GTN March 2024 - Garden Trade News UK

Page 1


Following the success of our W-Select programme forGreetingCards, we nowoffer aone-stop solution forthe management of your Gift Packaging display:

Innovative Design -100% plastic-free products and packaging

Great Mix -awide rangeofproducts across Everydayand Christmas

Hassle-Free -one order,one delivery, one invoice

Grow Your Sales -apartnership to supportyour success

We’d love to explorewith youhow W-Select can help your business.

Please call us on 01923 200600 or email:

GREENFINGERS AT 25 Garden Re-Leaf Day 2024 READYFOR SOLEX? New features for the 2024 show Advice &information for garden centreprofessionals WHAT’S HOTIN2024 New at the Garden Press Event MARCH 2024
BLUE DIAMOND –2024 Awards pictureexclusive
GTNInterviewsTillington Group Chair,Caroline Owen STRICTLY


Dominated by multipurpose compost

Balancing in store space efficiency with variable consumer demand is achallenge

Bloomin Amazing’s addressable market covers over 25% of the total sector


✓ No-dig soil conditioner,easy feed and mulch all in one

✓ Made from 100% renewable by-products, and is 100% peat free

✓ Organic approved and vegan friendly

✓ Lightweight, clean and odour free

✓ Produced in the West Countrywith minimum carbon footprint

✓ Sustainable product credentials

✓ Established 2018 with astrong commercial backing

✓ Broad consumer appeal

✓ Best value bagged product from its sector

✓ Great margin opportunity

Carbon footprint is kept as low as possible by sourcing all the raw materials within an average 7mile radius of the plant

Rawmaterialcomes from sustainable break crops grown on local farms, which when fed into the plant takes 30+ days to fully complete the digestion process

The plant generates enough green gas to flow to 7,500 homes in the winter and over 100,000 homes in mid summer

One of the by-products of the process is approximately 12,000 tonnes of organic separated ‘digestate’ that is used for BA

Significant investment has been made to install astate of the art bagging line run on renewable electricity from the plant.



We have agrowing band of BA users who regularly report back on their sustainable successes:

Mixing 50:50 with soil, loam, or compost to create a complete growing media for the rich planting of vegetables, salads, fruit bushes, perennials and roses Mulching over cardboard to create new ‘nodig’ vegetable beds

Adding to raised beds to enrich soil, add organic matter and plant feed

Planting young plants and bulbs through ablanket of Bloomin Amazing

Adding to planting holes and mulching new shrubs, hedges and trees

No showersin April, please!

After the wettest February on record and even morerain in March everyone is nowhoping for adry and warm April. Thereisclearly pent-up demand for people to get gardening and we’veseen plenty of full trolleys of plants going through tills while we’vebeen visiting many centresthis month. The trouble is that everywhereisstillsowet people just can’t get on their gardens to do any planting yet.

I’ve just seen aJet Stream forecast that shows it moving above theUKduring the startofApril whichisasign of warmer weathertocome. So,fingers crossed, the forecast provestobe correct and we canhaveabumper April for sales of plants and garden leisureproducts.

Garden centre turnovers havebeen high on the agenda this month with Blue Diamond announcing theyare nowNo1 at £308m and concern overDobbies futureturnovergiven that their centreswereshortofgardening stock at the startofMarch (see the GTNXtranewsletter: When we

interviewedCaroline Owen, Chair of Tillington Group,she revealed that their combined turnoverisnow £266m, making the buying group the thirdlargest group overall. With Choice Marketing currently at £205m and British Garden Centres at £161m, according to their last report and accounts, that means the Top5garden centreretail buying teamsnow account for £1.2bn of UK garden centre turnover.

Rank Group £m Annual turnover

1BlueDiamond 308

2Dobbies 279

3Tillington 266

4ChoiceMarketing 205

5British Garden 161 Centres

Let’shope all garden centre turnovers get moving in the right direction overthe coming weeks. With Easter and twobankholidays there is certainly the opportunity.Wejustneeditto stop raining,please!


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

Alun Jones –Production Manager

RobertTipping –Managing Director

James Tipping –Technical Director

Printing CG Print Ltd

Do youqualify for acopyofGTN?

If you’dliketobeadded to theGTN distribution list, please send your details to to see if youqualify to be included. Alternatively,ifyou prefer your Garden Trade News digitally,signupfor GTN Xtra,our weekly e-mail newsetter at

Potting Shed PressLtd

Garden Trade News is published by Potting Shed PressLtd who also publish: GTNBestsellers, GTNXtra, PetTrade Xtra, Glee Daily News and the Glee Catalogue, and the Solex Sun. Potting Shed Pressalso supply Garden Radio to over100 garden centresacrossthe country.

Director Trevor Pfeiffer

SMALL PRINT:All material ©Potting Shed PressLtd 2024 No 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.

Front Cover Gift Packaging from Woodmansterne 6 Group Commitment –GTN Interviewwith CarolineOwen, Chair of theTillington Group 9 Newretailsolutions from Artevesi 10 What’sHot in 2024 –New products launched at theGarden PressEvent 13 Maximising seedsalesatMr Fothergills 16 25 yearsofGreenfingers FUNdraising 18 Garden Re-Leaf Day 2024 20 Strictly Blue Diamond– Exclusive Awards coverage 23 NewatSolex for2024 26 Productstodelight from Spring Fair 28 Be the best plantspecialists –GTN Planteria specialreport 31 Abrightershade of green –LOFA Column 32 Three days of PATS in September 2024 33 Celebrating 125 years –HTA Column 34 The startiseverything –GIMA Column AdvertisersinthisIssue 4 BloominAmazing 15 Vitavia 18 Handy Distribution 19 Glee 22 Azpects 27 Sipcam 30 PATS 30 Fordingbridge 35 Evergreen GardenCare 36 Solex 2024 March 2024 5 Theteam at Haskins Snowhill receivetheir Greatest Christmas Awards certificates from GTNeditor Trevor Pfeiffer
In this issue...

Group commitment

The Tillington Group is one of the most successful buying and marketing groups in UK garden retailing. Caroline Owen, who hands over the reinsofChair this June, talks to GTN.

Little did theyknowthat in the early 1990’s, when severalgarden centre owners met at the Tillington Hotel in Staffordtodiscusscollectivebuying,they would end up creating the largest independent buying group in the UK garden centresector.

Nowwith 11 members and 40 centres between them, the Tillington Group has a turnoverof£266m.Ithas even outlived its namesakewhich has made wayfor luxury retirement homes.

At thehelm of the Tillington Group is Caroline Owen, Managing Director of Scotsdales Garden Centreswhich has been amember since2008. “Originally the group met to buy growing media and garden care products but garden centreshavedeveloped.

Back then, 30 odd yearsago,theydidn't really talk about gifts, leisure, Christmas and cafes which arenow so important,”she says.

Today the main areas for buying and negotiating termsare garden furniture,

Above: Scotsdales Great Shelford is undergoing huge development. The covered planteria is newly opened and the new indoor retail spaceisalmost finished.

garden care(including hardlandscaping) and Christmas, howeverall areas areimportant. Plants tooare bought by the group mainly for seasonal offers in Tillington's Beautiful Gardens magazine sent out to millions of UK households. “Wedohavepreferred suppliers butbecause of the different geographical locations members sometimes deal with local plant suppliers, particularly bedding Severalmembers havetheir owngrowing facilities too.”

6 March 2024 Interview

Group marketing includes sending the Tillington magazine out to millions of households three times ayear.

Must stock

It's really important to sell and get behind companies with 'must stock' products, but that doesn't prohibit members buying other ranges. “Weverymuch likemembers to supportand commit to the manufacturers who aresupportingus, but invariably theremay be instances wheretheywant a particular compost or alocal product they want to sell. Sometimes aneighbouring centremight be selling the same product and theywant to offer something abit different.”


Apartfromthe Secretariat and Treasury services, the group’sworkings aredone in-house. Caroline explains each category has aSeniorPrincipal who is adirector from amembercentre, so the workload is evenly spread. As well as looking after the purchasing for their owncentre, theyare also considering the other member centres toowhich is quiteanart as they vary in size. ”Often we questionnairemembers beforethe buying season to find out where

Redevelopment at Scotsdales

Work continues apaceatthe Scotsdales storeinGreat Shelford. It comprises alarge coveredplant area, new garden careshop,food hall and 400 coverrestaurant. “It’samassiveinvestment but we arevery happytodoit,” says Caroline. Work should be completed this time next year.

The Horningsea storehas received significant investment in the last couple of years and the Fordhamstore is next in line. “It’saquirkystore which our customers love.It’sasuper centre.We’ve had drawings made up but need to getGreat Shelfordfinished first.”

as good and whereissues might havebeen. This waytheyget agood picturebefore they startbuying,” explains Caroline.

At Principal’smeetingsinspring, June and October invaluable reports arepresented from all the separate categories (Christmas, plants, garden care, furniture, leisure, food hall, catering, HR and marketing). Theynot only keep centres in touchbut also allowthe sharing of data. “This means youcan quickly realise when youhavea category that is underperforming,” says Caroline. “Wehave to be very conscious of competition law and we can't sharemuchabout margin or retail pricing,but that doesn't stop discussions on who is selling what and how it’sdoing.”

Beautiful magazines

As well as manufacturers supporting the group with price, theyalsohelpwith payment terms, rebates and advertising in the Beautiful Gardens magazines.

Producedand publishedbyHaymarket, Tillington’sBeautifulGardensmagazines.are sent outtoupwards of 4million households. Every centrepersonalises thefront and back coverplus otherpages with their own offersand moneyoff coupons, buttheyall sharethe samecontent with inspirational gardening tips featuringsupplier products.

Thereare three issues. Beautiful Gardens is sent out in spring to 4m households, to signal the startofthe gardening year Beautiful Summer is posted in May.It targets 2.5m households with content covering outdoor living,furniture, barbecues, plants and garden care.

March 2024 7 vie
Intervie good
The group buying is obviously valuable, but the sharing of information and having someone on the end of aphone is much morebeneficial…

Beautiful Christmas marks the beginning of the festiveseason. Around 2.8m household receivethis 36-page issue highlighting gifts, decorations and offers to offers to encourage repeat visits

In some cases, memberscontribute to thecost of posting the magazine via Royal Mail, while some, likeWebbs have an arrangement for magazines to be distributedwith alocal newspaper delivery. In addition to the paper copies, digital versions enable awider cross-section of customers to access theinformation via phones and tablets.

“Thereisa huge benefit to the manufacturer of having their products seen by millions of people, whether theycome to Scottsdales or another centre. Space in the magazine is oversubscribed. We've allhaveown pages whereweare free to promotewhatever we want, be that the cafe or the food hall. Our customers think it’saScottsdale magazine, which is what we wantthem to think and theyabsolutely love it. Theywalk around with it looking for the products….but having said all that, the products in therehavetobethe right ones.”

Invitation only

One of the unusual things about the Tillington Group is that youhavetobe invited to join.

Caroline recalls she wasapproached twice. Being fiercely independent she didn’tconsider the first approach but

when Dennis EspleyfromSquires paid acall, and she wasshown thefinancial benefits, she knewitwas a‘no brainer’. “The group buying is obviously valuable, but the sharing of information and having someone on the end of aphone is much morebeneficial really,” says Caroline.

The newest member is Gates Garden CentreinLeicestershire, which joined in June 2023 and Caroline doesn’trule out the group taking on one moremember. Any morethan 12 wouldbetoo many,she thinks. “The scale of the group is without any doubt helpful but we arenot looking to grow and become adominant player,” says Caroline.

Another rule is that members havetobe geographically non-competing

Caroline took over as Tillington Chair from Dennis EspleyinJune 2022, and her term comes to an end this summer.Taking on the role is current ViceChair James Evans from RuxleyManor Garden Centre

“I haveenjoyedit. It's been hardwithout any doubt. Itook it on in June and in the November of that year we lost VanHages which we didn’thaveaninkling about. But we havewelcomed Gates so we areback up to 11 which is good thing.”

The role of Chair doesn’thavebe someone from amember garden centre but Caroline thinks it’sgoodtheyhavethat personal commitment. “Aslongaswecan still be progressiveand don’tbecomestaid then it works,”she says.

Between them, the 11 membersofthe Tillington buying group have40sites with an annual turnoverof£266m.

•Alton Garden Centre

•Bents Garden and Home

•Gates Garden Centre

•Hayes Garden World

•RuxleyManor Garden Centre (founding member)

•The Scotsdales group with three sites

•The Whitehall group withthree sites

•The Squires group with 16 sites (founding member)

•The Otter group with seven sites

•The Frosts group with twosites

•The Webbs with foursites

Founding andpastmembers includeHaskins Garden Centres, which left whenitacquired Snowhill, PeterBarratts and BridgemereGarden Centres which were bought by Wyevale andmost recently theVan Hage centreswhich arenow ownedby Blue Diamond

8 March 2024 Interview

New retail solutions from Artevasi UK

In2022, Artevasi took abold step forward with asignificant investment in abrand newstate-of-the-artfactoryfor making terracotta pots. With 160 years of family know-howinterracotta production, that desirewas already in the blood of owner and CEORodolfo Resende, who, as achild, spent most of his weekends and school holidays in his grandparent’sfactory, eager to help and learn the family trade.

Located in Bioalvo, asmall towninthe district of Aveiro, Portugal, the newfactory covers an area of 70,000 squaremeters. It has aproduction capability of over 10,000 pots aday,with production and logistics working around the clock to create the most beautiful and sustainable terracotta pots.

Newpartnership with BGC

Scott McCabe and Paul Williams from British Garden Centres visited the company’s factories in July 2023.Theysaw every corner of the production process, from the company’s ownplastics recycling plant through to plastics manufacturing,tothe completeterracotta production process, including the 130m long kilm at the new Bioalvofactory.

Speaking about Artevasi, Scott McCabe, BGC Buying Director,said: “The sizeand scale of the operation wasfar bigger than I

had imagined. Iwas impressed, and this gaveme the confidencethat we arechoosing the right company to partner with.”

“Weworked closely with the Arevasi team, to createa bespoke rangeofgraded listings,” added Paul Williams,Sundries Buyer

Darren Boorman, Artevasi’s UK Director was also pleased with the success of the visit which he described as ‘the startofanew chapter for Artevasi UK.’

Longacres Garden Centreseizes the opportunity

Liam Barrett, of LongacresGarden Centre, also visited the newArtevasi terracotta potfactory. He waskeentobeone of the veryfirst garden gardens in the UK to take advantage of the newretail solution. Liam said: “The quality and priceofthe Artevasi terracotta is excellent, and the widerange available gives us the options that will help us to offer something different to our customers that we can’tget from our other suppliers, especially in larger sizes and different colours.”

With the cost-of-living crisis showing little improvement, valuefor moneyiscrucial. By buying directly,garden retailerscan eliminatethe wholesale margin and pass these savings directly to customers.

“With over90,000 squaremeters of production facilities, we areready andwilling to be the UK’s number one plastic and terracottapots supplier,” said Darren.

March 2024 9 Promotion
Terracotta solutions at Longacres. Artevasi’sstate-of-the-artfactoryinPortugal whereits terracotta pots aremade. Artevasi founder and CEORodolfoResende with Scott McCabe, BGC Buying Director. Artevasi recycled plastic pots merchandised at British Garden Centres.
has become aleading manufacturer of eco-friendly, sustainable recycled plastic pots. With representatives worldwide, the company now exportstoover 50 countries on five continents.
you areinterest in
from Artevasi
please contact:
Established in 2006, Artevasi
stocking pots
Email: general@

What’s hot in 2024?

More than 300 people, eager to creatively promote the garden industry,were attracted to the annual Garden Press Event.This was certainly the place to be for suppliers and manufacturers to get their new products and services noticed.

Boosting compost choiceand quality

Seen for the first time at the showwas Boost All Purpose Compost in a48L bag.StuartStaples, Head of Technical at Westland says it will help addresssome of the legacy problems with overwatering peat-free media. “It has awater management system built in to giveanextra buffer between overwatering and under-watering which will lead to abetter plant health,”hesays.

Designed to be used in aprogramme alongside Boost liquid feed, bags will be available for retail sale imminently Westlandwas also promotingits newpeat-free houseplant compost withclay Seramis granules to aid waterand nutrientholdingcapabilities. As well as beingbeneficial forplantgrowth, it also helps to reduce instances of annoyingsciaridflies (also called fungusgnats) which areattracted to compostswitha high fibre content.

“With Seramis in the mix, plants areless

Westland’sStuart Staples told GTN about its newBoost All Purpose Compost and peat-free Houseplant Potting Mix.

likely to dryout, and youneedtowater lessoften. But fungus gnats areone of the challenges with moving away from peat,” says Stuart. Seramis will also help to break theirlifecycle because the clay granules lock

in the water forthe plants to usebut don’t necessarily makethe compost damp and inviting to fungus gnats. “We’ve runtrials comparing with competitor mixes and ours is coming up lowinterms of sciarid flies.”

10 March 2024 Garden PressEvent 2024

All natural from Eden

Will Scott from HeartofEden, says it took up the gauntlet to producearetail-ready peat-free growing media during lockdown. Made using PSA 100 standardcomposted green waste it is combined with composted bark finesbetween 0-10mm and coir.Will says asmall amount of the coir is virgin but the majority is recycled from the commercial soft fruit growing sector “We’ve certainly seen an increasing demand for the product but not all peat free composts are the same. Ours has fantastic water retention capacity,a 6.5pH and agood cation exchange profile,”says Will.

HeartofEden’sAll Purpose Natural Compost is available nowin50L bags.

Dobbies eyes up indoor gardening

Withsomanycustomerscoming through its doors, Marcus Eyles,HorticuluralDirecotr,says Dobbies seesa huge opportunity to getthem gardening indoors. It’snot just about houseplants, he says, the chain’snew line of keenlypricedlights willhopefullyget them growing herbsand microgreenstoo “Weknowfor quitea fewmonths of theyear, our light levels arenowherenear strong enoughto producethingssuccessfully inside. Grow lightshavebeenavailablefor some time,but they’ve been hellishly expensive, so we set outtosee whetherwecouldget that price down.”

The rangestarts with the Halo at £16.99toadecorativekit at £49.99.Poweredbyafixedplug or USB,theyall haveLED’s offering the ideal spectrum for plants.

Meet the Garden Media Guild

TheGarden PressEvent wasa bustling hub for the creme de la cremeofgardenmedia and avibrantarray of brands eager to engagewiththis influential media community.Amongthe exhibitors was theGarden Media Guild (GMG). Butwhatexactly is theGMG and whyshoulditbe on the radar of garden product retailers andsuppliers?

TheGarden Media Guild is avibrant community teeming with creativity,innovation, andpassion for allthings garden-related. With over500 members, theGMG is where garden writers, photographers, broadcasters, social media influencers, bloggers, vloggers and other media professionals come together to share their love for the greenworld

Forretailers andsuppliers the GMG is aprime opportunity to connect with acommunity of media professionalswho are passionate and well-informed. It’smorethan just achance

Will Scott and the team from the HeartofEden talked all things peat-free. Below: Marcus Eyles with the newhouseplant Halo light which allows orchids to be grownindark cornersof the house.

to boost brand awareness, it’s an avenue to establishnew relationshipsthat couldlead to increasededitorial coverage, partnerships, and theexchange of valuableskills andknowledge

Becoming aGMG member can help youconnectwith like-minded professionals, gainvaluable exposure, and stay ahead of the curve in theindustry.

• Formoreinformation about the GMG and howtojoin visit

Garden PressEvent 2024 March 2024 11
MikePalmer, Co-Chair of the GMG (centre) with KimberleyHornbyVice Chair and Stephen Stud committee member.

Acoffee pot for plants

Elho brought aselection of new introductions to the showincluding the Coffee Collection –potsmadefrom coffee waste. The company’s Patty Willems explains the pots prevent coffee wastefrombeing burnt which is what usually happens. “This is bad for the environment but we haveadded it to the other forms of recycled material that we use to producethe Coffee Collection.”

Also on showwas anew planter designed with input from strawberry growers. Its wide round rim ensures fruiting branches aresupportedand legs keep plants and fruits off the ground. An inbuilt reservoir helps with watering. Orchid growers havealsobeen consulted to help createanew rangeofVibe pots. In translucent colours, because orchid roots likelight,with an elevated base to prevent roots from sitting in water.

Compact compost for thriving seeds

Mark Wootton, Commercial Director at Mr Fothergill’sSeeds was on hand to tell GTN about its newEnrichedSeedCompost designed to be sold alongside seed stands. “The biggest complaint we’veabout the success with seeds, stems from the growing medium. Either it has weeds, bugs, fungus or insufficient nutrients for seedlings to thrive. So we’vecreated something ourselves which is slightly different from what is already on the market in termsofadded micro nutrients and enriched seaweed.”

Providing four weeks of nutrients, the coirbased blocks arecompact and lightweight and provide enough growing media to fill three standardseed trays. Retailing at £4.99theyare nowready forstocking in garden centres.

Artbeneath your feet

Proudly launching Primeur’s newdoormatswas Sarah Mclafferty,National Account Manager.A steady line for 55 years, the newdoormatsfeature artwork from Yorkshirebased painter Bree Meryn.

Mr Fothergill’sEnriched Seed Compost has added micro nutriets, says Mark Wootton.

“Weknowmany garden centres already sell doormats and looked at wheretheremight be gaps. We’retrying to offer something alittle bit different and Bree Meryn’sbeautiful artwork for our indoor and outdoor doormats and boot trays arereally eye-catching,” she says. The mats arefully washable and printing is done by Primeur factorypartners to ensurehighquality reproductions.

Primeur launched the mats and boot trays at Spring Fair in February. Independent gift retailers and afew big garden centregroups havealready shown interest.

12 March 2024 Garden PressEvent 2024
Bree Merryn at work on anew design forPrimeur Patty Willems explains howElho is making use of wastecoffeefor its newrange of pots.

Side by side to maximisesales

Anew idea from Mr Fothergill’s makes buying growing media and seeds effortless.

Enriched SeedCompostisa newcoirbased growingmedia formulated specifically forseedsand is now beingsoldina display stand designedtofit perfectly alongsideMrFothergill’s seeds. As bothproducts areneeded to achieve gardeningsuccess,itmakes sense for themtobesold side by side making easy purchasingfor customers andboosting impulse salesfor retailers.

Thecoir in the growing media is ethically sourcedand made of ablend of large and fine fibres to createthe ideal medium for seed germination. Additionally,the mix

contains slow-release nutrients and seaweed powder to provide just the right levels of nutrients required for germination and seedling development. Supplied in acompressed format, each pack is compact and light-weight making it easy for customers to pick up oncetheyhave made theirseed buying decisions. At home, customers just need to add watertothe bag in which is it supplied and watchasthe growing media expands to its usable state.

“For years we’veexpectedcustomers to buyseed and then go on ahunttoanother department in thegarden centre to find compost Once there, they areoften greeted withawallof

choicefromwide rangeofgrowing media,” says Ian Cross, Mr Fothergill’sHead of Retail Marketing.“At Mr Fothergill’s we’vedecided this isn’t goodenough. Our newEnriched Seed Compost, sited conveniently nextto our seed stands, makes thewhole buying experiencea pleasureand givesgardeners the confidence they arebuying the right compost for thejob.”

Growing confidence

are either too high or too low. Weed and fungus are also an says Ian. “Coir compressed coir a good alternative and Enriched Seed Compost the confidence and get

In trials, Mr Fothergill’s has seen seeds germinated andgrown in the newEnriched SeedCompost substantially outperform those in abest-sellingcompetitorpeat-free growing media.“Toooften, gardenersare gettingpoor andinconsistentgermination results due to variable nutrients which areeither toohighor toolow.Weed seed andfungus gnats arealso an increasing problem,” saysIan.“Coir and compressedcoir is agood peat-free alternativeand our Enriched SeedCompost will give gardeners theconfidence to grow seed in peat-free compost and get their flowers andvegetables off to a flying start.”


40 units of 10L compost blocks, each one retailing at £4.99. Point of sale explains thefeatures, benefits anduser instructions

More than 500 independent garden centres havealready signeduptostock Enriched Seed Compost and it’s being retailedat B&M,RobertDyas and Homebase.

March 2024 13 Promotion
Formoreinformation and to stock Mr Fothergill’s Enriched Seed Compost contact us on Email: Telephone: 01638 554111

Career promoting challenge

The YPHA took astand at the GPE to promote and open applications for its first Launch Success Challenge. Natalie Porter and Jeremy Costello were on hand to explain that ateam of 10 YPHA members from any sector of horticulture, wouldbeselected to takepartin the programme to name, market, promoteand subsequently launch anew Begonia elatior at BBC Gardeners’World 2025

Natalie explains that after selection, the candidates will travel to Holland in July to look at the begonia at Beekenkamp and attend aFloramedia photography workshop to understand the importanceofvisuals. Following aseriesofworkshops and pitches in the summer and autumn of 2024,the nowtwo teams of fivewill visit HappyPlants to see the begonia in production.

Aimed to givecandidates experienceand a thorough insight intoall the steps involved in

Walking on water

Anovelway of using undesirable and troublesome algal bloom was displayed and explained by Tony BaileyofEvercreatures. KOSMIK clogs made by French company Rouchetteare made by cleaning sea water. The collected alga is then dried to apowder beforebeing crushed and mixed with clean, aeriated waterand EVAtoform aresin. Each pair is said to clean 61.5 litres of waterand reducethe carbon footprint by 46g(compared to those made from EVA).

Available in a range of colours, these French clogs will surely be atalking point in any garden centre.

plant production through to marketing,the Launch Success Programme will hopefully promotetheir careers and contribute to the industryasawhole. Fundingopportunities are still available and Natalie wouldbehappy to talk to anyone who might be able to contribute. Its hoped the challenge will continue in future years for plant and non-plant products.

• To apply forthe Launch Success Challenge or offer funding supportemail:

Blue Diamond strengthens National Trust partnership

Winning the awardfor the Best Stand was Blue Diamond promoting indoor gardening and its work with the National Trust.

Already the garden centregroup has contributed £350,000 to the charity through sales of plants and seeds. This figurewill be boosted by anumber of newlines added to its range for 2024 such as plants inspired by KillertonHouse in Devonand the peach floweredRosa ‘National Trust Beauty’becoming available in May

There’salso an RHSChelsea FlowerShow collaborationwith designer Ann-Marie Powell creating The Octavia Hill Garden by Blue Diamond. An urban setting,itprovides aseries of outdoor seatingareas within aplant-filled wildlife garden to reflectOctavia Hill’sbelief that everyone shouldhaveaccess to plants, flowers and healthy air.

Slugs Stoppa

Anew liquid slug deterrent in artu pouch wasseen for the first time at the Garden PressEvent. Matt Jones, General Manager of Sipcam Home &Garden, says Slug Stoppa creates an invisible barrier on leaves which makes them unappetising to slugs. “Ifyou looked at the sprayed leaves under amicroscope, it looks slightly spikey,which basically makes it unpalatable,”hesays.

The liquid also helps with plant health as it contains some nutrients and acts as aphysical barrier to prevent disease spores landing on and penetrating leaves. Matt says originally the formula wascreated for the agricultural sector but wasn’twidelyadopted as it needs multiple applications throughout the life of acrop. However, it’sideal for gardeners who can focus on susceptible plants and havetime to reapply,and forspaceswith children and pets as Slug Stoppa is an eco-friendly deterrent rather than apest killer

Part of the company’s Ecofective range, Slug Stoppa is available to stock nowand is the first of severalsimilar products planned for aGleelaunch this September Theyall come in anovel pouch which uses 55% lessplastic, and with anewly designed, moreergonomic spray head.

Athird-generation family company,SipcamOxenhas recently acquired the Italian Blumen Group enabling Sipcam Home &Garden to bring Get Offcat deterrent and Fito houseplant brands intoits portfolio

14 March 2024 Garden PressEvent 2024
Natalie Porter and Jeremy Costello from the YPHA. Matt Jones with the Slug Stoppa rtu in a flexible pouch. Theteam from Blue Diamond received the awardfor Best Stand presented by the HTAand GIMA.Inset: anew addition to its National Trust inspired range.
UK Distributor
Scan to visit our website
your garden

Celebrating 25 years of FUNdraising

Greenfingers has got 2024 off to a flying start and hopes that during its silver anniversary year,itcan reach new fundraising heights and create even morehospice gardens for children and their families.

Sinceits first garden at Demelza House in Kent in 1999,the Greenfingers Charity has come alongway.Twenty-fiveyears later, and acrossthe UK thereare nowmore than 70 much needed gardens in children’s hospices. With supportfromour industry,many morewill surely follow.

This year,Greenfingers celebrates its 25th anniversaryand an ambitious fundraising target has been set. Many people will be nursing sore feet and bums following the North and South Sponsored Walk and CycleChallenge this month on Garden ReLeaf dayand their contributions arehugely appreciated, but many smaller businesses might not havethe time or capacity to supportonthis level. This is wherethe 250 Challenge comes in. The idea is for centres and suppliers to raise aminimum of £250 and collectively help Greenfingers reach its target of £2,000,025

“With the 250 challenge, garden centres can still get involved but on asmaller scale. If everygarden centreinthe UK raised this sum

it wouldtotal in excess of £1.5million, proving the old adage that ‘every little helps!” said Linda Petrons, Greenfingers Director of Fundraising and Communications.

Plantathons, quizzesand raffles aresomeof the ideas offered and Greenfingers is happyto offer help and supportfor anycentreorsupplier looking to hold one or severalFUNdraising events. Already just over60% of the £2,000,025 target has been reached so it’slooking like Greenfingers will havea lot to celebrateinits Silver Anniversaryyear.

Big differencefromsmall change

The saying goes that if youlook after the pennies, the pounds will look after themselves, and this couldn’t be truerthanwith the Pennies initiative delivered by Corby&Fellas. Pennies is itself acharity and offers its technology and services free of charge with 90% of the donations going to Greenfingers and 10% to Pennies. Created to makegiving simple, every day,itencourages customers to add apenny

for Greenfingers to their shopping bill. These microdonations areadded via the epos system and quickly reach impressiveand significant sums. The Millbrook Garden Centresites in Kent havealready raised almost £8,000 for Greenfingers through the scheme.

Release the dragons

Back after a10-year hiatus, is the Greenfingers Charity Dragon Boat Racewhereteams from acrossthe industryget ready to prove theyhave what it takes to reignsupreme on the water.

Put June 23 in the diaryand sponsor one of the 10 teams, watchand supportfromthe side of Grendon Lakes in Northamptonshire, sponsor ateam or,better still, enter your ownteam of 10 rowers. Teams can be made up of one company or severalsmaller teams in the ultimatedisplay of cooperation.

“Bring apicnic, bringthe family,bring the deckchairs, and enjoyawonderful day together in the beautiful Northamptonshirecountryside,” says Linda.

16 March 2024 Greenfingers Charity update

Forinformation and supportfor your FUNdraising projects and to findout more visit: uk or ??????

Kate keeps on running KateEbbens, long-term and activeAmbassador for Greenfingers and MD of Cadix UK Ltd, set herself an ambitious challenge at the beginning of 2024.Every day,nomatter the weather or her mood, she will put on her running shoes and tackle arun. Each month, Katewill also participateina 10k public run.

To keep morale high and to ensure that Kate keepsputting one foot in front of the other there will be 12 monthly garden centresponsors. Garden Centrekickstared proceedings with Ayletts, Tong Garden Centre,Klondyk Perrywood Garden Centres, British Gar Centres, and Scotsdales also supporting Youcan followKate’swalks and runs via her Strava updates on her JustGiving page. Her target of £10,000 must surely be smashedwithin the first three months she has already raised more than £8,500!

nsors. St Peter’s sinJanuary ndyke, arden ng

Making children’s gardens evergreen Amagnificent milestone of £100,000 has been raised by the team at Evergreen Garden Care, which has been supporting Greenfingers for nearly six years.

Keyhighlights haveincluded Mark Portman, along with GIMA’s Vicky Nuttall and STV’sLowri Turner,

e g th nthly garden centrespo rekickstared proceeding Centre, Klo arden G supporti ollowKate’sw es ngpage. tar stsurelybesmashed rst ady hildren’s ntmilestone £100,0 sed arden rting ars. ghts haveincluded Ma ong GIMA’s STV’s LowriTurner, mily-owned Har esburyhas mad of Ye yea draising activitie Hartwel lo inva enfingersand he ded ving fi ngWalk. Elsewh ravelled len hecountryto c untains Scot and partof t enge. ju com nising gift tdonations ca pment m

garden spaces created by Greenfingers, the team has donated benches made from recycled compost bags to anumber of projects, plus apallet of peat-free compost to every Greenfingers garden sincethe partnership began in2019.

00 rk Fa l

Family-owned Harttwell Nurseries in lesburyhas made Greenfingers Charity of the Year for2024and oughout the year will run avariety of fundraising activities forcustomersto ticipatein. Neil Bowness, Managing ector at Hartwell Nurseries, hopes customersand local community supportthe invaluable work of eenfingersand help raise muchneeded funds.

thr fun par Dir his will Gre need bra Wi 15 tr of t mo Engl Challe powe huge Recog produc develo

aving the very first Greenfingers Wing Walk. Elsewhere, agroup of travelled the length and breadth the countrytoclimb the tallest mountains in Scotland, Wales and England as partofthe Three Peaks Challenge. It’snot just about people r, with product also forming a partofthe company’s support. gnising that gifts in kind and oduct donations can greatly assist lopment of the many therapeutic

Its partnership with Greenfingers has also now been extended to 2026.Ithas agreed to donate a fixed sum to the Greenfingers Charity through sales of its Miracle-Gro® growing media, until the end of 2026.This sum will be made up of both cash donations and product to supportthe creationofnew gardens, as well as supporting thecharity’s Garden Makeoverand Garden Re-Fresh programmes.

Cutting the ribbon

This year,three newgardens will officially open. Dates have yettobeconfirmed so watchthis space.

• TheRest &Reflect Garden in Norfolk at TheNook, part of East Anglia’s Children’sHospices.

• Thesecond Greenfingersgarden Demelza HospiceinKent.

• Derion House, Chorley. Plans arenow also in placefor several newgardens in West Sussex,Shropshire, Sheffield and the West Midlands and moredetails will be unveiled soon.

March 2024 17 Greenfingers Charity update
Dutch flower experts, JUB Holland, Keukenhof and Rijnbeek Perennials created amini ‘perennial meadow’ at theGarden Press Event in February which afterwards was donated to Greenfingers, and replanted at the Demelza HospiceinKent. Featuring morethan120 plants, including crocus, hellebores and muscaria, the naturalising bulbs and perennials will quickly fill the borderswith early spring colour.

Doing great things for Greenfingers

Friday March15th was Garden Re-Leaf day and the garden centre sector certainly got behind it with fabulous FUNdraising events.

The North and South Sponsored Walks and Cycle Rides were as popular as ever with people and their dogs braving the weather in the Yorkshireand Hertfordshire. Rain didn’tstopplay for those who walked around Holmfirth but theywereall glad to reachthe official finishing post -The Pickled Pheasant pub.The South Walk and Cycle startedand finished at TringGardenCentreand blue skies were awelcomed treat.

Garden centres acrossthe country also got involved with their ownraffles and events.

The final total raised is yetto revealed, but youcan be sureitwill enable moregardens to bringmore solacetomorepeople.

18 March 2024 Greenfingers Charity update
ProductRange& Pricing for 2024 OUT NOW! Gardening &DIY Products All products within ourrangeare readily available forordering. Additionally,wesupport ourstockists with promotions and marketing materials including: brochures, videos, and photos. Viewour Trade Catalogue here: or scan the QR code above & Garden Machinery&DIY d Webb Brochure OUT NOW! The Handy Brochure OUT NOW!
BGC Bridgenorth
The Old Railway Line Garden Centre
Brimsmore Garden Centre


Grow your business with Glee

Join thegardenretail event that's innovating theindustry Scan

March 2024 19 Greenfingers Charity update
to learnmore
BGC Osterley. Looking fresh and readyatthe startofthe SponsoredWalk South. Taking abreatheronthe NorthWalk. Longacres Garden Centre Sponsored Cycle.
well earned medal from the Sponsored Walk

Strictly Blue Diamond is aNo1hit

The Empress Ballroom in Blackpool played host to the Blue Diamond Annual Awards, themed as ‘Strictly Come Dancing’! GTNbrings exclusivephoto coverage from the event.

Blue Diamond MD,AlanRoper,started proceedings at the star-studded awards which celebratethe people and the successes of 2023,byannouncing Blue Diamond had reached £308m turnovermaking them now the UK’s largest garden centre group Joining staff from everycentreand head office at the sequin and glitter ball extravaganza were Blue Diamond suppliers, the National Trust, TV personality David Domoney, and award-

winning designer for the upcoming RHS Chelsea garden Ann-Marie Powell.

As well as the presentation of the awards, the 750 guests were entertained by former Strictly Come Dancing stars Brendan Cole, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace-Mistry. They opened the showwith their Latin flare, closing it with one huge salsa dancelesson. The after party went into the early hours with the brilliant Coyote Band.

Hosting theevent, alongsideGroup Social MediaManagerand PA DanielaCorizza, Alan Roper fully embraced the Strictlythemeby dancing onto thestage with Daniela for each part of theevening,leading from thefront as ever With guests being bussed intoBlackpool from all over thecountry andmany hotels being taken over for the night, even the famous tower turned Blue for awhile! It was“Strictly Blue Diamond” for sure.

20 March 2024 Industryawards
Harlow, AcornGarden Centre of the Year


Garden Centres of the Year

•OAK Garden Centreofthe Year: Newbridge

•ACORN Garden Centreofthe Year: Harlow

Restaurants of the Year

•OAK Restaurant of the Year: PercyThrowers

•ACORN Restaurant of the Year: Nailsworth WatersideCafe

Department Awards

•Origins of theYear: Cadbury

•PastryChefofthe Year: Vitalina Krykun –MerePark

•Head Chef of the Year: TomGarstone –Percy Throwers

•Barista of the Year: Lauren Trick–East Bridgford

•FoodRetailer of the Year: ACORN Jo Sparkes–Coton Orchard, OAKMichelle Richardson -Trentham

•The Magic of Christmas Award: ACORN Anna King -Bridgmere, OAKAmy Roberts–Fryer’s

•Christmas Award: ACORN Scott Oleary Harris –Hereford, OAKLoredana Piraino -Redfields

•Furniture &Outdoor LeisureAward: ACORN Tracey Uphill -Chatsworth, OAKAndrew Gurd-Brambridge

•WildAnimal Award: ACORN Callum Joss–Nailsworth,OAK LarrySu– PercyThrowers

•Growing Media, Features &Containers Award: ACORN Anne O’Hare– Tunbridge Wells, OAKRob Pettigrew -Brambridge

•Seeds and Bulbs Award: ACORNAnne O’Hare– TunbridgeWells, OAKBen Smith -Sanders

•Garden Careand Décor Award: ACORN Anne O’Hare–Tunbridge Wells, OAKZoe Gillyett –StPeters

•IndoorPlantsAward: ACORNJonathan Mower- Worcester,OAK Sam-Louis Robinson –Percy Throwers

•Hardy Plants Award: ACORN Andrew Harper –Coton Orchard, OAKFiona Holmes -Newbridge

•Seasonal Plants Award: ACORN Jane MeyerEdwards –Orchard Park &Kate Langley–Coton Orchard, OAKShelly Haynes –Percy Throwers

•The Fashion Award: ACORN Lisa Magee –Orchard Park, OAKTraceyBull –East Bridgford

•Customer ExperienceAward: LowerMorden

•The Home Award: ACORN Josh Pack –Springfields &BeckyPettigrewBrambridge, OAKSarah Thompson & Constantina Parvu– Redfields

•The Stock Management Award: Redfields March 2024 21
See the full list of nominations foreach awardand the complete GTNphoto galleryfromthe Empress Ballroom in the GTNXtrae-newsletter Issue 11 2024 at using the “Search the GTNXtraArchive”link.
Product canbetopped up by SKU. Onebox is acarriage paid order. Comes in afull colour shelf ready display box with 48 bottles. EASYCARE MINIS 4MIGHTY MINI CLEANERS AZPECTS.CO.UK Contact Rebecca to find out more. RRP £5.99

SKicking off SOLEX 2024

SOLEX Exhibition kicks off festivities with Awards Ceremony and Afterparty

SOLEX Afterparty|Tuesday 9July |1830 -2230 |Hilton Metropole |NEC, Birmingham

OLEX Exhibition, the premier event that gathers the best and brightest of the outdoor leisureindustry, has announced an Awards Ceremony &Afterparty to kick off the excitement of the summer event on the Tuesday9July.Marking its 16th year,SOLEX Exhibition has curated a night of celebration, networking,and athrilling football-themed eveningtocoincide with the highly anticipated UEFAEuro2024semi-finals.

With acaptivating football-themed setting, the stage will be set with tv screens and hot food, as industryplayers gather,attendees can look forward to not only the prestigious SOLEX Awards but also to theelectric atmosphereasthe evening blends business recognition with the shared love for the beautiful game.

Adding to the excitement, former ExEngland footballer Dion Dublin will be joining us for the event to shareinsights and predictions ahead of the semi-final clash, (which we hope will featureEngland) as well as taking partina Q&Asession. The evening begins with a Welcome Drink and Hot Buffet,leading intothe hotly awaited match on the big screen. The SOLEX Awards will be presented by Dion at half time. The afterparty,will be achancetomingle outside the usual professional environment and promises to be as thrilling as the game itself

The evening won’tjustbeabout football. We will have delicious food and drink, exciting entertainment, and achancetounwind and socializewith exhibitors and visitors. So even if you’re not afan of the beautiful game, we’ve got youcovered.

Don’tmissout! Add your name to the guest list events/

Whisk Out Your Tongs: SOLEX’s Fire Food &Outdoor Living Evening

Returns for Its Second Sizzling Year

Fire Food &Outdoor Living Event |

Wednesday10July |1800 -2000 |Hall5| NEC, Birmingham

Ready your grills,sharpen your knives,and stokethe fires! SOLEX Exhibition 2024 is about to welcome back the crowd-pleasing, taste-bud-teasing Fire Food and Outdoor Living Evening incorporating our BBQ Competition,which is set to light up the eveningwith charm and flavour

Scheduled for Wednesday10July,the eveningnow in its second year,isthe event that celebratesnot only the masteryofthe grillbut thecommunal joyofalfrescodining

Attendees eagerly anticipatethe BBQ showdown, whereteams of both exhibitors and visitors will vie for the prestigious BBQ Trophy.The stakes arehigh—each team aims to impressthe judges,including industry experts with asignaturedish.

Competition is set to heat up under the open skies outside Hall 5, be it under aradiant sun or cheering each other on beneath the shelter of gazebos, all competitors and spectators arepoised to makebeautiful bites of everychallenge.

The essenceofthe evening is morethan just the BBQ prizeitembodies the thrill of the grill and the unifying spirit of good food shared.

Don’tmissout! Add your name to the guest list today at events/

We arelooking forward to welcoming youtoSOLEX and really excited about these twoevening events, we hope that youcan join us!


In order to ensure thateveryone can fully immerse themselves in the Exhibition andexciting SOLEX Evening Events,wehavesecured Special Hotel Ratesfor Visitors who wishtoattend these events and stayovernight on Tuesday9th or Wednesday 10th July

Forthe exclusive priceof £100 per room,per night,SOLEXvisitors can take advantageofthisoffer and enjoy acomfortable staywhile attending the exhibition andevents. Thisoffer is not to be missed!

Don’t miss out! Book your accomodation/

N.B. Hotelrooms aresubject to availability.Offer ends30April 2024

March 2024 23 SOLEX 2024
TRADE EVENT Wednesday 10th July |6pm -8pm Hall 5. NEC, Birmingham y p g , p y , and ignite your taste buds! SOLEX Exhibition 24 is bringing back the FireFood and Outdoor Living Evening, featuring our exciting BBQ Competition. More than just acompetition, the essenceofthis evening is about coming together overgreat food &goodvibes. We look forwardtoseeing youthere! Getread to fireu those rills shar en ourknives Fire Food &Outdoor Living Event plus Special HotelRates Available ForVisitors! Hotels subject to availability. Special hotel rates end on 30 April 2024
Afterpa ty Afterrppa ty TRADE EVENT Youand your team areinvited to join us forour Euro Semi-Final Football Themed Event Tuesday 9July 2024 6.30pm -10.30pm Hilton Metropole, NEC, Birmingham * Welcome Drinks Hot Buffet MCEx- England footballer Dion Dublin SOLEX Awards Subsidised Bar EuroSemi Final Match on Big Screen plus Special Hotel Rates For Visitors! Don’t miss out on the fun and exc tement! Hotelssubject to availability. Special hotel rates end on 30 April 2024.

Productstodelight from Spring Fair

Spring Fair,atthe NEC Birmingham last month, is agreat place to see the latest trends in gifts, toys and clothing plus afew new opportunities spotted by GTNfor garden retailers.

Gifting ayear of sowing seeds

Willsow, which has hadarunawayhit with its plantablebooks, is working on acalendar with seeds to soweach month throughout2025. The final designs arestill being ironedout, but founder TomWillday says he hopes they willbeready for launch in March/Apri.Availableintwo sizes, they have been designed as desk calenderstoretailat£9.99 and £15.99.“The booksare brilliantfor children, butwewantedsomething to appealtoadults too,”says Tom. Arange of plantable cards is alsonow available retailingbetween £3-4 in bundles of sixcards

Boots made for walking in


Still quitenew to the UK marketisMerry People, offeringa range of waterproof ‘Chelsea’ typeboots forgardeners, dog walkersand anyonewho likessplashing around in puddles.

Australian Dani Pearce designed the boots after getting fed up with getting wetfeet during her daily communteinMelbourne. Finding agap in the market, her MerryPeople bootscan be worn everyday and look good in the city or countryside.

100% waterproof and vegan,theyare madefromnatural rubber with aneoprene inner.Surprisingly lightweighttheycombine functionality with practicality.Around40 stores in the UK alreadystock MerryPeople boots and thecompanyislooking to expand intoNorthern Ireland.

joined by full and range also includes Billie Rust best-selling colour and now sold out all regions, while Oxford Blue and Tan the UK’s favourite. New colours for 2024 and denim. Retail prices start from £59.95

Ankle height Bobbiand Tullyboots are fulland mid-height boots and the also includesBillie clogs. Rust is the ling colourand is nowsoldout in ons,while OxfordBlue andTan is sfavourite. Newcolours for2024 include khaki anddenim. Retailprices tf


26 March 2024 Spring Fair review

Natural inspiration for Silver Birch cards

Sian Newman, formally of Reliefprint PressCards, has launched her own company,Silver BirchCards. Her range depicts around 200 designs from 15 artists, each taking inspiration from thenatural world. There is no minimum order, and cardsand packaging areplastic free.Incontinued stepstowards reducing herbusinesscarbon footprint, Sian is investigatingthe use of bamboopulpfor her cards. “Bamboo growsfive times faster than trees and paper pulp can come from anywhere in theworld,”she says Postage of orders is free.

In with achancetobeGift of the Year

Burgon &Ball's RHSGrowing Gardeners range of tools andaccessories, encourageschildren to get excited about gardening.Launched at Spring Fair, it comprises17pieces perfect forchildrenwhich can be individually purchased.It’sbackedupby online resourcesand projectsfromthe RHS to be accessed by aparent or career from sowingseeds to makinganindoor windowsill.

Forhomegardening comes the newPikkii

(Design by WITH Creative) -Self CarePlanter.A fun potwithfibrelegswhich act as awater wick,it’s an amusing wayofgrowingherbs or other smaller indoorplants. Theendsofthe fibres sit within a ‘foot spa’ which holds enough water to keep plants hydrated for eightweeks.Designedinthe UK and soldinplasticfreepackaging,ithas arrp of £19.99.

Both arealso finalistsinthe Gift of theYear Competition andeligible forThe People’sChoice award, by votingonthe Gift of the Year website before16May.( The competitionattracts800 entries whittleddownto justsix in each of the 20 categories.

March 2024 27 Spring Fair review EFFECTIVE BARRIER SPRAY AGAINST SLUG &SNAILDAMAGE... WITHOUTHURTINGTHEM Contact to become astockist

Be the best plant specialists

BrandsfordWebbs, Frank PMatthews and New Leaf Plants helped retailers get the best from their plant sales at The FutureofPlant Retailing event.Around 120people from the garden centreand grower sectors came away with gems of wisdom and ideas to put in place in their own stores.

The event in Worcester kicked off with industryconsultant Boyd Douglas-Davis urging plant buyers and retailerstoplan waybeyond thesummer,toconsider vertical planting,totell storiesabout howgreat their plants really are, butabove alltopromote themselves as theplantspecialistsand the solution to manyoftoday’s environmental problems. “Technology is moving at acolossal speed –the levelofknowledge childrenhavenow is waybeyondwhatwehad because theyhave access to the world,” he said.But, what gardeners arebeing presented with online isn’talways100% accuratesocustomers needtohaveconfidence in their local garden centreshesays.

Ideas for peat-free

In adecade’stime, growing in peat-free will be commonplacebut during this important transition phase, staff need to knowexactly howtouse it to grow thebest plants. “Wehave to deal with the misinformation and takethe lead. We need to educateour staff right nowso theycan get their heads around it and be the experts,”says Boyd

• Makesureevery staff member is using peatfree at home so theycan offer customers first-hand experienceand advice

• Giveevery customer who buys abag of peat-free compost aleafletoutlining simple instructions for use.

• Createanindustry-wide logo to promoteBritish plants growninpeat-free compost for use on all labelling and point of sale……….. watch outfor a competition to design the logo coming soon.

Elevatethe drama…and the price

Creatingtheatricsinthe planteria through exciting special event plant launches andfabulous displays is agreat way to shine aspotlight on planterias. Whenyou consider howmuchtime and effortgoes into making afantastic Christmas experiencecomparedwith planteria displays there’snocontest. Also thinkabout pricing Customers of today want the pleasurethat plants canbring and arepreparedtopay forit.

28 March 2024 Planteria
Delegates view some of the new varieties on trial during a behind the scenes tour of Brandsfords Webbs The 35 acre site produces 2 million plants a year and managing humidity is crucial to good disease control.

Impressivehebes at BrandsfordWebbs.

Below: Boyd challenges planterias to takepart in the Brit Potdisplay challenge.

• Organise an evening and invitegarden club members to an exclusivenew plantlaunch.

• Go big on plant displays and shout about British.

• Another competition to keep an eyeout foris the best Brit Potdisplay in summer 2024.More details coming soon.

• Comparethe priceofa bouquet of flowers, which will last 10 days, to aplanted container offering colour for severalmonths. Makesure youdon’tundersell and forget the old price matrix.

• Createa reason for are-visit and use coffee shops and point of sale to tell the back storyof plants. Ask your plantsuppliers for videos and reels from their nurseries so youcan use them on your socialmedia platforms.

NewLeaf launches newranges

Visits to the sites of BrandsfordWebbs and Frank PMatthews presented the perfect opportunity to learn howgrowers areworking hardtoimprove plant quality while reducing peat useand chemical inputs. Newvarieties are the life blood of the industryand alwaysbeing trialled, but, says Karl O’Neill, BrandsfordWebbs

Technical Production Director,the direction of plant breeding needs to change. “It’snot just howaplant looks, but howitperforms in the garden that’simportant.”With adecreasing choiceofchemical controls, plants need to be naturally strong to haveany hope of becoming agarden favourite.

Apresentation from NewLeafplants included the introduction of anew staff member who will be getting out and about to meet customers in person, plus twonew ranges so it can offer a‘good’, better’and ‘best’ selection. Owner David Higginson says it’s3-litrerange of clematis and climbers is well established so in 2025 two deliveries, in March and September,will offer a9cm range with attractiverrp fornew entrygardens.

Managing Director David Higginson says it’s established 3-litrerange will be boosted in 2025 with twodeliveries (March and September), of a9cm range with attractiverrp fornew entry gardeners. Anew Heritage line in 7-litrepots with trellis supportwill be growntoorder.“We knowtraditional varieties likeNelly Moser work well in the garden so we aredressing them up and offering them as abigger product.”

March 2024 29 Planteria
Retailing at around £5.99, the9cm rangefromNew Leaf will offera great boost to March and September sales. Therange will be launched at the HTANational Plant ShowinJune. Trees loaded up and ready fordespatch at FrankP Matthews.Thisfourth generation companyproduces 1million trees ayear with all its container trees grownina specialist peat-free mix from Melcourt.




Where the in du stry meet to do business All the ma jor brands under one roof • Free entry &parking* • Free showcatalogue • Major brands and exhibitors • NewStarter Zone • Aquatics Zone New Product Showcase To register for FREEentry visit *For up to 1300 cars, on afirstcome, first served basis. Garden Centre and Retail Canopy, Walkway, and Building solutions 01243 554455
areexhibiting at
broad portfolio covers
plant area canopies, sustainable buildings, trolley bays, and covered walkways.The possibilities areendless.
over 55 years experience, Fordingbridge arepassionate about helping Garden Centres to increase commercial potential and enhance the customer journey
provide the
Contact us today to arrange acomplimentarysite survey
in-house expertise and understanding to create inspiring, durable, and proven solutions.

A brighter shade of green

In 2022, we made the bold decision to transform SOLEX into a carbon neutral event, abig challenge! We knew it would be adifficult task, but we were determined to make it happen So, in collaboration with Planet Mark, we took the first steps towardsmaking our event a better shadeof green.

Thanks to the guidelines provided by Planet Mark, we were able to measure our carbon footprint. We realised that data gathering is key to achieving our goal To that end,westarted asking all visitors to let us knowtheir mode of transport at registration. Although the first year (2022) was a bit of a challenge, with some attendees neglecting to include their details or postcode, last year, nearly everyone got on board. We also measured the electricity, gas, water, waste, and courier freight usage.

We were thrilled to see that our travel carbon footprint dropped from97.9 to95.5, thanks to the efforts of our exhibitors, and visitors alike While our waste emissions

stayed the same, our water usage went up slightly However, our courier freight dropped significantly from 20.3 to 17.5

The result? Atotal scoreof19 out of 20, which we’re extremely proud of

We couldn’t have achieved thiswithout you

We’re grateful to all exhibitors and visitors who attended SOLEX and helped us to monitor our carbon footprint. We want to say ABIG THANK YOUtoeveryone, you’ve madeareal difference.

So,when youregister this year for SOLEX 24,please remember that your feedback counts It might take an extra minute to key in your postcode or let us know how you’re travelling to visit us, but we promise you it’ll be worthitinthe end.

Planet Mark has given us some top tips for attendees and exhibitors to keep in mind. Forthose whocan, we encourage you tovisit SOLEX by train, as the NEC has its very own train station that drops you right in the centre of the venue If you’re

coming by car, why not car share with your colleagues? Turn up the tunes and get some car karaokeonthe go!And,for exhibitors, have you considered using transportroute optimisation software to find the most efficient routes and reduce your mileage? And last top tip, when you’re loading your vehicles, ensure you reduceempty truck space and optimise product density

Let’s continue working together to make SOLEX an even greener event, and we hope to see you all there!

Register today

SOLEX – The Summer Outdoor Living Exhibition – The biggest three-day event in the outdoor living event calendar An essential event to see what’s new and what’s on trend for the newseason, organised by the industry for the industry

SOLEX Exhibition

9-11 July2024

Hall 5, NEC, Birmingham.

ch 20 31
©2023 PlanetMark Event Footprint MeasureEngageCommunicate SOLEX CertificationReport 9July 2023 to 11 July 2023 Thhaannk k Y Yoou u 1 199//220 0

Three days of PATS

Plans for the first three-day Pet&Aquatics TradeShow in Telford arewell underway.Makesurethe date is in your diary.

Asthe pet sectorhas become an increasingly essential part of garden centreretailing, PATS is settobea vital date in the industrycalendar. Withseven monthstogo, morethan200 companies have already booked standspacefor PATS 2024.The finalnumber of exhibitors is settobewellover 300,making it thebiggest PATS ever staged Forthe first time, PATS 2024 will accommodate all the exhibition spaceat TelfordInternationalCentre,and will also featurethe AquaticsZone,adedicatedareafor aquatics and water gardening exhibitors.

Thenew three-day showwill also retainall its popularfeatures:

• NewProductShowcaseand Awards

• NewStarterZone

• Grooming Workshop

• Dealsand Discounts

• Networking events

Therewillbefreeentry for visitors,afree showcatalogue, free parkingfor up to 1,300 cars andacomplimentarytea/coffee voucher.

PATS organisers will also be working closely with PetQuip to encourageanincreasing numberofinternational buyerstothisyear’s

show. Travelling to andfromTelfordfor overseas visitors is straightforwardbecause of the closeproximity of twoofthe UK’s largest international airports outside of London –Birmingham and Manchester.

PATS Telford2024.

TelfordInternational Centre

Sunday 29 September -Tuesday 1October

Retailersand buyerscan registertheir interest in visiting PATS 2024 via thenew-look, which hasall theup-to-date information about theshow.

Awardwinning team

Thepetcareand wildlifedepartment is one of its most popular attractions at BartonGrange Garden CentreinLancashire. Thegarden centre’sGardening and Wildlife Manager Ryan Shenton attended PATS last September and wassurprised by the sizeofthe show. “I found it agreat opportunity to seemanyof my current suppliersand viewtheir full range of products, as well as all their newlaunches. It also allowed me to meet and look at new suppliersIhadn’tdiscovered before.”

Thegarden centrealso received the honour of being named TheGreatest Wild BirdCare&Pet Team, sponsored by PATS 2024,inGTNs Greatest Christmas Awards. Theaward waspresented at Spring Fair earlier this year

“It wasgreat to receivethe Greatest Wildlife&Pet Team Award, sponsored by PATS,” added Ryan. “The team put alot of work into creating great displays and sourcing some of the best products. We pride ourselves on making surewekeep very high standards so it’sgreat to receivethe award. It has given the team abig boost.”

30 March 2024 PATS 2024

Celebrating 125 yearsofthe HTA

Alan Down, HTAPresident

It’sfinally March, and the sight of glowing daffodils and spectacular trees in blossom is such amood booster The last fewweeks havebeen awhirlwind of events and newproduct releases in the horticultural industry.

Iwas luckyenough to attend the HTA’s annual Garden PressEvent last month, jointly organised with GIMA, and it wastruly impressive.Over300 members of the garden pressand media gathered for ashowcase of the entiresupplychain of the environmental horticultureindustry.

Theinnovation on display was hugely impressive. Therewerenolessthan76 entries for the NewProduct Awards showcasing lots of sustainable and climate adaptivesolutions. These included new ways to storeharvested rainwater whilst adding an exciting newfeaturetogardens, tool and plant protectors made with organic materials and plant pots made from coffee

beans and wool.The event also marked the 125th anniversaryofthe HorticulturalTrades Association (HTA), which was celebrated with acake-cutting ceremony by me and HTA Chief Executive, Fran Barnes –completewith ceremonial trowel.

As Fran reflected: “Aswemarvelatthe innovations showcased at the Garden Press Event, Iam reminded of our founders’ enduring legacy,which hasnurtured a thriving industrydedicated to enhancing Britain’s green landscape. Thereare very few–ifany sectors–which can match the economic numbers with the environmental benefits and the social value of environmental horticulture.”

It is interesting to reflect that many of the challenges for the HTAin1899 still faceus today but that we still adheretothe core values laid down then.

By the time youhaveread this, we will also knowthe winners of the Association of

Professional Landscape Awards. Asell-out event and, as always, some amazing examples of the highest standards of garden design and build.

Mixed feelings

Onceagain, in my recent conversations with HTAmembers, the weathercontinues to be the dominating factor affecting sales, with significant variation between retailers depending on wheretheyare in the country. Februarywas amixed month, with caterers showing strong performancebut growers facing challenges lifting crops due to wet weather.Garden centre plant areas arefull and growers arehoping for better weatherto get those plants moving through.


It wouldalso be remissofmenot to acknowledgethe looming deadline next month which couldhavea massiveimpact on our trade -the 30 April Border Target Operating Model changes.Fromthisdate, checksfor high-riskplantwillmoveto Border Control Posts (BCPs),whichcould be detrimental to the industry. TheHTA is lobbyinghardonbehalf of itsmembers to keep the current system running until there aresureties andclarificationsfor theBCPs. I’msureI don’tneed to highlight just how detrimental this timingis. At thestartof peakgardeningseason,itcouldn’tcomeata worse time

Despitethe challenges,I hope our industry will blossom with continuedpassion and better weather in the coming months. Here’s to abrighter and moresustainable spring!

Find out more

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

Fran Barnes and Alan Down cut the horticulturally inspired birthdaycake.

Start as you mean to go on

Aswewrapupthe first quarter of 2024,Ifind myself reflecting on what has been an incredibly dynamic and productivestarttothe year for GIMA. From the flurryofactivity within our membership network to the bustling events calendar,it’ssafe to say the past fewmonths have been non-stop

At GIMA, our to-dolistnever seems to shrink, but rather evolveswith the changing landscape of the industry. Touching base with our members and broader support network has been atop priority,ensuring we stay connectedand responsivetotheir needs. Building these relationships is crucial to fostering athriving community within the garden industry.

Our eventscalendar has been packed to thebrim with insightful discussions and workshops covering awidearray of topics. From B2B websitebuilding to assertive communications, and from the powerof apprenticeships to the nuances of key account management, we’veleft no stone unturned in equipping our members with the toolstheyneed to succeed in today’s

competitivemarket. One highlight was our special Amazon masterclass, which provided invaluable insights intonavigatingthe everexpanding digital marketplace.

In addition to these educational endeavours, we’vealso made it apriority to keep our finger on the pulse of industry trends. Euromonitor’s 2024 webinar gaveour members access to invaluable market intelligence, empowering them to makeinformed decisions about the futuredirection of their businesses. And, of course,our team together with the HTA, wasthrilled to bring the latest trends directly to ourmembers atthe Garden PressEvent, which provedtobea resounding success

Butithasn’tall been smooth sailing.The resurgenceofsupply chain issues, particularly in the wake of disruptions in the RedSea and the Suez Canal, has presented some challenges for our members. However, it looks likemuch of this disruption is manageable for most of our members.

Amidstthe hustle andbustle,wetook the opportunity to connect with our members

at events,suchasSpring Fair,gathering valuable insights into thelatesttrends shapingconsumer behaviour.Personally, I alsohad the privilegeofsharingmythoughts on the role of trade associationsalong with my hopes forthe futureonthe all-new Underground Podcast

As if all of this wasn’tenough excitement, we also recently announced the newdates for the annual GIMA Awards –acelebration of excellenceand innovation within our industry–whilst I’ve also had the honour of marking my ownmilestone, celebrating 10 years at the helm of GIMA.

Allofthat within just 12 weeks! As theold adagesays, thereisnorestfor thewicked and that meansevenmorewillbepacked intothe next quarter,and beyond.Wehave our AGMincoming, wherea newPresident will be voted-in,our awards programme will see the judges deliberate on this year’s winners, andour annual Charity GolfDay will return foranother (hopefully sunny!) day of golf, networking and fundraising for theGreenfingersCharity.And, that’sjustthe startofthings!

GIMA keydates for your diary

From fundraising to networking and the value of education, GIMA’s wider calendar of events is not to be missed. Keydates for your diary include:

• May10- GIMA AGM(virtual)

• June 6- GIMA Golf Day, Belton Woods, Grantham

•July 9-10 - GIMA Awards Judging, Warwick Racecourse

• November 7- GIMA Awards Gala Dinner, Celtic Manor Resort

34 March 2024 Viewpoint
Find out more Forfurther information about GIMAand its wide range of member benefits please contact the GIMAPress Office on 01959 564947 or To find out moreabout
programme, including
our skills and knowledge workshops, please visit
Vickywith Fran Barnes,HTA Chief Executiveat the Garden Press Event.
Miracle-Gro® is atrademark of OMSInvestments, Inc. and is used under licencefromOMS Investments, Inc. Please contactyour Evergreen Garden Care SalesRepresentativefor further details FULL PEAT FREE RANGE AVAILABLE
Who’sready forsummer? 9- 11 July 2024NEC,Birmingham Garden Furniture|Barbecues |Shading |Outdoor Living Accessories |GardenDecoration Garden LeisureBuildings |Outdoor Heating |Outdoor Health |Outdoor Entertainment TRADE EVENT Therelaxed and friendly outdoor living exhibition

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.