GTN July 2021 - Garden Trade News, UK

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JULY 2021

Advice & information for garden centre professionals

THE SUMMER OUTDOOR LIVING EXHIBITION Be inspired by new products & ideas 6-8 JULY Online only for 2021 | 02392 258844

Solex 2021 online


We look forward to welcoming you back in person in 2022 but in the meantime, hop on to our website between the 6-8 July and immerse yourself in SOLEX 2021. Visit: https://www.

LOFA: A rollercoaster of a year…

’m not sure where to start. It’s been another strange rollercoaster of a year here at LOFA. January brought us Brexit and its many complexities, reams of red tape, double tariffs, proof of origin, extra charges and delays at customs and ports, plus the increased costs of shipping and then the Evergiven getting stuck in the Suez Canal made the start of 2021 memorable for all the wrong reasons. We raised public awareness of these issues via the Birmingham Post, Ideal Home, BBC Online, Which, BBC Local Radio, BBC Local TV and BBC World. This combination of challenges has meant that our members and the industry as a whole have had to look at new ways of working and overcome the many obstacles that have been thrown their way. We are still not over the worst and delays and increased costs are things that everyone is still trying to work through. Keeping up with the increased demand means that delays are inevitable. Members are still ordering products and if everyone is ‘staycationing’ instead of risking holidays abroad, and the sun continues to shine we are in for an even busier season than last year. Stock levels are already low, and product is already sold before it arrives. Repeat orders are

coming in thick and fast and some customers are accepting goods that will be arriving in the UK as late as September. In March we made the difficult decision to cancel Solex for the second year in a row. Every year we look forward to connecting with exhibitors, buyers and industry professionals and although there are positive signs that events are starting up again, we felt that the restrictions would compound the challenges faced in organising this event and unlike other exhibitions we are unable to move the SOLEX Show to a later date in the year because of the long lead times required for orders. We wanted to make the right decision for everyone involved and we did not want to continue with a show that would not be up to our customary high standards. So, we decided not to run SOLEX in 2021 but move the exhibition to July 2022, when we can come back bigger, better and, hopefully, Covid free! We know that this will come as an enormous disappointment to many so, in place of the in-person SOLEX exhibition, we are hosting an

if everyone is ‘staycationing’ and the sun continues to shine we are in for an even busier season than last year


Hartman has launched its 2022 virtual showroom experience, showcasing an impressive tradeshow, at the manufacturer’s new headquarters in Telford. Hartman’s pioneering online virtual experience for trade clients last year created an overwhelming response from new and existing clients alike. The virtual tour means customers can view the 2022 collection at their leisure before visiting the trade show in person. The showroom includes a cosy fire pit snug, emulating the experience of a festoon lit, night-time soiree; a stunning

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online version using our SOLEX website and social media platforms. We will be showcasing everything that is new from our LOFA members as well as working with Garden Trade News online and in print to bring you three days of new products and ideas for Spring Summer Season 2022. This year LOFA also teamed up with Planet Mark, a company that cares about the planet and wants to help businesses action and power change. Its certification recognises continuous improvement, encourages action and helps build an empowered community of like-minded individuals to make a whole world of difference. By measuring and reducing our carbon footprint with Planet Mark we can directly and measurably contribute to up to nine Sustainable Development Goals and address 25 SDG targets. I am pleased to announce that LOFA has achieved its Planet Mark certification for 2021. As we are slowly coming out of lockdown and back to some kind of remembered normality, we are already looking forward to hosting everyone back at Solex in July 2022. We will be sharing the NEC with the Commonwealth Games in 2022 so we will be moving to Halls 17/18/19 for the first time which will give a different feel to the exhibition. We are already planning a new outside area for our BBQ members, enabling them to light up their grills and show off their cooking skills.

piazza surrounded by beautiful olive trees, showcasing Hartman’ss new Amalfi lounge range; and the popular, extended Dubai and Singapore ranges from the brand’s flagship Signature Collection. Information: Visit www. to view the virtual tour and book an appointment with one of the area sales managers. Viewing is by appointment only. Showroom is open throughout July.

Solex 2021 online

Glencrest Seatex

Following a successful 2021 season, Glencrest Seatex is looking to continue its recent impressive growth with the help of the new Flamingo collection and the Katie Blake Elite Mayberry collection. The Flamingo collection is new to the Katie Blake portfolio and is the only range available in the UK in which all the chairs can recline. Flamingo offers deluxe or standard chairs. Deluxe recliners have deeply padded cushioning providing a level of comfort comparable to indoor furniture, while the comfortable standard recliner chairs are perfect for dining at an extremely competitive price. The use of aluminium frames and grey or natural rattan weave ensure that the furniture remains rust free and requires minimal maintenance (supported by a five-year guarantee when Katie Blake covers are used). The Mayberry collection is the company’s deluxe range, standing out thanks to its oversized chairs with sumptuous deep filled

cushions. The Mayberry sun lounger is easy to manoeuvre and adjustable to five or six positions. Available in natural or grey, the Mayberry range is supplied with a protective cover and is backed by a 10-year guarantee (where the cover is used). Information:

A Mir

New for 2022 are the Fire Pit ranges, available in a number of combinations from corner sets to lounging. The Fire Pit tables complement the company’s flagship rattan Wentworth & Paris ranges and are included in the new Mayfair & Hampshire aluminium ranges. All the fire pits conform to the new UKCA regulations. Information:

LeisureGrow Le

Le LeisureGrow’s headline event, ‘Leisurefest’, is now no live until 10 September at the ‘LG Arena’ in the company’s purpose-built Hertforshire sh showrooms. The showrooms have undergone a major ref refurbishment and outdoor extension to sh showcase the 2022 collections. Customers are inv invited to join the team for an alfresco barbecue lunch cooked on a Grillstream barbecue. You can view the vast range of LG Outdoor furniture and preview the new Casa Mia range of outdoor wood and gas chimeneas as well as sleek gas pizza ovens with an accompanying range of accessories. The all-new Petface showroom promises plenty of wow-factor.

If you can’t make it to the LG Arena, Leisurefest is on tour across the UK at Falkirk (13–17 July ), Bradford (19–23 July), Bristol (24–27 July) and Glee (14–16 September) Information: salessupport@ or 01462 744500 to book an appointment.

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Solex 2021 online

Come and visit Ginique

Ginique has grown from strength to strength and in little under a year have moved to new and larger premises to cope with the increasing demand for its products. The new site in Telford, Shropshire comprises a large warehouse, new office and showroom, allowing for continued expansion and growth. Our showroom is now open, and we look forward to welcoming visitors who will be able to view the Höfats & Glowbus collections up close and personal. Receive a warm welcome when you visit our brand-new headquarters in Telford, Shropshire New Covid Secure Showroom New 2800sqft Warehouse New Offices

Explore the complete Höfats collection View the all-new Glowbus firepits Refreshments and lite bites available to all guests Make an appointment to see the complete product range available from Ginique. This is the link to make an appointment or via the website https://www.ginique. If you are unable to make the journey personally then you can also visit us virtually via our 3D showroom (which we set up in our friend’s barn) so you can visit sunny Shropshire and our products without leaving the comfort of your own home. show/?m=zvUWBJvpA1q

Munro Importers: Pagoda Garden Furniture

The Pagoda team has been sourcing garden furniture in China and Malaysia from its offices in Hangzhou for more than 25 years, dealing directly with the best factories, with whom they have built solid working relationships. Customers can expect quality products inspected to international AQL standards, stylish contemporary bespoke in-house designs and colours and the services of highly experienced staff both in the UK and China. Containers are shipped direct from factories to retailers’ warehouses, either on a door-todoor or FOB China port service. Ipswich-based Pagoda is an assured member of LOFA so all its products conform to strict UKFR standards. For sufficient quantities, products can be own-branded in mixed containers of up to four lines. All shipments are thoroughly checked to international AQL standard by Pagoda’s own inspectors and delivered with a detailed inspection report.


Lifestyle Garden, SOLEX Best New Product winners in 2019, is keeping full details of its new-for-2022 offering under wraps until SOLEX Online opens its doors, but the team has confirmed that it will ignite an important conversation regarding social responsibility and how material innovation can protect both communities and the planet. Launching at SOLEX will be a new material that represents a significant industry first. Demonstrative of global collaboration and true closed loop economy, this innovation will tell a real story that will touch the hearts and minds of consumers and help retailers to support a brand that has social responsibility at its heart.

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The company will also use SOLEX to showcase its wider market-leading offering, including additions to the bestselling Panama, Solana and Aruba collections. Information:

Solex 2021 online

Mercer Agencies

Mercer Agencies, a leading supplier of garden furniture and Christmas products, has opened its first showroom in the UK. The new purpose-built showroom in Coventry represents a significant investment for the company, which has also increased its sales team with the appointment of two new sales representatives to help meet growing demand. The recently opened showroom is more than 10,000 sq.ft. and is the ideal location to showcase its extensive ranges for 2021/22. Mercer prides itself on quality products and competitive pricing and has some exciting additions this year. The showroom is open to the trade now, by appointment only. There are stringent Covid-19 procedures in place in line with government regulations to ensure the safety of Mercer customers and staff. If you can’t make it to the new showroom, Mercer’s area sales team covers the whole of the UK and can arrange a meeting to present its 2021/22 collection.


New to the UK, Smokey Olive Wood barbecue smoking wood from Quefresco comes in five varieties and adds a little Spanish passion to the typical range of chunks and chips from the USA. With Lemon, Orange, Holm Oak, Almond and of course Olive species available, think of Mediterranean fire flavours wafting in from the beach barbecue as the sun goes down over the sea. All the wood is dried directly in the sun and then by solar panels with no consuming machinery. The production facility is nestled within the olive groves for the shortest possible material supply routes. Packaging is resealable for freshness and longevity and either compostable or recyclable. With more people cooking all year round outside and the melting pot of cultural influences from around the world, consumers are looking for variety and something a little bit different. Quefresco is the UK and Ireland exclusive distributor of this range. Information: Email or call 07960 708071

Information: www.merceragencies. com Email to book an appointment.


Feelings is a stylish furniture collection designed to embrace the contemporary home, adding a touch of elegance whilst also displaying an element of rustic simplicity. Crafted from certified teak wood and featuring a mix of natural and painted surfaces, the range combines an organic authenticity with a high standard of comfort. There are a number of individual items as well as several sets, making it easy to

add to the collection and build it up to suit specific needs. With a classic slatted design for an airy and refreshing feel, this four-piece lounge set is versatile enough any indoor or outdoor space, whether it’s in a kitchen, conservatory, garden, patio or balcony. Information: email contact.tuk@ or follow the brand on Instagram.

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Solex 2021 online

Norfolk Leisure

Norfolk Leisure recently revealed its newest product category offering – a premium range of barbeques and accessories for the 2022 season. The comprehensive collection includes gas, charcoal and electric grills and a fully branded assortment of tools and accessories. The UK market is wide open for a stylish, quality and exclusive brand that has been developed and built for Norfolk Leisure and the UK market by an experienced design team over the past two years. The result is a BBQ presentation with the potential to quickly become a key brand for garden centres. Information:

An introduction to Traeger at Solex Q: What can we expect from Traeger at Solex this year? A: Traeger is having a great summer so far and the brand is going from strength to strength in the UK and Ireland. We are really excited to explain why wood pellet grilling is so superior to any other kind of fuel.

Q What is it about wood pellet grilling that’s so special? A: Traeger’s grills give an amazing wood-fired flavour to any food, from classic BBQ meats to fish and vegetables using 100% pure hardwood. Wood Pellet grills deliver consistent smoke and heat that is easily adjusted. Q: What grill would you recommend to someone who’s just getting into wood pellet smoking? A: The Traeger Pro Series is the best-selling pellet grill in the world and uses WiFIRE® technology that allows you to monitor and adjust your grill anytime, anywhere from the Traeger app on your smartphone.

Q: How can retailers contact you for more information? A: We’d love to hear from retailers at Solex this year – so do get in touch. Visit www. to find out more about us, or call me, Jo McDonald, on + (0) 7884 115817

Zest 4 Leisure

Award winning Zest 4 Leisure is taking part in the 2021 Solex Online event, showcasing its range of quality timber garden products and featuring its dining sets, garden seating, swings, BBQ shelters and gazebos. All products are made from slow grown sustainable timber and crafted for comfort and style using DFMA (design for manufacture and assembly) principles. The Harriet table and bench dining set (illustrated) is perfect for entertaining or simply relaxation. With crossover curved legs, its Bavarian style adds elegance. Design, quality and innovation are at the heart of Zest 4 Leisure’s operation. Information:

6 July 2021

JULY 2021

Advice & information for garden centre professionals

Nicholas Marshall

is back

With aspirations to open many new plant centres…



Full results and pictures


Nominate the buyers you believe have been the best in the past year



Waiting for the “New Normal”


ormally we’d be packing our bags just now to head off to the NEC for Solex, but with current restrictions we are all having to resort to showroom visits and Solex online to find out about new ranges for 2022. GTN is doing its part by bringing you the Solex feature in this issue and with the SOLEX SUN e-mail newsletter. As suppliers and retailers continue to wrestle with transport and pricing issues it’s been good to hear that demand for furniture and BBQ’s remain high. If we get a decent spell of summer weather, demand could continue through to the Autumn. And so, we wait for the “New Normal” to begin when more restrictions are lifted and we can all meet up at Glee in September. There is much serous business to be done at Glee 2021 but conversations are bound to start about how we all fared during the pandemic as we all meet up for the first time in 18 months. The last day of Glee 2021 will be Floral Thursday for Greenfingers again, your chance to bring some floral colour to Glee and raise much needed money for Greenfingers so they can continue with their Children’s Hospice garden building programme. 2019’s Floral

Thursday raised just over £1500. Could we raise over £5,000 this year with all exhibitors and visitors on the last day of Glee joining in with the floral fun? We look forward to seeing you there!

Trevor Pfeiffer

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Potting Shed Press Ltd

In this issue...

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Solex Online, “exhibitors preview”2 Marshall is back… again Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021 raises £75,000 New Products, Glee style Glee Buyers Power List, nominate your top buyers

Garden Trade News is published by Potting Shed Press Ltd who also publish: GTN Bestsellers, GTN Xtra, Glee Daily News and the Glee Catalogue, and the Solex Sun. Potting Shed Press also supply Garden Radio to over 100 garden centres across the country.

Director Trevor Pfeiffer

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GIMA Golf Day, full results and pictures Hillier Heritage at Syon Park, GTN Photo Tour Signs of the times at Thetford, GTN Photo Tour Jam on top at BGC Bressingham, GTN Photo Tour HTA Column – 20/20 Vision… so last year

SMALL PRINT: All material © Potting Shed Press Ltd 2021. No part of this publication may e reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information supplied 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 vent of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cassation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

July 2021 9


Marshall is back… again! If you were starting a new garden centre venture right now, would you be bold enough to only curate a range of garden and home products that are made in the UK and or have a sustainable story, only sell peat-free composts and only stock plants grown in peat-free media with not a black plastic pot in sight? Nicholas Marshall and his team at the newly formed Country House Group have done just that, starting with a plant and home centre at Windlesham, and with aspirations to open many more new plant centres at stately homes across the country over the coming years… In this article, GTN catches up with Nicholas and his team to hear about this venture and what makes it so different from anything they have tackled before.


indlesham Plant and Home Centre, part of the Lavershot Barns complex, is a location that means a lot to Nicholas Marshall. It was once the HQ for his Country Gardens group – his office is now a kitchen showroom! There is also a pinetum on-site, reputedly planted by his great, great grandfather, the plantsman, Joseph Hooker. Most recently the site was better known as Windlesham Garden Centre, a former Wyevale site. Now the Country House Group, which Nicholas heads up as CEO, has taken out a lease on the centre to create a different sort of garden centre experience. So, what has made Nicholas return to the garden

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centre industry when he could have easily and gracefully retired? “You couldn’t keep me away”, he professed. He continues, “I love the garden centre industry and I loved Country Gardens where we first started. All the people that helped make Country Gardens, are still with me and we decided that we wanted to go back to our roots and do another Country Gardens. Only this time we wanted to choose where we wanted to be. We thought ‘do we want to be in a retail park?’ The answer was no. We would much rather be in a country setting, in, for example, a large country house. A place where people, the customers, would immediately recognise


peat-free – an area that Nicholas believes that customers are ahead of suppliers on. “Concerning peat-free all the suppliers are working on this and they have to. It has been a huge learning curve for the whole industry and some, like us, are moving forward with this. It is the same with plastics and we are doing what we can to reduce the use of plastics – this is challenging for products like hosepipes. It is criminal the amounts of plastic that we are throwing away. Customers expect us to be at the forefront. We are moving forward as much and as quickly as we can do things the right way. It is the customers’ choice but wherever possible we want to give them the choice of doing it the right way. I think that most people identify with that. If somebody gives me a sensible alternative I will use that – and I think most of us are like that.”

A really attractive and pleasant retail environment aimed at creating a different experience, inside and outside with carefully curated product ranges.

as a nice place to go. And so that is what we are aiming to do, with Windlesham as our first site and others in the pipeline.”

Supporting British Made and Grown “We are aiming to sell all British products. Fifteen years ago we all used to be proud of buying British and then along came the EEC and we didn’t mention that anymore. There is going to be a massive reaction to us leaving Europe, which is why we are going to start buying British, supporting British companies, British nurseries and buying less from abroad. During my time at Wyevale, we got to the stage where 8590% of our plants were British. We were proud of this and our customers loved it – plants with locally grown or British grown always sold first. “We grill every supplier to make sure they are aware of our very stringent guidelines. Some have been surprised but on the whole, they get it. Each time we find something British – it’s a moment to celebrate. If we feel like that I am damn certain the customer will feel like that too. Of course, some people don’t give a damn where products are from but I’m sure there are many of those customers visiting garden centres. On the whole, this will suit some people that will like the concept.”

I would like to ensure that as a sector as a whole we start to understand the importance of growing stock in recyclable pots – why wouldn’t you? I am amazed having come back into the sector after a period away to see how far behind the curve the entire sector is – it’s shocking. It is a sadness. I am on a crusade to support the movement to reduce single-use plastic in our sector.”

Team spirit

Nicholas has pulled together an experienced team, including Chief Operating Officer Lorrie Roberston and Retail Operations Director Martin Andrews – who he has worked with throughout his garden centre industry career. “We all know what we think, and between us, we have worked with over 5,000 people across the sector – a really strong network. We all get Brand values begin at home calls from old colleagues asking us to remember them Country House Group has a clear picture of their when we come to their region”, he says. brand for customers and staff alike. Chief Operating The team have always placed great importance Officer, Lorrie Robertson explains, on training and career opportunities “Our brand values are all about what for the staff they take on. Martin We grill Andrews says, “When I first joined the customer wants at the end of the day. We are very clear on the sort every supplier Country Gardens 28 years ago I was of customer that our plant centre to make sure overwhelmed by the morale and appeals to. Those that appreciate camaraderie of the group. This hasn’t they are aware changed to this day – there was a quality and range, and also want to come and enjoy a really attractive and unique pulling together and team of our very pleasant retail environment. But it is spirit. Ten weeks into operations at stringent more than a retail environment, it’s Windlesham I feel we have the same an experience. attitude – it is all about everyone sharing and being part of it.” “The engagement with the brand starts with the staff. You have to ensure that people Nicholas adds, “We’ve always supported young that you employ, especially the young people, that people and given them career opportunities. At you invite to become part of your team, really share the Garden Centre Group and Wyevale, we worked your values and understand your values. We are very through Pershore College and Leiths to ensure not much moving in a direction that is quite different, I only useful, interesting and engaging staff training assume, to other garden centres. but also it was career building, which is incredibly “Having run a few garden centres myself, their important. Good horticulturalists are like hen’s direction of travel hasn’t really changed a great teeth. We like to give people opportunities in our deal which is interesting. And nor has the appetite team – we need 100% commitment and hard work. to address issues such as sustainability and the We encourage our team to share their ideas - if it environment. These are things dear to all of our goes wrong we can talk about it and when it goes hearts and so we are actively promoting organic right we celebrate it.” garden care, peat-free gardening, we are 100% You can’t underestimate the value of listening behind UK grown plant stock and wherever possible Nicholas says, “Listening to customers is much


A sustainable journey As well as the buying British route the Country Homes Group are stocking products that are sustainable,

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Interview more important than retailers realise. Garden centre bosses should listen to their staff about the conversations they have with customers. Every time I go into Waitrose I ask the till operator – does your boss ever ask what you think, what customers say to you – no! What we shall be doing here is when staff are on their coffee breaks – they will fill in a short questionnaire – what did customers ask you today and what didn’t they like. That is my other big beef – nobody in retail has a complaints department anymore. That’s what you want – when you have got a complaint you need it to be clear where to take it to get it sorted.”

Adapting to the changing customer As well embracing British made and sustainable products the Country House group are also moving in other directions – in tune with what customers want. Nicholas takes up the story, “Our customers want to buy plants that are ready to go. Naturally, these larger plants are more costly as you do not get many on a trolley. Why not have a micro-nursery at the garden centre, buying in plugs and growing them on until they are ready to sell as bigger specimens. This is an approach we are experimenting with. I’m experimenting myself in my old greenhouse at home – its easier with some plants than others.” “I do believe there has been a radical change in the way people garden – and the nurseries haven’t spotted this change. In the DIY’s, chain and independents there are lots of plants in small pots. Customers want big plants, looking good in flower – achieve that and they will buy multiples with price not really a consideration. As an industry, we need to change our mindset and provide what the customer wants.”

The new gardener? When it comes to identifying where customer growth will come from Nicholas is quite clear in his thinking. “People have always been looking for new. At one stage everyone was saying we need to go attract younger gardeners - I don’t buy this. The fact of the matter is that when you get to a certain age you get more interested in gardening. The young go to the DIYs for value. As you get older you realise the value of your garden more and the value of your house and garden together – plus you have got a bit more

Plants grown in peat free composts and only peat free growing media on sale at Country Homes Group’s Windlesham site

money to spend. The reality is that there of plenty of gardeners out there – it is just a question of getting them from other people’s garden centres. In this street alone (alongside Windlesham are Hilliers and Longacres) there is a turnover well above £20 million. All we need is some of those customers.” “People will come because we more accurately represent what they want. The products that we are stocking will attract people of a certain type. If you want the cheapest possible, most garish watering can there is a place for that. If on the other hand, you want something made of metal, that will look nice in your garden, then we have got it – and it is British made. I think we will find that the people will find us, mostly. But, of course, we are using modern technology to do that as well.” “The average garden centre customer is middleclass. Why? Because they have a garden. If you own a garden, you own a house therefore you are likely to be middle class. This makes it quite convenient as you can identify people that are middle class and then you say right what do middle-class people like and like to do. That makes it very easy to reach them. At Windlesham, we have A/B/C1 customers on our doorstep. A lot of people here have gardeners who come in and shop on their client’s behalf. We also have ladies that lunch that come in and purchase – it works well. We don’t mind competing as we are not like any other garden centre.” Lockdown has undoubtedly made people appreciate the value of their gardens more. With people working from home and gazing out of their windows thinking they really must tackle an

outdoor project that they have been considering for years. Foreign holiday spends have been diverted to the garden instead. Will these newcomers disappear? No says, Nicholas. “Once they start gardening they will keep doing it – every project leads to another. As a result of the pandemic, the young are getting into gardening because they are now spending a lot more time outside – my children in their 20’s/early 30’s are evidence of that.”

Opportunities for Garden Retail Nicholas believes that garden centres have a good future ahead of them. He says, “I’ve always said that customers come to garden centres to buy plants – everything else is an afterthought – and that’s how it is. That’s why we always used to design garden centres with a polytunnel entrance so that people come in through plants. Supermarkets, rather cynically, do similar - by bringing people in through fruit and veg to indicate they are doing fresh. In our case it is real – and it is working very successfully. “The future for garden centres is much more about the independents – as customers prefer to shop locally, where they know the owners, the people and where customer service will be at the fore. Local garden centres do that best. The legacy of COVID 19 is that people will not want to shop with large numbers of people in long, long queues. They will prefer to go to small places – this is particularly true for the older customers.”

Next Steps

So what does the future hold for the Country House Group? How many centres are they likely to end up with? Did Nicholas ever consider buying any of the Wyevale centres? Nicholas explains, “We have a strong pipeline of sites lined up and hope to have a further two up and running next spring, pending planning. These belong to two of our non-executive directors and are on the Somerley Estate in the New Forest and the Raynham Estate in Norfolk. I have no idea how many we will end up with - we are developing at our own pace and following our noses. This time there are no private equity firms or venture capitalists pushing for a return. All they want to do is look for angles to do it quicker or take costs out of the business. For most businesses payroll makes up the highest % of costs and if you were to reduce that it would mean getting rid of our half our staff – the effect on sales would be catastrophic. I wasn’t interested in buying any of the Wyevale centres – we have done that. This time I wanted a new concept, to go onto country estates where we will be much happier. We will be in a position to choose where we want to go with lots of options moving forward.” Watch this space!

12 July 2021

TICkeTS Available from your sales representative or phone 01462 744 500

FUNdraising for Greenfingers Charity

Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021 raises over £75,000!

Garden Re-Leaf Day 2022 is Friday 18th March!

Despite being apart, this year’s Garden Re-Leaf Day saw the charity’s supporters come together like never before as it has been confirmed that the 2021 event has now raised in excess of £75,000!


rom acts of endurance including mammoth walking, cycling, running and even skipping challenges, to virtual quizzes, head shaving, product donations, free design consultancy and mowing contests, this year’s event was full of incredible FUNdraising efforts from across the garden retail sector. Suppliers and retailers pulled together teams, that despite the challenges faced by the pandemic, managed to clock up thousands of miles, millions of steps, shaved heads, endless memories and a lifetime of smiles for this much-loved annual fundraising event, which also celebrated its 10th anniversary this March. Special thanks goes to so many of this year’s Garden Re-Leaf Day supporters, including AMES, Ann-Marie Powell, Boyd Douglas-Davies and the teams at British Garden Centres, Capi Europe, Deco-Pak, The Stihl team were sponsored for “minutes mowed” on Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021

Evergreen Garden Care, Garden Trade News, Gardenforum, GIMA, Glee, Growing Solutions, Hayloft Plants, Hornby Whitefoot PR, Hozelock, HTA, Kew Green Hotels, Klondyke, Millbrook Garden Centres, P de Jager, Perrywood Garden Centre, Plants 2 Gardens, Poplars Garden Centre, Primeur, Primrose Hill Nurseries, QVC, Richard Jacksons Garden, Scotscape, Sims Garden Machinery, Stihl, The Garden Design Consultancy, the Greenfingers team, and Thompson and Morgan. Boyd Douglas-Davies, founder of Garden Re-Leaf Day said: “When the idea for Garden Re-Leaf Day formed 10 years ago, I had no idea that the event would become a much-loved event on the industry’s calendar. To date the effort of all those that have supported Garden Re-Leaf Day over the years has helped to raise in excess of £775,000 which is a such a fantastic number. From myself, the Greenfingers Charity team and all those children, families and carers that have benefited from a Greenfingers garden, thank you. We are so

FUNdraising for Greenfingers Charity

grateful for your ongoing support and enthusiasm to support the Greenfingers Charity’s flagship fundraiser.” Talking about the 2021 event, Greenfingers Chairman, Sue Allen said: “On Garden ReLeaf Day I along with my daughter Tammy and two other crazy ladies from Millbrook Garden Centres decided to Brave the Shave! In bright sunshine, but with a brisk breeze around the ears, members of our families took secret delight in shaving our heads to raise money to support the work of the charity. We are thrilled that losing our lockdown locks raised an incredible £20,000. “I personally, as Chairman, am even more thrilled that so many of you contributed to such an amazing Garden Re-leaf fund-raising total when our normal income streams are hampered. What a great lot you are, coming up with so many daft and ambitious ways to raise those precious pounds. “Thank you to everyone who contributed, but a particular mention for the generosity of Barton Grange that really spurred Tammy and I to greater heights (or shorter lengths!) and inspired us

both to increase our personal FUNdraising target of £10k to £20k. When you consider a garden can cost anything from £60,000, that puts it into perspective.” Sue’s sentiments were echoed by DecoPak’s Craig Hall, who is also a Greenfingers ambassador and long-term supporter of Garden Re-Leaf Day. He said: “Garden Re-Leaf Day has always been a key date in our diary, but we knew this year was going to be a little different due to the ongoing pandemic. Couple this with the fact that 2021 marks Garden Re-Leaf’s 10th anniversary and we knew we had to do something big, and something that brought the team together despite like never before. “I am incredibly proud of the Deco-Pak team and what we have achieved together and are so grateful to everyone that has already donated to our fundraising efforts. Thank you to each and every one of you. It really does make all the difference when the tiredness is kicking in!” Paul North, Managing Director of AMES, added: “We at AMES were humbled by the effort put forth by the team to support Garden ReLeaf Day; a great event raising money for a worthwhile cause.” Also speaking about the event, Mark Portman, Evergreen Garden Care’s Managing Director said: “Evergreen Garden Care really enjoyed Garden Re-Leaf Day from walking to cycling, horse riding to running and, of course, the quiz! We recognise the importance and more so this year to step away from our usual place of work and step into nature. As always, it’s a real pleasure to support

Garden Re-Leaf Day over the years has helped to raise in excess of £775,000

Greenfingers Chairman, Sue Allen, Braved the Shave at Millbrook Garden Centre for Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021

Greenfingers through Garden Re-Leaf Day and for all the colleagues across Evergreen we recorded an incredible 1,410,580 steps, as well as meeting our fundraising goal.” Linda Petrons, Director of Fundraising and Communications at Greenfingers echoed Boyd’s sentiments, saying; “We can’t thank the industry enough for pulling out all the stops to get involved, especially in a year that has really challenged many of us. The funds raised from this year’s event will be put to very good use as we work towards giving the gift of a garden to more children’s hospices across the UK, including: Ty Hafan in Wales, Haven House in Essex, The Nook in East Anglia, Jigsaw Children’s Hospice in Carlisle and Derian House in Chorley.” The date for next year’s Garden Re-Leaf Day is Friday 18th March!

Find out more

To find out more about the wonderful work the Greenfingers Charity undertakes please join in the conversation by joining Greenfingers on social media Greenfingerscharity/, @GreenfingersCha on Twitter, and @Greenfingerscharity on Instagram and LinkedIn.

July 2021 15

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Glee 2021

New Products, Glee style It’s time to get planning ahead for what many is the first port of call at Glee; the Glee New Product Showcase and Awards, in association with GTN.


he Glee New Product Awards, in association with Garden Trade News, is one of Glee’s most inspirational features and is sure to be the place for buyers to source the most unique and sought-after products during Glee 2021. The showcase features the latest and greatest products on the market, offering visitors a chance to see all the newest products all in one place. Exhibitors who display their products also get entered into The Glee New Product Awards. The winners are decided by a panel of expert judges who award the best products in their categories based on innovation, saleability and aesthetics. The Top 3 products in each category will also have the chance to make a live pitch to the judges and the Glee audience as part of the judging process. With over 300 new products expected to be entered and displayed in the Glee New product Showcase, exhibitors need to make sure they have made their entries via the Glee Exhibitor Zone. Due to “Safe and Secure” guidelines there won’t be a facility to make entries at Glee this year so entries must be made on-line well before the show.

We look forward to seeing you at the Glee New Products Showcase and hope you’ll be able to join us for the announcement of the Glee New Product Award winners on Wednesday evening, 15th September 2021.

18 July 2021

New Product Awards Glee 2021

1. Plants, Seeds and Bulbs 2. Growing Materials (growing media, plant feeds, pest & weed control) 3. Growing Accessories (cloches, seed trays, hanging baskets plant supports garden gloves, garden kneelers, gardening clothing, etc) 4. Garden Growing Containers (All pots, planters, indoor & outdoor) 5. Garden Decoration (Garden ornaments, statuary, garden lighting, wall art etc) 6. Garden Tools & Machinery (Hand and powered garden tools) 7. Landscaping & Garden Buildings (Paving, pergolas, garden rooms, sheds & greenhouses) 8. Garden Leisure & Entertaining (BBQ’s, garden furniture & accessories etc) 9. Wild Bird Care and Wildlife Products (Wild bird feeds, feeders, wildlife products etc) 10. Homewares, Giftware, Toys & Games, and Clothing 11. Pet Food 12. Pet Health & Beauty 13. Pet Accessories 14. Retail Services & Experiences (Physical & digital)


Best of British Eco-Initiative Overall Best New Product



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Glee Buyers Power List

Who have been the best buyers of the past eighteen months? Nominations are now open for the Glee Buyers Power List Awards, the winners will be celebrated at Glee 2021.


fter eighteen months of all the challenges thrown at buyers and suppliers due to the COVID-19 pandemic Glee will be celebrating the best buyers of garden, leisure and pet products in the Glee Buyers Power List. To acknowledge the immense pressure buyers have been under this year across the wide range of products the feature in garden, leisure and pet retailing there are ten Glee Buyers Power List categories this year and nominations can be made in any of the categories for buyers from independent garden centres and retailers, buyers of high street and DIY retailers and buyers from on-line retailers. Nominations are now being sought from growers, suppliers, agents and wholesalers for the following categories of buyers and buying teams: 1. Plants buyer/buying team of the Year 2. Garden Care buyer/buying team of the Year 3. Outdoor Leisure buyer/buying team of the Year 4. Landscape buyer/buying team of the Year 5. Home & Gifts buyer/buying team of the Year 6. Pet buyer/buying team of the Year 7. Retail Food & Drinks buyer/buying team of the Year

20 July 2021

Blue Diamond and Notcutts were Group joint winners in 2019

The winners of the Glee Buyers Power List 2021 will be announced live at Glee 2021 on Wednesday 15th September 2021. See you there!

8. Christmas buyer/ buying team of the Year 9. Overall Multiple Garden Retailer Buying Team of the Year – 6 stores or more 10. Overall Independent Garden Centre Buying Team of the Year – up 5 stores Nominations close on Tuesday 27th July after which voting will commence to decide the winners of the Glee Buyers Power List for 2021. Nominations can be made using the form opposite or by e-mail to: gleebuyerspowerlist@pottingshedpress. All nominations will be handled in strictest confidence. The Glee Buyers Power List has celebrated the excellence of buying in the Garden, Leisure and Pet markets annually since 2015, and the winners have included: Aylett Nurseries, B&M, B&Q, Blue Diamond,, Frosts,, Grovewell Garden Centres, Haskins, Homebase, John Lewis, MacKenzie & Cruikshank, Notcutts, Perrywood,, Richard Jacksons Garden, Stax, The Range and Waitrose.

Nomination Form:



I nominate the following buyers/buying teams for the Glee Buyers Power List 2021:

Plants buyer/buying team of the Year Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….................

Garden Care buyer/buying team of the Year Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….................

Outdoor Leisure buyer/buying team of the Year Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….................

Landscape buyer/buying team of the Year Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….................

Home & Gifts buyer/buying team of the Year Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………................. Above Top, Winners of the Glee Buyers Power List in 2017. Above: The Blue Diamond buying team have been winners every year since 2015.

Below: Aylett Nurseries were the Independent Garden Centre Buying Team winners in 2019.

Pet buyer/buying team of the Year Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….................

Retail Food & Drinks buyer/buying team of the Year Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….................

Christmas buyer/buying team of the Year Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….................

Overall Multiple Garden Retailer Buying Team of the Year – 6 stores or more Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….................

Overall Independent Garden Centre Buying Team of the Year – up 5 stores Buyer/Team Name……………………………………… Retailer Name………………………………………………………............. Why nominated:…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………................. Nominated by:…………………………………………………….of:………………………………………………………………..................... e-mail address:………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………........................ All nominations will be handled in strictest confidence Send your completed nomination form to Glee Buyers Power List c/o GTN, Potting Shed Press, Dairy Drove, Thorney, Peterborough PE6 0TX or e-mail your nominations to: by 27th July 2021.

July 2021 21

2021 14-16 September NEC BIRMINGHAM Brands joining us include:

Pearson of Duns, RKW Ltd, The Satchville Gift Company, Tramontina, Woodmansterne Publications They’re coming to Glee, will you?

GIM MA Golf Day 2021

Fo ore! Sun shine es on return of GIMA Golf Day GIMA MA A Charity tyy Go olff Day welccomes the in ndustry ryy back with a day of sunshine and friendly competittion


eld d at the new locattion of Belton Wood ds Hotel & Golf Club in Grantthaam, Lincolnshire, thee 11th annu ual GIMA Ch haritty Gollf Day eventt bro ought toggether garden n ind dusstry suppliers and reetailers with twenty-four four ball teams competingg for the highly coveted GIMA Golff trophy. It was a fun n-fifilled day of friendlly competition, reunion ns, networking, fun ndraising, and gloriious sum mmerr sunsshin ne. Post-ggolff the teams enjoyyed d an alfresco barb bequ ue and drinkks,, where prizes werre given for a series of golf competittio ons including neareestt the pin, Beat thee Pro, and longestt drivve, with Andy Beestw wick lending his excelllent comp péring skkills to th he occasion. A raaffle and d auction n - including generou us donations from Leissuregrow and Woodlodge as well as Haemmerlin, Leo on Boots, Primeur, Elho, Capi Europe, Evvergreen Garden Care, A Perry & Co. and d CJ Wildlife - alsso took place, heelpin ng to raise thoussands of po ounds forr the event’’s charityy beneficiaryy, Greeenfifingers. The daay was made possible thhanks to the genero ositty of the many sponsors including Durston Garden Products, Rollins

Bulldogg Tools, Westland Horrticulture, Mr Fotheerggill’s Seeds, Gardennforum, Zest 4 Leisuuree, Decco, Leisuregro ow, Smart Garden Prrod ducts, Hozelock, Hornnby Whitefoot PR,, Darllac, Woodlodge, Vitax, Imprintt, annd the Patio Blackk Spot Removal Compaany. Speaking abo out the day, GIMA Diireector, Vicky Nuttall saaid: “What a fantasticc day. The first in-p perrson event since Marrch 2019 certainly delivered. It was greaat to see the industryy co ome toggether for a day of fu un and neetwo orking and we arre so grattefu ul to everyone forr join ning us safely and d seecurely. It was clearr th hat such events haad been missed, so it waas wonderful to bee able to facilitate this. A huge thank you must go to eveeryon ne that took partt inccluding our sponssorss, those that donated d aucttion and raffle prrizes, and d all those th hat dug deep p and donated to o th he Greenfingers ch harity.” Linda Petron ns, Director of Fundraaisiing & Communicattions at the Greenfinggers Charity said: “On n behalf of everyone at Greenfingerrs Chariity, thank you GIMA for another fab bulou us chariity evvent. Your gen nero osityy throughout the day and into the eveningg is hugely appreciaateed by us all but morre importantly the hundreds of children and families we support.”

Zest 4 Leisure were thee win nners of the GIMA Go olff Dayy 2021, scoring 96 in n th he stab bleford comp petitio on, beeatiing Mr Fotheergillls, who also scored d 96, with a to otaal of 48 on the back 9.

July 2021 23

GIMA Golf Day 2021





5 1. Westland d A: Siimon Mulholland, Steph hen n Walker, James Boodle, Paaul Crossland 2. Boughton Loam m: Simon Hedley, Matthew Ayyres, Gareth Thomas 3. GIMA B: Dan Dursto on, Wes Durstton,, Charlie Burgess, Alan Burdon 4. Vitaax: Mark Butler, Chris Clemeents, Casey Warwick, Greg g Hold den 5. Haemm merllin: Jason n Richardson, An ndrew Aspinall, Peter Hall, Nigel Bro owne 6. Hartman: Paul Faaceyy, Phil Whitehead, Keith Laaird, Jay Bunker 7. Leisuregro ow: Marrk Nickerrson,, Frank Kaminsski,, Simon n Cheshire, Mark Newell 8. Southern Trident: Steve Harper, James Mitchell, Mikee Lind, Phiil Hodges 9. Straawberrry Corner: Ro oss Livingston, Garyy Swan, Kris Davidson, David Weir 10. Charles Bentleey:: Anthony Dawson, Steve Laaw,, Glyn Prestwood, Andy Matthews

24 Jully 2021





GIM MA Golf Day 2021

GIMA Charity Golf Day Re esults tss The Zest 4 Leisure e team were crowned 20 021 Golf Dayy Championss witth 96 points ts. s They were closely fo ollowed by Mr Fothergill’ss in second placce and Imprrint in third. The booby prize was prresented to the Charles Bentley team m.


Fulll Results Zest 4 Leisure: Alwyn Williams, Simon Davison, Liam Barratt, Jess Lanson

1 Zesst 4 Leisure 2 Mr Fothergills 3 Im mprint 4 Wesstland A 5 Hartm man 6 Leisuregrow 7 Evergreen B 8 GIMA 9 Evergreen nA 10 Wesstlan nd B 11 Gaarland/GLEE 12 Su unshine Garden Ceenttre

13 Woo odlod dgee B 14 Woodlo odgge A 15 Haemm merrlin 16 Bathgatte Silica 17 Durstton//Leeon/GTN 18 Vitaax 19 Smart Garden 20 Boughton Loam 21 Southern Trident 22 Garantia 23 Straawberryy Corn ner Garden Centrre 24 Charless Bentley

• Bea at the Pro at the e 111th: Nick Griffin, Stu uart Jenks, Andy Besstwick, Charllie Ro owe, Antonyy Dawson n, Allan Burd don,, Greg Ronalld, Iaan Dunmaker, Paaul Faacey, Simon Neaate, Richard New wto on, James Boodle, Daave Bullivant • Nearest th he Pin at the 4th: • Nearesst th he Pin at the 8tth: • Neare est the Pin n at the 11th: • Nearest the Pin at th he 15th: • Lon ngest Drive at th he 18th: • Nearest the Pin in 2 at the 9th:

Chris Owen Phil Hodgges Simon Neate Jamess Parr Jamess Mitchell Chriis Owen



13 www ww ga

11. Ev 11 Everg green A: green A: Ph Phil Harrison, Nick Griiffin, Mike Reid, Simo on Mu ulveyy 12. GIMA A: And dy Bestw wick, Ian Dunnaker, Guy Top pping, Tom Stolworthy 13. Evergreen B: Jo ohn Hunt, Stuart Jenks, Zacch Ockwell, Phil Parke 14. Bathgaate Silica: Collin Sandeerss, Gary Laverick, Matth hew w Biddle, Tony Buggeea 15. Gaaraantia: Patrick Thick, Charllie Row, Bradley Reason n, Geofff Stone


15 Ju uly 2021 25

GIMA Golf Day 2021


The golf was taken as seriously as ever at the 11th GIMA Charity event.


3 6



1. Glee/Garlland:: Marrk Deedman, Ph hil Burrgoyne,, Matthew Mein, Dan n McAplin 2. Imp prin nt: Dave Matthews, Davve Bullivaantt, Rory Parker, Phil Tasker 3. Smaartt Garden: Charles Stu ubb bs, Nigel Wallis, Jo onathan Stobart, Jam mes Parr 4. Sun nshine GC: Eamon Loug ghreyy, Bruno Diguilo, Spen ncer Goodaall, Joshua Novelll

5. Mr Fotheergilll’ss: Richarrd Keegan n, Chris Ow wen, Adaam Szabo, Scottt Ban ndreeth 6. Wesstland B: Derek Bunkerr, Andy Bunkeer, Greg Ronald, Barrie Walters 7. Woo odlodge B: Jon Styles, Andy Parrott, Neil Blake, Ben Webb b 8. Woo odlod dge A: Richard d New wton, Simon Neate, Waynee Williams,, Simon Hard dy


8 Post golf, the BBQ and prize ceremony was followed by a charity raffle and auction which raised over £7,000 for Greenfingers Charity.

26 Jully 2021





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Garden Centre Transformation

Hillier Heritage at Syon Park Hillier Head of Retail Development, David Morley, gave GTN a tour of the centre that was once the jewel in the Wyevale crown, and we’ve added some photos from June 2015 to show the transformation


We are the naughty younger sister of Hillier’s.

eturning to the site where founder Edwin Hillier worked from 1859 to 1861 for the 4th Duke of Northumberland at Syon Park, Hillier have transformed the garden centre that was also the head office of Wyevale Garden Centres. The centre closed in Autumn 2019 as the Wyevale operations wound down and Hillier were welcomed to be the new tenants of the site in November 2020. After a winter of transformation by the Syon Park Estate and the Hillier team the centre re-opened in April 2021. David Morley, who has 30 years experience with John Lewis, the RHS and Clifton Nurseries describes Syon Park as

Bespoke mobile merchandising stands create extra walls of colour in the planteria. Ideal for hanging baskets now, good for Christmas in winter too.

“Hillier plus. We’ve flexed the heritage muscles, flexed the theatre muscle, as though we are the naughty younger sister.” Amongst the stand out features a resin gravel planteria with wonderful vistas of Syon House and the Hillier plant expertise creates a real sense of peace and tranquility making shopping a biodiscovery. David explained further: “This place needed inspiration as well. So I’ve tried to disperse the disciplines and intersperse with theatre. From my West London Garden centre days and of course, London department store that shopping’s a lot more by lifestyle. People want a white garden or they want a Provençal garden. Just help us get there, please.”

The same entrance structure, just stripped of the paint, sanded and varnished to create a warm welcome to Hillier Syon Park

July 2021 31

Garden Centre Transformation






32 July 2021


1. Houseplant haven. Whilst set in a park the customers of Hillier Syon Park are very much urban gardeners, hence a thriving houseplant department. 2. Every opportunity has been taken to make the most of the views. Here’s where Edwin Hillier worked for the Duke of Northumberland. 3. Reviving some old Hillier branding, adding a touch of classic style to the Syon Park operation. 4. Amongst the peat free growing media lines: Godwins Peat Free Tomato and Vegetable Planter. 5. Framing the view. There is now an enticing view of the planteria by the entrance to encourage Park visitors to come in and enjoy the calm ambience. 6. Cool styles with big pots are the order of the day at Syon Park now. 7. Even the garden care area has a feeling of calmness about it. Note that there are no manufacturers display POS. Very John Lewis. 8. Theatre in the houseplant area re-creating the style of many properties in the area.



Exactly the same time of year in 2015, the Wyevale Syon Park planteria was very brightly colour themed as the showcase of the groups plant marketing activity

Garden Centre Transformation






9 Bold displa 9. displayss in the co covered ered planteria grab the eye and underline the Hillier horticultural credentials. 10. Heritage even makes its way into the gift and food area with vintage, industrial style furniture used for displays. 11. Another new planter line on sale at Syon Park: Betagrow Organic Planter 12. Rather than use standard product headings at Syon Park, David has used verbs to describe the activity customers are looking to carry out or solve. Grip for gloves, Glow for candles, you get it? 13. Calmness, serenity and confidence are the feelings inspired as you enter the planteria. It really does feel that good.


The Garden Kitchen at Syon Park was almost a staff canteen in Wyevale Head Office days. Now it’s a stylish restaurant for customers and park visitors. Socially distanced table service of course!

July 2021 33

Garden Centre Photo Tours

Signs of the times at Thetford Customers are left in no doubt that its Good to Garden at Thetford Garden Centre. On a walk around their planteria, signs tell a story of gardening sustainability, wellness and local provenance.

Thetford’s excellent signage starts the moment you enter the Norfolk garden centre.




1. Emphasis on local provenance is visible throughout the planteria. 2. Pushing the benefits of plants for wildlife. 3. Thetford even make a virtue of selling plants grown in Holland. 4. Super summer chalkboard signposts plants just arrived and those coming soon. 5. The best example GTN has seen of encouraging plant pot recycling - all carried out within 40 miles of Thetford. 6. Gardening is Free Anger Therapy! Let’s all get digging! 7. What a beautiful way to burn calories. Everyones garden could be a gym!

34 July 2021

Garden Centre Photo Tours




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July 2021 35

Garden Centre Photo Tours



8. Enhance your sensory system with plants. What a great sales message! 9. Supporting local businesses and family businesses like Thetford themselves. 10 and 11. The Thetford team have created an outside catering area including a beautiful Yurt during the social distancing restrictions. It’s at the far end of the Planteria and will make a great event space when restrictions are eased. 12. The Yurt cafe extends the feelings of calmness and relaxation that gardening can bring. 13. Improve your diet, a subliminal message about the food served at Thetford too? 14. Posh loos for their Yurt cafe and event area.






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01458 442688 36 July 2021


Garden Centre Photo Tours

Jam on top at BGC Bressingham


The “Top Hats” still dominate the sky kyline y at Bressingham, now a bustling British Garden Centres site which s underlined at the till points with a tasty tyy display of own brand Jam! GTN called in recently to see the centre which has a long hort rticultural t history ryy and backs onto the famous Bressingham Steam & Gardens att ttraction. t



3 What better way to make sure customers know you have flat packs in stock - right by the display model.



1. Heart of Eden Peat Free Compost, supplied to BGC from AHS Ltd in Sussex. 2. Bressingham is strong on bedding with notable large display geraniums at £17.99. 3. Taking the BGC brand to the kitchen table, jam with everything. 4. The Bressingham “Top Hats” provide a spacious sales area and are a local landmark too. 5. Artevesi are one of the outdoor plastic pot suppliers for BGC with attractive display units in the outside covered sales area. 6. Indoor arbour display allows for the merchandising of many lifestyle leisure and gardening products

July 2021 37

2020 Vision… so last year!! Boyd J Douglas-Davies, HTA President


or as long as I can remember people have talked of 20/20 Vision – I’d always thought this was the ability to see perfectly but it turns out I was wrong! It is possible to have better than 20/20 vision, the better you see the the lower your second number will be. The best recorded sight in a human was 20/8 but that still falls short of the oft quoted Eagle who score between 20/5 and 20/4! The 20 reference is connected to the distance eye tests are traditionally carried out at, 20 feet. You’ll have seen an eye-test chart, a Snellen Chart, and no doubt squinted at it like I do. To achieve 20/20 vision you need to read the letters on the 8th line down, below that and you’re heading towards Eagle Eye territory. Did you have 20/20, or better, vision in 2019? Did you see what was coming round the corner? I think now is the time to leave 2020 behind and start focussing on 2025, 2030 and beyond. So what do we already know of our future? Good old Heraclitus summed it up when he said “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”. That is a great start and fits in well with one of my favourite challenges… “If you can’t do better tomorrow than you did today, don’t come in!” There really is no such thing as perfection, evolution is constant and relentless so as an industry we need to learn from the last 18 months and embrace the future. Along with constant change we know that UK growers don’t have enough space to produce all the plants the industry needs. For them to commit finances to develop the space, they need genuine longterm commitment from their customers. “How do we know what we will need in 2030?” I hear you cry. Well of course you don’t know the specifics, but you do know you will need plants! The worldwide focus on the environment and the immense benefit plants bring to the planet is only going to get stronger – breaking news folks, plants

are here to stay! As retailers you spend time and money chasing the loyalty of your customers. Isn’t it time we all started showing some commitment and long-term (5+ years) loyalty to our growers and suppliers? Without this why should a grower invests thousands, maybe millions of pounds, of their hard-earned cash? We need to collaborate more with manufacturers. Lead times and costs to bring goods in from abroad don’t look to be improving. Forecasting sales and committing much further ahead will become the norm. Of course, growers will need to commit to quality standards etc in return. Team numbers will go up as shorter working weeks and flexible times becomes standard. To offset this we will need to consider automation in areas of the business that can accommodate this without detrimental impact on customer service. Horticulture as a career will see a resurgence as Greta Thunbergs contemporaries look to make life decisions as they exit education. Training establishments will need to prepare for the new environmentally savvy student. Premises will change in look and format. Alternative energy sources will become more and more common, not just PV panels on the roof but maybe also across car parks providing shade for cars and additional power. With land being limited we will see a multi-storey garden centre before long in the UK, they are already in Holland. Maybe it will have a kitchen garden on the roof producing crops for the restaurant? A basement full of vehicle charging points and a fleet of electric rental vans for self, and instant, delivery. Lorries will arrive out of hours and drop goods in to secure, unmanned bays. Oh and of course, for peat’s sake, we will need to become the greenest industry – in every sense of the word – to ensure a lush future!

If you can’t do better tomorrow than you did today, don’t come in!

Find out more

The Horticultural Trades Association is the UK industry’s leading membership organisation. It welcomes all sectors of horticulture – to join please contact

Coolings Solar Panel Sunflower doesn’t power their delivery vans just yet… but in the future?

38 July 2021

Showroom Appointments Available... Immerse yourself in our range of quality designed garden furniture that will be available to your customers for 2022. Our showroom presents an array of different dining and lounge options in a multitude of style options that will suit all outdoors spaces and allow customers to enjoy their gardens to the fullest. Visit to view the virtual tour and book an appointment with one of the area sales managers. Viewing is by appointment only and is open throughout July. We look forward to welcoming you to our showroom soon!