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Sustainable initiatives

gtn P10

JUNE 2019


Retail tips and ideas


Chelsea Review

Advice and information for garden centre professionals

The creation of Gardman Crest Inside story behind Westland’s new subsidiary company

Rebirth of houseplants

Six garden centres reveal how they’ve capitalised on a growing trend



Rebirth of houseplants

Houseplants are on trend and sales are on the increase. GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer has been on the trail of the garden centre houseplant sales phenomenon to unearth trends that are driving younger customers into garden centres. First stop: Notcutts Norwich. Notcutts Norwich is now one of the Top 10 garden centres in the UK for houseplant sales. Its houseplant area is quite different from a traditional garden centre department, using funky industrial style racking that is stacked full of plants, plus loads of hanging plants which create an inspirational plant forest effect. Colin Dale, Category Manager for Plants and Garden at Notcutts, explained that the inspiration for this trendy houseplant department came from his daughter two and a half years ago. “She was then 23 and she came to me asking to go to the garden centre to buy some houseplants. Now that is not the sort of thing I expected from my daughter at all. There was something really strange here. What she bought were succulents and things like sanseverias. It’s all the trend, she explained to me, it’s all on social media. “That got me looking at Instagram and Pinterest, and in those early days it was all about the hipsters who were interested in succulents and cacti and the big architectural type foliage plants. “So that’s where it all started. At Solihull we set up a display just from these sort of big industrial type stands in the entranceway, with primarily cacti and succulents, and cut right to the bone all of the old fashion flowering houseplants. You won’t see Begonias,

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Chrysanths or Streptocarpus. You won’t even find much in the way of Saintpaulias. There are a few orchids, some bromeliads, but otherwise it’s foliage. And it’s the foliage that has shown huge growth.” Becky Brooks, Houseplants and Gifts Department Manager at Notcutts Norwich, told us that social media is really influential now. “On Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook there are groups dedicated to houseplants. I often get people coming in with their phones

and asking me if we have plants they’ve seen on social media. I think customers like to build an image of what they would like their house to look like. They want to bring the outdoors inside by having a nice environment indoors. I think that drives people. Air purification is very big on everyone’s radar at the moment. Mental wellbeing is something else they are seeking.” Colin believes mindfulness is an aspect driving millennials to buy houseplants. “I think there is something about a


Houseplant trendsetters Also in this issue N1 Garden Centre – p4 Aylett Nurseries – p6 Perrywood – p6 Stewarts Christchurch – p6 Whitehall Lacock – p6 EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Garden Trade News, Potting Shed Press Ltd Dairy Drove Thorney Peterborough PE6 0TX Tel 01733 775700 Fax 01733 775838 THE GTN TEAM Editor: Neil Pope Associate Editor: Mike Wyatt Director: Trevor Pfeiffer Publisher: Mandy Davies Advertising: Alan Burdon Ben Greenwood

houseplant where it is almost a substitute for a pet. If they’re in a rented place there’s a cuteness about them. People really get quite passionate and they see these quite cute living things. In the past we would have said it’s just another houseplant and people used to say I always kill houseplants. They don’t say that anymore.“ The decision to use the industrial racking came from their London-based visual merchandiser who took inspiration from N1 Garden Centre, that worked well at Solihull initially and is now used for plants and pot covers across the group. Sales of pot covers have gone up by 55% in the last year, and sales of cacti and succulents are up by 60%, and the growth is continuing. Colin has used a young team at head office and out in the centres to developed their houseplant range. “Becky asks for plants to be added to the range which is listed centrally but selected locally. The list is now eight pages long whereas in the past it would have been just half a page. Twenty-five percent of our sales were orchids but that has changed. They are a tiny fraction now.” One of the first new racks to be created at Norwich was the succulent and cacti benches. “They are all-year-round in this position,” explained Becky. “Sometimes we do move

the Bonsai here in the summer when it gets lighter. Bonsai is also another area that’s really taken off – in the last two years I’d say we’ve doubled our sales. We put the cacti above eye level just for the little ones so they don’t prick themselves, although they still buy them with their pocket money.” The Notcutts Norwich houseplant area also does very well with the sale of books “I recommend The RHS Practical Book of Houseplants all day long. It has a little description and a picture of each one – how to look after each plant, how to propagate, how to make terrarium, everything you want to know.” On terrariums Becky added: “We extended our range at Christmas and since then it’s gone really well. Bottle gardens of all shapes and sizes, terrariums, anything under glass really, are selling through. If you want to give somebody a gift you’d buy a pre-planted one. They are all over Instagram at the moment.” Colin has even found a supply of activated charcoal for the bottom of a terrarium, “so that people can do it properly,” he said. As well as the racking, they use pallets and crates to create plenty of opportunity to display hanging plants and pot covers. Hanging plants and specimen plants are really big at Norwich. Continued on page 4

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Tel 01733 775700 or email Subscription rates UK: £145 Subscription includes a password for full access to GTN Online plus a weekly copy of GTN Bestsellers OUR PUBLISHERS GTN is published by Potting Shed Press Ltd, who also publish: * website * Weekly GTN Xtra and Pet Trade Xtra newsletters * Garden Radio * Official Glee Catalogue and Glee Daily News Online – the only official guides to the garden industry’s leading annual trade show SMALL PRINT All material © Potting Shed Press 2019. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information contained in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. Potting Shed Press Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by reliance on information contained in this publication or in the event of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

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INTERVIEW “Cheese plants are our biggest winner. I think we’ve sold Holland out of every cheese plant at the moment,” said Becky. Colin added: “Ficus Lyrata, the fiddle-leaf fig, is really big and trendy and we’ve sold out of them too. That’s another old plant from the past I remember my Mum had. All of a sudden the youngsters are loving the same as their parents and even grandparents.” On the subject of cover pots, Becky said: “If I ever feature a pot on the table that pot goes well, not necessarily with the same plant but if that pot is right people will take plants from other tables. We want pots that are interesting and quirky. That has made a big difference. Earthenware, more natural, concrete, and wicker, they are all in big time at the moment.” Colin, with all his years involvement with garden retailing, is excited about the changes and the potential to grow more gardeners of the future. “We’ve got a head office of around 60 people. Two years ago I found only two people in the whole of the office who owned a houseplant. Right now I’d say it’s 99%, if not 100%. And they’ve just not got one. They’ve got loads. It’s radically changed. It’s almost like a drug. It’s a good drug. “We’ve got young people interested in houseplants. Now, how do we get them interested in gardening in the wider aspect? If you were a typical person who is renting rather than buying your first house that’s where the attraction of houseplants comes in. But then the next step could be some pots either side of the doorway maybe, perhaps a little something on the balcony like a hanging basket. That’s

the way we’ve got to hook these people into the next part of gardening. I think it can happen naturally to a degree but we’ve got to make it happen much more overtly.” Appealing to the younger audience is not putting off the traditional garden centre audience. “Our older customer still wants to buy the houseplants of today because, just as when buying clothes, she wants to be younger and not like her grandparents.” The icing on the cake for Colin is that houseplants are fighting back against gifts in the Notcutts group. “What I’m really pleased about now is that we’ve actually extended the houseplant department size. Before it was shrinking because giftware had taken over and

Houseplant Trendsetter N1 Garden Centre N1 Garden Centre is often talked of as the place to watch for new trends in houseplants and a visit to the small centre, squeezed in between terraced houses on the edge of the Hoxton area of North London explains all. It is a houseplant paradise, brimming full of plants, including some rare and exotic varieties. No wonder their website says they are: Making London an urban garden, one home at a time. Creative Director, Paul Holt, told us that 20 years ago, when the business started, houseplants were only a fraction of the centre, now they occupy all of the ‘inside’ retail area and trade is brisk. “Our customers really love and care for their houseplants so we are always looking for new plants to offer them. We also make sure our pot range is very special, sourcing them from many suppliers not found in usual garden centres.” An example of the specimen plants at N1 when we visited were variegated Cheese Plants that were on sale for £350. “We can’t get enough of these.” Paul explained.

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nationally there were huge garden centres taking houseplant departments out entirely and saying we’re not selling them anymore. Well I’m really pleased to say not only has it come back but actually we’re now grabbing more space back and that’s the first time in 10 years. “And if you look around you know the quality is superb. Five years ago, the quality would have fallen down, but now because they’re selling so fast the quality is easy to maintain.” The last word goes to Becky who has a bigger team now as a result of the sales growth. “We have knowledgeable and dedicated staff and we believe that if we can offer good advice then that underlines the quality of the plants.”


Houseplant Trendsetter Aylett Nurseries The Greatest Awards winning houseplant team at Aylett Nurseries have always been passionate about houseplants, keeping a full houseplant ‘house’ throughout the past 10 years. “Houseplant sales have grown in the past few years and now account for 6% of our total turnover. We are still passionate about housplants,” said Julie Aylett. “The sales mix has changed with foliage plants outselling flowering plants.” Having said that when you have the space to put on displays of flowering houseplants of the quality of Ayletts it’s no surprise that those sales are increasing for them too. Whilst the Aylett houseplant area has the look and feel of a traditional garden nursery greenhouse, that doesn’t stop them stocking and selling new houseplants. Plants grown on lava rock is the latest new addition from the continent. Within five days of then going on sale half had already sold through!

Houseplant Trendsetter Whitehall Lacock

At Whitehall Lacock, where houseplant sales are 50% up, Peter Self says: “It’s all about green architecture. Every time we order some bigger plants they just sell though. “Sales had been flat up until a couple of years ago and slowly the momentum has built. The Instagram generation is leading the way.” Calatheas have been particularly good sellers for the Whitehall team, who are also amazed at the number of macramé pot hangers and cover pots they are selling.

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Houseplant Trendsetter Stewarts Christchurch

Compared to the houseplant areas at Perrywood and Aylett Nurseries the houseplant area at Stewarts Christchurch is relatively tiny, but because they pack so much in they create a tropical forest effect which entices people to stop and buy on their way into the centre and on their way to the tills. In April, houseplant sales across the three Stewarts garden centres were up by 23%, and that was on top of good increases last year. As well as a good range of pot covers, Stewarts also had available a good range of small tables and plant stands, a much needed extra purchase when you want to add more plants and you’ve run out of windowsill and shelf space to put them on.

Houseplant Trendsetter Perrywood

At Perrywood, houseplant sales are booming. With an Instagram account unique to houseplants, perrywoodhouseplants, driving people to the centre from as far afield as central London, the team watch trends from other centres, N1 in particular, and make sure they have as many new plants available as possible. Their unique houseplant room sets, this year with clever planting right into the props, gives existing customers plenty of inspiration to buy more houseplants. The importance of Instagram for their houseplant sales is explained by Zoe Willis: “We get so many questions through Instagram daily and then when we’ve had a delivery in and we put up a post everyone wants to know, can I come and get them and how much are they? “Instagram is an amazing platform to meet people, find out about different plants and get advice. I get so excited about it.”


A to Z of AMES

Continuing our series looking at all aspects of AMES UK, the organisation that brings together Kelkay, La Hacienda, True Temper and more recently the new brand Woodshaw.


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

is for Gazebos

Responding to the growing trend that has seen consumers investing more in their gardens to create year-round outdoor living spaces, Woodshaw have developed a range of high-quality wooden gazebos and barbecue shelters. These versatile and affordable structures are made entirely from slow-grown European pine that is sourced from sustainable forests and is fully FSC certified. All Woodshaw products are exclusively designed and made in the UK. Retail prices start at £329.99 for the Hampton Barbecue shelter.


Willoughby Gazebo RRP £1,699.99.

is for Home Delivery

A significant part of the AMES product range is designed for direct home delivery allowing retailers to provide a wide range of options for their customers without the need to dedicate large amounts of retail space for storage. All Kelkay bulk bag aggregates are available for home delivery, together with larger ‘Impressions’ and ‘Easy Fountain’ models as well as the ‘Willoughby’ range of Woodshaw gazebos.

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The popular Classical Springs model is available for home delivery.



New Camacha steel firebasket RRP £99.99.

is for Joint Sales Team


is for Innovation

A cornerstone of success for all the AMES UK brands has been their clear focus on strategies that encourage and drive innovation. The outdoor cooking and heating range from La Hacienda is designed by their innovative in-house design team who create all their unique and exclusive designs. It’s not only exciting new products that result from this approach, but also many other aspects of their business operations, from the development of unique and effective merchandising systems for aggregates and paving, to the use of a smart phone app to drive their real time manufacturing site status reports.

is for Kelkay

It’s over 15 years since Antony Harker founded Kelkay and less than 15 months since he sold the business to Griffon Corporation, a US public company with approximately USD$2billion in annual revenue. It was Antony’s development of the aggregate, paving and water feature categories that created the foundations for Kelkay’s success and was clearly a major factor in making the business such an attractive acquisition. Now Managing Director of the newly formed AMES UK, Antony has gone on to successfully integrate the Kelkay business with La Hacienda and more recently Woodshaw to create a single, efficient and streamlined operation supplying garden centres across several garden and leisure categories. Asked about what the future holds, Antony readily admits that the group continues to look for further growth and acquisition opportunities.

Since beginning the integration process in 2018, the AMES UK team have been working to streamline the business operations. Priority number one for Richard Pyrah (above), Group Sales Director, was to simplify the business communications process for customers which meant developing a single, fully integrated sales team. Richard says: “At AMES UK, we have some ambitious plans for the future including the introduction of several new major categories. The creation of a single garden centre sales agency team was critical for efficient communications and will ensure we continue to provide an excellent service to our customers.”


is for La Hacienda

Founded almost 30 years ago, La Hacienda has developed into a market leader in outdoor heating and cooking products. The introduction of more than 20 new firepits, chimeneas and electric heaters for the new season have helped to drive an extraordinary 25% growth for the business in the first quarter of 2019. The new La Hacienda merchandising solution has also made it easier for retailers to benefit from this growth and maximise the display and turnover opportunities for this growing category.

From left to right: Antony Harker, AMES UK Group Managing Director; Simon Hupfeld, AMES CEO; and Bob Mehmel, Griffon Corporation. For more information on The AMES Companies go to To find out more about Kelkay go to or e-mail the general enquiries office on or call to speak to us on 01405 869333 Kelkay, The Old Airfield, Heck & Pollington Lane, Pollington, East Yorkshire, DN14 0BA To find out more about La Hacienda go to or call to speak to us on 01285 762060 La Hacienda Ltd., Hangar 27, Site C, Aston Down Airfield, Stroud, GL6 8HR

Coming Soon: Part 3 of A to Z of AMES UK

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‘You’ can do it!’ Delegates at last month’s sell-out Sustainability Matters conference organised by the HTA pondered the challenges businesses face as climate change and environmental issues rise to the top of the agenda – but the day was also sprinkled with positive messages about the significant strides retailers and growers have already made. HTA president-elect Boyd Douglas-Davies (Hillview garden centre group), who described the event as “the most exciting, intense, stimulating event I have ever been to”, said the conference not only reminded the industry what still needed to be done but had underlined a ‘can do’ attitude. “You can do it,” he said, summing up, urging the industry to take a lead and not wait for the government to impose “nonsense” solutions. “Let’s tell Defra how to do it. We have a lot going for us. We are producing a great product that allows people to grow, pick and eat something with no food packaging. Let’s make sure the gardeners of the future are coming to us an industry of great British growers and independent retailers – people who know what we’re doing and have the future mapped out.” The issue of the industry’s use of plastic was clearly going to be a major topic and was the subject of a lively panel debate. The refusal of most local authorities to accept plastic plant pots for kerbside re-cycling drew criticism. Other than pots containing the carbon black pigment, which cannot be detected by the scanners that sort waste, plant pots CAN be re-cycled but are ruled out because they require washing, among other reasons. Natalie Porter of Porters Fuchsias/Happy Plants felt councils should stop making excuses and change their advice to exclude only carbon-black pots to help reduce the UK’s estimated 500 million plastic pot mountain. The HTA-backed initiative to encourage growers to supply plants in taupe-coloured

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plastic pots (which can be picked up by scanners), currently supplied by Modiform, was highlighted as a major step forward. Natalie Porter explained that their plants are now supplied in blue pots manufactured by Poppelman and pack bedding is supplied in clear green PET packs made from 100% recycled drinks bottles which can be

returned to food grade packaging when themselves recycled, while Porters’ trays are made from recyclable paper pulp. The drive towards meeting the government’s target for eliminating the use of peat in growing media was highlighted by Steve Harper, head of commercial and marketing at Bord na Mona, as an example of the horticultural industry’s progressive response to a challenge that was originally about biodiversity but is now about carbon emissions. By the end of the year, the Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media will have produced a calculator that will allow suppliers to “score” their raw materials on a sustainability matrix. While it will be free for all to use, suppliers who sign up can access the proposed audit scheme, which will help to push the quality benchmark across the sector. Mike Burks, MD of The Garden Group, stressed the importance of taking a positive approach when communicating with customers on environmental issues. His centres also engage with local communities in encouraging wildlife gardening and growing plants to attract pollinators.

What we have done so far... Colin Jones, general manager, Carr Farm Garden Centre, Wirral, Cheshire 4Installed biomass heaters 4Captured rainwater for re-use in the plantarea 4Recycled 100% of our cardboard and clear plastic 4Installing LED lighting throughout, resulting in a return on investment within 38 months.

Our advice to others: Be prepared to invest upfront as most of the work can be costly in the first instance before savings later. What we would also like: to collaborate with other garden centres to reduce the cots of recycled waste collection.


Be green or be gone So much more than just plastics

The time is up on sustainability, says associate editor Mike Wyatt. Millenial consumers and subsequent generations will desert businesses that do not take the issues seriously.

HTA President Adam Taylor set the tone for the day when he said sustainability was about “so much more than just plastics”. With TV programmes gaining more public attention, it was time to give it top priority. It is about working together, not apportioning blame, to find strategies that work across the industry, he said. Gardenforum director George Bullivant, chair for the day, believed the subject had such has an emotional connection for so many people that the industry could not afford to get it wrong. HTA marketing and insights manager David Denny and market research executive Laura Jeffery explained how consumers and the government believe it is down to businesses to respond to the drive for sustainability. They highlighted that: 4A fifth of the UK’s 222.9m tonnes of annual waste – 277 times the weight of the Golden Gate Bridge – is industrial and commercial. 4A quarter of the total waste goes to landfill, and in 2017 45.7% was recycled. 4The big culprits are 14 billion plastic drinks bottles. 4Currently, 30% of our food waste is not recycled. 4Of our 7 million tonnes of household food waste a year, 5 million tonnes is classified as edible – equivalent to 250 million meals a year. 4Pret a Manger’s ‘Charity Run’ distributes the chain’s food waste and unsold food to hostels and charities supporting the homeless. 4Three quarters of Gardeners’ World magazine readers think that plastics in gardens are a problem.

Boyd Douglas-Davies was right when he described last month’s HTA Sustainability Matters conference as an exciting, inspiring and intense day. A day on which a full house learned plenty – including the realisation that there is still much more to learn yet before most businesses can be said to be contributing fully to a truly sustainable future. We learned about “green-wash” – the art of using words and images to project a green halo without doing anything much that makes a difference. Then there is “green-hush” – a label affixed to businesses who are quietly doing what they currently can but are afraid to put their heads above the parapet in case they get it wrong. And there’s what Boyd called “greenmush” – the welter of excuses businesses use for not doing anything. The day left us all in no doubt that the time is up on sustainability. Millenial consumers and subsequent generations will desert businesses that do not take the issues seriously. Be green or be gone. While the need for action applies to all industries, there could hardly be a better opportunity for gardening and horticulture to lead by example. The industry that supplies the trees and plants on which we depend for our health and wellbeing must have green credentials at its heart, and needs to be seen as such. Surely, it is perfectly placed to stake a claim as an exemplar of best practice, from the nursery to the garden centre shelf (and even the coffee shop). Growers and retailers have already shown willingness to engage in a project aimed at solving the thorny problem of plastic pots, of which there are an estimated 500 million in circulation, according to Natalie Porter of Porters Fuchsias. Most black flower pots – until now, the nursery industry’s default, mainly on grounds of cost – contain the carbon black pigment, which means they cannot be picked up by sorting scanners at recycling centres. As a result, most local authorities will not accept plastic flower

pots, black or otherwise, for kerbside collection – so they end up either in landfill/ incineration or garden shed ‘pot mountains’. Taupe-coloured plastic pots from which can be scanned for recycling, are now in wide circulation – Wyevale Nurseries are now using them for most of their production – and there are calls for the industry to standardise on it. However, this approach would go against the grain with those who believe that our buoyant independent garden centre culture thrives on points of difference. Someone suggested at the conference that consumers might be quite happy to accept plants in “wonky pots” of varying shapes, sizes and colour, just as they have taken to “wonky” fruit and veg in supermarkets. If Poppelman’s blue pots, adopted by Porters, were to go industrywide, the result could be fun. Meanwhile, the HTA should lobby the government to persuade local councils to start accepting all plastic pots other than those containing carbon black. Another key issue that has gone unremarked until now is what happens to the millions of plastic sacks in which growing media are supplied. Most packs made from single-layer printed plastic can be recycled – but those using laminates cannot, because they consist of mixed materials. In the absence of on-pack information, how do consumers tell the difference? This is what I learned from Steve Harper of Bord na Mona: 4If the pack has a white strip along the top, it can be recycled. 4If the top is a solid colour, it is laminated and should go to landfill/incineration. Like a number of other brands, including Westland, Bord na Mona’s Growise products come in laminated packs, but Steve says he is investigating switching. While the HTA is to be congratulated on an event that successfully concentrated minds on issues of crucial importance, the effort must not end there. Long-term sustainable solutions will demand consistent collaboration between growers, suppliers and retailers – and many more days like this one until every one “gets real”.

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DAN DURSTON Director of Durstons GTN’s Editor Neil Pope reveals how this extraordinary company has survived as long as it has. He asks its youngest and sixth generation director and family member, Dan Durston, the secret to its success. Dan, it’s not often we hear of an independent family business like yours surviving as long as Durstons has. So what is it about Durstons in particular that you think has enabled the business to succeed where many others might have failed? Primarily it’s about producing top quality compost that our customers seem to love. That coupled with an excellent customer service approach and a competitive pricing structure is what Durstons is all about. We also have a stateof-the-art facility here in Somerset which we are confident matches any other of its kind seen here in the UK or in Europe. As a business you’ve been very vocal in the trade press over recent years about your company’s Britishness and specifically your approach to Brexit. With everything that’s been unfolding do you still feel the same way now, and if so why? Its interesting that you’ve asked that question and my simple answer is YES. As an independent family business that has operated solely in the UK market for over 150 years Brexit for Durstons has always been pretty straight forward. I do appreciate however that may not be the case for many other companies, especially those whose main market is in Europe. So you only supply compost to the UK market. Was that a strategic plan or did you ever consider exporting overseas? I won’t say that we never ever considered exporting, but sometimes it’s just easier to keep things simple which has worked really well for us as a small to medium sized enterprise.

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How has your business changed in the 159 years since it was founded? The business has evolved substantially. In 1860 my Great, Great, Great Grandfather Aquila Durston (pictured right) cut peat by hand and delivered it by horse and cart to home owners for burning in the local towns and villages around Glastonbury. This continued for 100 years and until the modernisation of moving to motor powered vehicular deliveries. Then in the 1960s when peat became known for its horticultural properties, we sold the peat for use in compost, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that we established our own brand/range of products. In the early years we were producing circa 1,000 pallets a year over a range of four products compared to today which is more like 60,000 pallets a year and forty products. What advice would you give to any business starting up today? I would suggest that you do your homework and above all make sure that you know your product inside-out. Before you embark on your journey, find out as much as you can about the industry and also how the trade works within that industry. That way you can talk confidently with others about what’s going on. It’s very important also to love what you do, and be passionate about it. Recently you’ve embarked on a campaign where you’ve been pleading with other organisations to follow your lead and where possible use packaging which is 100% recyclable. Is this something you personally have strong views about or is it a company directive? Whilst I do feel passionate about the distressing images we’ve all witnessed on news reports relating to plastic and the devastating effect it is

having on our environment and in particular our marine life, I am also a realist and understand that until an alternative material is found to replace plastic then we are stuck with it, however we all still have a duty to do our bit and to reduce its use at least, or where possible make it 100% recyclable. So finally, as a sixth generation member of the Durston family business where do you see the company going in the future? Looking forward, I see the company continuing to grow even more and move on with future generations of the Durstons family. Already, the seventh generation are helping out between school and college work and in particular during our peak seasons. I like to think also that in the future we could offer a larger range of core gardening products and be more of a household name, which continues to be built on quality and service.

Tel: 01458 442688


Summer & Outdoor Living Exhibition The Summer Outdoor Leisure Exhibition which will be opening its doors to the most influential buyers from within the garden industry on 9 July 2019, has launched its very own website to help visitors to register and attend the event. This new website has an interactive exhibition map that allows you to see who will be exhibiting and if you want to know more about the exhibitors you are only one click away from their websites. There is also the chance to win a lovely weekend away in the beautiful county of Hampshire. The website – – will also give information on how to get there, facilities, hotel links and general build up to the event. This new portal will also be linked to its own Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin accounts where you can interact and keep up to date with all the news views and current product information. The Solex show will be packed full of the

freshest designs from 60 LOFA members, with the full A-Z and everything in between that the outdoor and leisure industry has to offer. The SOLEX exhibition is all under one roof, and in one hall, so you won’t have to walk for miles and miles to find the most inspirational and innovative products for

Char-Broil’s UK BBQ stars for 2019 America’s No 1 gas grill brand Char-Broil is launching an All Star line-up of BBQ models for 2019, all of which combine cutting-edge innovation, top performance and clever design. Stars of the new range are the new All-Star portable BBQ, available in gas or electric models; a new Gas2Coal hybrid BBQ with 4 burners; and a Professional ‘Double Header’ enabling fish, meat or vegetables to be grilled completely separately. The new All-Star and Professional models feature Char-Broil’s innovative TRU-Infrared cooking technology to give 50% juicier results and even distribution of heat without flare-ups. Char-Broil’s UK product range - which also includes the Kamander charcoal grill, a portable and rugged Grill2Go, a digital smoker, and the Big Easy smoker/roaster/grill all-inone – now has a product to suit every type of garden, home and outdoor lifestyle. Innovation is at the heart of everything: Char-Broil brought one of the first charcoal grills to market in 1948. In the years since, it has been delivering innovation continuously. Infrared is one of the most well-known of Char-Broil’s unique technologies, because it has helped revolutionise BBQ cooking by giving up to 50% juicier results, and a perfectly even distribution of heat without any flare-ups.

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the 2020 season. Infact it is a great place to do business, this relaxed and friendly exhibition is where you can establish new relationships and develop existing ones. So, whether you are a garden centre, a retail outlet, department store or multiple retailer, SOLEX has everything you could possibly want or need. There is also a contemporary new SOLEX lounge, a great place to relax, chill out and unwind, serving refreshments to all visitors throughout the three show days, it’s a place to take the weight off your feet and re-charge your batteries, literally, as there will be charging points for all devices! There will also be secluded areas for those all-important business meetings or to check your Twitter feed! 4SOLEX is the retailers’ essential garden event of the year. Place – Hall 5 Venue - NEC Dates - 9-11 July 2019


Elegant and versatile The ALU-TWIST parasol from Glatz is elegant and versatile. It features a smooth wind-up crank handle to open and close and a unique twist mechanism which allows you to adjust the canopy pitch with ease, gradually tilting up to a 45° angle. Another important feature is how well it protects you from UV rays, with the sun shade giving UPF50+ sun protection. The ALU-TWIST is made

from lightweight but strong aluminium, with tension springs that keeps the fabric tight to maintain tension over time. Available in a wide range of styles, sizes, colours, base options, LED lighting and protective accessories, the ALU-TWIST is part of range of luxury parasols from Swiss experts Glatz, available exclusively in the UK through AEL Outdoor Solutions. 4Stand 230

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Comfort, design and quality Experience comfort, design and quality on the Hartman Outdoor Products stand. Demonstrating innovative design features for exceptional outdoor living spaces, Hartman will showcase its stunning premium resin weave furniture, high quality contemporary cast aluminium sets, innovation with a new ceramic glass top, as well as adding a touch of European flare with the new Sophie collection and the launch of its new flagship Signature collection. Hartman’s new product collection for 2020 must not be missed by any buyer who’s looking to reinvigorate their furniture offering. Do you take a flat white or a cappuccino? Whilst browsing over the fantastic new collections from Hartman, why not enjoy a delicious, complimentary barista coffee and cake from the professional on stand barista coffee hub. In addition to this, Hartman are celebrating 10-years in partnership with Jamie Oliver and are giving visitors a chance to win an exclusive signed copy of Jamie Oliver’s new book, titled VEG – have a go at the fun interactive Jamie Oliver competition. Visit stand 505 to find out more!

Exciting product range from Zest

16 June 2019

Zest 4 Leisure, the timber garden products specialist, is focusing on exhibiting at SOLEX again this year, showcasing the company’s best in outdoor living furniture and BBQ shelters. The early season spike in sunshine has impacted on sales demand this year, putting us all in the mood to talk about outdoor living ranges at SOLEX. Alwyn Williams, Head of Zest, said: “As well as new products to launch, Zest 4 Leisure is excited to be taking along customer favorites such as the Lilly Relax range of benches and the Miami Swing. “We are looking forward to meeting our customers at SOLEX and having the opportunity to chat about the season so far. Come along and visit us on stand 310.”

18 June 2019

June 2019 19


9 top tips for retail success On its travels this month GTN discovered some more great examples of retail magic being displayed in UK garden centres.


Garden buildings set the style Far from the tired old plot at the back of the planteria, the garden building displays at Stewarts Christchurch (above) and at Blue Diamond Endsleigh (below) certainly set an aspirational agenda.


Selling the dream‌ What a spectacular entrance to the furniture department at Whitehall Lacock, an idyllic spring garden setting created with backdrop and props. It matches the cover of Whitehall’s Beautiful Gardens magazine too!


...and selling the team Stewarts Christchurch are using the expertise of their team members to underline their point of difference for garden furniture sales.


King of the trolley parks Stewarts Christchurch win the GTN Award for the most in-store trolley parks and the best use of trolley park space. Every trolley park was also being used as a merchandising unit, meaning more could be deployed across the centre to ensure customers could easily find that trolley as soon as they need one.

20 June 2019



Heavenly burger for vegan customers At Whitehall Lacock we found the most delicious ‘Moving Mountains Plant Based Burger’ in the Lavender Lodge Restaurant. Top marks for taste and top marks for emphasising the plant-based items on the menu.


Getting that entrance statement right Nick Oliver at St Johns Ashford leaves customers in no doubt that the centre has different owners – they bought the centre from Wyevale last year – and at the same time underlines their planty background.


Selling pots of blueberries At Plymouth Garden Centre they are making the most of every plant and pot sales opportunity, even with popular blueberry plants.


Greetings cards drive sales all year round Taking great care on which greetings cards to stock is a big priority for Plymouth Garden Centre, who told GTN they sell over 65,000 cards a year.


Easy watering, indoors and outdoors Perrywood have been making the most of aspiring houseplant owners wanting to ensure the watering of their precious plants is as easy as possible. Using in-store sales demos and Instagram videos they are driving good sales of the Elho Easy Watering pot inserts (pictured right). Out in the planteria at In-Excess Ringwood they are able to maintain high plant quality really easily on a sloping site by building bespoke plant benches with plastic watering trays fitted in to avoid the need to water from above for most of their stock. According to their David Austin sales rep they have the best kept display in the area as a result.

June 2019 21


The future’s bright, the future’s gardening VICKY NUTTALL DIRECTOR OF GIMA It’s easy to get distracted by the doom and gloom that is so often reported, be it Brexit, house prices, exchange rates or the demise of the High Street. But what we don’t do enough of is celebrate our successes, and we certainly have cause to celebrate at the moment. Thanks to an Easter heatwave, and strong spring trading we are currently enjoying a spring sales bonanza with GIMA members reporting exceptionally strong sales for the first quarter of 2019. The latest stats from Euromonitor International – strategic market research, data and analysis experts – also paint a positive picture. The value of the UK gardening market in 2018 was valued at £4.6 billion, with the growth forecast predicting a 3.7% increase for 2019, taking the value to £4.8 billion. 2020 is earmarked to just nudge the £5 billion mark at £4.9 billion. But what’s driving this growth? According to retail experts, garden retail remains strong as it provides a ‘lighthouse’ in the fog of uncertain times. Consumer confidence may be low, but this is driving them to improve their homes and gardens for that

instant endorphin hit; a trend that can be seen amongst the ‘traditional’ demographic as well as the highly influential millennial market. Gardening also complements core consumer trends such as the need for more environmental products, as well as suiting more modern lifestyles. The latter of which is best demonstrated by the rise in products that are efficient and help to save time. The traditional lawn mower being a case in point, as its popularity wanes thanks to the increase in automated systems, such as robotic lawn mowers. Automated watering systems also continue to flourish under this new consumer demand The health and wellness trend is also affecting gardening, as consumers look for organic or GYO alternatives to traditional supermarket fare. This trend is also shaping the anti-plastic movement within garden retail, with the humble pot being the first to reinvent itself. Moreover, consumers’ interest in healthier lifestyles is favouring growing media and horticulture. Conscious and vegan gardening is also taking off and is expected

GIMA Awards judging panel confirmed GTN editor Neil Pope will again be one of the judges of the GIMA Awards 2019, joining an esteemed group of industry professionals for judging day at Warwick Racecourse on June 19. The judges are: Andy Smith, Head of Buying, Klondyke Group; Tammy Woodhouse, Managing Director, Millbrook Garden Company; Christopher Ray, Outdoor Category Manager, B&Q; Adrienne Wild, Gardening Editor & Columnist, Sunday People and Woman’s Weekly; Sharon McNair, Commercial Director, Tong Garden Centre; Lucy Hall, Editor, BBC Gardeners World Magazine; Neil Pope, Editor, Garden Trade News; Stuart Whalley, Blue Diamond’s Head of Product Development: and Mary Bunting, QVC’s Home and Seasonal Buyer.

22 June 2019

to become more relevant over the forecast period. However, as an industry we need to be mindful of how quickly things can change. Whilst home improvement and garden retailers remain the dominant retail channel for gardening products, due to the consumers’ preference for store-based sales, it is becoming increasingly easy to find gardening products sold through various retail channels. Discounters are focusing on offering good quality gardening products at a low price, whilst the internet continues to appeal to a mass market, including the heavily emerging millennial market. With discounters and internet sales leading the race for fastest growing distribution channels in the last 12 months, it’s safe to say they are the ones that will impact garden centres the most if we don’t stay ahead of the curve. It’s this need to ‘stay ahead of the curve’ that has led to GIMA introducing a new Future Trends service. This new service – launching shortly in partnership with a leading trend agency – will provide members with the necessary information to support the product and marketing development, in turn, allowing us an in industry to drive the market forward through proactive trend led innovation. For now, let’s give ourselves a pat on the back. 2019 has started incredibly well so let’s keep riding this wave to see just how much we can achieve. 4GIMA is here to hear the thoughts and experiences of its members, and would also love to hear from non-members also. Please share your experiences by emailing

Vernon Kay to host 2019 GIMA Awards It has been confirmed that Vernon Kay, star of TV and radio, will host the 39th annual GIMA Awards. Vernon has had a varied career, starting in the world of modelling before moving into TV with the hugely popular Channel 4 show, T4. From here, Vernon’s star continued to rise. He presented his own Radio 1 weekend show for six years, before moving to Radio X. Vernon’s TV CV includes All Star Family Fortunes, Splash!, ITV’s Beat The Star, Just the Two of Us (which he hosted alongside his wife, Tess Daly), as well as leading the NFL Highlights coverage for Channel 4 and Sky Sports, and hosting Formula E for Discovery. GIMA Director Vicky Nuttall said: “The GIMA awards are considered by many as the social event of the year for the garden retail sector. The awards are a fabulous night of entertainment, networking and celebrating the amazing efforts our supplier members undertake to create exciting product innovation and market-leading services. I’m so pleased that Vernon Kay will be able to join us. He is a well known face (and voice!) so am sure those attending this year’s awards will be excited to see him take to the stage. Vernon will certainly provide a fun and entertaining element to the night. We look forward to seeing him – and all the garden retail industry – in just a few weeks.” Vernon will host the awards ceremony, sponsored by Glee, entries for which are now closed. The winners will be announced at the GIMA Awards Gala Dinner on Thursday 4th July, once more held at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport South Wales. To find out more about how to book one of the few remaining seats at the GIMA awards 2019 visit

June 2019 23

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24 June 2019


Celebrating 10 years of HTA National Plant Show The tenth HTA National Plant Show, sponsored by Hortipak, takes place at Stoneleigh Park on Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 June. Visitors are encouraged to register now at www.nationalplantshow. to ensure that they are able to enter the show swiftly and maximise the opportunity of everything on offer. This year’s show, which sees over 200 exhibitors across the two adjoining halls, provides an unrivalled opportunity to view the very best plants from UK nurseries, along with everything the trade needs to sell plants under one roof. With a wealth of innovation and expertise visitors can now meet the full spectrum of suppliers including, plants, polytunnel and glasshouse supply, substrates and growing media through to display benching, machinery, labelling and product information and much more. There are a number of first-time exhibitors to the show this year, including Aeroplas UK Ltd, Allports Group, City Irrigation and Antelo, Crystaline, Desch Plantpak Ltd, Dummen Orange, Formbar Limited, Glenside Nurseries, Hertford Shelving Ltd, HSM UK Ltd, HTA Utilities, Image Retail Solutions, Intelligent Horticultural Solutions, Lubera Edibles, Lucksbridge Marketing Ltd, My Power Solar Professionals, OMEX, Philip Harkness Roses Ltd, QCR Recycling Equipment, Sustane. A favourite with visitors and exhibitors are the New Plant Awards taking pride of place in the centre of Hall 2. Annually attracting over 100 entries, this is the place to see what is new and available to the market in the following season.

Previous winners of the New Plant Awards over the last 10 years will be on display in the show entrance, along with commentary on how they have done in the market place. Other features are the show include: The seminar theatre, sponsored by Sinclair Horticulture, will host a number of sessions throughout the show. These include: 4New Plant Awards – the judges highlight the winning plants, why they won and how they can help your plant area offering 4HTA Horticulture Manager, Alistair Yeomans provides an update on the latest plant health issues and developments and implications for the horticultural industry 4HTA Policy Executive Sally Cullimore provides an update on the work going on to develop recyclable non-carbon black

WINNERS IN 2018: Above left, the judges’ choice, Laburnum ‘Yellow Rocket’ entered by Frank P Matthews; Above right: Visitors chose Digitalis ‘Firebird’ as the show’s best new heraceous perennial.

pigment free plant pots 4An update on the Phyto-threats project from Forest Research 4Presentations from My Power, QCR and HTA Utilities on making your business more sustainable. The HTA Village provides an opportunity to find out about the latest initiatives from the HTA, including Plant Healthy and the Nursery Working Group and work going on to introduce a recyclable carbon black pigment free alternative to the black plastic pot. The innovation area in Hall 1 will encompass the Best Concept for retail award entries as well as the Product Showcase area and really highlight the huge variety of suppliers that show at the event and what they can offer your business. Caroline Owen, Managing Director of Scotsdales Garden Centre, who was chair of the HTA Retail Management Committee in 2009 when the show was first developed said: “It is great to see that the HTA National Plant Show continues to deliver exactly what it set out to do from the outset. The show provides garden retailers with a unique opportunity to view such a great variety of stock from UK nurseries and it really is the place to view new plants coming into the market place. We always come away with new ideas and thoughts about how to present our plant offer.” Geoff Caesar, Chair of the HTA Ornamentals Committee, added: “The strength of the show really lies in the shared desire from UK growers and garden retailers for such an event. It is as an important milestone now as it was in 2009 and provides a real focal point at the right time of the year for the industry.” Register at to ensure a quick entry to the show.

June 2019 25


The creation of Gardman Crest What next after the Gardman buy-out last autumn? Westland Sales Director John McDowell and Crest Managing Director Nick Davies give GTN a preview of exciting times to come. In October 2018, Westland Horticulture bought Gardman out of administration for £4m. Initially the team at Westland worked on service and supply, now six months on their focus has turned to Autumn and planning for the 2020 season. The process has resulted in a key structural change, with the creation of a new Westland company – Gardman Crest, headed by Nick Davies. This will see the combining of the Crest hardware and watering brands with the Gardman gardening hardware, propagation, landscape, home and lighting brands. As part of the restructure the Gardman Bird Care ranges will be managed fully by the Westland sale team, headed by John McDowell. This includes all feed, feeders and hardware. As highlighted in last month’s issue of GTN, Gardman brand bird care will be sold alongside the Peckish range. Westland Sales Director John McDowell and Gardman Crest Managing Director Nick Davies have been speaking to GTN to explain how the changes will benefit garden centres and customers. John started by explaining what is happening right now with Wild Bird Food. “I want to make it clear that the Gardman brands are incredibly important, in particular the bird food offer. We have been fortunate that the two brands work in harmony. Gardman Wild Bird has been built and developed in conjunction with garden centres for over 25 years and it is

“We have built an experienced sales team to lead the Gardman Crest division and each of them have strong knowledge of the sector, customers and our product offer” Crest Managing Director Nick Davies fundamental to our offer for 2019/20. Our Wild Bird Food team have been given a simple brief: Bring back the great quality that Gardman had.” “We have also linked up with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) for the coming years which will help with product development and overall exposure for wild bird care and feeding. “We will have the current Westland independent garden centre team selling the full Gardman and Peckish wild bird ranges, food and hardware. They make the perfect partners and offer fantastic choice and quality.” Nick is very excited about the future for Gardman Crest. “We are developing every category within the Gardman and Crest portfolio. We are driving forward every category that we acquired from landscaping through to garden lighting. Every product is and will be looked at to ensure we are

26 June 2019


focusing on the right quality level that meets gardeners’ needs.” On distribution John and Nick explained that the plan is to expand and significantly invest in their distribution hubs in Peterborough. “From August, we will have fertilisers and chemicals, Wild Bird Food, Gardman and Crest ranges coming from one centre within Peterborough on one delivery,” said John. “We’ve listened to our customers and have put this at the centre of our investment and planning for 2020. “We’ve been delivering to independents from Peterborough for many years. By adding to that team with significant resources, and with key people from the King’s Lynn team transferring to Peterborough in August when the new system comes into force, we will have a team that is fully versed in dealing with garden centres. “We have worked really hard on retaining the expertise and knowledge within our supply chain. People are what make Westland and we believe retaining knowledge and expertise is essential.” When it comes to selling to retailers, Westland has been built on focusing on each category and that specialising is the best way forward, and hence has separate selling teams and category management. John said: “All the way from myself, Nick to CEOs Edward and Bobby, the view is that with gardening you do need to be a specialist. “Although supply chain is crucially important, the key still needs to be developing the category and products. We want the sales team to have knowledge about growing media, about fertilisers and chemicals, about seeds. If we then start spreading that across additional categories there’s a danger that they won’t be specialists in anything. Then it’s just about taking orders and moving away from category management. That’s not what we’re about. The most cost-effective way would be with just one person selling everything, but that’s not how we believe it’s best to service the industry.” Nick added: “I come from a wholesale background and the one thing I’ve learned

“Product drives us, it’s in our blood” Westland Sales Director John McDowell from coming out of a wholesale mentality is that the world has moved on, and it is about delivering a category. There’s no way in a million years a salesman can offer that level of expertise over so many categories. And the retailer also gets bored of seeing one person trying to do too much. They want to see knowledge and that’s important to the philosophy of our overall business. “We have now built an experienced sales team to lead the Gardman Crest division and each of them have strong knowledge of the sector, customers and our product offer.” Having explained the sales structure and distribution changes John and Nick touched on the future development of the Gardman ranges now they’ve had a good chance to get to grips with them. “We see huge opportunities in improving products. We’re not going to rush things, but we will give Gardman a bit of that Westland touch in terms of brand,” said John. “Come Glee, we will have the first phase of change so we can at least demonstrate to the retailers that we’re taking it seriously,”

said Nick. “The only conversation at board level with the shareholders is about product. What they’re interested in is product. What is the product going to look like? What’s the point of difference? What value are we adding to it?” John went on to sum up the WestlandGardman Crest business strategic direction: “Garden centres are a huge part of our past and an even bigger part of our future. The future looks very bright for garden centres, we want to play a key part in delivering that success. Garden centres are incredibly strong and consistent every single year. And a lot of these brands will be garden-centre exclusive. “The industry needs products and categories to be better and the foundations need to be solid. Edward and Bobby, our two original founders, are in the business every day, every hour. The direction from them continues to be: Long term thinking balanced with a focus on detail, accuracy and customer needs. Product drives us, it’s in our blood.”

June 2019 27


Star of the show The Greenfingers Charity Garden was the star of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for many garden retailing and industry guests and the response from visitors was astounding. They thought the mix of greens, creams, whites and pale yellows in the planting was wonderful, calming, and just what they would like to plant in their gardens. The prime objective of the show garden was to raise the profile of the charity to enable more gardens to be built and to make it easier for garden centres and others to use Greenfingers as a charity for raising funds. That profile-raising initiative started at 7.15 am on the Monday with BBC Breakfast Weather being broadcast live from the garden and continued through the week with numerous features on the BBC coverage.

The Queen paid a visit to the garden on Monday evening. Greenfingers chairman John Ashley told GTN: “Having the Queen visit the garden on Monday was very special. She was very interested in Greenfingers and loved the design of the garden and the blending of plants and colours.” The Chelsea garden was possible thanks to a private donor who wanted to promote the work of Greenfingers and put the charity in front of a world audience. Built by Kate Gould and a brilliant team of garden contstructors the garden was the most beautiful, most accessible, most useful garden at Chelsea 2019. Oh, and the bags from Woodlodge became “The bags of Chelsea 2019!”

28 June 2019

RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW Chairman Andrew Bracey surveys the map showing existing Dobbies centres and the 31 he’s just bought from Wyevale.

Hillier win gold again! What a return for Dobbies! Dobbies exhibited regularly at Chelsea between 1913-1976, and now in 2019, on the verge of becoming the biggest garden centre retailer in the UK they returned and won the coveted Best Trade Stand Award. The stand was designed by Horticultural Director Marcus Eyles, whose first Chelsea experience was back in 1984 with Hilliers, and in 1987 he designed the gold medal winning Secret Garden for Merrist Wood. The stand was built for Dobbies by the team from Wonderwall.

Hillier won a gold medal for ‘The Stihl Hillier Garden’, their 74th consecutive gold medal, which maintains their status as the most successful exhibitor in Chelsea history. Lilly Gomm, the garden designer, achieved her first gold medal on her Chelsea debut. Hillier also launched a campaign at Chelsea: ‘Re-elming the British Countryside’ with Dame Judi Dench, who is a passionate advocate for trees. The campaign will involve planting elm stands throughout Great Britain, giving a new generation of nature lovers the chance to see elms once again. The first planting destination is confirmed, with 20 Ulmus ‘New Horizon’ trees due to be planted at the National Memorial Arboretum in Autumn. In the late 1960s, Dutch elm disease wiped out almost the entire UK population of elm trees. Following this devastating loss, Hillier partnered with specialist elm breeders in the USA and Europe, resulting in the development of a new disease resistant species – Ulmus ‘New Horizon’.

June 2019 29


Celebrity watch

Taylors Bulbs won their 26th consecutive Gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for their display of British grown daffodils from their Holbeach farm. The display was made up of over 70 varieties of daffodils and 2,000 flowers of all colours, shapes and sizes. The display was a magnificent sight, regularly stopping visitors in their tracks as they browsed the Grand Pavilion. Director Adam Taylor said: “We are absolutely delighted in achieving a gold medal at Chelsea in our centenary year and particularly pleased as, although many of the team involved in the flower display have been involved in the shows before, this was the first year with Sallyanne Foreman leading. Everyone here has supported each other really well and driven a determination to make it to the Gold Medal standard.”

Ainsley Harriott

Jo Wiley

Rebecca Brookhouse, Sallyanne Foreman and Adam Taylor with their Gold Award.

New Product and New Plant Awards Hotbins mini composter won the RHS Chelsea New Product Award. Chairman of the judges, Deborah Meaden, said: “It’s easy composting, it’s clean and because it’s compact it fits into today’s living. Not everybody has a massive great area for a compost bin but this product can easily sit next to you normal bin, and you can properly compost which we absolutely love.” Hotbins are designed and manufactured in the UK from recycled and recyclable material. More details can be found at: www.hotbincomposting. com. After initial sales via on-line retailers the product is now available for garden centres to stock and sell.

David Walliams

The Chelsea Plant of the Year 2019 was Sedum ‘Atlantis’ An attractive, easy to grow, versatile and multi-functional plant, it forms 30cm high cushions of variegated foliage topped with yellow flowers from June to September. Plants are robust and drought resistance and blooms are attractive to insect pollinators. The cultivar was discovered as a sport on a nursery on the banks of Lake Michigan by grower Dave Mackenzie, who specialises in plants for ground cover, green roofs and walls. Currently available only via mail order, plants should be available for retail for 2020. In second place was Digitalis x valinii ‘Firebird’ and third place went to Agapanthus ‘Fireworks’, which won Best New Plant at Glee in 2018.

30 June 2019

Lee Mack

Nick Knowles and Adam Frost

Profile for Garden Trade News

GTN June 2019  

GTN June 2019  

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