and disease spores escaping.Itmeans border controls can be bypassed and all consignments brought directly to its ownCPwhere plants aremade ready for inspection. The CP will benefit Provender as its plants can be unloaded immediately but it couldalsohelp other businesses. “Wewillrun itfor around 12 months to makesurewecan clear our own stock properly,” says Stuart, “but then couldlook to handling stock for other businesses to help recoup some of our costs,”headds.

Thereare currently 45 applications for Control Points in the UK each costing between £25,000 to £100,000 to set up –around athirdofthese are nurseries or plant relatedsites.

Graham Spencer,DirectoratPlants for Europe has worries about futureinnovation. “This will put up further barriers to UK-based growers getting access to newvarieties. Breeders in the EU arelooking at the regulatory and financial burdens of exporting their newvarieties to the UK, particularly in small trial quantities. Some aresimply saying that the UK is ‘too difficult’ and theyare concentrating their efforts on other markets. The result is that we arefalling behind on innovation here-and that has an impact on the pipeline of newplant varieties coming through to UK retailers.”

24 April 2024 Border trade and imports

Retailing Dutch style

Twogardencentres near Utrecht in Holland have very different approaches to retailing. GTNfound inspirational ideas at Intertuin and Steck.

Steck is agarden centre with amission. Opened in 1969 by Wim Scherrenbergas T Tunicentrum Overecht, it is today run by Wim’sson Bob and has afocus on sustainability, the local community,schools and business partners, and biodiversity.The not-for-profit businesshas bigplans. By 2029 it wants to havedeveloped the 11-acresiteintoone with athriving gardencentre, hotel, amphitheatre, bamboo forest,business development hub and wildlife sanctuary. It describes its plans as providing a ‘bridge between the city and nature’.

The siteforms partofthe NewDutch Waterline, amilitary defence system built in

1815,which nowisnow partofThe Defence Line of Amsterdam, aUNESCOWorld Heritage Site Consequently, planning is difficult but the centre’sArnon Braayisconfident. “Wewant to be a front runner,not just another garden centres,” he says.

This month its outside picnic areas opens again for the summer and its vegetarian restaurant, run by a third party, will again offer dishes with mushrooms and salad grown on site Its free to use skating rink in the winter was used by 6000 people, it runs more than 100 workshops and even offers yoga sessions amongst the houseplants

April 2024 25 Dutch retailing
Agreat wayof greening up acar park is with agreen roof on the trolley shelter. Above:Eye-catching display. Left:Through furnituretowards the café.

Franchise retains afamily feel

Intratuin LeidscheRijn, is runbybrotherand sister team Mark and Wendie Vernooij.Theirfather created the family’s first gardencentrenot toofar from the current site,and in 2024 it is celebrating50years of green gardenretailing.

The 6000m2 site employsaround100 staff and is part of the55-strong Intratuin group.Described as ‘softfranchising’itallows Markand Wendie to blend buyingpowerwiththeirown personal touch. Visual merchandising is impressivewithdisplays reaching great heights andsustainability high on theagenda. Wendieand Mark also work with local community and sportsclubs to influencethe surrounding area and they havedecided not to sellpesticides but to encourage gardeners to grow healthier plants. Dutch retailing 26 April 2024
Left:Recycling point forshoppersatSteck. Right: Cutflowers, alwaystobefound in Dutch garden centres. Stek has an easy wayfor customerstochoose the right houseplant. Home grownfood remainspopular with Intratuin Leidsche Rijn customers. Intratuin's ownbrand growing media is displayedunder coverclosetothe tills. Teams at Intratuin Leidsche Rijn have bold displaysdowntoafine art.
April 2024 27 Dutch retailing
Maximising vertical space at Intratuin
Leidsche Rijn is a relatively new district created in the late 1990's with a population of around 95,000.


Tempting new releases makeplanterias alaunch pad for garden debuts.

t’sthattimeofyearagain whennew plant launches starttocreatea buzz of interest. So fillyourbencheswithsome of the newest plantsgardeners canbuy, anddon’t forget to usepoint of sale to tell themtheyare gardeningtrend setters

Clematis from Raymond Evison always come with asealofquality and newfor this year is the purewhite, star-shaped embolden: Clematis GuernseyFlute. Growing to ahight of between 90-120cm it’sagreat addition to the patio whereit’sflowers, from May through to July and then again in September,can be justly appreciated. Its name comes from the plant’sability to hold blooms that arejust opening (and look likechampagne flutes) for an extended period. When mature, the flowers open flat revealingred anthers.Guernsey Clematis is also introducing the deep blue/ purple floweredClematis Lindsay,agreat companion for GuernseyFlute.

Hillier trio

Hillier Garden Centres is bringing three newplants to market this spring, two of whichcomefromthe work of well-known breeder Alan Postill. Thefirstis Mahonia eurybracteatasubsp, ganpinensis‘Meteor’,an evergreen shrubwithdeepred architectural foliage when youngwhich later turnsgreen later.Spires of bold yellow flowers appear from AugusttoNovemberare followedby blue/black berries.RRP £19.99

Alan’ssecond launch is Chaenomeles speciosa‘LemonSorbet’withlarge semi-

double flowers opening greenand fading to adelicateyellow/white.Thornlessand self-branching,it’saperfect wall shrubfor full sunordappled shade.

Erysimum ‘Colour Vibe’ Purple is anew addition to the range that blooms from March to earlysummer. It adds to redand orange forms launched last year

Chelsea launches

Rose ‘With Courage’ will be launched at the RHSChelseaFlowerShowinMay.Bredby PeterBeales Roses, it’s being unveiled to commemorate anew alliancebetweenthe growerand theRNLI, andtocelebrate the charity’s 200thanniversary. Amodern classic floribunda with coppery orangeflowers produced in abundanceemitting asweet apple scent. Ahealthy and versatile variety, plants do well in borders or containers,insun or part shade. Available to order from April, and bare root plants fromNovember. RRP £26.95for bare-root and£31.95incontainers. The RHS Chelsea FlowerShowisgoing to be an exciting highlight for Blue Diamond. With The Octavia Hill Garden designed by Ann Marie-Poweland created with the National Trust, it will be celebrating its partnership with the charity and launching Rose ‘National Trust Beauty’which increases itsrange of National Trust roses. This new introduction is ashrub rose with elegant golden-yellowblooms and apricot tones. It reaches aheightof1.2m with an abundance


28 April 2024 Planteria
Clematis Guernsey Flute Rose ‘With Courage’. Rose ‘National Trust Beauty’. Trio of loveliness at Hillier Garden Centres. L-R.Chaenomoles 'Lemon Sorbet', Erysimum 'Colour Vibe' Purple and Mahonia 'Meteor'.

Ready for knockers?

Therewill be aday,orseveral,later this year when someone knocks on your front door and asks for your vote in the imminent election. In the past, I would haveduckedbehindthe sofa or headed to the back garden to avoid this visitor but this year I havea newplan… I’mgoing to throw open the front door,invitethem in and makethem alarge mug of teaand open the best biscuits. Then, I’mgoing to quiz them on what theyare going to do for the Environmental Horticulture(EH) industryinreturn for my vote,I hope youwill do the same.

Issues youcan raise…. EH in schools. Whilst we want to see afullplace on the curriculum in thefuture– I’mtold thiswill take 10+years fromthe dayofagreement –we should ask for everychildtogrowatleast one plantduring their school time.I’ll push my luck and ask for twoto be grown –anedible anda flower. Beyond school daysweneedtosee investmentin coursesfor all ages asEHhas become aregular choicefor second careers.

Peat-Free transition support- Notonly do we want to see asensibledatefor transition we need to see financial supportfor growers to purchase newequipment so theycan makea successful move.Helpfor retailersisharder to quantify but highlighting the challenges of selling peat-free plants is aworthwhile conversation. Planning supportfor

British EH –I have yettomeet anyone in the UK who doesn’twant British EH to flourish but when it comes to developing our production facilities Ihear of many challenges and delays. Growers the length and breadth of the countrywill need planning supportiftheyare to increase the capacity of their nurseries. Localplanners havecontrol here, but elected Members of Parliament can be influential. Waterresilience– lobbyfor EH to be recognised as important when waterisinshort supply (itseems strange to be writing this after the winter we have had, butdrought orders will come again). Highlight that car washes and windowcleaners were given exemptions in years gone by when EH wasn’t!

Engagement with parliamentarians and civil servants by members of the Environmental HorticultureGroup hasincreased significantly in the last fewmonthsand we continue to meet with departments acrossWestminster.Each meeting focuses on topics pertinent to that particular department and the frequency of dialogue is increasing.Are we making adifference? Only time will tell butweare certainly keeping your interests high on the agenda.

● Boyd JDouglas-Davies is Chairman of the Environmental HorticultureGroup and Managing Consultant at The Boyd Partnership.Ifyou have views youwant to sharewith the group,please email:

TheEnvironmental HorticultureGroup exists to championthe unique economic, health, social and cultural value of environmental horticulture, landscaping and arboriculture. TheEHG actively workswith government to pursue our shared objectives –including improving our environment by greening our towns andcities, boosting local economies, encouraging healthy lifestyles, getting morepeople into meaningful employment through our education system and leading our transition towardsanet zero economy. Our industryisthe original green economy and weare committed partnersin the UK’s progress towards net zero.

April 2024 29 Viewpoint
TheAPPG/EHG 2023 Westminster reception attracted the largest ever gathering of horticulturally focussed Parliamentarians.

Confidence levels are still high

Now is when we should really see the seasons change! Spring in full bloom, warmer weather and garden centres busy filledwith people keen to spend some moneyand time ahead of summer

The HTA’sMarket UpdateinMarch 2024 reportedthatgarden centresinFebruary 2024 saw amodest +6% increase in overall garden centresales compared to the same period last year.The horticultureindustry does not quitehavea spring in its step yet sinceHTA members acrossthe UK havefaced the wettest weeks in memory. Easter trading will be akey indicator of howconsumers arefeeling –wehope confident despite mixed weatherand seemingly never-ending gloomy news. HTA’slatest Market Update also showedadip in consumer confidence, which fell 2pointsinFebruary2024due to theannouncement of the UK entering a recession. However, confidencelevels were still higher than the previous year.

MayIcongratulateall thosewho

Forbusiness, Iamhearing that, acrossthe board, 2024 will be ayear of challenging cost rises. Fuel prices, shipping container costs remain elevated and 82% higher than last year,rising wage bills with the increased National Living Wage starting this month. It all feels likea very challenging time.

Borders and imports

Whether you’re a retailer or grower,as of 29 Aprilit’sgoing to affectusall

Uncertainty is the newnormfor mostofus. The borders and import regulations andthe ‘will they,won’t they’change scenario looks certain to challenge everyone across the breadth of our industry. Whetheryou’re a retailer or grower,asof29April it’sgoing to affect us all. Government is determinedto deliver the many timesdelayedchange.The introduction of Border ControlPosts (BCPs)


and switching off the Point of Destination at suchabusy time of theyear for our industry does notbode well.Such aseismic change in ourpeakseasoncomes withgreat risk HTAmembersare under hugepressure to ensureasteady supply of plants within theretail chain and at apalatable price. The HTAisconstantly askingfor detail including howthe ‘pragmatic approach’ will work.We’re workingtirelessly to get theclarity and confidencethatBCP’s can effectivelyhandle high-riskplants. At the moment, thedetailisillusive. We hopeby the time thisgoes to print,some if not all will be resolved!

The aimistohaveworld-classborder control and increasebiosecurity.Weshare thisambition. As Iwrite,our confidencein thishappening is low. What Iamconfident is that our sector is resilient and is expert in plant health, pestsand diseases andwill continue to be responsible businesses. We realiseour industrydelivers so muchfor theenvironment andalso forgardeners and community.Community mindednessand our charitable spirit is something Icherish in thesector and Isee when Ivisit garden centres across the four cornersofthe UK To close, Imustsay ahighlight of the year –the RHS Chelsea FlowerShowwillbe here in no timeatall.I hope to see many of youthere,eitheronthe HTA’sstand or in theaisles

Find out more

TheHorticulturalTrades Association is the UK industry’sleading membership organisation and welcomes allsectorsofenvironmental horticulture. To learnmore or join please visit: or email:

Viewpoint 30 April 2024
took day, including the HTA’sveryown TimBell Head of Member Engagement and Martin Simmonds. Member Engagement Manager.It’ssowonderful to see the energy,commitment and supportacross the industry.

Availablenow special introductory price and Point of Sale displays available. Contact your agent or our office for more information New product

BEFORE 2.5L Concentrate 01772 823370
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