GTN November 2023 - GIMA Awards Roll of Honour - Garden Trade News UK

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Advice & information for garden centre professionals

Colour in your garden TV campaign starts December 25th

£1.5 million media investment Peckish is launching its biggest ever media campaign this December targeting over 20 million consumers. Launching on TV on Christmas Day, and running into April 2024, Peckish is inspiring the public to embrace the joy of feeding the birds.



All year-round media activity The campaign will be supported with yearround social media and press activity to further drive awareness of our mission to support nature with products that are naturally good, both inside and out.

Consumer campaigns every season Peckish has a campaign for every season to keep consumers engaged with feeding garden birds throughout the year.









When it is freezing, wild birds need feeding. Drive shoppers into store when the first frost hits.

Peckish’s biggest media investment, reaching 25 million consumers with the new ‘Colours’ TV advert.

Tap into the re-wilding trend, allowing nature and your sales to thrive.

Inspire shoppers to grow a garden for nature to thrive. Hold off trimming hedges between March and July.

Freezing means feeding

Don’t just feed the birds, grow them a home too!

Make the Hedge Pledge

Merchandising in store activation

Off fixture displays to drive impulse sales

Bulk volume offers

On fixture educational material




Colour in your garden TV Advert Scan to watch the advert preview



Advice & information for garden centre professionals


Customers vote for Christmas Greatness

Thousands of garden centre customers give Christmas accolades


GTN visits Haws


Colegrave Seabrook Students on Tour


Conference Award Winners


Christmas retailing excellence at Silverbirch Garden Centre in the Clyde Valley

Retail experiences par excellence


udging by the garden centres we’ve already made visits to as part of Awards we can clearly say that garden centres are leading the way when it comes to Christmas retailing. The quality of displays, the range of products on sale, the enthusiastic teams of staff, the high-quality catering and of course the added dimension of beautiful living plants means that any visit to a garden centre during the Christmas period is sure to be a pleasure. But don’t just take it from us. Here are a couple of comments taken from the thousands submitted by customers voting for The Greatest Christmas Garden Centre Team: “In Jackson’s Garden Centre in North Wales, they don’t just put up a Christmas sale. This team decorates their space like it’s their home, with love and care and great attention to detail. Yes, things there are for sale, but it doesn’t feel like you are wandering around a shop when you’re there. It


Customers join in GTN’s Greatest

In this issue... 33

Christmas Awards 5

Sponsors line up prizes for Christmas Awards winners


Colourful moments of joy – Peckish new Ad campaign


Choice Marketing Awards


GIMA Awards 2023 Roll of Honour


Cans with Class – GTN visits Haws


feels like you’ve sneaked into a secret Christmas world and it’s all so very beautiful! I’ve been going here for the past 20 years and each year they surpass the previous. How they do it, I don’t know! But I do know I will be visiting for many years to come. And to top it all, their cafe is lovely and all of the staff in this whole garden centre is kind and friendly and always ready to help.” “Cooks Garden Centre team are just the greatest. They always bring the festive Christmas feeling into our town day and night with their external lights and decorations display but the team themselves get into the spirit of Christmas long before most of us have even thought about it. They are helpful and jolly and always there to offer advice and support. I love to drive past late at night just to get that Christmas feeling.” We can’t wait to see more of your Christmas retailing excellence as we continue our Christmas tours. Ho, Ho, Ho!


Greenfingers gardens and Christmas jumpers The Power of environmental horticulture - HTA Conference






Sipcam Ecofective Smart Garden Products


Little Santa sure to be a winner GTN Planteria


Capi Europe


Gift cards and hot coals - HTA Column


Auto Pot Global




Furniture Clinic Fountasia – Flamingo Pet Products Henchman

Protect yourself against the unknown - GIMA Column

Welcoming new talent – On Tour

Advertisers in this Issue


with Colegrave Seabrook Students

Front and Back Covers Westland Peckish


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Director Trevor Pfeiffer

SMALL PRINT: All material © Potting Shed Press Ltd 2023. No part of this publication may e reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information supplied in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. Potting Shed Press Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by reliance on information contained in this publication or in the vent of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cassation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

November 2023 3

Christmas 2023

Perrywood Sudbury Christmas Team.

The Grange Christmas Team.

Thousands of customers vote for garden centre Christmas Greatness Thousands of customers have been voting for The Greatest Christmas Garden Centre Team as part of GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards.


y popular demand we brought back the element of customer voting for The Greatest Christmas Garden centre Team and it is certainly popular with customers. Thousands of customer votes have already been made and with voting open until December 21st there is plenty of opportunity for more centres to be in with a chance of winning the overall Christmas accolade or one of the regional Greatness Awards. As this issue went to press the Top 20 centres in the customer voting were: 1. Cooks Garden Centre 2. Bosworths Burton Latimer 3. Jacksons Boutique Garden Centre 4. Busy Bee Garden Centre 5. Birkacre 6. Summerhill Garden Centre 7. Gates Garden Centre 8. Perrywood Tiptree 9. Perrywood Sudbury 10. Planters Tamworth 11. Roxton BGC 12. Planters Bretby 13. Ferndale Garden Centre 14. Harrow BGC 15. Albrighton BGC 16. Brigg BGC 17. Ongar BGC 18. Brockworth BGC 19. East Bridgeford Blue Diamond 20. Thurrock Garden Centre

4 November 2023

BGC Arcadia Christmas Team.

To add your Christmas Team into the competition, which will have regional winners as well as an overall customer voting winner, all you have to do is print off the poster, that can be accessed via the GTN Xtra e-mail newsletter display them in store, add a link to your social media pages or website where you can put the voting link or the QR code and let the voting begin. It’s as simple as that. Voting is open now and will remain open until 4:00pm on December 21st. Voting is free, but we are partnering with The Greenfingers Charity so that voters can, if they wish, make a Christmas donation to help build more magical gardens in Children’s Hospices across the country.

Cooks Christmas Team.

Gates Christmas Team

Christmas 2023

Mission Christmas judging! Our team of judges are getting into the Christmas Spirit as they start their mission to visit the 100 garden centres that have been nominated in the years GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards.

With hundreds of votes being registered every day the Top 20 is constantly changing and so far votes have also been registered for all of the following garden centre Christmas teams: Antrim Dobbies, Arcadia BGC, Bell Plantation Garden Centre, Bicester Avenue Blue Diamond, Bosworths Elton, Bournville BGC, Braintree BGC, Brambridge Park Blue Diamond, Bressingham BGC, Bridgemere Blue Diamond, Bridgnorth BGC, Burford House BGC, Cadbury Blue Diamond, Carmarthen BGC, Carr Gate BGC, Charlbury BGC, Charlecote BGC, Cherry Lane Podington, Chipperfield BGC, Coton Blue Diamond, Coventry BGC, Derby Blue Diamond, East Durham BGC, Edinburgh Dobbies, Elm Farm Florist and Gift shop, Endsleigh Blue Diamond, Enfield BGC, Fairways Ashbourne, Fermoys Blue Diamond, Fron Goch, Fryers Blue Diamond, Garden King, Garden Wise Klondyke, Garsons Titchfield, Gordale, Goulds, Harlow Blue Diamond, Harrogate BGC, Haskins Ferndown, Hitchin BGC, Hockley Market Garden Centre, Hollybush Garden Centre, Horncastle BGC, Jamesfield Garden Centre, Keydell Nurseries, Langlands Shiptonthorpe, Louth BGC, Lower Morden Blue Diamond, Lytham St Annes BGC, Meadowcroft, Munro’s Nurseries, Newbridge Blue Diamond, Newton Regis BGC, Nuyard Country & Garden Centre, Old Railway Line, Osterley BGC, Paddock Wood BGC, Peterborough Blue Diamond, Pughs Radyr, Pughs Wenvoe, Raglan Garden Centre, Rake BGC, Ramsgate BGC, Redfields Blue Diamond, Sanders Blue Diamond, Springfields Blue Diamond, Stanway BGC, Stevenage BGC, Swarkestone Nursery, Tarporley BGC, Thatcham BGC, Tong, Trelawney Blue Diamond, Trentham Blue Diamond, Tring BGC, Tunbridge Wells Blue Diamond, Upminster BGC, Waresley Park Garden Centre, Wentworth Garden Centre, Wilton House Blue Diamond, Wimborne BGC, Woburn Sands Emporium, Wolseley Bridge BGC, Woodbridge Dobbies, Woodthorpe BGC, Worcester Blue Diamond, Yarnton Home and Garden.

Here’s GTN’s Greatest Christmas judging visit list for 2023 • Albrighton • Alton • Arcadia • Azure • Barton Grange • Baytree • Bennybeg Plant Centre • Bents • Birkacre • Bosworths Garden Centre • Bournville • Braintree • Bridgemere • Bridgenorth • Brigg • Brimsmore Gardens • Burford House • Cambridge Home & Garden • Castle Gardens Sherbourne • Charlbury • Chasewater • Chessington • Colne Valley • Cooks • Coolings Lifestyle

• Coolings Rushmore

• Klondyke

Hill • Dobbies Brighton • Dobbies Edinburgh • Dobbies Morpeth • Dobbies Richmond • Dobbies Tewkesbury • Ferndale • Fron Goch • Fryers • Garsons Esher • Garsons Titchfield • Gates • Glendoick • Gordale • Gouldings Santa Experience • Goulds Garden Centre • Groves Bridport • Harrogate • Haskins - Snowhill • Hatton • Hillier Aldermaston • Hillier Weyhill • Holt • Hornsea • Jacksons Boutique • Keydell • Klodyke Houghton Hall

GardenWise • Klondyke Astbury Meadow • Klondyke High Legh • Klondyke Mortonhall • Klondyke Stokesley • Longacres Bagshot • Mackenzie & Cruickshank • Meadowcroft • Munros Nurseries • Newbridge • Newquay • Old Railway Line • Osterley • Pengelly • Perrywood Sudbury • Perrywood Tiptree • Planters Bretby • Planters Brookfields • Planters Garden King • Planters Tamworth • Playhatch • Polhill • Poundbury Gardens • Pugh’s Radyr

• Pugh’s Wenvoe • Ruxley Manor

Garden Centre • Silverbirch • Squires Badshot Lea • St Peters Worcester • Stratford • Studley • Tarporley • Thatcham • The Garden Kitchen By Pugh’s • The Grange • Tingley • Tong • Tring • Van Hage Amwell • Wentworth • Whitehall Lacock • Whitehall Pewsey • Whitehall Whitchurch • Winnersh • Woburn Sands Emporium • Woodlands • Woodthorpe • Yarnton

GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards Judges 2023. Left to right: GTN’s Features Editor Anisa Gress, Mr Christmas Roger Crookes, Awards co-ordinators Neil and Nicci Gow, GTN Editor Trevor Pfeiffer and Industry Consultant Jane Lawler

After all those visits and plenty of mince pies the judges will be meeting in early January to decide the winners of the 16 categories who will be announced on The Stage at Spring Fair, Hall 2 at the NEC on Monday 5th February 2024, 5:00pm. We look forward to seeing as many nominated teams and GTN readers there as possible.

November 2023 5

Christmas 2023

Sponsors line up prizes for the winners of GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards As well as the kudos and fame from winning a Greatest Christmas award, our Gold winners in each of the judged categories will win prizes including stock, services or hotel accommodation from our Greatest Awards sponsors.

• AMES - £500 of stock Combining more than 250 years of worldwide, market-leading tool expertise, AMES Tool epitomises style and function and is reigniting gardeners’ passion for their beloved tools. Made up of essentials for digging, cultivating, planting, lawn care and so much more – AMES Tools represents one of the most comprehensive and carefully-curated lawn and garden tool portfolios to hit the market in several years.

• Garden Radio – 1 years Garden Radio service Garden Radio is an in-store radio service designed to encourage customers to linger for longer in your garden centre. We provide a music service which makes a real difference in providing an ambience mood for garden centres and messages can be added too.

• Glee 2024 – 2 x Hotel Rooms at Glee 2024 Glee is the UK’s leading garden and outdoor living trade show, hosting the most exciting brands, innovative products and inspiring garden retail insights. As the premium destination for garden and outdoor living inspiration, Glee brings the British, European and International markets together under one roof. Grow your brand in 2024 and be part of Glee’s 50th anniversary.

• Kaemingk - Decorated tree display from the Kaemingk stand at Spring Fair Winners of The Greatest Christmas Supplier for the past three years, Kaemingk are once again giving decorated trees from the Spring fair display to winners of two categories.

Every season, we aim to design a complete and distinctive collection of seasonal decorations for home and garden.

• LeisureGrow – NOMA £500 of stock NOMA has been shaping the Christmas lighting market for over 80 years, designing elegant and magical lighting concepts that illuminate countless homes and gardens across the UK. NOMA is part of the LeisureGrow family, which also includes the brands: LG Outdoors, Petface, Casa Mia, Grillstream, NOMA Garden Lighting, and NOMA Halloween.

• PATS 2024 - 2 x Hotel rooms at PATS Telford 2024 PATS is the UK’s National Pet Industry exhibition, where the pet trade meet to do business. Launched in 2009, PATS has provided UK pet companies an unrivalled showcase for their products to a wide audience of UK and International visitors. In 2024, PATS will be a three-day event at the Telford International Centre on Sunday 29th September to Tuesday 1st October.

• Smart Garden Products – Three Kings - £500 of stock Three Kings is a glittering collection of festive décor with everything to adorn the home and garden, from a warm welcome at the front door to the cosy surround of the fireplace from GCA Supplier of the Year, Smart Garden Products.

• Solex 2024 - 2 x Hotel Rooms at SOLEX 2024 LOFA, the UK’s leading business association

for luxury outdoor living, boasts a portfolio of over 70 prestigious brands. With expertise and influence in 9 different sectors, including garden furniture, accessories, barbecues, and more, LOFA stands out as the industry leader. For over 50 years, we have served as the voice of the outdoor living industry, championing top-quality products that prioritise safety and innovation. We foster collaboration among industry members, building networks and providing valuable resources for knowledge and expertise.

• Stars for Europe – Houseplant promotional support Stars for Europe (SfE) is the marketing initiative of the European poinsettia growers Dümmen Orange, Selecta One, Beekenkamp Plants and Syngenta Flowers. The initiative was founded in 2000 with the aim of promoting and securing long-term poinsettia sales in Europe. SfE activities currently exist in 22 European countries.

• Woodmansterne - £500 of stock Woodmansterne is the leading supplier of premium greeting cards to independent retailers. We design, produce and finish all our cards in Britain. We make cards that feed the soul, lift the spirit and reflect British culture, whether this is through the magic of Quentin Blake’s illustrations, the beauty of National Trust images, the iconic pattern of Emma Bridgewater designs, or the humour of Punch cartoons. We are committed to using sustainable materials and practices wherever possible. As a third-generation family business, we understand the importance of protecting our environment and safeguarding it for the future.


6 November 2023

Primeur 2023 wrapped!

2023 was another great year for ‘team Primeur’ and its garden retail customers. Let’s look back at some of the highlights.

Merchandising evolution: Border stand

Rising star product: Carolina Border New showroom: 35,824 sqft of warehousing added

New team members: Say Hi Steve Crean!

Best seller product: Scallop Border grey

Sustainability champion GIMA awards

Monies raised for the Greenfingers Charity: £5,200

Pallets delivered: 3067 Jan-Sept


Feeding birds to create colourful moments of joy Westland’s latest £1.5m promotional campaign brings Peckish bird food to TV screens on Christmas Day.


eckish, one of the leading brands at Westland, has gone from strength to strength. It is now the UK’s biggest wild bird food brand, and its Complete Mix has the largest share of seed sales by both volume and value. Peckish is now investing in a £1.5m media campaign, launching on TV on Christmas Day, to grow the category and raise awareness of the joy of feeding wild birds. The Colour in your Garden campaign highlights the vibrant colours of wild birds that brighten up gardens during grey, winter months when they feed on Peckish Complete. Much has changed in the world of feeding in the last decade. Developments in seed mixes and provenance, along with plastic-free packaging, has meant the brand has moved on. Now four years into its five-

8 November 2023

year ‘Field to Beak’ strategy, and Rachael McWilliam, Westland Horticulture’s Head of Category and Brand, says the next step is all about communication to end consumers. “We tasked the team to embrace our Field to Break vision, and looking at our research, we discovered that consumers find joy in feeding the birds due to the colour they bring to gardens. This was our motivating factor in producing a campaign that truly brought the colour of wild birds to life,” says Rachael. “But birds are quite difficult to film and when you see them flying in the garden, they’re like a little dot. For us, it was important we filmed our campaign using real, live footage of birds, to capture their vivid colours,” Rachael adds. The team again

came up trumps with the idea of showing ribbons of colourful trails that could get left behind in the wake of a flying bird.

Seed and sales Rachael explains that Peckish seed really does attract more colourful birds. “This is the difference between a basic and a premium seed mix like Peckish. It contains softer, high-energy seeds attractive to finches, blue tits and robins which have smaller beaks, rather than the larger seeds, like whole wheat and cereals, preferred by bigger birds like wood pigeons.” The advert has purposely been filmed within the backdrop of a season-neutral garden to promote all year round feeding. “If you look at the GfK data for bird seed sales, May can be as big a month as

Feeding wild birds brings little moments of joy to many people.


January. Feeding wild birds brings little moments to joy to many people,” says Rachael. “Seeing them flock to New display material your feeding station to support the TV ad never fails to bring a campaign. smile to your face. It is also not expensive, and is accessible to the masses, whether you have a large garden or a small balcony.” From Westland research, when people draw a picture of how feeding birds makes them feel, they inevitably draw a stick man with a glow around their chest or a halo above the head. “It’s not like owning a pet that you must feed, they do it because they want to. It’s quite a unique category in that respect.”

Festive viewing Christmas Day may seem an unusual choice for launching a television ad campaign, but research shows a huge chunk of Westland’s audience profile will be tuning in. “We know around 50% of the population feeds birds, so already we have a wide profile, but our bullseye audience is 55 years plus, ABC1 demographic. If you look at Christmas Day last year, Doc Martin attracted 2.2million of our target audience and we know our audience watches dramas,” says Rachael. The 30 second ad will air on TV channels, such as ITV, Channel 4 and Sky throughout January and February. It will then continue as a video on demand and on social media to the Easter weekend and be available for garden centres to link to from their own platforms.

Below left: Rachael at Glee earlier this year where the new Peckish Coco-Not won the Wild Bird Care and Wildlife Products Award. Below right: Peckish Winter Warmer on the production line.

Stocking up value to the sector and drive the category One in every two people that visit stores by bringing more people in. “We’re trying during January and February will have been to move the category on and create more exposed to the TV advert, so from Boxing value for the retailer,” says Rachael. A Day onwards, Rachael recommends garden perfect illustration is the product’s British centres carry plentiful stocks of Peckish Retail Consortium accreditation giving the Complete. Westland has a raft of point of benefit of assurance on traceability. “If sale available, including ribbons to reflect the retailer has a problem, we can trace the colours from the ad, fixtures near the the product from that batch number. We tills for impulse purchases, pallet wraps, know every single ingredient, what line it gondola ends and stickers. There is also was run on and at what time. It shows we the trade platform, Westland Live, where have controls in place and that everything retailers can download marketing assets is consistent.” and place stock orders. Rachael believes it’s So, on Christmas Day, sit back also important to stock Peckish products and enjoy 30 seconds of outside the pet and bird feed multicoloured magic and departments especially be reminded of the in high-traffic areas beauty of garden because, for many Find out more birds and how customers, bird food For more information on simple it is to is an impulse buy. stocking Peckish products visit Westland Live or speak to feed them. The Peckish range your Westland account is positioned to add manager.

November 2023 9

Smart are proud to be the winner of this year’s

GIMA Supplier of the Year Award We are dedicated to outstanding customer service & exceptional quality.

Celebrating 2003–2023

20 Years … & counting!

sales@ or call +44 (0) 1235 424100

Choice Marketing Awards

Winning at working together Choice members gather for annual conference and trade event plus the group’s best suppliers are crowned.


embers of Choice Marketing enjoyed a conference, trade event and evening awards dinner in September to celebrate another year of successful partnerships. Around 350 members attended to hear about Choice Marketing’s performance in 2022-23 and its plans for the year ahead. The trade event, where 115 suppliers exhibited, proved to be a perfect opportunity for networking, and at the evening awards dinner, some of these suppliers were recognised with awards for their achievements. Attending for the first time was Moss & Moor, the independent, family run garden centre in Ilkley, Yorkshire. It is the most recent member of Choice Marketing and brings the

group’s number of garden centre partners to 53. RocketGro has also been signed up as an Associate Supplier. Smart Garden Products took home the highest award of Overall Winner. James Parr, Smart’s National Accounts Director describes the conference as ‘brilliant’ and add: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this coveted award on behalf of Smart. As the membership continues to grow, we are delighted to have forged such a close relationship with Choice. The members are always so enthusiastic and supportive which is so rewarding. I look forward to growing our business with them further in 2024 across many of our product groups.”


1 For the third time, Allensmore Nurseries was named Choice Marketing Plant Supplier of the Year. “We’re a family run business and the staff feel like family. We extend this feeling to customers who are Choice members as well,” says Tracey Rowley.


Congratulations to all the winning suppliers Overall Winner • Smart Garden Products. Plants • Winner: Allensmore Nurseries. • Special Commendation: Farplants. Non-Retail Services • Winner: Corby + Fellas. • Special Commendation: The Full Range.

Furniture & Outdoor Living • Winner: Leisuregrow. Giftware • Winner: Langs. • Special Commendation: Woodmansterne. Sundries • Winner: Smart Garden. • Special Commendation: Tom Chambers.



2 Leisuregrow receives its award for Furniture & Outdoor Living Supplier of the Year. “Garden centres want to be independent, but they want to collectively be part of something as well,” says Ken Davies, Area Sales Director. Leisuregrow has spent the last two years working on a bespoke range for Choice members which will be ready for 2024.


3 Langs took home the award for Giftware Supplier of the Year and has been a member of Choice Marketing for six months. “Choice embraces everything that we, as a business, are about. We’re about relationships and personable experiences which is how Choice looks after their customers. For us, it goes hand in hand with how we are as a business and our strategy,” says Managing Director Keith Edmondson 4 Non-Retail Services Supplier of the Year was Corby + Fellas. Alan McCammon, Managing Director says: “We’re absolutely honoured to win such an award. Super proud to be associated with Choice and I think it’s a credit to the team at Corby + Fellas and our progression over the years.” 5 Smart Garden Products took home two awards. Sundry Supplier of the Year and Overall Winner. James Parr, Sales Director says the awards recognise the whole team. “It’s a team effort and all about the dedication. It’s not just us, but it’s everyone behind the scenes.”

November 2023 13

Capi Europe wins GIMA awards.

GIMA Awards.

Capi Europe’s “Made With” collection has won at the GIMA awards (Garden Industry Manufacture’s Association). The GIMA awards are the highlight of the garden industry’s calendar. This collection was awarded as winner in the category “Decorative Pots & Plants” & became Champion in the Sustainability category. This collection is a great example of recycling.

Made With collection.

The flowerpots from Capi’s new ‘Made with’ collection are made with a specific recycled residual. There are three variants: artificial grass, wood sawdust and textile. Residual materials thus get a new use and also determine the colour. So with the fresh green pot, made with artificial grass, you literally and figuratively bring an eco-friendly piece of green into your home. The beige ‘Made with’ pot is made with sawdust and the black one with recycled textiles: old clothes do not need to be burned, but are given a new life. In this way, each eco-friendly flowerpot shows its origin with its colour. The design of the lightweight Groove pots is inspired by the natural grooves in rocks and mountains as a tribute to the wonders of nature.

for more information contact: Kate Ebbens Capi Europe BV A CO2 neutral company Asteriastraat 17-19 5047 RM Tilburg (NL)

GIMA Awards 2023




November 2023 15

GIMA Awards 2023

ROLL OF HONOUR GIMA Sword of Excellence Winner: Sipcam Home and Garden - Organic Superfood for Peat-Free Compost. Best Point of Sale Material Winner: Wildlife World Ltd - Artisan Nester Display Tree. Finalists: Westland - G.E.M.S. Gardening Essentials Merchandising Solutions. Elho - The Ocean Collection Octagon Stand. Treadstone Products - Rope Trellis Display Stand. Best Point of Sale Sustainability Category Champion Elho. The Ocean Collection Octagon Stand. Best Sustainable Product Packaging Winner: Westland. Peckish Natural Balance Local Seed Mix. Finalists: Westland - Peckish Complete paper packaging. Altico Garden Products Ltd - recycled water feature packaging. Packaging Sustainability Category Champion Westland - Peckish Natural Balance Local Seed Mix.

Best Marketing Communications & Social Media Winner: GARDENA. GARDENA ReTh!nk @ Chelsea Flower Show. Finalists: Elho - the Ocean Collection online media campaign video. Wildlife World Ltd - Print Your Own POS. Evergreen Garden Care - Grow Your Own On A Budget Campaign Garden Care Winner: Sipcam Home and Garden - Organic Superfood for Peat-Free Compost. Finalists: STV International Ltd - The Big Cheese Poison Free Range. Westland - John Innes Peat Free Compost Range. Hygeia - Nature Safe Seaweed Enriched Feed.

Rope Trellis. Elho - Green Basics Growpot and Growtray All-in-One.Hozelock - Wonderhoze. Growing, Planting, Equipment & Sundries Sustainability Champion Treadstone Products - Treadstone Rope Trellis. Garden Tools, Machinery & Implements Winner: Burgon & Ball. New RHS-endorsed trowels. Finalists: GARDENA - GARDENA MicroCutting Range. Westland - Kent & Stowe Eversharp Garden Snips.

Garden Care Sustainability Champion STV International Ltd - The Big Cheese Poison Free Range.

Outdoor Leisure Winner: Zest Outdoor Living. Garden Bar Set. Finalists: Primeur Ltd - Eco Trend Recycled Rubber BBQ Mat. Maze Outdoor - Bali rope weave eight seat oval dining det with interchangeable cushion cover. Hozelock - Outdoor shower.

Growing Planting Equipment & Sundries Winner: AutoPot Global Ltd.Tray2Grow. Finalists: Treadstone Products - Treadstone

Outdoor Leisure Sustainability Champion Primeur Ltd - Eco Trend Recycled Rubber BBQ Mat.


Winner: Sipcam Home and Garden - Organic Superfood for Peat-Free Compost. The perfect partner to feed plants growing in peat-free compost. The 6-in-1 booster powdered feed will result in healthier flowers, brighter blooms, and up to two times crop yields for fruit and veg. An organic product for mixing into compost or around the base of plants. Retailers finally have a solution that encourages increased use of peat-free compost. Judges say the move to growing in peat-free compost is the single biggest issue faced by the industry and this product addresses the challenge.

16 November 2023

GIMA Awards 2023 Plants, Seeds & Bulbs Winner: Westland. Unwins Nature’s Haven Easy Wildflowers Shady Mix. Finalists: Tildenet - Haxnicks Wildflower Seedballs. Westland - Unwins Gardener’s Seed Box. Plants, Seeds & Bulbs Sustainability Champion Tildenet. Haxnicks Wildflower Seedballs. Garden Landscaping Winner: Treadstone Products. Treadstone Rope Trellis. Finalists: Primeur Ltd - EZ Border Recycled Rubber Mower Edge. Forest Garden Slatted Arch. Garden Landscaping Sustainability Champion Treadstone Products. Treadstone Rope Trellis. Garden Clothing & Gifts Winner: Phoenox Textiles. Hug Rug Rainbow Trust Charity Mats. Finalists: Treadstone Products - ClipGlove Recycled Bottle Glove. E P BARRUS - Memory Foam Folding Kneeler

Garden Clothing & Gift Sustainability Champion Phoenox Textiles. Hug Rug Rainbow Trust Charity Mats. Pet Care, Aquatics & Wild Bird Care Winner: CJ Wildlife. National Trust Kids Range. Finalists: Fauna Bird (Singing Friend) - YARA 100% Recycled Fat Ball Feeder. Westland Peckish Complete paper packaging. Pet, Wild Bird & Aquatic Sustainability Champion Fauna Bird (Singing Friend). YARA 100% Recycled Fat Ball Feeder. Garden Lighting, Water Features & Ornamentation Winner: The Solar Centre. Slimsafe Solar Security Light. Finalists: Capi Europe - Hydria Water Feature Kit with Planter. Ames UK - Easy Fountain Ango Falls. The Solar Centre - Gemini Solar Wall Light. Garden Décor Sustainability Champion The Solar Centre. Slimsafe Solar Security Light.

Decorative Pots & Planters Winner: Capi Europe BV. Groove Recyclable Planter. Finalists: Primeur Ltd - Tierra Verde Recycled Rubber Trough Collection. Forest Garden- Living Screen Planter. Decorative Pots and Planters Sustainability Champion Capi Europe. Groove recyclable Planter. Sustainability Award Winner: Treadstone Products. Treadstone Rope Trellis. Gardenex Export Achievement Award Winner: Grow Sow Simple. Grow Sow Simple Campaign with Winco Foods in the USA. Finalists: VegTrug Limited - VegTrug Raised Planter launch on QVC America. Wildlife World Ltd - Export of the Artisan range to 12 international markets. GCA Supplier of the Year Award Winner: Smart Garden Products. Finalists: Meadow View. Stone Woodlodge Products.


Winner: Smart Garden Products. Congratulations to all members of the Smart Garden Products team - their work is recognised in winning this award. Judges said the company has proved to be reliable with great availability and prompt service. Its products are also recognised for being well presented. Finalists: Meadow View Stone, Woodlodge Products.

November 2023 17

GIMA Awards 2023

GARDENEX EXPORT ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Grow Sow Simple - Grow Sow Simple Campaign with Winco Foods in the USA. After visiting the US-based National Hardware Show, Grow So Simple has set up a successful deal with four product ranges going into 133 Winco Foods stores. “I couldn’t be more thrilled,” says Dan Robson, Managing Director. “Seed sales have suffered through Brexit. Thankfully we were able to work with Gardenex and open up the American market. We initially started with a couple of trade shows, and from there we met a big client and got our first order. This year we exported seven, 40foot containers, and our 42 staff worked 24 hours a day at our warehouse in Newcastle. We can’t wait for next year.” Finalists: VegTrug Limited, Wildlife World Ltd.

SUSTAINABILITY AWARD Treadstone Products - Treadstone Rope Trellis Sometimes the simplest of ideas are the best and this rope trellis provides consumers with a great sustainable solution for climbing plants. Inspired by traditional cargo nets, this natural trellis feature is hand woven using clever non-slipping knots and can be used vertically, horizontally or draped over items to be hidden. “The rope trellis has been an idea that’s been buzzing around in the back of my head for many years and it’s something a bit different,” says Dean Winters, Product and Marketing Director. “It’s one of these things you tend to get a feel for when lots of people, young and old, male or female universally seems to be attracted to it. That’s when you know you’re onto a winner.” Finalists: Capi Europe - Groove recyclable Planter. Fauna Bird (Singing Friend) - YARA 100% Recycled Fat Ball Feeder. Phoenox Textiles - Hug Rug Rainbow Trust Charity Mats. Tildenet - Haxnicks Wildflower Seedballs. Primeur Ltd - Eco Trend Recycled Rubber BBQ Mat. STV International Ltd - The Big Cheese Poison Free Range. Westland - Peckish Natural Balance Local Seed Mix. Elho - The Ocean Collection Octagon Stand.

18 November 2023

GIMA Awards 2023


Winner: Wildlife World Ltd - Artisan Nester Display Tree. Each display tree has been specifically designed to hold or hang Fairtrade Artisan Nesters and signs. They are supplied free with Artisan Nesters and have been handmade in Wildlife World’s workshop to provide a great bit of retail theatre and bring the product to life. “This is a team effort,” says Mark Pittman, Managing Director. “Our sales team came up with the concept. We brought it back to the workshop and showed it to one of the workshop designers who made it. We now have over 150 [in stores] and sales are going up by three, four, 500%. Sales are just astronomical and in a very small footprint of around two-foot square.” Finalists: Westland. G.E.M.S - Gardening Essentials Merchandising Solutions. Elho - The Ocean Collection Octagon Stand. Treadstone Products - Rope Trellis Display Stand. Category Sustainability Champion Elho - The Ocean Collection Octagon Stand.

PET CARE, AQUATICS & WILD BIRD CARE Winner: C J Wildlife - National Trust Kids Range. Developed in colaboration with the National Trust these vibrant, fun, and easy to use wildlife products have been designed to encourage kids to connect with nature. Colourful packaging includes QR codes providing free access to activity sheets so children can continue to discover and learn about nature. Easy Flip seed feeder, fat ball feeder or peanuts feeder are recycable and paired with a range of food tubs perfect for little hands to carry. Judges say it is a great way to get kids outside and engage with nature, while Zoann Medcalf, Product Launch Manager says: “We wanted the range to not just be something they buy and take home, but something they could build, decorate, and colour. And then watch the birds use them as well so children are learning through fun.” Finalists: Fauna Bird (Singing Friend) - YARA 100% Recycled Fat Ball Feeder. Westland - Peckish Complete Paper Packaging. Category Sustainability Champion: Fauna Bird (Singing Friend) - YARA 100% Recycled Fat Ball Feeder.

November 2023 19

GIMA Awards 2023

BEST MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS & SOCIAL MEDIA Winner: GARDENA - GARDENA ReTh!nk @ Chelsea Flower Show. Industry influencers and garden experts have supported GARDENA’s ReTh!nk Campaign sharing tips and knowledge to inspire gardeners to commit to make sustainable choices, such as growing their own food and encouraging insects. The ReTh!nk garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show was built upon Reduce, Repair, Recycle and offered an immersive garden experience, a strong online presence, coverage in printed publications and on social media via influencer engagement. Edward Cantell, Channel Sales Manager - Garden Centres and Independent Retailers says: “Sustainability is a massive factor within our industry, and within our business. The ReTh!nk campaign as made people think a little bit more about what they were doing and we’re very, very delighted to win.” Finalists: Elho - The Ocean Collection online media campaign video. Wildlife World - Print Your Own POS. Evergreen Garden Care - Grow Your Own on a Budget Campaign.

DECORATIVE POTS & PLANTERS Winner: Capi Europe BV - Groove Recyclable Planter. Houseplant pot made from 100% white sawdust material. With a lifetime warranty, this new planter made in Europe, ensures reshoring the production and cuts energy consumption. Judges say it is a great example of recycling, in this instance sawdust, turning it into great looking pots. Finalists: Primeur - Tierra Verde Recycled Rubber Trough Collection. Forest Garden - Living Screen Planter. Category Sustainability Champion: Capi Europe - Groove recyclable Planter.

20 November 2023

GIMA Awards 2023

GARDEN CARE Winner: Sipcam Home and Garden - Organic Superfood for Peat-Free Compost. An organic feed for plants grown in peat-free compost which can be mixed into compost or applied around the base of plants. With high efficacy, it will result in brighter blooms, and twice the yield for edibles. Environmentally friendly, retailers now have a solution to encourage increased sales of peat-free compost. “We launched it at Glee in 2022 and spent at least six or eight months before that with our Spanish and Italian colleagues. It’s been a group effort for us to try and get a solution to an issue we’ve got on the market,” says Nigel Thompson, Head of Sales and Marketing. Finalists: STV International - The Big Cheese Poison Free Range. Westland John Innes Peat-Free Compost Range. Hygeia - Nature Safe Seaweed Enriched Feed. Category Sustainability Champion: STV International - The Big Cheese Poison Free Range.

November 2023 21

GIMA Awards 2023

GROWING PLANTING EQUIPMENT & SUNDRIES AutoPot Global Ltd - Tray2Grow. A completely automated, power-free system that offers five ways to feed and water plants. Gravity fed from any tank anywhere it can irrigate seed trays, small pots, grow bags, micro herbs and planters. Judges said design and function was really well thought out while the excellent packaging was super informative. Jason Ralph-Smith, Owner of AutoPot Global says: “We are really pleased to get this award because of the innovation and the technology and the three years of hard work that’s gone into getting it ready. And because of its water saving issues, recycled plastic, organic inks that we use on the boxes for the recycled packaging.” Finalists: Treadstone - Rope Trellis. Elho - Green Basics Growpot and Growtray All-in-One. Hozelock- Wonderhoze. Category Sustainability Champion: Treadstone - Rope Trellis.


Winner: Westland - Peckish Natural Balance Local Seed Mix. Judges recognised this winning product for its great sustainable and plastic-free packaging design and strong brand identity. A blend of 10 different seeds with all ingredients sourced from UK and Irish Farms, the seed mix provides energy and variety to attract a wide range of popular garden birds.

Finalists: Westland – Peckish Complete Paper Packaging. Altico Garden Products Ltd – Recycled Water Feature Packaging. Category Sustainability Champion: Westland - Peckish Natural Balance Local Seed Mix.

22 November 2023

GIMA Awards 2023

GARDEN TOOLS, MACHINERY & IMPLEMENTS Winner: Burgon & Ball - New RHS-endorsed trowels. A lovely addition to a comprehensive range of quality hand tools. New stainless-steel tools, offer something different and covetable, even for a gardener who already has an everyday trowel. The Groundbreaker and weeding trowels draw inspiration from top-selling designs in Burgon & Ball’s other RHS-endorsed ranges, while the planting trowel has been designed following feedback from gardeners. Endorsed by the RHS, they also have a lifetime guarantee. “We came up with the range because not everyone wants to use a standard trowel,” says Ruth Posey, Sales Director. “There are different types of planting and different plants so we looked into what those were and made sure we had a solution for every type of planting. It’s been wonderfully received by the trade, so we’re really proud to get the award and the recognition.” Finalists: GARDENA - MicroCutting Range. Westland - Kent & Stowe Eversharp Garden Snips.

GARDEN LIGHTING, WATER FEATURES & ORNAMENTATION Winner: The Solar Centre - Slimsafe Solar Security Light. A discreet, powerful and easy to install solar security light. It uses the latest solar panel technology to enhance energy gain in a small area, while magnifying the rays from the sun onto the panel. Judges say it is a brilliantly bright solar security light that’s made to last. Finalists: Capi Europe - Hydria Water Feature Kit with Planter. The AMES Companies - Easy Fountain Ango Falls. The Solar Centre- Gemini Solar Wall Light. Category Sustainability Champion: The Solar Centre - Slimsafe Solar Security Light

November 2023 23

GIMA Awards 2023


Winner: Zest Outdoor Living - Garden Bar Set. This compact footprint garden bar folds out to present all the ingredients needed for a relaxing drink or focal point to the perfect garden party. Two sturdy stacking stools can be conveniently stored inside the base section, with space for a drink’s fridge, two additional stools, or boxes of canned drinks. In a market full of converted garden sheds or open lectern style bars, this product is like no other - it folds from a features packed bar to a compact footprint in seconds. Judges praised the Garden Bar Set for its clever, multifunctional design. Finalists: Primeur - Eco Trend Recycled Rubber BBQ Mat. Maze Outdoor - Bali Rope Weave 8 Seat Oval Dining Set with interchangeable cushion covers. Hozelock – Outdoor Shower. Category Sustainability Champion: Primeur - Eco Trend Recycled Rubber BBQ Mat.

24 November 2023

GIMA Awards 2023

PLANTS, SEEDS & BULBS Winner: Westland – Unwin’s Nature’s Haven Easy Wildflowers Shady Mix. Easy to grow – simply scatter and watch seeds turn into a beautiful display. Chosen specifically to perform in shady areas, the seeds include native British wildflowers for a nectar rich and colourful wildflower garden which will attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects. Judges recognised the product as an easy way to sow seeds and its good specific mix for shady spots. Finalists: Westland – Unwins Gardener’s Seed Box. Tildenet - Haxnicks Wildflower Seedballs. Category Sustainability Champion: Tildenet - Haxnicks Wildflower Seedballs.

GARDEN CLOTHING & GIFTS Winner: Phoenox Textiles - Hug Rug Rainbow Trust Charity Mats. After a day outside in the garden, these doormats stop dirt and mud being traipsed into the house. Made from recycled materials, they are stain-resistant and machine washable at 30°C. Sales of the Hug Rug Rainbow support the Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity, which provides a lifeline to families and children facing life-limiting or life-threatening

conditions. Judges praised the Hug Rug Rainbow for its lovely design, great quality and a wonderful back story. Finalists: Treadstone Products - ClipGlove Recycled Bottle Glove. EP Barrus - Memory Foam Folding Kneeler. Category Sustainability Champion: Phoenox Textiles. Hug Rug Rainbow Trust Charity Mats.

November 2023 25

GIMA Awards 2023


Winner: Treadstone Products -Treadstone Rope Trellis. Described by judges as a superb natural climber support with great sustainable credentials, the natural, flexible trellis looks great in any garden environment. It can be used untreated or stained to match existing garden décor, and is hand made using natural sisal rope.

Finalists: Primeur - EZ Border Recycled Rubber Mower Edge. Forest Garden - Slatted Arch Category Sustainability Champion: Treadstone Products. Treadstone Rope Trellis.


Another extremely generous cheque, this time £14,000, was presented by GIMA’s President Jenny Douthwaite (far left), on the night of its annual awards to the Greenfingers Charity. Raised during the GIMA Golf Day in June, it was accepted by the charity’s Sue Allen and Linda Petrons seen here with Gethin Jones, the evening’s host.

26 November 2023


AutoPot video gondola ends available - enquire now via

GIMA Growing & Planting Equipment Award Winner 2023

“Really well thought out design and function, Excellent packaging which is super informative.”


• Hand-made from Natural Jute. • Available in 5 sizes. • Space efficient - easy to transport! • Easy to stain or colour. • Use on fences, walls or between posts to create stunning garden screening. • Merchandising unit available FOC.




Factory visit

Cans with class Even after more than 130 years, the human touch remains essential to the making of iconic Haws watering cans. GTN was invited for a behind the scenes tour of the factory to see how they are made and learn how this established company continues to look to the future.

28 November 2023

Factory visit


esiding in a residential street in Smethwick, is a horticultural gem. Not one where plants are the stars, but home to an essential gardening tool – the watering can. For more than 130 years Haws premium watering cans have been a gardener’s favourite and today their manufacture lives on in a Birmingham factory where much of the process is still done by hand. Proudly made in the UK, there is only one process, hand dipped galvanising, which is done in Slovakia. But it’s worth it as this process gives this professional can, the Warley Fall, a life-time guarantee. Now owned by the Pennock family, third generation Andy is at the helm. The product line up today is indoor and outdoor cans, houseplant sprayers and ornamental jugs,

Individual spouts, braces and handles ready to be soldered to the main body.

We work with boutiques and independent garden centres where people are passionate about gardening.... and they are sent out across the world, both for B2B and direct to consumer markets. After the UK, the next largest markets are the USA and Canada. Ten, 40ft containers are shipped to North America a year. Then it’s Germany, Austria and Scandinavia, which along with other European customers receive seven containers a year. Josh Papworth, Team Manager, says because of UK’s exit from Europe, Haws is looking to open a company in Germany to overcome the challenges of exporting. “This means products going to Europe will already be imported. All the tax issues and import implications will be sorted so we can distribute direct to customer with significantly less hassle an nd be able to provide a much better servvice that is expected of a premium brand.” In the UK, the Smethwick faactory makes and stores finished product fo or smaller despatches, while a third-partty logistics company in Manchester handles large B2B orders. It’s hoped further logistics sites will be established in the future. With watering cans not being the easiest things to package, Andy has repeated the ingenu uity first seen by the company’s founder Joh hn Haws, and designed specifically shaped cartons to maximise on storage and redu uce empty space transported across the world.

made from pre-cut metal prepared by a near-by specialist supplier. This helps keep costs down and enables the team to quickly prepare, bend and shape the separate parts. Andy explains each person can prepare a couple of thousand parts of the can in a day but its divided up in batches of 100. “As well as being better for staff, it much easier to monitor performance and also see if we have a problem with the machine or tooling. It’s better to have 100 problems than 2000.” Each stage of manufacture requires a different skill rating depending on the complexity of the machinery being operated and the parts they are creating. At each point the team is also responsible for checking quality control.

Quality in the making A production line of hand opeerated presses, polishers and welders helps make the manufacture process streamlined and efficient. Using pure copper, steel, zinc and plastic, some elements off the cans are

Above: And dy demonstrates how to use one off the hand operated presses; Roses in the making. Leeft: Josh with spouts reaady to be made into outdoor watering cans. Because finished cans take up so much room, making up and storing ‘child pieces’ is a more efficient use of space.

November 2023 29

Factory visit Haws – a potted history 1884 Before watering cans, gardeners relied on watering pots with holes in the base, filled by being submerged in water. They were tricky to use as they relied on gardeners having long arms to reach their plants, while simultaneously lifting their thumb away from a hole which, via pressure, released the water. John Haws was one of the many gardeners struggling with watering pots and while growing vanilla (ultimately unsuccessfully) in Mauritius he decided to improve on the design.

Using compressed air, each metal can is individually sprayed with coloured thermosetting powder whose particles are positively attracted to the metal. Cans are then baked in an oven to seal and harden the paint.

Mark Jenner-Parson (left) has recently joined Haws as Commercial Director, bringing with him 25 years of garden industry experience. Andy Pennock (centre) and Josh Papworth.

Some families now have a third generation working at the Smethwick factory and many are local, arriving to work on foot or bicycle. After staff consultation, Andy has also introduced a trial four day working week to see how it goes. Hours will be the same but compressed into four rather than five days.

techniques have yet to be perfected and on top of that, the company still needs to offer at least a fiveyear guarantee for every product. “But the sky’s the limit,” says Andy. Also being tested is recycled plastic. “We’ve done our first set of black recycled plastic cans and so far, the tests have proven to be good. We’re comfortable with what we’re seeing, and our plan over time is to look at going to 100% recycled and recyclable plastic so it will be a closed loop system,” says Andy. “Our small plastic cans are designed to live in a greenhouse for at least ten years. We know that happens with the green, sage and dark blue. We know they have the strength and rigidity but we don’t know whether the same is true with the black plastic.” Before leaving the factory, all the cans are individually tested for leaks - twice. It’s not until both tests have been passed that the Haws medallion will be applied as a sign of approval and readiness for years of work in the garden.

Bespoke cans and colours Being established in the garden industry means Haws doesn’t need to lead the charge on trends. Nor can it sit back and watch as the industry changes and opportunities open up. “We work with boutiques and independent garden centres where people are passionate about gardening, but not necessarily from a trend perspective. They already love gardening,” says Josh. Cans for outdoor use are made, as standard, in green and graphite, with galvanising as a third option. In the last five years, Haws has moved to making bases from zinc (rather than zinc coated steel), as it’s more hardwearing and won’t rust. “Another example of why we can confidently offer a 10-year or even a life-time guarantee,” says Andy. However, another innovation is the use of an ‘aerospace glue’ which provides a second watertight seal. For plastic indoor pots the colour range is a little wider, taking in duck-egg blue, red and sage. Josh says some outdoor cans in bespoke single colours are made specifically for a few clients happy to pay a bit extra, particularly retailers looking to match them with their own colour schemes. “We’ve found our three big US retailers want something unique so we offer them a custom colour,” he says. Andy and Josh have also been experimenting with hand painting, wrapping, and hydro dipping to introduce different patterns and colours. Sadly, the

30 November 2023

1886 With a patent secured, John set up his first factory in Clapton, London. 1894 John received a National Chrysanthemum Society award for his ‘improved watering vessel’. 1913 After the death of John, his nephew Arthur takes over the business, moving production to Bishops Stortford and diversifying the range. However, his particular interest was in watering can roses – which at the time had all the perforations hand-tapped by one person. 1950 Taylor Law Co bought the company and began working with Eliott Mouldings making cans out of plastic. Twenty years later, recession leads to the closing of the factory. 1982- today. Eclipse Sprayers, run by father and son team John and David Pennock, buy the Haws company. Today it is run by David’s son, Andy, who is strengthening the brand.

Clever space-saving packaging and a Rowley Ripple in graphite grey.

‘Garden care product of the year’

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Colegrave Seabrook Foundation

At Bridge Farm Group.

Welcoming bright,

new talent

Students from the Colegrave Seabrook Foundation get invaluable behind-the-scenes tours, and applications for 2024 scholarships are now open.


he horticultural industry has the label of being friendly and welcoming, and the proof was in the pudding when five companies opened their doors to students via the Colegrave Seabrook Foundation. Gaining insights into how businesses run and hearing about the opportunties and challenges they face, is extremely valuable and there’s no better way to gain experience than being invited to have a look around. With Colegrave Seabrook Foundation funding and Smart Garden Products sponsorship, five students plus colleagues and Foundation trustees spent two days visiting Smart Garden Products, Baytree Garden Centre, Bridge Farm Group, Springfield Festival Gardens and Taylors Bulbs. Rebecca Gilroy, a student at CARFE in Antrim says: “For young people in horticulture the sharing of knowledge and new ideas, the openness within the industry and the

opportunity to make new contacts and friends is absolutely priceless.” At Baytree Garden Centre, Alfie Smith, from the Eden Project says: “Reinhard expressed just how important it is for the next generation of horticulturists to come through and carry on creating, running and sharing aspects of horticulture. Hearing this made me feel proud of the field I am currently studying within and gave me a boost in confidence that I am in the best industry for me.” Neil Gow, Colegrave Seabrook Foundation Trustee, stressed the importance of experience gained during such visits especially when, in the last few years, they haven’t been possible because of covid restrictions. “These students have already chosen a career in horticulture so now we need to welcome and encourage them into and then stay in the industry. We regularly

hear about the shortage of young people coming into horticulture and from companies desperate to recruit new talent so are grateful to the amazing companies on this tour. Inviting horticultural students into our businesses is a positive way of helping to address the problem and we definitely need more forward-thinking companies like Baytree, Smart, Bridge Farm, Springfield and Taylors to make a commitment and support the workforce of the future.” Reinhard Beihler at Baytree Garden Centre described trained horticultural people as ‘gold dust’, while Paris Natar, Smart Garden Products Chairman says: “We are delighted to be playing our small part in helping to bring bright new talent into the industry.” Below: The five Colegrave Seabrook Foundation students: Ben Sayers, Alfie Smith, Abi Green, Naomi Huges and Rebecca Gilroy.

Scholarship season

The next round of applications for scholorships and sponsorships is now open. Funding can provide opportunies for work placements and travel. Any student in horticultural education, including those on apprenticeship schemes, can apply. The closing date is 31 January 2024 and applications can be filed online at For additional help or advice email Nicci, Foundation Administrator.

32 November 2023

Greenfingers FUNdraising Left: Greenfingers Trustee Richard Claxton and his wife Cheryl got stuck in with planting the garden at Demelza House. Below: Linda Petrons and Tammy Woodhouse get ready for the Jumperful Challenge.

Right: Familiar face Boyd Douglas-Davis has become the Greenfingers Charity’s newest Trustee and Chairman-elect. He will support current Chair Sue Allen as her leadership comes to an end in 2024.

What have gardens and Christmas jumpers got in common? Work steams ahead on Greenfingers gardens in Norfolk and Kent while Christmas capers boost fundraising with the return of the Jumperful Challenge.


he garden centre industry is such a strong support of the Greenfingers Charity so it’s good to hear that, with its help, two more gardens are underway. The Nook is part of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and has been several years in the making. Officially opened in 2019, the garden at this Norfolk hospice has been designed by AnneMarie Powell and will be created by Stewart Landscape. Work began on The Rest & Reflect Garden this autumn which will offer a tranquil, sensory space with quiet corners where families can spend relaxing time together. In Kent, the garden at Demelza Hospice Care for Children in Sittingbourne has a special place in the history of the charity, as it was the very first Greenfingers gardens. Now 25 years on, it is being given a complete facelift by designers Andrew Fisher Tomlin and Dan Bowyer, with local contractors Baylis Landscapes. At the end of October Greenfingers trustees and volunteers

got to work offloading, positioning and planting trees, shrubs and bulbs. Once completed, the design will feature a bog garden, wildlife safari, wild meadow, an ant walk and a bug hotel all of which can be accessed by everyone spending time at Demelza House.

Wearing the Christmas woollies The most Jumperful Challenge is back, and this year bravely wearing an assortment of woollies

throughout December are Tammy Woodhouse, Managing Director of The Milbrook Garden Company and Linda Petrons, the charity’s Fundraising and Communications Director. Their mission is to wear a different Christmas jumper every day from December 1st up to, and including, Christmas Eve. Much like an advent calendar, the 24 jumpers will be allocated a day each hoping to find their own sponsor. To boost the festive spirit, every sponsor is then encouraged to get as many people on their team to wear a Christmas jumper on their chosen day. Since it was started in 2020 by Natalie Porter from Happy Plants, festive woolley wearers have been Abigale Stocker from Woodlodge, and Boyd Douglas-Davis. So far the total raised by wearing the jumpers is just over £16,500. If you wish to sponsor Linda and Tammy visit:

November 2023 33

HTA – The Conference

Realising the power of environmental horticulture Plants high on the agenda as major reports tracking their financial and environmental value, are launched at this year’s HTA annual conference.


orticulture is ‘vibrant and thriving’ according to Fran Barnes, who opened her first HTA annual conference in October as Director General. Many business sectors, she stated, claim benefits to the environment, health and wellbeing, but not many can deliver. “There are very few, if any, which can match the economic numbers with the environmental benefits and the social value of environmental horticulture in hard facts,” she says. As proof, she quoted HTA figures. Horticulture delivers £28 billion to the British economy, supports 674,000 jobs and gives £6 billion in tax revenues. This led the way for a day of presentations from Government officials and economists alongside panel discussions on the journey to becoming peat free, and launch of The Value of Plants and its sister publication, Delivering the UK’s Environmental Improvement Plan through the Value of Plants Tim Leunig, Economist and keen gardener, believes that until the unrest in Ukraine is resolved, finances for many people, other than those that are older, will be tight and confidence to spend will remain low. But he

34 November 2023

Fran Barnes opens her first HTA conference.

asked the question: “The population is ageing, old people have more money. What exactly are we offering? Traditionally older people have gardened just because they had more time. But what are the high, value-added products that you can be offering? That’s, I think, a genuine entrepreneurial challenge for you.” He also advises that, in a world where staff are becoming harder to find and more expensive to pay, to look at how automation can assist your business. He cited French supermarkets which have LED, wifi controlled signs on the shelf edge. “Because wages are going up and they don’t want to pay people to move paper tags around,” he says.


Horticulture….. delivers £28 billion to the British economy. supports 674,000 jobs. gives £6 billion in tax revenues.

Discussions on peat-free growing media touched on the potential difficulty to find quantities of quality ingredients. This will worsen as European growers also investigate alternatives and competition for ingredients rises. There is also a need to get the message out to gardeners for them to stop using multipurpose compost as a soil improver (around 27% still do apparently).

HTA – The Conference

The benefits of plants

Above: The proportion of total outdoor plant spend (£)) made in each sales channel. Right: Stan Green, past HTA President, was presented with the HTA’s Pearson Memorial Medal for his outstanding service to the garden industry. As well as being Director of his company Growforth, he is Chair of the HTA’s Scotland Policy Development Group, a supporter of Scotland’s Garden Trust and a founder of the charity Trellis, a network for therapeutic gardening. Congratulations to Majestic Trees which won the trophy for the best Inspirational Business at the HTA Grower of the Year Awards, held on the evening of the HTA conference. The team is seen here with President Alan Down (far left). “Starting from a bare patch of land in 2000, Majestic Trees exceeded a £2m turnover within five years and reached £5m by 2021. This is attributed to the leadership skills of Steve McCurdy backed by a highly accomplished and committed team,” say the judges.

The answer to many of the UK’ss environmental, “T economic and health challenges is hortticulture and specifically in the value of plants”, says David Lydiat, HTA Public Affairs and Policy Manager, about the new HTA reports. “It is time environmental horticulture is truly recognised and its potential realised,” he adds. The contents will be of use to anyone working in the horticulture industry and will help decision makers in Westminster, Holyrood, the Senedd and Stormont with practical ways of using plants and the gardening industry to achieve legally binding environmental objectives. Members should soon be seeing the HTA offering support and ideas on how to best us the report. “It provides rich examples of the environmental and health benefits of plants and gives retailers the sources to back up these benefits in their messaging and marketing to customers,” says David.

Other winners of HTA Grower of the Year Awards • Kyle Ross, Wyevale Nurseries Young Grower under 35. • Allensmore Nurseries - Finished Plant Grower. • Greenwood Plants – Peat-Free Grower. • Maria Bengtsson, Majestic Trees - Staff Member. They all are now automatically entered into the International Grower of the Year Awards taking place at IPM Essen in January 2024.

November 2023 35


Little Santa is sure to be a winner

New Christmas conifer, plant health and information sharing help to keep planterias busy.


ew to plant benches this festive period is a slow growing Picea being marketed as ‘the tree for every room’. Picea abies ‘Little Santa’ is the perfect tree for an indoor hallway or balcony and it’s branding will certainly help it stand out. It was some years after seeing ‘Little Santa’ on the stand of a German grower at IPM Essen, that Roger Ward from Golden Grove Nurseries, Lincolnshire, was given permission to propagate it. Roger’s young trees won’t be big enough to sell for another few years but in the meantime, he has bought a limited supply of 1,000 four and five-year-old trees which have been selling fast. It’s likely stock will be sold out by the time this issue of GTN goes to press but Zoe Chapman, Nursery Manager, encourages anyone wanting to secure stock for next year to email the nursery to register their interest. “We believe it’s a promising plant as its structure allows it to be decorated and its size is good for areas that can only accommodate a small tree. The name ‘Little Santa’ is perfect too, she says. Email:

Commitment to plant health Tree grower, Frank P Matthews in Worcestershire, is the latest nursery business to achieve Plant Healthy certification. The new status means its garden centre

Roger Ward promotes ‘Little Santa’ which this year was available as four or five-year-old plants in 5-litre pots at 50cm and 70cm in height.

customers can be assured Frank P Matthews adheres to the best practices to safeguard biosecurity. Lorna Maskell, Production Director at Frank P Matthews (pictured left) says the self-assessment process from the Plant Health Alliance, a cross sector group from ornamental growers to land management and government agencies, encouraged the company to look more closely at its biosecurity systems. “It was reassuring to find out we already had robust systems in place. Ongoing, in accordance with the scheme, we will proactively fine-tune our procedures and remain committed to continual improvement.”

In addition to its PlantShare library, Joy of Plants also offers Plant Finder Touchscreen kiosks, print on demand bed cards, images, QR codes and text for use in web shops.

Information sharing

Lorna Maskell, Steph Dunn, Matthew Thomas and Nala

36 November 2023

Taylors Bulbs, and soft fruit plants grower James McIntyre & Sons in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, are the latest companies to contribute to the PlantShare library run by Joy of Plants. Growing information and images from both companies can now be accessed by retailers to promote and support sales online and instore. Ian Clark, Marketing Manager at Taylors Bulbs says: ‘We hope it will help inspire people to add more amaryllis bulbs to their homes this Christmas and plant more bulbs in their window boxes, patio pots and gardens.”

Information to help retail and grow amaryllis is one of many Taylors Bulbs lines added to the PlantShare library.



Gift cards and hot coals Alan Down, HTA President


eading towards winter and the Christmas season, there are some encouraging but also some cautious signs in the HTA’s Monthly Market Update. Catering continues to be strong and boosting resilience in volatile times. There are also some encouraging results from non-gardening sales. The sale of bulbs began early and continued to be strong (+10%), but for most plants, sales took a real dive when late October gales and incessant rain began. It is also worrying that the measure of consumer confidence has dipped to be no better than the previous low back in July. On a brighter note, I’m told forward ordering for spring is very strong and demonstrates a confidence in things being better in the year ahead.

The perfect gift for gardeners At this time of year, the National Garden Gift offering has particular importance with sales peaking during this period. I’d just like to remind you the supply of paper Gift Vouchers will cease at the end of December, although they can, of course, continue to be redeemed

until their expiry date. The roll out of the Garden Gift Card has been generally well received and will improve cash flow, reduce fraudulence, is more secure and has simplified the handling of this important product which continues to drive visits to garden centres and retail nurseries.

Informing policy and meeting members The HTA team has continued to work hard on a wide range of issues and most notably on briefing members on Extended Producer Responsibilities, import difficulties, shoplifting and, of course, the move towards peat-free plant production. Our policy team attended both the Conservative and Labour conferences in what, for them, was a very busy time. They also found time to play a full part in our successful own HTA conference at the beginning of October where Defra and Shadow Ministers attended for the first time. I continue to highlight important issues in the HTA’s Weekly Member Update by presenting a short vlog which includes a smattering of good seasonal plants I think we should be promoting! The last feature appeared to be a popular addition. Whilst in the East Midlands, I took the opportunity to call in on HTA Board Member Neil Grant’s Ferndale Garden Centre. If you find yourself in the Sheffield area I do recommend dropping in! Not only does it serve a fantastic all-day breakfast, but its product merchandising is superb. At the time of my visit, the planteria looked fantastic with great inspirational displays. In the next few weeks, I’m looking forward to hosting the HTA Past President’s Dinner which was postponed due to the rail strikes. I’m also looking forward to the annual Garden Media Guild Awards where I’ll be presenting the HTA Radio Broadcast or Podcast of the Year.

Find out more

Alan with Neil Grant, appreciating quality displays in the planteria at Ferndale Garden Centre.

The Horticultural Trades Association is the UK industry’s leading membership organisation and welcomes all sectors of environmental horticulture. To learn more or join please visit: or email:

Hot footing it for Perennial At the end of October I, and 15 others, completed a fire-walk for the charity Perennial at the lovely garden of York Gate near Leeds. I walked bare-foot on hot embers to raise much needed funds for Perennial and if you missed the opportunity to sponsor me earlier, my Justgiving page is still functioning. In fact we all walked over the fire four times and found the gravel surrounding the fire more painful to walk on! Perennial is dealing with a very significant increase in demands for its services, so I do encourage you to support its work. alan-down1

ne 2021 37


Protect yourself against the unknown Vicky Nuttall, Director of GIMA


s another year draws to a close, our attention turns to the coming season. Many of us are entering 2024 with a sense of positivity, thanks to the continued popularity of gardening and the success of core product categories that continue to keep tills ringing and gardeners busy. Of course, 2023 hasn’t been without its challenges. Big-ticket items have seen sales struggle and stock hangovers continue to stall growth. We’ve also seen some big players disappear, with Wilko the latest victim of the high street. Losing another retail goliath has forced many of us to face the possibility that, no matter our best intentions, outside factors can sometimes cause catastrophic consequences. According to recent government research, the number of companies going bust this year is on track to be the highest since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009. With many thinking that the height of Covid would prove the toughest storm to weather, it would appear, in fact, that the years since the pandemic are what have pushed many to their limits. Unquestionably, the

report makes for grim reading, but it continues to be the stark reality for many within the retail environment. Garden retail, thankfully, remains resistant to such disheartening stories, though many have been forced to tighten their belts. The cost-of-living crisis and the cost of doing business have both impacted how we operate, and in many cases, the supply chain has had to adjust to suit.

Worst-case scenarios From a supplier perspective, this has meant that extended payment terms and adjusted trading terms have become the norm, but I ask, how many suppliers have taken the necessary steps to protect themselves if the worst should happen? Of course, we hope that the worst-case scenario remains just that, a possible scenario, but with a backdrop that is seeing more businesses close than any other time in the past 15 years, it is essential that some safeguarding has been put in place. Reviewing terms and conditions is a great place to start to ensure that no legal loopholes

could leave you exposed, including paying close attention to the ‘retention of title’ clause. Credit insurance is one option to help manage your risks and potential exposure to any bad payers. Far too often manufacturers forget about this business tool, as they get swept up in new retail partnerships. It’s completely understandable but, with retailers so often setting the tone for every deal done, it’s vital that suppliers ensure their voice is heard and that terms are beneficial to all parties involved. To be clear, this isn’t about a lack of trust or wanting to paint a picture where retailers play the role of villain – far from it. This is about recognising the challenges being faced within the wider retail environment and how we can never truly predict what is around the corner. By undertaking a number of small steps and having open and honest conversations with all aspects of the supply chain – not just your retail partners – we can better protect ourselves from those so-called ‘rainy days’ that we hope never become a reality.

Help is at hand To make it easier for our members to better understand how they can safeguard their long and fruitful futures, GIMA has created a portfolio of content and experts to support with every step of the journey. Our credit insurance partners, Xenia, are on hand to find the most cost-effective solutions, whilst our business support tools cover everything from legal advice to insight into the changing retail landscape. Whatever happens, the good, the bad and the unpredictable, GIMA is here to support its members, always. And, as we wrap up 2023, I wanted to wish you all a superb 2024. Garden retail is truly one of the best, and being part of it never ceases to inspire and educate. To everyone that has played a part in making this year another success and has helped to keep the nation gardening, I salute you and say “long may it continue!”

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Positivity reigns thanks to the continued popularity of gardening and the success of core product categories.

38 November 2023

For further information about GIMA and its wide range of member benefits, please contact the GIMA Press Office on (01959) 564947 or

Fountasia launches Flamingo, a one stop shop concept for pet retailers. Fountasia, well known for its innovation, has partnered with Flamingo one of Europe’s leading supplier of pet products. Fountasia has carefully merchandised a comprehensive selection of pet products, ideal for garden centres and pet retailers. A unique one stop shop, presenting the best sellers, where orders can be placed to just one supplier, and effi fficiently fi streamlining the supply chain. Ask about the bespoke introductory off ffer f deals segregated by pet category, as they are the perfect way to start! Fountasia is starting with 850 best-selling products out of Flamingo’s 8500 pet product base, covering Dog, Cat, Small Animal & Domestic Bird categories. The local supply statistics are currently running at a very high service rate of 97% in stock order fulfilment.

Dog snacks, toys and accessories

Cat snacks, toys and accessories

Delicious snacks or dogs of all ages. Biscuits, Bones, Chewy Sticks, and Treats, Great for training and behaviour rewards. All the gear for walks, collars, leashes, coats, and accessories. Comfortable beds, and a constant supply of toys for a happy and healthy dog’s life!

Even the pickiest cat would pick Flamingo! New toys and treats every month to prevent boredom, impressive scratching posts, delicious, tasty snack menu, drink fountains and comfy places to rest. Everything a cat needs for comfort, health and fun!

Small animal supplies

Bird supplies

Accommodation designed with ideal play spaces for exercise and amusement, comfy bedding and healthy nibble snacks for good health and happiness.

Exclusive distributor for the UK and Ireland

Comfortable living for indoor birds from parakeet to parrot, from cage to aviary, with toy-treats, baths, and accessories. For garden birds, nest boxes, fourseasons food, and feeders.

For more information please email or call 01303 873311


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