GTN March 2023 - Garden Trade News UK

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PRESS TO IMPRESS Product news from The Garden Press Event PLANTSINTHE HEADLINES New GTNPlanteria Column Advice &information for garden centreprofessionals COLIN STEPHENS GTNinterview Evergreen’s new MD MARCH 2023 The Greatest Showman Alan Roper revealsthe winners at the Blue Diamond Awards TALENT STORE Glee’s new training initiative
Discoverthe International Festival for Garden, Leisure and Pet Registertovisit Get your free ticket:

Bringonthe sunshine!

It’safunny old spring so far things aregrowing,that’sfor sure, but so far there’snot been enough prolonged sunshine to really get things going,sales wise.

As agarden centre owner told me yesterday; “people arebuying baskets of plants now, but if the sun was shining,they would be buying trollies full instead so theycould spend awhole day planting.” Thesame goes for furnitureand BBQ’s, bring on some warm sunny days and sales will starttoflow.

If youare feelingdownabout the season so far,rememberback to 2018 when the “Beast from the East” held gardening sales back until May.Itdoesn’tfeelasthough we will see a repeat of that as the long-range Met Office forecast talks of changeable weather with drier and brighter interludes possible as well during April. Temperatures areforecast to be close to average,which should mean good gardening activity weather.

Thesun did shine on Garden Re-LeafDay, Friday 24th March, with events taking placein over100 garden centresaswellasthe annual Garden Re-LeafDay sponsored walks and cycle rides. GTN’sAlan Burdon wasone of 100 walkers starting out at Tringwheretherewere 6mile and 20 mile routes plus a100 mile cycle challenge. OurFeatures Editor Anisa Gress trained in the gym for he Garden Re-Leaf Day Sponsored Sprint DistanceTriathlon in April and Karen and Ijoined the inaugural Garden Re-Leaf Day Sponsored Walk North in the hills and dales of South Yorkshire. Already over £50,000 has been raised thanks to everyone’s Fundraising activities, with morebeing added to thetotal everyday (see GTNXtra: www. for regularupdates). Thank youfor your efforts.

If youdidn’thavethe chancetotakepart in aGarden Re-Leaf Day event but wouldlike to makeavaluable donation to Greenfingers please visit: donateand usethe referenceGRL

Here’stoagreat gardening Easter for 2023!


Garden Trade News

Potting Shed PressLtd DairyDrove ThorneyPeterborough PE6 0TX Tel01733 775700


Editor Trevor Pfeiffer

Advertising Sales Alan Burdon

Features Editor Anisa Gress

Digital Editor Neil Pope

Subscriptions Karen Pfeiffer

Design &Production AT Graphics Ltd

Kirsty Craner –Design

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No partofthispublication may ereproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the expresspermission of the publishers. The information supplied in this publication is published in good faith and everyefforthas been made to ensure its accuracy.Potting Shed PressLtd cannot acceptresponsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligenceorother damage caused by relianceoninformation contained in this publication or in the vent of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cassation of the trade of any company,individual or firmmentioned, is herebyexcluded.

4 Blue Diamond’sGreatest Show–Full results and exclusivepicturesfromthe Blue Diamond Awards2023 8 PresstoImpress–6pages of product and supplier news from the Garden PressEvent 14 Bathgate for Peat Free NOW 16 Fountasia bringmagic to garden centres 18 Evergreen Garden Care’sincreased Peat Free capacity–InterviewwithMDColin Stephens 20 Nurturingfuturedisplay talent –Glee’snew Talent Store 22 LOFA –The voiceofthe outdoor living industry 24 Steppingstones to success –InterviewwithAntony Harker 28 Keeping plants in the headlines –GTN’snew Planteria column 30 Spotlight on Horticulture–HTA Column AdvertisersinthisIssue 2 Glee 2023 7 STVInternational 10 Fordingbridge 11 Handy Distribution 13 Primeur 15 Henchman 27 Hygeia 29 Four Oaks 29 PATS Telford 31 Vitavia 32 Solex 2023 March 2023 3
In this issue...

Blue Diamond’s Greatest Show

Blue Diamond MD,AlanRoper,said therewill be twomoreBlue Diamond Garden Centres by Easter,takingthe group to 44 centres and well on track to hit aturnoverprojection of £330m this year during his “Greatest Showman” introduction to the Blue Diamond Awards 2023

Alan told GTN: “Wehavetwo acquisitions in process. Heads areagreed and we areaiming to get them both completed by Easter.”

Commenting on the 1920’sthemedevent, with around 700 attendees from acrossthe garden centregroup and keysuppliers held at the Athena in Leicester,arestoredart-deco cinema, Alan said: “It’shardtobelieve it’s awork function,

the friendship in the room is tremendous.I’ve spent 24 yearsbuilding this culture. It was hardat the beginning,but it is the glue, and it becomes infectious. So many of the team love thejob, theylikethe people theywork with, and it comes through on anight likethis; the sense of belonging and camaraderie.

As Alan announced the Garden Centreofthe Year Awards he said: “None of these awards are easy,but youlook at the quality,the senseofteam, of course thefigures and those centres that made the grade on all of those factors with profitability being very important meant the quality this year wassohigh.”

Blue Diamond Awards 2023.

The full results

Garden Centres of the Year

OAKGarden Centreofthe Year: Grosvenor


• Cardiff • Derby • East Bridgford • Endsleigh

• Grosvenor • Newbridge • Sanders • St Peters

ACORN Garden Centreofthe Year: Brambridge Park


• Brambridge • CotonOrchard • Evesham

• Harlow • LowerMorden • Nailsworth • Trelawney

Restaurants of the Year

OAKRestaurant of the Year: Cardiff



• Cardiff • Derby • Endsleigh

• Grosvenor • Springfields

ACORN Restaurant of the Year: Nailsworth Waterside Cafe


• Brambridge •Hereford

• LowerMorden • Nailsworth • Worcester

Kipling of the Year: Bicester


• Bicester • Cadbury • Sanders

4 March 2023 IndustryAwards
As the garden centregroup continues to grow,sodoes its annual awards, with a1920’s themed event this year being the biggest and brightest yet.GTN brings exclusivephoto coverage from the event.
Projected turnover into 2025 Oak Garden Centre of the Year.Grosvenor. Acorn Garden Centreofthe Year.Bambridge. Oak Restaurant of the Year.Cardiff Acorn Restaurant of the Year.Nailsworth Waterside Cafe. Kipling of the Year.Bicester

PastryChef of the Year: Paula CummingsSpringfields


• Donna Kerr &EmmaCliff –Derby

• Ellie Leathwood –Fryers

• Kinga Wachowska –Sanders

• Paula Cummings -Springfields

• Trixie Hutchings –Fermoys

Head Chef of the Year: Dom SteffanelliGrosvenor


• Adam Gellender –Brambridge

• Andrew Mellor –Chatsworth

• Andy Williams –Trelawney

• Dom Stefanelli –Grosvenor

Barista of the Year: Viegas FelisbertoBicester


• CelesteCrook –Redfields

• LauraThornley–Chatsworth

• Nick Margery =LowerMorden

• Viegas Felisberto –Bicester

Food Retailer of the Year: ACORN

Jo Nicholls –Cardiff,OAK Michelle Richardson -Trentham and Jane Glanville -Endsleigh


• Bridgemere • Cadbury • Cardiff

• East Bridgford • Endsleigh • Fermoys

• LowerMorden • Sanders • Trentham

Furniture&Outdoor LeisureAward:

ACORN Dennis Ridson -Trelawney, OAK Jacinta Butler -Derby


• 3Shires • Bridgemere • Chatsworth

• Derby • East Bridgford • Grosvenor

• Hereford • LowerMorden • Matloock

• Sanders

• St Peters

• Trelawney • Trentham

Christmas Award: ACORN Amy RobertsFryers,OAK Malcom Baines -Newbridge


• 3Shires

• Fryers

• Bridgemere

• Harlow

• Melbicks

• Derby

• Le Friquet

• Newbridge

• Fermoys

• LowerMorden

• Wilton

Wild Animal Award: ACORN Daniel Underhill -Nailsworth, OAKSophieDawson –Le Friquet


• Canterbury • Cardiff • Le Friquet • Nailsworth

• Rake • Trelawney

Growing Media, Features &Containers

Award: ACORN Philip Hayes-Trelawney, OAKAndyGontier –LeFriquet


• Fermoys • Harlow • Le Friquet • LowerMorden

• Nailsworth • St Peters • Trelawney

Seeds and Bulbs Award: ACORN Daniel UnderhillNailsworth, OAKDavid Roberts–Percy Throwers


• 3Shires • Canterbury • Derby • Evesham

• Nailsworth • PercyThrowers • Sanders

• Springfields • Trentham

Garden Careand Décor Award: ACORN Patrick Hurley-Harlow, OAKZoe Gillyett –StPeters


• Cadbury • Canterbury • Harlow • Le Friquet

• LowerMorden • Nailsworth • St Peters

• Trelawney • Weybridge

March 2023 5 IndustryAwards
PastryChef of the Year.Paula Cummings. Springfields Barista of the Year.Viegas Felisberto.Bicester HeadChef of theYear.Dom Steffanelli. Grosvenor Food Retailer of the Year.Oak. Michelle Richardson, Trentham and Jane Glanville, Endsleigh. Acorn. Jo Nicholls, Cardiff. Furniture&Outdoor LeisureAward Oak. Jacinta Butler,Derby.Acorn. Dennis Ridson, Trelawney.

Indoor Plants Award: ACORN Lisa Ceaser -

Weybridge, OAKTom Watkins -Cardiff


• Canterbury • Cardiff • CotonOrchard

• Fermoys • Matlock • PercyThrowers

• Tunbridge Wells • Weybridge

Hardy Plants

Award: ACORN DeeStuart

McDonald –Tunbridge Wells, OAKKevin

Flemming -Bridgemere


• Bridgemere • Cardiff • Harlow • LowerMorden

• Nailsworth • Newbridge • OrchardPark

• Rake • Tunbridge Wells

Seasonal Plants Award: ACORN Jonathan

Feasey-Harlow, OAKKyle Bartram -Bicester


• Bicester • Grosvenor • Harlow • LowerMorden

• Matlock • OrchardPark • Rake • Redfields

• Tunbridge Wells • Wilton • Worcester

TheFashion Award: ACORN Matt EvansCardiff,OAK LyndsaySmith -Brambridge


• 3Shires • Bicester • Brambridge • Cardiff

• Chatsworth • CotonOrchard • East Bridgford

• Endsleigh • Evesham • Grosvenor • Hereford

• LowerMorden • Melbicks • Newbridge

• Springfields • Trelawney

• Trentham • Weybridge • Worcester

Customer Engagement Award: ACORN

Canterbury, OAKCadbury


• 3Shires • Cadbury • Canterbury • LowerMorden

• Sanders • Trelawney

TheHomeAward:ACORN LauraRoss

–Coton Orchard, OAKVicki GisbourneEvesham


• CotonOrchard • Evesham • Fermoys

• Harlow • Redfields • Springfields

TheStock Management Award: Sanders


• East Bridgford • Grosvenor • Harlow • Sanders

6 March 2023 IndustryAwards
Christmas Award: Oak. Malcom Baines, Newbridge. Acorn. Amy Roberts, Fryers. Wild Animal Award. Oak Sophie Dawson, Le Friquet. Acorn. Daniel Underhill, Nailsworth. Seeds and Bulbs Award. Oak. DavidRoberts, Percy Throwers. Acorn. Daniel Underhill, Nailsworth. Garden Care&Décor Award. Oak. Zoe Gillyett, St Peters Hardy Plants Award: Oak. Kevin Flemming,Bridgemere. Acorn. Dee StuartMcDonald, Tunbridge Wells. Seasonal Plants Award. Oak. Kyle Bartram, Bicester.Acorn. Jonathan Feasey, Harlow Growing Media, Features &ContainersAward:Oak Andy Gontier,LeFriquet. Acorn. Philip Hayes, Trelawney.
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Products to stealthe show this year

Suppliers wereout in force at The Garden Press Event last month, to show and introduce their new products and ideas to members of the press. The event gives journalists ideas and inspiration to promote the 2023 gardening season on all media platforms. It’s agreat way for suppliers to get their products noticed.

Environmentally conscious products and ways of gardening remain keyfor today’s gardeners which wasevident at The Garden PressEvent in London earlier on this spring.This is the 18th year theevent has taken place, organised by the HTAand GIMA, bringing together journalists and photographers who contributetoall media outlets and platforms. Much of what theysee will end up in gardening magazines, vlogs, blogs and on social media sites providing fantastic exposureoffuturetrends directly to gardeners.

Wool Pots is the show’sfavourite Graham Hull from Wool Pots was delighted to receivethe Best NewProduct Award for his Wool Pots. Lookinglikea squareended sock, theyjoin the increasing number of wool products already in gardening Made without chemicals, the pots arealso biodegradable so can stay on the plant when it’sput into the ground or ornamental container.Theyare also agreat way to use wool which currently has little market value.

“Theyare also anatural barrier against slugs

and snails, retain moisturesothereis lesswatering and theyare azerowaste alternativetoplastic,”says Graham. Each pot measures roughly16cmx8cm and retail prices range from £7.99£49.99 forpacks of 10,20, 50 or £100 Although knitted at afactoryinEgypt, Graham is looking to bring manufacture to theUKand introduceother pot sizes and biodegradable tree guards. “They won’tlookpretty but theywilllast two years and then flop and drop.”

8 March 2023 The Garden PressEvent
Innovativebiodegradable pots takethe NewProduct Awardcrown

Melody makers

Bred in CambridgeshirebyKerley& Co,which introduced of the popular Tumbelina series of trailing petunia, comes the newMelody series of Nemesia.

In fivecolours, these versatile, easy-to-grow plants arenot only free floweringbut also delightfully scented and suited to container or border planting.

TimKerleywas apast recipient of TheColegraveSeabrook Foundation and in recognition of the training and supporthereceived, is donating it half the income from the Melody series. Melody Nemesias will be available for garden centresales this summer.

Working together for the love of nature

Blue Diamondand theNational Trust wonthe

Bob Maker Memorial Awardfor Best Stand Display created to highlight their newcollaboration. Acurated range of products from seeds through to bulbs, roses and trees, all inspired by National Trust gardens, will be sold through Blue Diamond Garden Centres from this spring

Blue Diamond’sAlanRoper says the idea was first muted in 2019 and he knewitwould be a good relationship because the National Trust is such an important partofthe UK

The range has been developed overseveral years because, says Alan: “Wedidn’twant it to turn intoabadge slapping exercise.”Plants are being propagated and grownatBlue Diamond’s

nursery at Bridgemere and at its Fryers Roses siteinKnutsford. Some, likethe Powis Castle collection of fiveroses and the perennial selection from borders including Nymans and Hidcote, arejoinedbymoreunusual choices being nurtured at the Trust’sPlant Conservation Centresuchasyoung trees propagated from the original Newton’sapple tree growing at Woolsthorpe Manor

In July anew rose ‘Mottisfont’ will be launched and in 2024 plants of the Ankerwyke Yew, wherethe Magna Carta wassigned,will be auctioned. “It’slikegoing intothe Natural HistoryMuseumand bringing things to life that people can put in their gardens,”says Alan. The National Trust will benefit with 10% of everything sold.


MelcourtIndustries, supplier of peat-free composts,celebrates its 40th anniversary thisyear.Aswell as receiving acake, it was one of thecompanies visitedbyrepresentativesfromthe House of LordsSpecial InquiryCommittee into horticulture. Lord Redesdale was visiting with BaronessWillisand Lord Carter to see forthemselves thebreadth and diversityofthe industry. “The Lordscommitteewillbelaunching an inquiryintothe futureof horticulturewithafocus on technology andclimateand we will be taking evidencefromthe industry.Speaking directly to many HTAmemberstoday wasreally helpful,”said Lord Redesdale.

Houseplants from Geb &Green

Houseplants from & Green

A new wholesale grower, Geb & Green, is now extensive choice of than 40 di erent peat-free houseplants. The Cambridgeshire company uses no virgin and is just 100% free Growing media made on site using green waste from the cut flower with fertiliser. Co-founder said: “There’s no reason now buy your and ship them over from Holland can do them

Anew wholesalegrower,Geb &Green,isnow offering garden centres an extensivechoiceof more than40differentpeat-freehouseplants. TheCambridgeshirecompanyusesnovirgin plastic, 100% recycled packaging andisjust 3% off being 100% peat free.Growingmedia is madeonsiteusinggreen wastefromthe large cutflower enterprise at nearby Bury Lane that’s sterilised and boosted with slowrelease fertiliser.Co-founder Will Clayton said:“There’snoreasonnow to buyyour houseplants andship themoverfromHolland when we candothem at the same price.” The Garden PressEvent March 2023 9

Houseplants aplenty

By growing on rooted cuttings from countries such as Sri Lanka and Costa Rica, Opperman Plants Ltd, Spalding offers garden centres an enviable range of morethan 400 skus. At the showitlaunched an online direct to consumer serviceunder the banner of Tropical Plants UK. Ranges include akit (£60) with everything youneed to grow variegated Monstera‘Thai Constellation’

Promise of introductions from David Austin Roses

Look outfor twonew roses being introduced by David Austin Roses this summer. The first at May’s RHS Chelsea FlowerShowand the second at the RHSHampton CourtGarden Festival in July.The companyiskeepingdetails of thevarieties under itshat forthe time being in readiness fora big reveal at theshows. As a taster,itsaysone combinesquietsophistication in colourand form with aprofusion of flowers, while theother is elegant witha striking colour and fragrance

Newwatering innovation hits the market

Garden centresthat ordered stockofthe intuitive QwickHose connectors introducedatthe endoflast summerwillsoonhavethem forsaleontheir shelves. JasonWilkinson said response had been positiveand that the companywas nowlooking to develop atwin wing connectorsogardeners canwater and runa sprinkler at the sametime.

With over 55 years experience, Fordingbridge arepassionate about helping Garden Centres transformtheir retail offerings to increase commercial potential and enhance the customer journey

We provide the in-house expertise and understanding to provide you with inspiring, durable, and proven solutions. We offer

10 March 2023 The Garden PressEvent
Fordingbridgeare industry leadersincanopyand walkway solutions to protect and better customer experiences across the Garden CentreIndustry; especiallyonthosescorching summer afternoons, and on blusterywinter days.
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Sustainable products for the garden and home

Wildlifehomes,specifically forbirds and insects plus birdbaths,havebeen the mostpopularintroductions from Earthy Sustainable’snew rangemade from agricultural waste.

Thedifferentflecks of colour created by combining resin withpowered bamboo, wheatchaff,straw,coffee and nuthusks, resultsinattractiveand sturdy pot covers,watering cans,vases andnow dogbowls. Thecompany is looking to extend the rangeofproducts and colourswith moreitems planned forlaunchatGlee

Adrian Bloom’spush to promoteplanting

With morethan sixdecades of gardening underhis belt and famedhorticultural heritage, Adrian Bloom is hopingtoget garden centresand their customers enthused aboutplantingand garden design. His new book, FoggyBottom –A Garden to Share,ishis personal tour around thegardengivingreadersthe chance to see howitchangesthrough theseasons. He is workingon acampaign with designed posters forgardencentres to display alongside thebookfromJuly. It will peak in September with FoggyBottom Week to giveplant sales and extra pushwhencentres areoften quiet

Refinements from Hozelock

With small garden spaces in mind, Hozelock is bringingthe Superhose City to the market. The 7.5m, hose that stretches to 15m, fitssnuggly intoa plastictrug so along with itsspraygun and connectors,itand canbestoredwith minimal fuss

This monthitisalsomaking available the kink-freeWonderhoze,a softwoven hose stretching to 25m. Other developments include itsoutdoor showerwitha base holding 8-litres of water which takes justtwo hoursto warmuptoacomfortable temperature, new softergrip nozzlesand rose adjustmentsand improvements to itssprinklers.

Trade ProductRange &Pricing for 2023

Whateveryourneeds are, we have the right products at the right price

With achoiceofover800 garden &DIY products, we offer the widestchoiceinthe industry, from light domestic to heavy duty commercial.

March 2023 11 The Garden PressEvent
Viewour Trade Catalogue here: TheWalsall Wheelbarrow Company STOCKING LEADING BRANDS Contactustobecomea stockist Visit: or call 01793333220 email:

Liquid feeds from Mr Fothergill’s

Anew range of seaweed-based organic liquid plant feed is nowavailable to stock from Mr Fothergill’s. In sevenspecialist formulations, the range stretches from astraightliquid seaweed to tailored feedsfor tubs andbaskets, roses, vegetables, lawns, tomatoes and auniversal allrounder for all areas in the garden.

RRP ranges from £6.49-£8.99and each bottle holds one litreofconcentrate. Dilution rates depend on the product and makeupbetween 165-litres and 500-litres. Mr Fothergill’shas been working on the range in partnership with Salt of the Earth based in Shropshire.

Southern Trident’snew peat-free solutions

Finding amix to successfullygrowhealthy ericaceous plants has been achallenge. Now, using ablend of pine bark and coir,Southern Trident hasformulatedand introduced its Ericaceous Compost which hasanaturally

Small but mighty Foranyone withlimited time or justwanting to spruceupa smallareaofhard standing or fabric, Azpectshas come up with mini bottles of itsprofessional standardcleaners.With fourtochoosefrom, dependingonthe job in hand,the handy-sized bottles make3-litresofcleaner which caneasily be applied through a rose on awatering can. An easy-to-pickupoption, theyretail at £4.99and willbe availablethissummer.

lowerpH. This is oneoffour new, bagged carbon neutral productstojointhe line-up which includesacoir-based Fruit &Vegetable Compost,afriable blend of coir,green compost, bark, and recycled wood-fibrewith plentyofnutrients.

The other twointroductions areBark Chips –amix of spruce andpink bark, and Farmyard Manure, ablend of cow waste mixed with recycled wood fibre

These bagged products arejoinedbyanallnewindoor compost range for 2023 comprising

aHouseplant, Cactus, Citrus and Orchid Compost sold under the Coco &Coir brand of compressed coir.Each boxcontains a3-litrecoir block which when watered, expands to 9-litres. The Houseplant Compost comes with asixmonth feed, the Cactus Compost is formulated to includegraveltoimprove drainage, the Citrus Compost has aspecial blend of nutrients while the Orchid Compost uses coir husk chip to createthe open structuredesired by the orchid roots. An added bonus of coir compost is that it’slesslikely to attract the sciarid fly

12 March 2023 The Garden PressEvent

Whypeat-free, why now, why Bathgate?

Don’t wait for the 2024 deadline to phase out peat-based products in your garden centre. Commit to peat free now and the planet and your customers will thank you for it.

Peat, forsolongthe gardener’s friend, has become horticulture’s public enemy number one in the fight to halt climatechange. Peat bogs are such an important carbon store, holding morethan all other vegetation types in the world combined. When peat is removedand processed it releases ahuge volume of carbon dioxide intothe atmosphere, contributing to thegreenhouseeffect. When it remains undisturbed, the carbon created from plants that grow and decompose on the peat bogs is stored indefinitely.So, it’s easy to see why we need to change our horticulturehabits.

No newcomer to peat-free composts, Bathgatehavespent the last 10 years developing their products and trialling different mixes of ingredients to find the perfect blend. Their first peat free wasintroduced in 2013 with the flagshipChampions Blendlaunched to high acclaim in spring 2018.Throughout this time, extensivetrials were run with many nurseries, hobbygrowers and bloggers responding to their feedback to attain great results.

“Weare currentlydeveloping moreofour peatfree range with apriority that our products will provide the results gardeners areused to getting with peat. Our focus is to provide the best quality and value at keyprice-points, ensuring retailers will always havehappycustomers returning for more,” says Colin Sanders, BathgateCommercial Director In fact, many users havefound their products

exceed peat in theirperformance. Commercial growerMichael, from Holland Horticulture, trialled their composts last year with great success.“Having used Bathgateand Champions Blend Peat-Free Composts in my greenhouse, I can confidentlysay the resultswerespectacular The quality of my fruit and vegetables was some of the best I’ve growntodate. Ialso feel much better in myself for using moresustainable products and minimising my impact on the environment,”heenthused.

It’snolongeraholy grail to findapeatfree compost that delivers great results, but Bathgatesays it has been alongcrusadetofind that perfect blend. BBC Radio 2’sallotment guru TerryWalton, has been on the journey with them. “I havesearched long and hardto find apeat-free compost that wouldchallenge the results Ihad with apeat-based blend. When Iused Champion Blend Peat-Free Compost, I wasfinally gettingthe resultsI always had with germination and early plant growth. Ican now go entirely peat free and still havethe best results on my allotment,”hesays.

Is therea downside? Well, this eco-friendly option comes at aprice.The rawingredients andproduction costs aresignificantlyhigher for peat free than peat and youdefinitely get what youpay for.Cheaper peat-free composts will havehad to compromise somewhereand are farmorelikely to endinpoor resultsand unhappygardeners. The government ban however, does mean consumers will haveto pay moreaspeat alternatives won’tbeavailable Thankfully the very natureofthe gardening demographic suggests consumers will be open to tradeupfor the sakeofthe environment. So,it’stime to dig alittle deeper and find out moreabout whyBathgateproducts are sustainable, effectiveand provide agreat value solution to retailers, nurseries andconsumers

14 March 2023 Promotion
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Bringing magic to garden centres

Kicking off the springseason with ahost of new products to delight and brighten up the home andgarden,isKent-basedspecialist distributor Fountasia. Afamily run company renowned as thefirsttobring newdecorativedesigns to the market, it has recentlystrengthened its position in the giftand gardening sector with the introduction of selectranges of model kits and toys. It already has itseye on new ideas for 2024 and beyond.

Brand Manager,Michael Weedon, leads the business with his twoelder sons Kris and Nik. They arethe thirdgeneration to join thecompany and working with newNational Sales Managers and a professional head office Sales and Service Team, havebuilt customer relations and strengthened Fountasia’sservice

Spring Fair,inFebruary, provided the ideal opportunity to introducethe newmagicalGonkGallerywith 14 Gonk families, each with individualnames and characteristics. Fountasiagonks derive from Nordic Christmas folklore to bring joyand good humour to Christmas décor Today with this newrange, gonksnow haveaplaceinany home all year round.

Forthe garden, Fountasia’sFairy Kingdomfromthe World of MakeBelieve continuestobeabest seller,along with ladybird and bee wallart andperfectly tuned Nature’sMelodywindchimes. Theyare joinedthisyearwith PotSticks and hanging garden Luvlies –characters on umbrella shapedbirdfeeders or on a swing to bring fun,movement andcolour to thegarden in everyseason

Robotime,auniqueand diverse collection of three-dimensional model kits, range from thosesuitable from the age of five-years to laser cut, scale models that appeal to aficionado model makers.

Miniatureinteriors include the popular Cathy’sFlowerHouse;Sam’sStudy; Simon’sCoffee Shop andnumerous interior scenes and BookNooks to bring bookshelves to life. Mechanical models range from steam locomotives to luminousglobeswith cars, boats, planes and the amazing Marble Parkour.There arepopular Classic models with iconic scenes of the Eiffel Tower, London Bridge and fairground rides. Primarymodels offer simple and inexpensive models to encourage youngchildren. All models areenvironmentally friendly,assembled mainly without glue, and supplied with easy-to-followinstructions with everything required in the box.

UDEASwoodenand bambootoysand gamesare designed to encourageand nurturethe natural creativity andsocial development of each child. Here you will find BoxedSetsfor early learning and play,Transformable Construction Vehicles, BalanceBikes,U-Fun toysand first touchtoysfor toddlers.

16 March 2023 Promotion
NewPot Sticks. Spring/Summer Gonks. World of MakeBelieve
With the thirdgeneration on board, anew sales team and ahost of new products, Fountasia is in a great place to lead the home and garden décor market with creative and innovative new ranges.
s, Michael with y Sandbanks, a new summer gonk.
March 2023 17 Promotion
Fountasia team.
Theteam at Fountasia would be delighted to hear from anyone wishing to knowmore about its products. Email: Tel: 01303873311
Robotime Book Nook Udeas Bamboo and Wooden Toys. Robotime Minatures.

Increasingpea capacity

g pea ee

olin Stephens has certainlyhit theground running in hisnew appointmentasManaging Director of Evergreen Garden Care. He’sjoined thecompany at an exciting time following the announcement of anew partnership with green compost manufacturer SED Services. This partnership will help Evergreen drasticallyincrease itssupply of peat-free growing media to thegardencentresector.

Ccertai y hit e ground runni his new appointment as Managing or s joined the company an announcement a new Services.

will drastically increase its supply media to the garden centre sector

“Fromapartnership perspectiveitcouldn’tbemore powerful,”says Colin. “Wehavea long-term agreementwhich opens up a50% increase in havereal intentiontogrowa drive is to makeasmuch of in the long term. Getting ou free categoryisa number

“From a partnership perspective it couldn’t be more powerful,” says Colin. “We have a agreement which a 50% our capability in an area where we have real intention to grow and support the industry. Our big to make as much of our portfolio as natural as possible in the term. out of peat and developing the peatcategory is a one priority.”

partnership has come from the in autumn of 2022, of The Greener Garden Company, the UK retail arm of Bord na Móna. It’s growing media were Richmoor in Somerset and Kirkby in Merseyside, both owned and run by SED Services. to new Evergreen/SED partnership the Kirkby site is up and running again, but in the short term, production in

The background of this closure, in the autumnof2 Company,the UK retail arm production sites in the UK KirkbyinMerseyside, botho Thanks to the newEvergre is up and running again, but Somerset is on hold.

readiness for the surge in spring sales, Colin says: “It’s all guns blazing at site at the moment. We will use this season understand and make sure we get the right products to meet the season with way more comfort than we probably have ever had ability to do before. I think we’ll assess over the next six or even 12 months how best to

In readinessfor thesurge gunsblazing at the Kirkby season to really understand productstomeet theseas probablyhaveeverhad the assessoverthe next three, use the Somerset site.”

now visited Kirkby site and describes it as a ‘very impressive operation producing the highest quality green compost’. But seeing growing media being produced is very di to it and getting good results in the garden. Bad experiences in the past have put people off, but Colin believes this should a thing of the past. “The ingredients we’re putting into peat free is rigorously challenged and tested and we’ve got a team at the R&D facility which is the best in the business. Nothing gets past them without proper screening and an process.” He goes on to say this should then give its customers and consumers the confidence that anything going in the brand starts with rigour and structure.

Colin has nowvisited the ‘veryimpressiveoperation compost’.But seeinggrowing different to using it andgettinggoodresultsinthe garden. Bad experiencesinthe past hav thisshould be athing of the intopeatfreeisrigorously ateam at the Levington R& business.Nothing getspast an approval process.”Heg customers andconsumers in the brand starts with rigo

18 March 2023 adenews.c Interview
Through its new partnership with SED Services, has accelerated its journey towards supplying Colin Stephens, Evergreen’s new Managing
its new with SED Services, Ever een Garden Care accelerated its journey towards 100% peat-free media.
Colin new Director, tells us more.
lin Stephens has taken up the mantle of MD for Evergre Garden Car

Striving for quality

Beforecoming intothe world of horticulture, Colin worked in the food industrysohas clarity on the value of quality

“Our ambition is to really stretch the boundaries of the quality of peat free. We need to knowwe’re bringing the best and newest ingredients that deliver the best products for all aspects of gardening.And we won’tstop striving.Wewill always challenge ourselves to findbetter materials and abetterblend with the end consumer and their usage in mind.”

On this journey to eliminatepeat, Colin knows there arecertainmilestones that needtobereached. Aftergettingthe right rawmaterials andblends, thencomes the challenge of getting themessage to gardeners.“We’vegot to continuetoreally educate consumers and garden centres on howtouse peat-freecompost.Theyneed to knowwhich onestobuy andwhy,and we also want to dispel some of the myths that maywell be floatingaroundabout peat free,”he explains. WithDavidDomoneyasbrand ambassador,Colin is confidentthis canbeachieved.

There is also the question of pricing which will inevitably be higher than bags of peat-based growing media because

instead of onemain ingredient, peat-free mixescan be ablend of up to seveningredients.

Colin explains:“The interesting thing about the price mechanism is there’s always going to be avalue proposition, which clearly won’tbeasgood or deliver the same resultsfor any length of time, versus the premium brands. Our job is to makesurewe can offer all things to all men, but clearly we want to sell as much of the premium, highest quality grade that we can,ascheaply as we can. Given the kind of capability we nowhave, we canoffer all aspects, whether it’savalueproposition or fora more premium specific usage occasion.”Headdsit’sa bit likethe tonic in agin andtonic. “If you’re going to enjoyyourself make sureyou use therightbasics,”hesays adding that its worthspending alittle bit of extramoney on the compost to makethe planthappier. He believesthe more people recognise the benefits, the moretheywillsee thejustifications of spending another£1.00-£1.50 on abag of compost.

Colin hascertainly hadabusy first fewmonths with Evergreen Garden Carebut has found the industrytobeone of thefriendliest he hasworked in. “The welcome, the friendliness, the openness, the care, thepassion that comes across, especially in the garden centreworld, is likenothing I’ve ever experienced before. Seeing the emotion andprideofafamily businesswinning an award[at the GCAConference] and the camaraderie is very rare…and I’ve neverseenanindustrythat’squite as muchfun”.

March 2023 19
From apartnership perspective it couldn’t be more powerful
TheKirkbysiteis already in operation and manufacturing peat-free growing media forEvergreen Garden Care.

Nurturing future display talent

The first Glee Talent Storeworkshop was the steppingstone to identifytwo teams vying for afantastic opportunitytocreate imaginative displays to greet visitors at Glee in June.

Atanexciting one-day crash-course in visual merchandising and display,24team members from 12 garden centres came together to learn about the principles of display,futuretrends and colours. With guidancefromDeborah Flowerday,VisualMerchandising Consultant, theylater put intopracticewhat theyhad learnt by creating displays on the shop floor of Millbrook Garden Centre, Gravesend, Kent, which hosted the event.

The workshop wasthe first part of the Glee Talent Store programme, organised by Glee with supportfromthe GCA and gardening influencer Michael Perry(Mr Plant Geek). Its aim is for garden centres to enter staff theyhaveidentified showing promising display skills.

In the second partofthe programme, 12 people (two teams of six) will be chosen (tobeannounced during April) to each build apop-up display in the NEC’satriu

to each build a pop-up in the NEC’s atrium at Glee Talent Store
Gar ollages. A Above:Deborah createsadisplaybased on ‘pyramid dressing’. den Centre with their mood board c Above: Deborah creates a display based on
20 March 2023
Deborah Flowerday–mentor forthe Glee Talent Store.

the entranceofGlee. With afocus on houseplants or outdoor plants the teams will maximise the techniques learnt for linked sales and crossmerchandising

she now sees

more enticing

Deborah Flowerday is thementor for thenew initiativeand offered her extensive insightsintothe principles of display,such as themes, shapesand colours.She also offered tips on howtouse spaceto makecreative displays thatnot only excite customers but also inspire themtobuy the products on show “Displays communicateyour brand identity and are the cheapest form of advertising,”she says andadds shenow sees garden centres as having moreenticing and exciting displays than highstreet stores.

Michael Perryoffered 19 plant-based promotion and display ideas while Wendy Lowe from TrendBible discussed the mechanics about trend forecasting and the themes and colours for spring/summer 2024

“Weare really pleased we had52entries which we had to whittle down to 24,” says MatthewMein, Event Director at Glee. “The keytothe Glee Talent Storeis identifying and nurturing those in the early partof their garden centrecareer and it’spleasing to have people with such avariety of backgrounds and working in different departments from planteria to gifts and afarm shop.”
Divided into fiveteams, each created a display on theshopfloor
March 20
Below:ClaireBaker and Nathan EvansfromBents Garden &Home makemood-boardcollages on the themes presented by Deborah. “The dayisreally informative, and ideas arecoming thick and fast Ilook forwardtosharing them with the team,”saysNathan. Claire adds: “Thereislots learn about the newtrends that arecoming.” The 2023 Glee Talent Store team.

The voice of the outdoor living industry

Promoting, protecting and developing luxury outdoor living brands

Since1967, theLeisure& Outdoor FurnitureAssociation or LOFA has been theleading authorityonoutdoorliving Representing over70renowned brands, this organisation safeguards and encourages an industryestimatedtobeworth astaggering£1.92 billion in GreatBritainalone. As thevoiceofthe outdoor livingindustryfor almost 55 years now, LOFA is dedicated to benefittingits members and driving growth within theirsectorintothe future.


At thestart, fiveprominent outdoor leisure manufacturers pooled their collective resourcestoformanorganisation committed to supporting and promoting the commercial trading and industrial interests of its members. With aunified vision rooted in collaboration and knowledge sharing,thislong-standing network has created avibrant community that continues to promoteits members today

What we do

With aportfolio of prestigious luxuryoutdoor living brands, LOFA is theUK’sdefinitivebusinessassociation for industryexpertise and influence. Representing nine different sectors, it stands apartasthe leader in its field. Member brands havecome together to provide discerning outdoor living consumers with aunified selection of quality products and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

LOFA is proud to safeguard, foster and expand the outdoor living sector’s reputation acrossthe UK.Our mission involves championing exceptional quality products that lead in terms of safety and innovation, while promoting collaboration between industry members through building networks as well as providing invaluable resourcesonknowledge and expertise.

Our membership comprises morethan 70 of the finest brands acrossabroad range of sectors: from Garden Furnitureand Shading,Outdoor Living Accessories and Barbecues, Garden Decoration and Garden LeisureBuildings, Outdoor Heating and Outdoor Health through to Outdoor Entertainment.

22 March 2023 LOFA


As an organisation, we arepassionateabout bringing our members together to create astrong and connected community.Our council comes together regularlyto collaborateontacklingcommon challenges using both major events and smaller gatherings which strengthen the brands within the industry’secosystem. Through these occasions, we encourage collaboration among like-minded companies as well as fostering shared best practices.

Knowledge, insight and expertise

The outdoorleisureindustry is amajor jobcreator,and ourmembers arededicated to bolsteringtheir brandsand people with knowledge, insight,and expertise. We stay informed on all matters relatedtobusinessand industry throughour partnerships withthe CBI(Confederation of BritishIndustry), BSI (British Standards Institution) and OPSS (Office forProduct Safetyand Standards).

OurSOLEX exhibition provides the perfectyearly platform for showcasing products while also connecting businessownersinthissector. LOFA actively supportsits membersbyprovidingup-to-date information on trade developments through Retail Reports as well as an annual

Makeyour business stand out and join the UK’s most respected outdoor leisure association.

review- givingthemaccess to confidential datasothey canreviewhow their businessesmeasureupagainst others within thesame field

At LOFA,weare committed to upholding the highest standards of sustainability and safety.Our partnershipwithPlanetMark equipsbusinesses with themeasurabletools neededtoreduce their carbon footprints whileour comprehensive LOFA Assured initiativeguarantees all cushions sold by its members complyfullywithGovernment Fire Safety Regulations. Members enjoya wide range of events as well as access to vitallearningopportunities focused on industry-specific requirementsthroughbespoke training sessions. In addition, they canalsocount on strong networks acrossthe UK plusexcellent contacts in gardenretailcentres for expansive reach and collaborationpotential! LOFA

LOFA membersinclude:

4Season Outdoor UK, AMir Ltd, Alexander Rose, AlfrescoChef, Ascalon Designs, BBq Gourmet, Bramblecrest, Beefeater Europe, Broilking,Buschbeck Ltd, CadacUK, Camping Gaz, Celtic Spa, Charbroil, Charles Taylor,Culcita, Pit Boss, Daro, Desser,Devine Distribution, The Crop Candle Company,Europa Leisure, Extreme Lounging,Fallen Fruits, Firepits UK, Firmans Direct, Gardeco, Garden FurnitureGlobal, Glencrest Seatex, Glendale Garden &Leisure, Grakka, Hahn Plastics, Garden Impressions, Hartman UK, Hex Living,Innovators International, Instashade, Kaemingk, Kamado Joe, Kettle Interiors, Kettler,Landmann, LeisurePlan, Leisuregrow,Lifestyle Appliances, Lifestyle Garden, MazeRattan, MercerLeisure, Minster Stylish Living,Pagoda, Norfolk Leisure, Outback International, Pacific Lifestyle, Premier Decorations, Primo Grill, ProQBarbecues &Smokers, Quest LeisureProducts, RK Wholesale,Rotospa, JonartDesign, ShowpeiceDesign, Southsea Deckchairs, Summit International, Supremo,The Old Basket Supply,Tom Chambers, Traeger, Tramontina, Tripod Home, Universal Innovations, Weber,Woodlodge, and Zest 4Leisure.

March 2023 23
Outdoor Health, Outdoor Entertainment 36 LOFA assuredmembers
Industrycharity partners Thrive, Perennial, Greenfingers
74 Members 17 Honoraryand AssociateMembers 9 Sectors. Garden Furniture, Shading,Outdoor Living Accessories, Barbecues, Garden Decoration, Garden LeisureBuildings, Outdoor Heating,

Stepping stones to success

Altico Garden Products made its debut appearance at Glee last year and with new products and an eye on acquisitions, Director Antony Harker has success in his sights.

Sincethe age of 16,Antony Harker has worked in the sector he lovesthe most –the garden centre industry. His experiencehas brought him much success.The sale of his company Kelkay wasthe catalyst for him and his family to set up his latest acquisition, AlticoGardenProducts, which within just twoyears should haveits first year of profit. This financial stability has also enabled him to quietly invest in garden centre sites enabling the next generation of family businesses to continue to offer agreat choiceofproducts for the nation’sgardeners.

The basis of the newaggregate businessAltico, has its foundations in the purchase of Stone and Garden Ltdin May 2021,with excellent transportlinks near the M18.“It wasatough year last year.Wepicked up alot of work but it’srocking and rolling now,”says Antony

Heavyinvestments havebeen made in machineryand bagging lines because, says Antony: “It’sgot to be 100%. We’ve got the latest, fastest automated lines of anybody in the country and there’smoretocome which we’ll be ready to shareatGlee”

Stockand transporthavealsobeen addressed with Antony describing higher than average stock levels having been put in placedeliberately to ‘protect the customer’. “We’ve bought high risk products such as whitepebbles and cobbles from Europe in abundancetoensurewedon’t shortanybody.The reality is our stock holding to sales ratio is completely out of sync, but the benefit of running an independent businessisthat youcan remain agile -it’s run by people that understand the seasonality demands of the Garden Centre sector’sowecan takeeducated risks to grow thebusinessand supportour customer base” he says.

Transportplanners can pull on thousands of lorries as and when needed to offer the flexibility of servicethat customers need. “If acustomer orders on aMonday or a

Tuesday,it’saguarantee theywill haveitbyFriday.There’s alow minimumorder still which is good and bad. It’sa little bit morecostly for us, but allows us to pair orders to get them out faster to the customer,” says Antony


As with all companies, Alticoislooking to its plastic use and working to improve itsenvironmental credentials. Currently packaging used for bagged product is created using 30% recycled materials and is fully recyclable (as long as bags arewashed out by the customer beforehand).

“It’sadifficult one,”explains Antony.“It’snot likecompost whereyou don’thavetosee the product, with aggregate youhavetosee it through awindow, so plastic has to be as clear youcan possibly get but it also has to be strong and recycled.”Hegoesontoexplain that the technology around the amount of recycled material used in their packaging is changing quickly.“We need to takethe lead and push this innovation as much as we can,”headds. When it comes to recycling the bags, Antony says the ideal solution wouldbetofind acollaborative, industrywide approach wheregarden centrescould offer asimple collection service.

Plasticand packagingisnow topofthe agenda, especially for newproducts. Forexample,Altico launcheda range of 5water features at Gleelast year made from 50%recycled materialsand with 100% recyclable packaging.“This was abit of arisk forusasitwas acompletelynew market concept,” saysSarah Winn, MarketingDirector.“We’ve introducedspecialist cardboardengineered innerpackaging to completely remove polyfoam, whichprovides a protective layer forthe product to travel safely.All the indicationsare thatthis is workingwell so far and therecycledproduct has gone down well withcustomers too.”

Interview 24 March 2023
March 2023 25 Interview
AntonyHarker with partofAltico’s extensiverange on offeratDowntown Garden Centre.

Instorepromotion and newproducts

Alticoused Glee in 2022 to introduceitself to the trade by displaying product and point-of-sale material which focus on inspiration and helping retailers createthe attractive displays instore. “Weare giving them the vision of howto sell it as an outdoor living product rather than alandscape product and areasking them to consider thinking about whereitsits in the storeenvironment,”says Sarah.

The Earth &Green collection of professional grits and sands plus the Stone Merchant, anew range of paving, were also introduced at Glee and other newlines are planned. Leaning on his experience, Antony approaches newideas with an ‘adventurous controlled risk-taking attitude’. “I also encourage my team to do this because youcan’tbesafe all the time otherwise yougonowhere.” Products aimed at customers who need paving and aggregates to completea small or weekend project are those currently being targeted.

Alticohas another acquisition in the pipeline that, along with its existing range of waterfeatures, edging, stepping stones, aggregates and paving,isanatural

development further enhancing its position in this market sector.“Idon’twant to be,and nevertried to be,amaster of all categories. You’ve got to be very good at the ones you’re doing –thatgives youthe strength,”says Antony

Sarah adds: “We’ve done so much in such ashortspace of time, starting with aggregates, moving intopaving and landscape products and water features. What we’revery conscious of is not overloading the customer and the market by beingagile. We aregoing to be growing in every single categoryand launch newproduct that sits naturally adjacent to the categories we’realready in.”

Why garden centres will succeed

Antony’s love of garden centres is clear andhebelieves theyneedtocontinuetobringtheir ownindividualitytothe party.Theystand apartfromother retailers selling decorate aggregate because they arenot just selling abag of stone, theyare sellingsolutions,growth andtempting customers to buyother relatedproducts.Hesays their highlevels of serviceare adifferentiator, along with the people andsites providing apleasurable shopping experience.“They’vejust got to keep doing what they’redoingbecause what they’re doing is working.”

Investing in garden centres

As well as creating newbusinesses,Antonyalsoinvestsin independent gardencentres throughAltiaEstates.“I’ve got absoluteconfidencebecause gardencentres arealways very goodatchanging,developing,evolving and adapting.” Centres Antony particularlylikes to back arethosewhich arefamily run. Forexample, if the owners want to retirebut the sons and daughters don’thavethe capital to continue to business,Antonycan step in. They canthen rent the centre from Antony allowing them to continue thebusiness in thefamilyname. Otherexamples aresiblings buying each other outand garden centreswanting to buy othersites.By putting his capital to work either short or long-term, Antony caninvestinthesebusinessesallowing thefamilies to rent payhim backiftheywish. He doesn’t get involved in any -to-day businessand is very much asilent supporter. yinvestment always goes to operatorsthat understand [the business]. It’sthe experienceofthe operatorsand ir passion –mypound alwaysgoestobacktopeople that ndoit. I’mthere forreinforcement, as amentor anda backstopfor the businessand theteam.”Headdshe’sabit eabank, with alot less complications, butonly forgarden ntres,with lawyers andlegalagreementsinplace,and crucially, thebenefitofcompletelyunderstanding garden centrebusinesses

can invest in these businesses allowing the families pay him back if they wish. He business and is much a silent supporter y investment operators that it It’s the experience of the operators and ir passion – my pound always goes to back to people can do it. I’m there for reinforcement, a mentor and a backstop for business and the team.” He adds he’s a bit

On topoffinancial incentives,the investments also enableAntony to keep on topoftrends andshifts in buyingbehaviours,which keepshim tuned in to the market from aproduct supply perspectiveand helps to steer thefuturedirection of Altico.

26 March 2023 Interview
You’ve got to be very good at the categories you’re doing– that gives youthe strength
ch 20
Beyond aggregates, Alticonow supplies paving and water features.


Hygeia expands it’s100% organic, plant-based ‘Nature Safe’ brand with arange of seaweed based indoor and outdoor plant feeds.

NatureSafe, launched in 2019, is arange of natural, organic and sustainable garden careproducts, including lawn careand liquid plant feeds made from acombination of seaweed and plant-based nutrients. In 2022 NatureSafe expanded their range into the natural pest repellants category with their popular Slug and Snail barrier and seaweed based Plant Pest Defence.

Now in 2023, NatureSafe are launching their new indoor plant feed range to meet the demand for natural options for indoor plants, or rather the houseplant enthusiast. The newly launched NatureSafe indoor plant feed range includes two products, for all your indoor plant careneeds:

NatureSafe Indoor Plant Food 250ml


NatureSafe Orchid Feed 250ml £7

The NatureSafe Indoor range is 100% Organic and plant based. It is made from acombination of seaweed and plantbased nutrients. It is easy to use, simply add one pump followed by water to your indoor plants for healthy,vibrant and flowering plants. Seaweed is particularly great for houseplants, giving your plants

it’sstress busting properties helping it better handle periods of under and over watering as well as changing indoor temperatures.

This year NatureSafe arealso introducing three new products to their impressive outdoor plant feed line up, these include:

NatureSafe Rose &Shrub Feed 2KG


NatureSafe Fruit &Veg Feed 2KG £7

NatureSafe Seaweed Enriched Feed 2KG £7

Seaweed is one of the most prominent ingredients featured across the Nature Safe range. Hand-harvested on the

Connemara shoreline in Galway,which ensuresthereiscomplete regrowth every 3years,making it the most sustainable option for NatureSafe, using natureto nurturenature, enriching the soil and the plants that we grow and eat with seaweed’snatural micronutrients. The seaweed is also cold pressed, giving aricher morenutrient dense seaweed extract without the use of heat extraction or added chemicals. All products in the NatureSafe range areplant-based and organic, making them completely safe for children, pets, pollinators and wildlife.

Visit to find out more.’
Mark Evans: UK Country Manager07586 816 843 –

Keeping plants in the headlines

Trade and consumer shows aregreat places to see new introductions, keep ahead of trends and collect stories to boost coverage of indoor and outdoor plants in newsletters and on social media.

Everyone lovesanawardand that even extendstothose that breed and sell plants. As the 2023 show season has already kicked off with IPM Essen in Germany,weare beginning to get afeelofthe winning plants that garden centrecustomers will be reading aboutand looking to buy. Promoting those plants on social media and in the plantaria can keep things fresh and up-todate, and it’sevenbetter if youcan be ahead of the game by getting asteer on what’s likely to pique customer interest.

Three winnersfromGermany

Often what appeals to gardeners on the Continent might not quitehit themark with UK customers. But interest in three winners at January’sIPM Essen is likely to crossthe Channel.

Belowleft: Philodendron ‘Pink Bikini’ continues the trend forvariegated plants adding pink and redtothe colour palette. It’sthick redstems contrast with green and whitevariegated foliage made even more vibrant by reddish pink veins. ‘Pink Bikini’ wasthe Novelty Green Houseplant winner

Belowright: Withexceptionally dark green, almost black glossy foliage and deep red flowers, dramatic Anthurium ‘Delicata’ shows great promise adding richness to displaysall year round especially at Christmas and Valentine’sDay.‘Delicata’ wonthe Novelty Flowering Houseplant award

Left:The Novelty Woody Plant winner wasfield maple ‘Street Pillar’with agreat storytotell. Anarrow,uprighttreewith an attractive-shaped crown, it needs little or no pruning.Ataheightof5mits spread is just 2m so agreat choicefor small gardens. As its name suggests, it’salso perfect as astreet tree because field maples areparticularly effectiveatabsorbing CO2and reducing air pollution. Easy to grow,tolerant of shade and the added bonus of yellowautumn colour, makes it agreat option forlimited private and busy public spaces.

r Seabrook

PeterSeabrook Award

If you are heading for BBC Gar Live at NE in June, then make a beeline for o Potting Bench’, a debut feature devoted to varieties introduced at Peter Seabrook Award for Best New Plant

If youare headingfor BBC Gardener’s World Liveat the NEC, Birmingham in June, then makea beelinefor ‘Hot off the Potting Bench’, adebut featuredevoted to varieties being introduced at the show.

Each introduction will also be competing for the new PeterSeabrookAwardfor Best NewPlant organised by TheColegraveSeabrook Foundation.Entries already confirmed arePeter’s Persica, asingle yellow climbing rose bred by Warner’s Roses, and four new trailing PetuniaSurfinia. Expect also to see apair of sweet cherries, atrio of tomatoes and the first double flowering Mandeville, Sundaville Double Blush Pink, excellent for making asummer statement especially when growninadecorativecontainer.Plants will be judged by apanel of experts but visitors can also cast a vote in theVisitors Choiceaward. If youdogo, whynot let your customers knowwhat youvoted for and see if it’sthe overall winner?

Planteria 28 March 2023
Sundaville Double Blush Pink Peterwith his yellowclimbing rose. Black Moon, acurious newvariety of tomato.
TheUK’s National PetIndustry Event TELFORD INTERNATIONAL CENTRE 1-2 O t b pr To register fo FREE entry www.patshow Where the pet industry meet to do business Find hundreds of plants, products, services &technology for your business FREE entry,parking& catalogue for all in the garden sector Tel: +44 (0) 1477 571392 |Email: | Sept 5-6 2023 Sept 5-6 2023 Media partner

Spotlight shines on horticulture

Alan Down, HTAPresident

Inspiteofanexceptionally drymonth, February turned out better than expected for the garden trade.

However, at the time of writing,thereare some real concerns that garden centrestocks arelow and that, if warm weather arrives suddenly,then growers and suppliers may find restocking to meet demand achallenge.

Significant plant losses havebeen also reportedthroughout the south of England in gardens and on planteria with hydrangea, pittosporum and hebe particularly badly affected. Ican personally vouch for that with some plants in my garden severely damaged by the cold at the end of last year.This was preceded by aspell of very warm weather and plants were not sufficiently ‘hardened off’ for such lowtemperatures.

The landscape sector still appears to be forging ahead although Ihear theremay be some signs of fewernew leads. Letushope that is only ablip.Bythe time youhaveread this, I’msureIwill knowmoreas, for the first time, Iwill haveattended the Association of Professional Landscape Awards Ceremony.The

of trade will no doubt be one of the topics at the bar which I’mtold (warned!) can be averylively,but I’malso looking forward to seeing breath-taking demonstrations of top-quality garden design and build.

Our team at the HTAcontinues to engage with government at the highest level. IThis month our Chairman James Barnes, along with the RHS and the NFU,met with the House of LordsHorticultural Sector Committee to submit evidencesuch as the value of the sector,its challenges, extent and quality of government supportand opportunities and risks of post-Brexit trade. We were also delighted when severalmembers of this newcommittee visited our Garden PressEvent in February. Surprisingly no similar governmental committee has looked in such depth at our industrybefore and we arehopeful the spotlight on our sector will bring positivebenefitsinthe future. They spent time visiting and talking to some of the exhibitors to discover, first hand, the most important challenges and opportunities facing our sectors and in the future. The event, held jointly with the GIMA, wasagain extremely well attended. With over400 members of the pressinattendancethere wasareal buzzabout it. If youhaveanew product, plant, serviceor amessage youwant to get acrosstoyour customers then this is the event to be at. Next year’s Garden PressEvent is already booked for BusinessDesign CentreinIslington so get 20 Februaryinyour diary.

The HTAevents team is nowfocussed on plans for the HTANational Plant Showwhich is, of course, held at Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, Warwickshireon2021 June. Ihope to see many of youthere.

I’ve signed up for Perennial’sCharity Firewalk in the autumn. Am Imad? Well maybe alittle but Ihavedone it before. Perennial tells me it is receiving an increased demand for supportfromour colleagues in the garden industrysowe need to rally round. Given the choiceofrunning amarathon or walk on hot coals it’sano-brainer for me. Idon’thave the time for all that training to run. I’ve found that friends would rather sponsor than volunteer themselves to firewalk. I’mhoping youmight consider sponsoring me too!

Although all our sectors areconcerned about the current economic climateand consumer confidencebeing at an alltime low, Idodetect an air of quiet confidence. Given fair weather,spring of 2023 might turn out to be agood one.

Haveagreat spring

TheHorticultural Trades Association is the UK industry’sleading membership organisation and welcomes all sectorsofenvironmental horticulture. To learn or email:

we arehopeful the spotlight shone on our sector will bring positive benefits in the future
Find out more
At theGardenPress Event we were delighted to welcome around 400 membersofthe press and agroup from TheHouse of Lords. Andy Chalmers,Melcourt’sManaging Director,greetsBaroness Willis and talks her through the company’s range of peat-free growing media.

Brings lifeto your garden

Formoreinformation on Vitavia or Janssens greenhouses, visit or scan the QR code UK Distributor
Celebrate Summer at Solex Be inspired by new products & new ideas 10-12 July 2023 Hall 5. NEC, Birmingham 01952 977569 |

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