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gtn JULY 2018

Advice and information for garden centre professionals

Solex 2018: a ‘must-do’ event for all outdoor leisure buyers

Tue-Thu, 10-12 July 2018, NEC Birmingham


Largest ever launch of new products from Alexander Rose

Solex 2018 marks Alexander Rose’s 25th annual trade show – a feat which they are delighted to be celebrating! To mark this anniversary, Alexander Rose are proud to offer their largest ever launch of new products at Solex, across its wood, weave and metal ranges. Carefully designed in-house, many of these new products are sure to be huge sellers for garden centres. Pictured are the new Lazy Chair from the popular San

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Marino range and the simple four-seater table from the Sherwood range, which is a stunning new collection for Alexander Rose. With their own factories both in Bolivia and the Philippines, Alexander Rose are able to directly control quality, production and delivery – and with an impressive warehouse here in the UK they are able to supply the vast majority of products from stock. Visit stand 215. W:

Launch of 10 new collections

Garden Furniture Global will introduce 10 new collections at Solex (stands 425 & 550), including unique contemporary aluminium designs and traditional weave sets. The new collections, added to existing designs, mean the company are now in a strong position to provide a full garden leisure category solution. Great value classic cube sets alongside large lounge dining sets are complimented by additional features like the variable height table of the Havard collection, the comfort

of Turnberry reclining dining chairs and the convenience of the new Fairmont collection’s stackable chairs and extending dining table. Also launching at the show, Mont Alpi barbeques are available in a wide range of high performance gas fired models starting from £699 rrp. The dual layer infrared burners create real BBQ smoke and flavour but their most notable feature is the sleek polished granite tops in crystal white or star galaxy black. W:

Hartman celebrating in style Hartman (stand 505) are celebrating 50 years at the forefront of the outdoor furniture industry with another display of the latest in innovative, quality outdoor furniture to suit every size and shape of outdoor space. Hartman’s versatile collection includes premium resin weave, high quality cast aluminium, FSC certified hardwood and a diverse range of shading option. Following the hugely successful launch of their Weatherready cushions, Hartman are continuing their trend of offering premium weatherproof furniture with the introduction of a new range of luxurious lounge sets featuring premium Sunbrella fabric. Sunbrella fabrics are 100% solution-dyed acrylic fabrics that are water, fade, mould, mildew, and stain resistant; perfect for any outdoor elements. Also on display will be updated versions of Hartman classics, featuring new styles, sizes and colours. W:


Kadai pizza oven adds wow factor for new season Kadai Firebowls by Wilstone (stand 230) will be returning to Solex for the fourth year running to showcase a variety of current best-selling products and a selection of new arrivals for 2019. You will see the existing Kadai firebowls, plus a new improved design featuring a heavy duty bottom, accompanied by a five-year warranty. The show-stopping metre-wide Wilstone Kadai with Tripod Pulley System (pictured) will be making an appearance, perfect for cooking food that needs to be temperature controlled. The Tripod Pulley System is amongst the latest must have gadgets for live fire cooking, the hottest new trend on the barbecue scene. New for 2018/19 is the Kadai Woodfired Pizza Oven, a fantastic one-of-a-kind cooking accessory that sits on top of the Kadai bowl to bring that wow factor to social events. Take a look, too, at their gazebos and rose arches, both of which come with a 10 year warranty as well as the Decorative Diamond Plant Obelisk, which comes with a five-year warranty. The company will also bring along new shields for the Kadais, garden plant sticks, recycled garden furniture and an extensive firebowl accessory range. W:

Master Series in the spotlight Campingaz builds on its presence in the barbecue and garden market at Solex as it showcases its highly-acclaimed ‘Master Series’ gas barbecue collection. This impressive range includes the allblack editions and directly targets the more premium end of the market. Designed at the company’s headquarters in France and available in 3 and 4 burner versions, the Master Series range combines clever, user-friendly technologies with a striking and durable construction. Developed for serious barbecue enthusiasts that demand the same cooking functionality and versatility outdoors as they do inside, the Master Series LXS four and three burner models have been created to offer the ultimate in cooking performance. Among many accolades throughout 2018, the Master 4 Series LXS was crowned National BBQ Week’s ‘Best of the Best Barbecue’ due to the great performance and stylish looks. Cooking for a group is made easy with its ingenious Culinary Modular Accessory system (accessories available separately). Roast with the

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Success with Katie Blake range specially designed poultry roaster, stir-fry on the non- stick steel wok, serve up a pizza from the pizza stone or whip up a paella. All accessories insert into the removable inner castiron grid ring for ultimate cooking flexibility to effortlessly create a diverse range of dishes. For unrivalled cooking performance, the Master Series LXS features a premium, enamelled cast iron cooking surface that offers outstanding heat retention. The barbecue’s powerful stainless tube burners feature an impressive 10 year warranty. To find out more about the full range visit Campingaz on stand 330. W:

Glencrest Seatex introduced Katie Blake Furniture six years ago with a small range of Flat Weave Rattan. Today the range is massive and includes Flat, Half Round and Full Round Weave plus Aluminium. Always of major consideration has been high quality but not at the high prices charged by some of the competition. Supplying close to 300 outlets Jack Whiteley, their Chairman and Founder, says he is very proud that the first customers who took their furniture right at the beginning are still buying today. Customers are saying that Katie Blake Furniture outsells

other brands by 3 to 1. When asked why, they say its good designs, sensible prices and good quality mean few returns. Last season the company had a few early season problems with late containers due to an increase in orders of over 40%. That led to the opening of a new factory which will be on full production starting before Solex for the 2019 season. Jack says: “That won’t ever happen again.” Having spent a good part of 2018 in China he is now getting to grips with Mandarin. Katie Blake has been audited by FIRA on behalf of LOFA and is fully accredited. W:


Champions of outdoor heating Outdoor heating will be wellrepresented at Solex this year with category champions, La Hacienda (Stand 120) showcasing the latest trends in chimeneas, firepits and electric heating – catering to everybody’s needs. Innovative, striking and practical, La Hacienda’s new range of perforated chimeneas and firepits are certain to greatly enhance your offering and impress your customers. A completely unique doublesided fireplace, the ‘Camacha’ (pictured below) is a visually stunning centrepiece and will be a hot pick for next season’s outdoor heating trends. Similarly, the ‘Santana’ chimenea (pictured above) provides considerable heat distribution with an attractive 360-degree view of the fire. Visit stand 120 to see La Hacienda’s sought after new products across their core lines of outdoor heating and cooking. With an ever-growing stockist network, La Hacienda look forward to discussing their new season’s range with you, helping to build and retain high volume sales. W: E:

Shade just where you need it Ideal for balconies and compact spaces, the unique FLEX ROOF from Swiss parasol experts Glatz (distributed by AEL Outdoor Solutions, stand 240) provides shade where needed without having to move or rearrange furniture in your outside space. The rectangular canopy roof can be adjusted depending on the position of the sun and the telescopic tube is designed for a stepless height setting. Lightweight and effortless to adjust, the Flex Roof not only tilts, swivels and slides, it can also be positioned vertically to ensure perfect privacy. Its polyester cover is provided with a 50+ UPF sun protection factor. W:

Award-winning range from Zest 4 Leisure Zest 4 Leisure is showcasing the best in outdoor living at Solex 2018 with its award winning range of timber garden furniture. Following the successful product launch at last year’s Solex event, visitors to Zest’s stand (345) can expect new products, as well as extensions to the company’s bestselling outdoor furniture ranges. Zest’s products on show include new picnic tables, arbours, and swing seats as well as existing customer favourites like the Emily Corner Bench and

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the Meridian Pergola Seat. Discussing this year’s return to Solex, Zest 4 Leisure’s Sales Manager, Alwyn Williams says: “We are constantly building on our successes with new products and with extensions of our existing bestsellers. “Solex is a great place for us to ‘shout about’ our latest products and is always an enjoyable experience.” Zest 4 Leisure will provide a warm welcome to visitors of its unique double-decker stand at 345 with top-notch hospitality. W:


LOFAssured initiative gains strength

Certified members

The LOFAssured initiative ensures that all cushions sold by members comply with current government fire safety regulations. LOFA is raising awareness of fire safety standards/regulations for garden furniture cushions in this young campaign and, already, 20 members are certified with 18 in progress and soon to be completed. One of the conditions of LOFA membership is that members must adhere to a code of conduct, part of which is compliance with all current legislation; it is this culture of propriety that the retailer and customer buy into when they source product from LOFA members. LOFAssured is a distinguishing factor setting LOFA products apart from other non-compliant suppliers. LOFA appointed FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association) and entered into a Primary Authority Partnership with HertfordshireTrading Standards to aid the members in their quest for full compliance. For further information on the Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association, call 02392 258844 or visit and A Mir & Co - Cane Industries - Culcita - Daro – Desser - Europa Leisure – Extreme Lounging- Firmans Direct Ltd - Glencrest Seatex Ltd – Glendale Garden and Leisure –

Hampson Agencies – Hartman UK - John Robertson Ltd - Kettler (GB) Limited – Lifestyle Garden - Maze Rattan - Munro Importers - Norfolk Leisure Lifestyle Limited – Pacific Lifestyle Ltd - Quest Leisure Products Ltd –

Bigger, better and the challenges One of the biggest challenges of a growing company is staff recruitment. Norfolk Leisure have over the last couple of years worked hard to ensure the infrastructure of the business is fully capable of handling the growth, and the company think they have succeeded. Every area of the operation has been assessed and each department has seen changes, with new management recruited, including a very experienced commercial manager, warehouse manager and financial manager. The administration team is solid and experienced, and the finance team now includes a fully qualified accountant. But the biggest challenge for a business in this sector is its front-line team. Norfolk Leisure are excited to announce the new expanded sales team line up. Covering the South of England will be Chris Bowles and Robert Norton, both with extensive sales experience in different fields. Matthew Hartley will cover the North. Kelly Burgess has a sales executive title, but she works more closely with national accounts and ecommerce. Nick Anderson, MD, is of course still very active in the sales departments too. This enhanced team will allow Norfolk Leisure to better support their customers and have a much more proactive approach to day to day business. One of the first companies to achieve LOFAssured accreditation, the team from

Norfolk Leisure have also been working on key ISO certification which they hope to complete before the end of 2018. Solex is only days away and the Norfolk Leisure team are raring to go. The 2019 full brochure will be available with nearly 200

pages of outdoor products and accessories. Visit the Norfolk Leisure team at Solex – stand numbers 210 and 305 – and remember to visit the new products stand too for a hint of the innovation available. W:

July 2018 SOLEX 5


All set for a fantastic exhibition The organisers of Solex have promised that the 2018 edition of the popular summer outdoor living trade show will be their biggest and best to date. Organised each July by the Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA) for its members, it is an annual three-day event attracting national and international retail and contract purchasing directors and managers. This unique event brings together the leading manufacturers of furniture, barbecues, gazebos, parasols, outdoor lighting and play equipment, creating a showcase for new developments in design, environmental manufacturing, sustainability and production for the retail and contract markets. Solex has steadily grown in size and stature since the inaugural event at Telford in 2008, re-locating to Hall 5 at the NEC in 2013 to meet the escalating demand for show space. The 10th anniversary show in 2017 built

on the first nine successful shows with more exhibition space, new developments and more exhibitors, while retaining the relaxed, friendly and business-like atmosphere that visitors have come to value.

For 2018, the organisers are aiming to attract more visitors, more media enquiries and professional specifiers of garden products, including landscape architects, designers and contractors.

Award-winning ranges from US-brand Char-Broil Char-Broil will be on stand 325 where it will be showcasing key products from its award-winning ranges, including the Kamander kamado-style grill, the Gas2Coal hybrid and its ‘TRU Infrared’ Professional BBQs. Char-Broil is the leading familybased US brand that has been making and innovating barbecues since 1948, making 2018 the 70th Anniversary year for the brand. Char-Boil offers a broad range of high quality gas and charcoal grills and a comprehensive range of matching grill accessories, which will also be on show. Char-Broil is an innovator in infrared cooking technology. Its industry-leading TRU-Infrared technology ensures an even distribution of heat every time, without any messy flare-ups – and locking in mouth-watering flavour with 50% juicier results. Char-Broil also has the Dancook range as part of its portfolio. The Dancook range is founded on the Danish tradition of cooking outdoors. The simple, unique products are manufactured in solid materials in a stylish design. The Gas2Coal hybrid grill, puts to rest the debate over the perfect fuel. For many consumers, that

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smoky charcoal taste is a key ingredient for the perfect grilling experience, but it’s hard to beat the convenience of gas. As an innovation leader, Char-Broil has combined the best of both worlds in its new Gas2Coal grill. In less than 60 seconds, grill masters can switch fuels – based on their mood or the type of meat – without ever having to compromise again. But Char-Broil didn’t stop there – to ensure the perfect performance of the Gas2Coal, the grilling surface has been designed to circulate air from top to bottom so that the charcoal burns in the same direction, ensuring much better use of radiant heat and greater energy efficiency. W:

Tripod Home celebrates 20th birthday “We are really excited to be celebrating this great milestone! The last 20 years have been an adventure and we have so many new projects and products in the pipeline, it’s a thrilling time,” said Myles Podmore, Managing Director at Tripod Home Ltd. Having Served the Garden and Outdoor Living Industry for the

past two decades, Tripod Home Ltd have become a leading innovator in Rustic Garden Furniture and Accessories. Products from their range are frequently used to inject interest and character to garden centre displays across the country. New products to be released at the show include two stunning new dining sets incorporating rustic wood combined with metal legs, rattan woven chairs, garden entertainment bars and a whole raft of giftware. Join the Tripod Home celebrations by visiting stand 625 at Solex. W:


Recipe for growth

What’s new in plants

Food and drink advice from HTA Catering Conference p30

Award winning plants from the HTA National Plant Show p20-22



JULY 2018

Advice and information for garden centre professionals

Back where she belongs Ex-HTA boss Carol Paris reveals her plans for new garden centre company

“Business as usual” at up-for-sale Wyevale Garden Centres, says CEO

THE TOP INTERVIEWS People in the news


Carol’s back ...and she’s here to create super new garden centres

As 145 Wyevale garden centres go under the hammer in the first stage of Terra Firma’s ‘Sale of the Century’, GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer talked with Carol Paris about her plans to create new garden centres in the south. After a retail career spanning Harrods, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Garden & Leisure, plus four years as CEO of the HTA, Carol Paris now heads up Somerton Ltd, an investment fund created to develop new centres using the concept developed by Rosebourne at Andover. “Somerton is about having smaller sites that are less weather dependent, and building very much on food, farm shops, the local provenance and developing the Rosebourne concept,” said Carol. “Rosebourne is a separate funding stream and they are not currently investing in anything beyond the Aldermaston site which is under development and one more but that will be their maximum. “Somerton is a different fund, set up under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), that can take the Rosebourne concept to other sites and can then use it as a franchise operation, taking the marketing, the menus, the development they have already done into areas that won’t cannibalise their existing businesses. “The money has been raised under the EIS regulation, so it is for new businesses rather than existing business. It’s all about creating new businesses, creating work in communities, creating opportunities. It is therefore slightly riskier, which is why there are tax benefits to it. So, it could be, for example, a current trading site such as a nursery that could become a garden centre. We are looking for potential sites of about 4,000 sq metres. If a nursery that was closing down was in an area where they were able to obtain planning permission, that would be perfect.” With the Wyevale sale in progress, Carol’s

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Somerton Ltd aims to develop the Rosebourne concept. Somerton funding doesn’t fit with buying existing centres but she is keeping her options open. “Under the funding that is currently available we won’t because they wouldn’t apply being garden centre sites already but that’s not to rule it out completely,” said Carol. Since leaving the HTA Carol has been watching recent garden centre developments carefully.

“The people who have been investing heavily in garden centres and doing something different are clearly Blue Diamond. They are the ones pushing the boundaries and not necessarily playing it safe. They are obviously in it for the long term and they are investing large sums of money and producing sites that are incredible. Bridgford is quite incredible. “At the smaller end of the scale

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

Christmas at Rosebourne – Garden & Leisure style.

“New gardeners will spend more money to make a dramatic change to their garden quite quickly with the space they have” you have got people that I admire like Beckworth Emporium who are doing it on a very different scale and making it less weather dependent. I think there are great opportunities for independent garden centres who want to put a twist on things. “You are needing to compete against on-line and you’re wanting to drive footfall. I think there are still great opportunities for creating this experience, whether it is to do with kids gardening, to do with classes such as cookery or gardening. There are some great opportunities to provide an experience for people that they wouldn’t get on-line. “Having a core business of selling plants is proving to be very important at the moment. DIY retailers are starting to get out of gardening because they have a very fixed programme whereas in garden centres, plants have always been the heart of the business and a unique selling point. I think there was a real pent-up demand that has been showing in the figures and perhaps people have made less visits but overall spend has been more because everyone was desperate to get out in their gardens.” While at the HTA, Carol was instrumental in the creation of ‘Love The Plot You’ve Got’, so we asked how important new, younger customers would be to the new centres she

is looking to create. “It’s clearly an up and coming market and it will depend upon the location. If it is one of the more urban locations it is very important. We need to grow our customers. Yes, you’ve got to serve the existing customer but you have to attract new customers. You need to have the advice available to help them, whether that is pots and containers. Ideas for smaller gardens are very important. “New gardeners will spend more money to make a dramatic change to their garden quite quickly with the space they have.” The Rosebourne concept is very much based around plants, food, gifts and Christmas, and Carol explained that the exact retailing content of each new centre will vary. “It will depend on the site really, what the size of the site is, what planning is available, on the size and type of buildings we will be able to have. We certainly won’t be going into all of the destination garden centre categories. There will be gift, a strong Christmas offering but we won’t be going into the broader categories such as clothing, crafts and pets.”

THE GTN TEAM Editor: Neil Pope Associate Editor: Mike Wyatt Director: Trevor Pfeiffer Publisher: Mandy Davies Advertising: Alan Burdon Ben Greenwood HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Tel 01733 775700 or email Subscription rates UK: £145 Subscription includes a password for full access to GTN Online plus a weekly copy of GTN Bestsellers OUR PUBLISHERS GTN is published by Potting Shed Press Ltd, who also publish: * website * Weekly GTN Xtra and Pet Trade Xtra newsletters * Garden Radio * Official Glee Catalogue and Glee Daily News Online – the only official guides to the garden industry’s leading annual trade show SMALL PRINT All material © Potting Shed Press 2018. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information contained in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. Potting Shed Press Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by reliance on information contained in this publication or in the event of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

Continued on page 4

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INTERVIEW Continued from page 3 Of course, there will be the quality of farm shop food as well as restaurant that was initially created at Beckworth Emporium and developed further at Rosebourne. “The items in the restaurant menu will be available in the butcher’s so there will be a good synergy there.” Quality retailing has been a part of Carol’s business life since she joined Harrods in 1987 where she suffered her worst retailing experience. “Having worked almost exclusively in the equestrian department, where I was completely at home, I was promoted to look after other sports departments. This included the rugby area. I was keen to impress my new boss so thought I would re-merchandise the whole department. The colours had been very badly put together so I was delighted with my much better adjacencies. I was awaiting the praise of my boss when he returned, only to hear the angriest man in the world loudly complaining about which f***ing idiot has mixed up rugby union and rugby league. I had no idea there were two different sports involved.

Carol Paris is also a non-executive director at Briers, here with Jackie Eades at Chelsea 2018 just before the Wyevale sale process was announced.

I had to stay late to sort it out.” After Harrods Carol moved to Edinburgh Woollen Mills in 1993 where her role was new store openings, including putting concessions into garden centres, which eventually led to her becoming Operations and Buying Director for the £45m turnover Garden & Leisure Group.

Melbicks was one of Carol’s great successes.

“My biggest retailing success was definitely Garden & Leisure new store openings. My favourite would have been Melbicks as a complete new build. Therefore, despite the working through the night for several nights you finally get the reward of seeing everything you had planned come to fruition. It is an amazing experience and one I know I will enjoy again at Somerton. “We already have a couple of interesting sites we are investigating and we are looking for further potential sites from the M40, through the M4 corridor and to the south.” To get in touch with Somerton regarding potential sites contact Carol by email at

Plant sales will be key.

GTN COMMENT Back in December 2014, Guy Topping predicted that the steady stream of acquisitions by Wyevale Garden Centres could actually lead to a smaller but stronger independent trade. And so he proved to be correct. As independent garden centres have grown in the past four years we now see how the turnovers at the sites acquired by Terra Firma have dropped in the ‘For Sale’ particulars distributed during Chelsea Flower Show. So, will the sale of 145 centres be an improvement for the UK garden retailing sector, its suppliers and its customers? Judging by the level of interest from prospective buyers there are plenty of existing garden centre operators out there who believe they can improve on the current situation to make a potential acquisition worthwhile. They always say you should leave room for improvement when selling a business to make it attractive – perhaps that was the plan all along. And for customers, if the new owners buy into the ‘part of the community’ ethos that so many excellent businesses excel in, then they could get a more varied,

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more caring and enjoyable experience. Guy Topping also said in December 2014: “This all spells disaster for suppliers who are going to struggle without a listing at the all-conquering empire formerly known as The Garden Centre Group.” Whilst there has been consolidation during the past four years the strength of the independents and the sale of Dobbies from Tesco has more than made up for that threat. If the Wyevale group is split up now, as many expect, then suppliers will have an interesting time dealing with the different buyers involved. Our hope, above all, is that whoever takes on the ownership of these centres does so with a sense of nurture and love for plants, food, coffee and all the good things garden centres can be famous for. Great independent garden centre operators have proved that when their staff and their retail ambience truly reflect ‘nurture’ that even when the weather goes against us, as this spring, good will always shine through and our businesses will grow. Business as usual – page 8


New from Harbo the Biscaya L-corner lounge dining set with armchair and bench to seat up to eight.

Harbo’s Valencia curved lounge dining set with curved dining benches and lazy susan seats up to 12.

Exciting next phase for Garden Furniture Global For season 2019, Garden Furniture Global will embark on a new and exciting phase in their development. Well known for their cost effective and reliable supply of the most popular rattan weave furniture sets, Jeremy and David Worricker are celebrating 70 years of the Harbo brand with the introduction of 10 brand new collections. There are new textured weaves in a range of designs incorporating additional features like integrated ice buckets, lazy susans and even a gas fire pit set. The new Harbo rattan weave collections range from the compact and competitively priced Barola to the luxurious Valencia 8 seater lounge dining sets. And there’s also new and exclusive collections in aluminium and textiline to suit the contemporary styling of modern homes. The team have also secured an exclusive supply agreement for a new range of granite topped barbecues and complete outdoor kitchens. Mont Alpi barbecues feature LED lit control knobs, halogen lit cooking surfaces and dual layer ceramic infrared burners that create real barbeque smoke and flavour. David Worricker, Garden Furniture Global Director, explains: “Together with our US partners, we’ve developed a unique range of granite topped barbecues that compete on

Above: Beautiful granitetopped outdoor kitchens from Mont Alpi are supplied in modular format and can be fitted to any outdoor space. Left: MB600 stainless steel 6 burner deluxe barbeque, 90 degree corner units, pull out units, sink unit and fridge - all supplied ready assembled with 70mm granite worktop and end panels. price with ordinary stainless steel. This will create a huge opportunity and allow anyone to aspire to owning one of these stylish barbecues.” At the top of the range is the complete outdoor kitchen, a modular system which allows customers to design to fit any space. There are sink units, fridge units, side burners and storage cabinets. But at the entry level, the basic granite topped 3 burner cart barbecue will retail for a highly competitive £699. Garden Furniture Global have built a reputation for fair pricing and strong retail margins, delivered by a small team of friendly and knowledgeable experts in the sector. The plan is to extend their business strategy to a vastly expanded range of products – but to retain the personal service and flexibility which is only possible with

their small company culture. David adds: “The new collections mark the start of an exciting new phase in the development of the business. We’ve been successful in supplying great quality basics at very competitive prices, and now we are applying the same principles of quality, style and value to bring a full category range to our customers. “We’ve also looked at our marketing plans, developing a new catalogue and website as well as a graphic refresh for the 70year old Harbo brand to bring it bang up to date. We won’t be changing everything though. “Jeremy and I intend to continue to run the business with the same successful supply chain strategy and hands on approach to our customers. That way we can also continue to offer the most competitive container deals in the market.”

To find out more about Mont Alpi barbeques and the Harbo range of stylish garden furniture, go to or e-mail our office on or call to speak to us on 0208 366 6988.

D470B stainless steel 4 burner deluxe barbeque with 70mm granite worktop.

Garden Furniture Global, Crews Hill Nursery, Theobolds Park Road, Enfield, EN2 9BS.

July 2018 5


Spoiled for choice Retailers are spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing quality outdoor furniture and barbecues from leading UK company LeisureGrow, and they are being given two prime opportunities to make those all important buying decisions. First, they will be able to view the company’s fantastic new ranges at Solex (stand 205), where the LeisureGrow team will be on hand to talk to visitors about their innovative styles and features. And second, garden centre buyers will be able to visit LeisureGrow’s amazing new LG Outdoor showroom at the company’s headquarters at Dewmead Farm, Hinxworth, Hertfordshire, where all the ranges are expertly showcased in a spectacular building. GTN was given a tour of the LeisureGrow set-up at Dewmead Farm and was impressed with the size and scale of the showroom facilities – there is a massive 1,5000 sq m of floor space – as well as the fantastic array of new products due to be unveiled at Solex. LeisureGrow outdoor furniture and Grillstream barbecues will take centre-stage on the company’s Solex stand.

The Sun Set Room is the main showroom.

Now in its 20th year, LeisureGrow has grown as a business yet one thing remains the same – the company has managed to keep to the core values it had when it first started out…a promise to deliver: 4Carefully designed products 4No compromise on quality 4Customer service you can rely on 12 months a year

The Grillstream BBQ showroom is called The Brick Yard.

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During our visit to LesiureGrow we were amazed at the innovation of materials on all the furniture sets, as well as the variety of the ranges. Furniture in the Weave Collections is designed to look like a natural product, with neutral grey and brown colour-ways and mixed rod details helping to produce a realistic traditional rattan look. Watch out for the Toulon range, which is new for 2019. The Fusion Mix Collection – including new ranges Bergen, Helsinki and Malmo – certainly caught our eye. There are some real show-stoppers in this collection, and mixing materials is bound to be a surefire winner with consumers. LeisureGrow have expertly introduced a fusion of different textures and materials in this range – from ridged slate and textured stone, to smooth glossy stones and marble, layered with weave and linen-look materials. Furniture with strong lines feature in the Aluminium Collections, which include three new designs for 2019 – Turin, Naopli and Roma. A mis-match of colours together with a steady base – whether it’s light grey frames or darker bronze-speckled cast aluminium – makes the collection work. The addition


of wood-effect tabletops helps to create a forest-feel. The nautical feel of the Rope & Wood Collections instantly takes you to a sunny place by the sea. The rope weave is made from marine-quality rope, woven together into beautiful textured panels. Watch out for the Belize range, new for 2019.

Ceramic tiles in intricate geometric patterns provide the perfect traditional detail for the Ceramic Collections, bringing to mind the coolness of a courtyard or building against the backdrop of the heat of the day. For a more sleek look, the granite on the Constantine range is sophisticated and cool to the touch.

Retailers will be impressed by the extensive range of barbecues and accessories in the Grillstream and LG ranges, and as well as viewing them at Solex they are definitely worth seeing at LeisureGrow HQ, where there is a new designated Grillstream showroom called the Brick Yard. All visitors to Dewmead Farm are treated to a gourmet lunch cooked on a Grillstream barbecue in the relaxing Grillstream Lodge, with views of the countryside. GTN can vouch for the scrumptious food on offer.

To book a visit to see the impressive LeisureGrow showroom email or call 01462 744500 The Weave and Ceramic Collections can be found in The Wisteria Room.

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Business as usual Wyevale Garden Centres has stressed that it has been ‘business as usual’ since the announcement that its 145 stores were for sale in May. Speculation has been rife as to how the UK’s largest garden centre retail business will be sold off by owner Terra Firma. GTN has been tracking developments closely and the general consensus seems to be there won’t be a single buyer for all 145 centres. But, understandably, interest has been high from a number of potential buyers. The deadline for bids in the first stage of Terra Firma’s sale has now passed and it will be interesting to see what transpires over the coming weeks. Since Terra Firma announced the Wyevale portfolio was for sale in May, the retailer has been keen to point out it has been ‘business as usual’. Infact, the heatwave of the first May bank holiday delivered Wyevale’s’ highest ever trading weekend – up 61% on the same weekend in 2017 – followed by a record week of sales, up 39% on the prior year. GTN asked CEO Roger Mclaughlan (pictured right), how pleased he was with the way the group was performing during this period of change. This was his reaction. “We are very pleased with our performance. Customers are reacting well to the changes we have made, and we are delighted to have delivered a record breaking May performance,” said Roger. “Our focus is ‘business as usual’. We are well set up for peak trading, and all colleagues are focused on ensuring we continue to deliver best-in-class retail experiences for our customers.” How was he keeping staff morale high during a period of uncertainty? “Great people are at the heart of our business,” he answered. “As part of our turnaround strategy, we’ve invested in our colleagues, and our customers are already

8 July 2018

“We believe that any prospective buyer will see the value in the strategy we’ve set out” seeing the difference. We believe that any future owner would see the value in our colleagues. “We have held conversations with our colleagues across the business since the sale was announced and very much believe in the importance of maintaining an open dialogue with them to ensure any concerns they may have are addressed directly.” So did he believe there was a winning formula throughout the Wyevale Garden Centres business? “Our current strategy is focused on building and strengthening the fundamentals of our business and delivering a more compelling customer proposition and experience.

“We have improved ranges, increased stock availability, and delivered exceptional garden centre standards. This has been delivered through the focus on our strategic goals of investing in people, upgrading systems and controls as well as improving the supply chain process. “We believe that any prospective buyer will see the value in the strategy we’ve set out and implemented over the last two years, including investment in our people, the core infrastructure, systems and processes of the business.” There will probably be many twists and turns ahead before the sale is completed. GTN will keep you up-to-date with the latest news through its digital newsletter GTN Xtra.


From this... to this in just one wipe

Weather Shield set to wipe the floor at Solex A. Mir & Co Ltd are proud to announce their latest innovations for the garden furniture market, including the amazing Weather Shield cushion fabrics. A. Mir & Co Ltd have developed a unique special 100% genuine waterproof fabric using soft touch luxury spun polyester fabric for cushions on their Royalcraft outdoor furniture. This will be sold under the ‘Weather Shield’ cushion fabrics branding and be available for specification on Royalcraft and the company’s retail partners’ own brands. In addition to ‘Weather Shield’ cushion fabrics being 100% waterproof and meeting UK Fire regulation compliance, the fabric offers additional performance advantages. The main additional feature comes from a Stain Resistant Treatment that handles general household contaminates from Ketchup to Red Wine. The fabric has colour fastness to UV90 level protection to avoid the fading of fabric in direct sun light. All treatments applied to the fabric for cushions are REACH compliant “We have discussed our new fabric development with FIRA UK (Furniture

Industry Regulation Authority) and we are encouraged to learn that currently there appears to be nothing on the market that has performance similar to that offered from our new ‘Weather Shield’ Premium grade Fabric,” said Abid Mir. “We look forward to the launch of this innovative fabric at the Solex 2018 show alongside several new ranges developed for Spring/Summer 2019 season. “These new rattan ranges are available together with additions to popular collections and all can be offered with “Weather Shield” fabric cushions. New Cast Aluminium collections also feature this cushion innovation. “So with all the above in place, A. Mir are ready to supply our furniture to you with ‘Weather Shield’ fabric cushions for the 2019 season.” A. Mir are on stand 520 at Solex. Havana



10 July 2018

Discover the game changer Experience the art of innovation and discover how ‘Weather Shield’ is set to revolutionise the world of outdoor furniture. Here’s a brand new fabric that’s waterproof (not just resistant but genuinely waterPROOF), stainproof, UV-resistant and luxuriously soft to the touch. Torrential rain? No problem, just shake it dry. Red wine or ketchup spills? No problem, just wipe it clean. Try it for yourself on the A. Mir stand – and find out why, with years of experience in the outdoor furniture industry, the company are renowned as the market leaders. Working closely with their customers, A. Mir create a wide range of unique designs. GTN put ‘Weather Shield’ to the test, and the results were impressive. “To see red wine just wiped away was breathtaking,” said Alan Burdon, GTN’s Business Development Manager. “Visitors to Solex are sure to be impressed. It needs to be seen to be believed.” To see video demonstrations of the effectiveness of ‘Weather Shield’ go to

Water can just be shaken off the fabric.


Highfield Garden World welcomes third generation The 132-strong team at Highfield Garden World in Gloucestershire now includes members of not two but three generations of the founding Greenway family.

Emma Greenway, 25, has recently joined her father, aunt and grandmother in the family business. In its 97-year history, Highfield has gone from a small business growing willow for basket-makers to the popular (10,000 customers a week) restaurant and retail destination it is today. Emma’s arrival is the latest in a long line of changes which the Greenways have implemented and navigated over the years. She spent a couple of years in the business previously, before leaving to start a family and work in property for a while. Now she’s back, and by all accounts it’s for good. Emma commented: “I feel proud and excited to be back in the family business and part of future plans. In my current role I am part of the cash office team and I am responsible for processing the takings from each department every day for analysis. “I also run the various customer coach trips which we organise to take customers to lovely events and places around the country. “The combination of these two means I spend proper time getting to know some of our customers, and it also gives me really useful insight into what sells well and when across the whole site.”

12 July 2018

Joan Greenway, MD, founder and Emma’s grandmother, said: “It’s great that another generation of the family is now involved, and Emma certainly has the determination

you need to succeed in what is a very competitive market.” Emma’s father Tim Greenway added: “She’s definitely not shy in voicing ideas and opinions, and we don’t always see eye to eye, but I know of old that’s all part and parcel of working with family! As she gains experience and insight her contribution will become increasingly important.” Emma said: “I am still learning and taking everything on board at the moment but I can see our restaurant has been a fantastic success to the point that it’s now full to capacity, so I think as a business we would benefit from looking at ways to develop that further. “Helping customers with busy lifestyles get the most from whatever outside space and free time they may have is vitally important and we are all working to expand our range of instant impact, zero maintenance products going forward - for example items like colourful pots and planters, garden mirrors, good-looking outdoor furniture and even artificial grass. In fact I’m having some put down in my own little patch of outside space this summer.”

July 2018 13

The Seville collection from Katie Blake is out selling its competitors. Our customers are reporting that Katie Blake outdoor furniture outsells other brands by up to three times. “Excellent quality and design at the right price - This range appeals to more people with its comfort and style” Come and see the Katie Blake Collection at the Solex Exhibition and find out what you are missing. Great Furniture backed by a 10 year guarantee, nice people and a lot more. You can’t miss us we have one of the largest stands! Visit us at Solex in 2018 on stand 410 Glencrest Seatex Limited, Seatex House, Unit 1 Airborne Industrial Estate, A127 Southend Arterial Road, Eastwood, Southend, Essex SS9 4EX. t: 01702 527814 e:

July 2018 15

RETAIL IDEAS stems. Elho pots and planters provide stylish homes for these beautiful creations. Willow Wand trees in Pure Elho planters have already captured the public’s imagination at Harrogate, Ascot and Gardener’s World Live. Simon Read from The Willow Wand said: “The Wand has had an amazing response but consumers often want the whole package. Elho Pure pots planted up with our Wands look stunning and attract a lot of attention – generating sales for both of us. Elho provide great support to our young business and pulled all the stops out in the lead up to Ascot to make the event a success.” With houseplants still growing in popularity, many garden centres are increasing the size of their indoor section. It’s an effective strategy to appeal to a wider and younger audience. Growers Double H have had success purchasing the 7cm Elho b.for Round to create gift sets that are retailing at Marks & Spencer. It’s a tactic that garden centres and nurseries can also use to market their plants.

Building partnerships for success Suppliers, retailers and growers all share the same objectives when it comes to reaching shoppers. With daily headlines showing that many in the garden trade are experiencing tough times, it makes sense to work together to deliver a fantastic customer experience. David Nicholson, Elho Sales Manager UK and Ireland, says: “We work with different partners to inspire consumers. It’s about finding the right combination of plant and pot, and providing the best information and experience for shoppers. Getting it right means more sales – of plants and pots – so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

David Nicholson adds: “When launching an Ambassador store, we involve our 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. “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.”

Building brands in store Suppliers and garden retailers are working together to create branded areas within stores that showcase products and inspire customers. Giving shoppers the opportunity to engage with brands in a specific and unique environment. In May 2017, Van Hage opened an Elho branded store concept within its main Great Amwell garden centre. “We’ve seen a definite shift in interest and customer demand for more lifestyle driven items, bright complementary colours and new bold inspiration,” comments Ben Stevenson, Category Manager – Gardening at Van Hage. “We’ve been able to deliver this for our customers through the Elho Ambassador store. With support, advice and enthusiasm from Elho that has been second to none.”

Growing Partnerships From a chance meeting at the Garden Press Event in February 2018, Elho and The Willow Wand Ltd have built a strong partnership that sees grower and supplier appearing together at high profile shows throughout the summer. The recently launched and award-winning Willow Wand® is marketed as ‘living art’, hand-woven from live willow

16 July 2018

To become an Elho retailer or for more information: Contact David Nicholson. T: 07910 212155. E: W: F:

Working with the RHS Successful partnerships can also extend to trade associations and charities such as Garden Re-Leaf Day and Greenfingers Charity. United by a common aim to get people gardening and introducing more green into their lives, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and Elho work closely together. Elho products are available from the RHS online store and on sale at RHS Garden Wisley. David Nicholson says: “It’s a productive partnership for both sides. The RHS are strong on visual merchandising and the Elho display at Wisley grabs the attention of the thousands of people who visit the garden every year. The Elho team joined the RHS at Chelsea, selling our products on their behalf. It was profitable for us both and raised the Elho profile to a much wider audience.” Tim Hollis, Head of RHS Buying, agrees: “Elho gains access to our members, gardens and shows. The RHS and our members benefit from Elho’s innovation and colourful, well designed products. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement.” With so many benefits to partnership working it’s certainly worth considering how, and who, your business could get together with!


Why garden retailers should consider own-branding Sue Benson, Managing Director at The Market Creative, considers the benefits of own-branding and how to do it well. Blue Diamond recently became the first garden centre to introduce own-brand fashion. While innovative in garden retail, the concept of private label product lines has had long-standing success in the grocery market. The latest Kantar Worldpanel Brand Footprint study found that own-label goods from UK retailers comprised half of all value sales for the first time – an increase of £3.3bn, while branded sales rose by £0.8bn. Own-label products have historically come up against criticism for appearing cheap and devaluing the parent brand, but the stigma has reduced and perception improved as the concept has moved on in leaps and bounds. Aldi’s own-brand whiskies have just been crowned ‘best in the world’, for the second year. In a blind taste test, ASDA’s own-brand hot chocolate was ranked ‘just as delicious’ as high-end Charbonnel et Walker. Own-branded goods are no longer just about value; they’re about desirability. There are many more benefits of own labelling. Rather than selling similar brands, these lines offer a point of difference and can incite brand loyalty for the retailer, over the manufacturer. There’s an opportunity to respond to the latest trends and tell your brand story through packaging. Ownbrand products also remove the risk of showrooming, where shoppers visit stores to try out a product and then buy online from a competitor. Customers have long-considered their local garden centre as an alternative ‘retail’ environment and there are many product lines suited to own-branding. While compost is common, there are opportunities

Own brands can help garden retailers stand out from the competition. with garden furniture, equipment and accessories, artisan food and pet care, to name a few. The stronger the brand the more successfully you can diversify, think Virgin or Saga, but it is not without risks. If you already enjoy a loyal customer base and sell a similar range of goods, then there is an opportunity to create something more bespoke and inline with your values and style. The current retail environment presents genuine opportunities for brands that evolve but you will need to work harder than ever to protect your customer base and brand equity. Own-branding may not be the right choice for every garden centre, but it will be interesting to see how it develops or if there is a finite range of products we can convincingly sell.

Five tips to successful own-branding 1

Engage Don’t work in isolation, research, test and engage your customers in the process. Even the best products can be improved with insight and they will definitely benefit from advocates and influencers within your customer groups championing new product ranges or innovations.


Ask the experts If you are thinking of introducing a new bespoke line, work with expert suppliers. They bring experience and support allowing you to focus on the additional elements that will appeal to your customers.


Reflect your brand Your brand is your greatest asset, so make sure your own-label reflects your values, otherwise the juxtaposition will work against you. Similarly, if your customers buy into your brand they are more likely to buy your products.


Understand your values The stronger the brand the further it can stretch, but the values have to be authentic, relevant, solid and consistent - even if the product line changes.


Evolve Finally, fail fast or test and learn quickly. When your brand, investments, and ultimately, your reputation are on the line you need to make sure that you are improving all of the time. For more marketing insight and trends visit

A myriad of opportunities face garden centres considering own-branding.

18 July 2018


New rose beats judges’ choice in visitor vote When two days’ worth of votes were counted, visitors to the National Plant Show at Stoneleigh had chosen to disagree with the judges over the choice of Best in Show. The judging panel unanimously chose the columnar Laburnum anagyroides ‘Yellow Rocket’ from Frank P Matthews in the official judging round, while the Visitor Vote went to the striking Rose ‘Timeless Purple’ from Whartons. With its narrow upright habit, the laburnum will without doubt win news fans for this popular spring-flowering tree among those with limited space. However, retail buyers clearly anticipated greater sales potential for the fragrant ‘Timeless Purple’ , a colour not that common in roses, especially as it is said to be especially suitable for cutting as well as garden decoration. The new patio sunflower from Thompson & Morgan, ‘Sunbelievable Brown-Eyed Girl’, fresh from a new plant accolade at Chelsea, wowed the crowds and the judges as the show’s best annual. After eight years in the breeding, T&M have managed to create a repeat-flowering sunflower capable of producing 1000 blooms in a season, with no need for dead-heading (it’s cuttings-raised). In the herbaceous perennials category, visitors again disagreed with the judges, who had voted an eryngium from Allensmore their top choice. But it was the striking Digitalis ‘Firebird’ from Farplamts which took the visitor vote, for its well-named colourway

20 July 2018

Above: Visitors preferred Digitalis ‘Firebird’ from Farplants to the Eryngium ‘Magical Blue Globe’ from Allensmore Nurseries as the show’s best new heraceous perennial. Bellow: the Farplants team receiving the award.

Above: the visitors top new plant choice...Rose ‘Timeless Purple’ from Whartons Roses. Below: the judges’ choice...Laburnum ‘Yellow Rocket’ entered by Frank P Matthews. Top: Whartons accept the Visitors Vote award. Below Left: Frank P Matthews receive their Best in Category and Best in Show awards. and intriguing flower spikes. However, you may want to order young plants well before the spikes reach the open ‘looking good’ stage to avoid damage in transit and rely on good POS for impulse sales. Many have welcomed the return of Impatiens wallerina, the UK’s top-selling bedding plant until the downy mildew crisis. Syngenta’s new ‘Imara’ series (pictured below), which has been available this year for the first time, has been thoroughly tested for vigour and resistance. The show specimens looked in rude health – and earned a Silver from the judging panel.

Getting set for epic show

The excitement is building as the pet industry gears up for the its biggest UK event of the year… PATS Telford on Sunday and Monday, September 23-24. All the latest innovations, exciting new product launches, unrivalled networking opportunities and future trends come together to create the industry’s most thriving exhibition. “There is a tremendous buzz surrounding the show,” says organiser Gordon Thomas. “So much is happening at PATS Telford over both days of the exhibition, it really is a must-visit event for retailers and buyers. I can promise it will be great day out so make sure you travel to Telford and attend the biggest pet trade show of the year.” One of the most popular features of PATS Telford is the pbwnews-sponsored New Product Showcase, which will

have a huge presence at the exhibition. All entries in the Showcase will be judged by a panel of retailers for the New Product Awards on the first morning of the show, and the winners will receive their accolades at the PetQuip Awards Dinner in the evening. As well as seeing an unrivalled array of new pet products and meeting to top suppliers and manufacturers, visitors will also be able to witness demonstrations from leading dog groomers and listen to talks from prominent industry figures. All visitors to PATS Telford will receive a free catalogue, free tea and coffee, and free parking. You can register for free entry online at Opening times Sunday, 23rd September: 9.30am-5.00pm Monday, 24th September: 9.30am-4.00pm

July 2018 21


Ladies and gentlemen...let’s hear it for... Classiflora Zelari ... (right, top) winners of the National Plant Show’s ‘Planting the Seed’ award, voted for by visitors, which is designed to recognise stands that capture the imagination, provide clear information and attract attention. Classiflora are masters in the art of retail theatre inspiration and retailers clearly understood how they made it work here.

Bransford Webbs ...(bottom left) who earned a Highly Commended in the ‘Planting the Seed’ category for this novel approach to plant colour-theming

Pentland Plants ...(bottom right), who didn’t win an award but deserved attention for their literal take on retail theatre. They sat their best plants on red nursery chairs in front of a curtained stage. Excellent!

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22 July 2018

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July 2018 23


Educating consumers A huge 47% of gardeners would like to spend less time weeding their gardens whilst 28% of people want to spend less time weeding their driveways. This is according to primary research conducted by Yolo Communications on behalf of the Common Sense Gardening Group. Common Sense Gardening aims to provide gardeners with tips on using, storing and disposing of gardening products safely. Getting rid of weeds the traditional way can be a time-consuming and arduous job, and using garden care products is one way consumers have identified as having a robust impact on problem areas. In fact, 22% believe garden care products are fundamental to the proper maintenance of their gardens. In fact, nearly half of the people asked (43%) use garden care products to control their weed issues. Garden care products are very safe to use, when used as directed on the label. Something that 39% of people agreed with. With common weeds such as prickly thistles and poisonous hemlock inundating

gardens around the UK as temperatures soar, people don’t want to waste their precious time weeding their outdoor space. Gary Philpotts, Chair of the Common Sense Gardening Group, said: “Spring is now thoroughly upon as and as temperatures rise, people are clearing up their gardens. “This research endorses our mission to better educate people on the important role garden care products play in creating and maintaining a garden. “As ever, a majority of the population will not have time to tend to their garden and will be turning to garden care products to assist them in eliminating weeds quickly from their outdoor areas.” The group is part of the Crop Protection Association - the key voice of the UK plant science industry. The Common Sense Gardening Group’s research comes as no surprise to many industry experts and complements anecdotal research already carried out by the European Crop Protection Association. Indeed, the association found that there are various economic and efficacy benefits

Highlights of stats 47% 28% 22% 43%

of gardeners would like to spend less time weeding

their gardens

of people want to spend less time weeding their


believe garden care products are fundamental to the proper maintenance of their gardens use garden care products to control their weeds

24 July 2018

linked to the use of weed-controlling products. In particular, garden care products are an inexpensive way to get rid of invasive species, as well as being relatively easy to apply and very time efficient. In terms of safety, all of the products approved to use in the home and garden must undergo stringent safety assessments before they are registered as safe to use. There are also physical controls that are incorporated into product design and packaging that can reduce the risk of contact from the user with the product and prevent misuse. Common Sense Gardening Group incorporates five different member companies, all of which are involved in the manufacture and sale of garden care products. With garden care product safety its primary concern, the group aims to help a broad audience to fight problems in their garden while being exposed to as few risks as possible. 4For more information, visit their website:

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Coolings have used Wonderwall effectively at the entrance of their award-winning garden centre.

Above: Wonderwall created a stunning display at Chelsea Flower Show in 2017.

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Verticle gardening is a huge growth area for the UK’s Garden Centres. Our market leading product is consistently selling well within the GTN bestseller charts. Currently stocked in over 180 garden centres, including Ayletts, Notcutts, Coolings, Blue Diamond, Klondyke, Dobbies and Newbank.

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July 2018 25




Smart Garden Products Ltd have been included in London Stock Exchange Group’s “1000 Companies to Inspire Britain” report. The report is a celebration of the UK’s fastestgrowing and most dynamic small and medium sized businesses across the UK. To be included in the list, companies needed to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers.

3 Bents Garden & Home has been awarded a Gold Award from Anthem Engagement, becoming only the second company in the UK to achieve this recognition, based on colleague feedback and communication. Bents has run regular in-house colleague questionnaires over the past few years, but the work with Anthem Engagement was the centre’s first official survey, designed to measure colleague engagement and satisfaction within the business. Bents recorded a 73.7% overall score – 13.9% above the national average.

Career Moves


LeisureGrow Products Ltd has acquired the business interests of Petface out of administration. Key Petface personnel will be kept on by LeisureGrow Products Ltd, and the Petface brand will be run out of LeisureGrow Products Ltd’s head office in Hinxworth, Hertfordshire. Petface stock will be centralised in LeisureGrow’s distribution centre. Jody Grimmer, Managing Director for LeisureGrow Products Ltd, said: “Our focus for the coming weeks and months will be to ensure existing Petface customers receive better service, good availability of stock, and reliable stock delivery – including weekly replenishment deliveries where required.”


Cowell’s Garden Centre in Woolsington, Newcastle, has been saved after the family business bought its site from the landlord. The future of Cowell’s Garden Centre, at Woolsington on the edge of Newcastle, had been put in doubt with its lease on the site coming to an end and the landlord pursuing plans to sell it for a housing development. The multi-award winning garden centre was originally set up by Alan and Mavis Cowell in 1978, and a search for a new home for the business had been launched in 2012 by current companies co-directors: Alan and Mavis’ children, Martin Cowell and Jane Keating. By 2017, however, the family were still struggling to find a new home for the business and the company brought in a team of advisors who suggested the business offer to buy the land from the landlord.

Sally Cullimore joins the HTA as Policy Executive and brings many years of experience from the grower sector after completing her studies at Pershore College. Sally has spent time at Ball Colegrave and the Newey Group in sales and marketing roles. Alistair Yeomans joins as Horticulture Manager. With a BSc in Horticulture, a qualification in Arboriculture from Harvard, and an MSc in Forestry Alistair brings wide experience in ornamental and amenity horticulture including farm management in Portugal, ornamental production in the UK and research work in connection with the University of Oxford.

Kyle Ross has been promoted to Production Manager at Wyevale Containers Division and Chris King has accepted the role of Assistant Production Manager at Wyevale Transplants Division. Kyle and Chris both undertook Wyevale Nurseries’ inhouse, two-year, Management Trainee Programme, which covered all areas of the business.

5 Deroma, the world‘s leader in terracotta pottery located in the North of Italy, will be taken over – most probably before the end of 2018 – by a cooperation between two German companies, the Bavaria Industries Group AG (Baikap) and the Scheurich GmbH & Co KG. Peter Baumann, Scheurich’s owner, said: “Deroma as the market leader in the outdoor market and Scheurich as the leader in the indoor market complement one another perfectly and will use synergies particularily in the development of international markets that benefit their customers.”

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

26 July 2018

Worfield Plants in Shropshire has extended its team with the appointment of Jamie Ablett to the role of Sales Executive in the South East. With more than 14 years’ experience in direct sales, Jamie has a wealth of commercial experience in new business development and account management that is already benefitting Worfield Plants and its independent garden centres and retail customers. Jamie’s background, working in marketing-led businesses, also brings fresh newthinking to the company.

July 2018 27


Fun and games ...all in aid of charity Suppliers and retailers from the garden retail industry came together for a day of fun, team building and networking at the GIMA Charity Golf & Activity Day in Telford, raising much needed funds for charity. It was the second year the event was opened to other activities like archery, laser clay pigeon shoot, kwik cricket, opening the event up for more industry colleagues to get out from behind their desks for a day of team building and fun. On the golf course, the biggest prize on the day was over the 18 holes. It was a fiercely fought competition but it was the team from Hartman who took home the winners’ trophy. Coming up a close second was Woodlodge, with the GIMA team following behind in third position. A team from Bathgate picked up the wooden spoon. As always, the golfers had not just their handicap to beat, but a number of other prizes up were for grabs keeping the competitive juices flowing. The ‘Beat the Pro’ winners were Anthony Barrett, Phil Hards, Robert Stubbs, Stuart Miller, Paul Facey, Alwyn Williams, Phil Burgoyne, Nigel Wallis, Jai Bunker, Phil Swainston, Keith Laird, Tony Dedman, Jamie Cobb and Phil Hodges. There were also several spot prizes available. The winners were:

28 July 2018

Nearest Pin 8th Hole – James Mitchell Nearest Pin 11th Hole – Paul Handier Nearest Pin 16th Hole – Chris Owen Longest Drive 14th Hole - James Mitchell Longest Drive 18th Hole – Paul Whitehead Longest Ladies Drive – Alison Novell

Activity Day (Archery, laser clay pigeon shoot, kwik cricket): Overall winners – Team A led by Chris Ramsden 247 points; Team B led by Richard Pyrah’s scored 232 points. Archery – 1 Andrew Peers; 2 Neil Simms; 3 Mike Cook.


GIMA’s annual Charity Golf and Activity day this year benefitted Greenfingers Charity (www. and Acorns Hospice ( Linda Petrons, Head of Fundraising and Communications at Greenfingers Charity said: “On behalf of everyone at Greenfingers Charity, thank you GIMA for another fabulous charity event. Your generosity throughout the day and into the evening

is hugely appreciated by us all but more importantly the hundreds of children and families we support.” GIMA Director Vicky Nuttall said she was particularly grateful to sponsors this year: “The raffle and auction prizes were even more generous this time around, and had an immediate impact helping to raise a large amount of cash on the night – which we will announce at the GIMA Awards on the 12th July.” Sponsors for the event were: Bestwick Associates,

Bord Na Mona, British Garden Centres, Cadix, Eden Horticulture, Hozelock, Fiskars, Garden Trade News, Gardman, Grange, Hornby Whitefoor PR, HTA, Kew Green Hotels, Outback, Q Hotels, Stihl, Westland, Woodlodge, Vitax, Zest 4 Leisure. The prizes were awarded at a special evening dinner, during which guests were entertained by ‘Billy Flywheel’, a comedian, magician, hypnotist and mentalist.

July 2018 29


A Recipe for Growth An abundance of inspiration from the HTA Catering Conference. ‘A Recipe for Growth’ was the theme of this year’s HTA Catering Conference, held in the new venue of the beautiful Birmingham Botanical Gardens. The two-day event and exhibition provided a great forum for looking at opportunities and challenges for garden centre catering with delegates feeding back that they found the event enjoyable, valuable and informative. Keynote speaker for day one was Jim Cregan, from Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. He shared his story of how starting as a festival compère and labourer, he felt ashamed of how his girlfriend’s parents would describe him, and adventured to Australia for exploration and inspiration. Whilst down-under he discovered iced coffee, and on his return to the UK was appalled at the offerings available, which were packed with sugar and lacking in coffee kick. Joining forces with his sister and with a little help from their parents, they developed Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, and with a lot of grit and determination it became the brand it is today. Jim revealed his key points to making a brand something you are proud of achieving: 4Show hunger and drive 4Create a real story 4Have a plan 4Trust your instinct 4Learn to say ‘no’ 4Build an epic team 4Build culture that people love 4Let money be a bi-product of your dream He concluded the inspirational session with a quote from American poet Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

30 July 2018

The annual HTA Catering Conference dinner was also held in the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, with the drinks reception held in the sunshine on the beautiful terrace in front of the glasshouses. Rosemary Shrager was the after-dinner speaker of the evening. Rosemary endeared herself to the nation when she took part in ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ where she proved she could cook just about anything, anywhere. During her talk she entertained the audience with tales of her career, from training with world renowned chefs, being cooking TV’s best kept secret, and insights into her upcoming book and projects. She urged the audience to do more events in the evenings to maximise the foodie elements of their businesses. Day two of the conference saw a strong focus on food. The day was started by Paul

Hargreaves, Cotswold Fayre, giving an insight into current and upcoming food trends. Jane Land, Co-founder of Veganuary, discussed the shift towards veganism and the reasons behind this, and Boyd DouglasDavies, Managing Director from Hillview Group, shared his insights from his trip to Australia. There were also demonstrations from EcoChef Tom Hunt and Tom Styman-Heighton from Funnybones Foodservice. The event concluded with a panel session, chaired by Boyd which saw Philippa Stubbs from British Garden Centres, Matthew Bent from Bents Garden & Home, and Greg Timmerman-Delves from Timmerman’s Garden Centre discuss issues such as recruitment, menu planning across different sites, and growing produce for use in the garden centre kitchen.

Profile for Garden Trade News

GTN July 2018  

GTN July 2018