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gtn OCTOBER 2019

Advice & information for garden centre professionals


Great service is key for SBM Life Science Relationships are the foundation of any true partnership and SBM has a clear vision that the future of its business relies on great service. Nick Walton, Head of the SBM Business in the UK and Ireland, said: “I need to make sure that our business is at the forefront of service. Price is only one dimension, but there are many other ways that we can add value to your business.” As part of this ‘service strategy’, UK Sales Manager Scott Williams lead his team to the shop floor. “Having come from a garden centre retail background myself, I understand the importance of service and I wanted to ensure that my team understand what it is like to work in a busy garden centre.” Scott, along with Andy Reffold, David Fairless and Heather Mayne partnered with local garden centres to work with their staff

on the shop floor during weekends in July. “It was a great experience as a team to spend some quality time on the shop floor,” said Scott. “And it wasn’t about just selling our product. We worked within plant areas, stacking shelves as well as advising consumers on the right solution for their problem. We will definitely be revisiting this exercise again as we embark on 2020!”

4For more information about SBM and their future strategies for the 2020 season contact your local sales representative. See inside for more details.

New sole strategic distribution partnership SBM have agreed a sole strategic distribution partnership for the traditional trade business with Stax Trade Centres. “An enormous amount of work behind the scenes has gone into reviewing our current route to market and we strongly believe that Stax can help us achieve our vision,” said Nick Walton, Head of the SBM Business in the UK and Ireland. “We have a fantastic relationship with the team at Stax and we have been exceptionally pleased with the commitment that they have shown our business over the past five years.” Stax Joint Managing Director, David Hibbert, commented: “We’re delighted to have been selected as sole strategic distribution partner to SBM for the traditional trade market. They are a very significant player in the gardening solutions market and their decision to work with us reflects the growth we have made as a major distributor, both to independent garden centres and groups alike. “Stax has worked extremely hard, to develop its own garden centre distribution capabilities, and to forge a strong and stable a relationship with SBM. This new partnership represents the reward for those efforts, and we’re very much looking forward to continuing our association with the SBM team and helping them achieve their vision.” SBM are committed to servicing the UK/I markets and see this as a positive step forward in their strategic plans to allow a more coherent and effective way of collaborating with garden centres and nurseries. UK Sales Manager for SBM, Scott Williams, said: “I have no doubt that this next step for our business is absolutely the right thing. I have personally managed the Stax account now for circa 8 years and have every belief that David, Eddie and the team will take on this challenge and excel. “My team will be visiting garden centres after Glee as we embark on our pre-season campaign, so if you miss us at Glee, we will bring our 2020 plans directly to you.”

gtn OCTOBER 2019

Advice and information for garden centre professionals

Industry reaction to Sale of the Century



Garden centre manager takes matters into his own hands


‘Sale of the Century’ exceeds expectations As the Wyevale ‘Sale of the Century’ comes to a close, GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer has been talking with Justin King, Chairman of the group for the past three years. Justin King was keen to point out how proud he was about the successful outcome of the sale process, which has seen 129 of the 145 centres sold for on-going trading as garden centres, and 11 sold for development. Only five centres have had to close down and not be sold. Having been Director of Food at M&S and CEO of Sainsbury’s for 10 years the views of Justin King on the process and the garden centre sector are a great place to start. “From my perspective the main reason that we can be so proud of this process is that we have maximised the returns to shareholders by meeting the company’s liabilities to all the stakeholders. It’s a common misconception that the responsibility of boards is much wider than just to take a narrow view of shareholder returns. When we set out on this process we didn’t see any disconnect between an objective to maximize the return to shareholders and also meeting all the liabilities of the business, far from it. We aimed to run the business well, continue to trade it strongly and meet all our liabilities. “A pivotal part of us being able to trade this business strongly for the past 18 months is the continued support of our supply base,

2 October 2019

who had taken us at our word that we would pay them in full and they’ve been rewarded for that with very strong trade with us. “We think our customers – they are mostly now other people’s customers – would expect us to treat their data carefully and with diligence, not just what the law requires of us, but more than that. If we see a use for that information, which is in accordance with the law, but also clearly in the interest of customers, then of course we’ll take that opportunity. And that goes for the brand name, too. “We never, other than directly to our investors, communicate the outcome of a sale process and that’s some months away in terms of this process, because we still have work to do to get to the final number. But has the process exceeded our expectations? Yes, I think you can say both at the human level it has exceeded our expectations – over 95 percent of our employees transferred into going concerns. A relatively small number of sites are trading for alternative use, I think the industry thought that a lot would be sold for other uses. “There have been 57 separate transactions; the positive impact that’s going to have on the industry through


bringing new operators, but also allowing existing operators to grow locally or bulk up nationally. And because we sold each individual garden centre to the best buyer, we think we’ve got the best prices too, we’ve exceeded that expectation as well. So, we’re happy to say on the record that the process has exceeded our expectations. “One of the reasons for that success is that I think we’ve run a very credible, very transparent process throughout, built on some very strong developing relationships. That’s enabled us to go all the way through this process to the very end in a way that I think a lot of people thought was perhaps not possible by working very closely with a reasonable number of buyers.” We asked Justin if he knew of another example of a retail business that had been sold completely in such a way. “No, I can’t think of an example. In recent years there are many examples of businesses that have been through insolvency or administration processes. And of course those processes were usually precursors to some significant change downstream, but of course, you leave liabilities behind in insolvency or administration process and we were determined to meet all of our liabilities in full.

INTERVIEW “That headline in itself makes it most unusual. But there have been retail businesses broken up, probably most notably, in my experience, Somerfield, with the breakup of that business to the rest of the grocery industry. So that was probably the last time a business was broken up, but that had been through a couple of restructurings before it was broken up and ultimately, I think Co-op was the biggest purchaser in that they bought around half of them and the rest were sold. I was running Sainsbury’s at the time, and I think we might have bought two. It tells you that these things can be done and often it’s not the biggest operators that do the buying. But in our case all the big operators to a greater or lesser extent purchased very many of the sites. “I’m not one of the doomsayers about the so-called High Street. I believe that the reports of the death of the High Street have been exaggerated. I do like the channel that is garden centres, because in many ways it already is and has moved itself towards what all retail has to think about. “Retail can never be just about having physical shops where people buy stuff. The garden centre industry has naturally moved towards being a destination. It’s never been purely just about buying stuff, it’s always been an experience for the senses. I was amazed when I came to Wyevale that some of our garden centres had coach parks because people took day trips to them and there are not many retail channels that do that. That tells you they’re occupying a piece of space that’s beyond just selling stuff – it is a day out, it is entertainment, it is an experience of the senses. Some of them at Wyevale were both before and during my time improving the food, improving the concession offering and of course that’s what some of the very big operators have done and indeed the sites they bought from Wyevale are the ones that best fit their platform to do that. “But this is also an industry where I see a long and vibrant future for independent operators. I do feel that way for retail more generally too. Although you hear news about shops closing down there are many new shops opening on High Streets up and down the country today, pretty much as ever there have been, and garden centres are a perfectly suited sector for a vocational business run by a family, perhaps a small group of friends, maybe a small chain of two or three locally. And it is a truly local

business. I can’t even plant the same plants from one end of my garden to the other as they are on different soil. So, we know this is a local business where local knowledge and expert knowledge plays a part. I see a vibrant future for the chains, I think they’ll keep growing if they keep doing a great job. I also see a vibrant future for the independents as well. I think this is a sector in 20 years time that will still have a strong independent core within it. “The direction of travel in all retail will see some consolidation because size does matter and it matters because there are a lot of things that you can do better for customers with size. But whenever I talk at retail conferences, I always say that if you don’t have size, then you need to be better. If you are small you’ve got to be more fleet of foot, more focused on your customers at a local level, more prepared to take risky and local decisions and this is a sector that lends itself to that perfectly. Both will thrive.” Justin also had some interesting thoughts on garden centre change of ownership activity during the coming few years: “Our process seems to have ignited the Mergers & Acquistion (M&A) activity within the sector. Christie and Co (who were the sales agents for the sale of the centres) have had more inquiries from independent garden centre operators than ever before. So I think there are a reasonable number of independent garden centre operators who are seeing the success of this process and have contacted Christie & Co to talk about their own future, so I suspect there will be more single transactions next year than there have been in previous years. “We think Christie & Co have done an exceptionally good job. There were 57 separate transactions which have a huge spread in terms of scale and a huge complexity in terms of the capabilities of the counter party. Some were freehold, some leasehold, some with some quite complex concession issues attached to them. So, we’ve been very impressed and at least part of the success of the process was that they priced the business right in the first place. I’m not sure where else we would have gone to get the kind of guidance that they were able to give us about the pricing expectations in the marketplace. They’ve done a great job for us. “We feel that we have left the vast majority of those garden centres in good and safe hands for the future.”

Turn the page for more comments on the Wyevale sale


EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Garden Trade News, Potting Shed Press Ltd Dairy Drove Thorney Peterborough PE6 0TX Tel 01733 775700 Fax 01733 775838 gardentradenews@tgcmc.co.uk www.gardentradenews.co.uk THE GTN TEAM Editor: Neil Pope neil.pope@tgcmc.co.uk Associate Editor: Mike Wyatt mike.wyatt@tgcmc.co.uk Director: Trevor Pfeiffer trevor.pfeiffer@tgcmc.co.uk Publisher: Mandy Davies mandy.davies@tgcmc.co.uk Advertising: Alan Burdon alan.burdon@tgcmc.co.uk Ben Greenwood ben.greenwood@tgcmc.co.uk HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Tel 01733 775700 or email subscriptions@gardentradenews.co.uk Subscription rates UK: £145 Subscription includes a password for full access to GTN Online plus a weekly copy of GTN Bestsellers OUR PUBLISHERS GTN is published by Potting Shed Press Ltd, who also publish: * www.gardentradenews.co.uk website * Weekly GTN Xtra and Pet Trade Xtra newsletters * Garden Radio * Official Glee Catalogue and Glee Daily News Online – the only official guides to the garden industry’s leading annual trade show SMALL PRINT All material © Potting Shed Press 2019. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information contained in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. Potting Shed Press Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by reliance on information contained in this publication or in the event of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

October 2019 3


‘Sale of the Century’ reaction

Graeme Jenkins, Dobbies Garden Centres “We are delighted with the centres we acquired and have started to make significant changes, including investment in fixtures and fittings to improve our customers’ shopping experience. I would like to extend my thanks to the team at Wyevale for all their support during the sale process.”

Anthony Jones. CEO, Wyevale Garden Centres “We’d like to record our thanks to all of our amazing colleagues who have helped deliver everything and we’re immensely proud of everything they’ve done in what are quite challenging circumstances. To deliver all the things that they did at the same time to trade the business well, whilst reducing it back in scale in the context of a quite complex sale process, was a testament to them all. I’m very proud of them. “We ran a very comprehensive support and development package throughout this process which started in May last year and I stood up at least every two weeks and spoke to everyone in the Customer Support Centre (CSC) to tell them about the process and what’s coming and as much as I could tell them. And that’s given everybody the time to plan ahead so that, you know, a lot of people knew this day may come and they have had well over a year to think about it. “We went through collective consultation and we agreed to pay enhanced redundancy, so financially, we looked after all our

4 October 2019

colleagues. “But I think most importantly, we ran a support package around well-being – we had career well-being, mental well-being and financial well-being. Every week at Syon, we had a large number of sessions being run that people could put their name down for. The career well-being included things like CV writing, interview skills, career coaching, sessions on how to best utilize your LinkedIn profile, recruitment days, as well as skills training like Excel, Project management and things like that. “Its not absolutely certain when the last centres will transfer, it’s the leaseholds that require landlords’ consent and you can’t pinpoint that to the actual day. But I’m aiming for the middle of October, I think that’s realistic.” “Glee was fantastic. And to be honest, I’m humbled by the reception I got to be honest. Many of our buyers, as well as our suppliers, were quite complimentary about the process. It was nice for me to go back to Syon and pass on those kind words onto our team.”


Charles Stubbs, British Garden Centres (pictured with wife Phillippa) “It was very encouraging that they wanted their colleagues to know as much as they could about what was happening and the feedback we got from their team is that they have been looked after properly. Those who have joined British Garden Centres are now very excited about the new chapter. They will be let off the leash because we will run them as independents underneath the British Garden Centres banner which will then allow everybody to have some individuality.”


Alan Roper, Blue Diamond Garden Centres “The decision to break up Wyevale and sell the individual centres was a very good move for the industry. What I liked about the opportunity was the only way forward was up and now it’s just a question for us of how far that summit is. The trajectory is looking steep for the next three years.” Alan is pictured at Wyevale Weybridge, one of the first to transfer ownership to Blue Diamond.

Mark Portman (left), Evergreen Garden Care “Wyevale have been excellent. They have communicated very openly. The teams have been very professional. They have looked to cover off outstanding financial queries and been super helpful on answering outstanding questions on stock issues. It will be good for the industry. Three big people have picked it up – British Garden Centres, Blue Diamond and Dobbies and we wish them all well.” Steve Harper (right), Bord na Mona “Wyevale’s team have worked closely with us through the whole process giving us options as to which way worked best for us as the supplier. I only have words of praise for the professional way they have managed the past few months.” Nick Davies, Gardman Crest “Communications from Wyevale through the whole process were very good and clear throughout.”

Steve Rodell, Managing Director - Retail, Christie & Co “Project Douglas (the Wyevale project name) has been a huge success not only for the seller Terra Firma, but also the buyers involved in all 57 separate transactions. This included 20 new operators. “I’m delighted with comments that Terra Firma management has recently made over the success of the project. 'We were first approached in February 2018 by Terra Firma and during our initial assessment our teams we taking images of centres covered in snow as the Beast from the East swept Britain. This subsequently threatened to decimate the gardening industry but a record Spring followed which meant the centres kept trading really well. “Our strategy to very publicly offer all the centres individually, in sub groups

or as a portfolio was specifically designed to create optimum interest in each and every centre from a variety of buyer profiles, not just the obvious established garden centre operators. Our campaign ignited interest not only in the industry but among real estate investors, speculative developers and brought many buyers with a special interest to the table (such as landlords, adjacent owners etc). “This unprecedented interest resulted in multiple offers, competitive tension and the client was able to achieve maximum proceeds. Whilst 90% of the centres were sold as garden centres, the operators initially underestimated pricing and in many cases had to revise offers to compete for sites they really coveted. “The fact we had multiple offers on so many of the centres shows that there remains frustrated demand for growth in the industry – something we intend following up!”

Sale of the Century: The Facts – turn to pages 18-19 www.gardentradenews.co.uk

October 2019 5


Recycling pays off in style Primeur has taken the garden world by storm with its award winning recycled products. After two more prestigious honours at Glee we discover how this success story unfolded. Can you explain how the company first got into recycling tyres? Innovation has always been at the heart of our business, as proven by our rich 50 year history, however it is safe to say that the introduction of our recycled rubber products has brought this to the fore more than ever. The introduction of our gardening range in 2016 was backed by a significant period of research and development, in that we wanted to not just launch ‘me too’ products. Instead we wanted to take the concept of gardening as a ‘green’ activity and take this even further. We started looking around for alternative materials, in particular material that pushed the sustainable agenda and found ourselves returning again and again to tyres. With 300 million tyres being scrapped annually, and each tyre taking upwards of 80 years to decompose, they are significantly contributing to a much wider environmental issue. By utilising scrapped tyres we are preventing them from reaching landfill, being illegally dumped and generally doing what we can to reduce the impact tyres have upon the environment. We are providing ourselves with a huge source of alternative materials for making products such as borders, stepping stone, planters and interlocking flooring; a source that will keep coming whilst we continue to maintain the millions of vehicles on the roads globally. What’s more, recycled rubber from tyres offers a number of unique benefits that few other materials can boast – eco-friendly, flexible and durable, low maintenance, weatherproof, mildew and mould resistant, child and pet safe – the list goes on and on! If the tyres weren’t recycled would they end up in landfill? Since the implementation of the EU Landfill Directive, the control of end-of-life tyres has been strictly regulated. Classified as ‘hazardous waste’, tyres cannot be disposed of via household waste or landfill. As a result, both consumers and businesses need

6 October 2019

help getting rid of their end-of-life tyres safely and in compliance with the law. Tyre recycling has therefore become big business, with recycled tyre rubber usage best categorised as: 1. Rubber can be used in refurbishing, e.g. re-treading an old, used tyre 2. Rubber can be incinerated to produce energy for use in manufacturing 3. Rubber can be broken down and reconstituted for use in new products. After your success with mats, how did you break into the garden sector? Until 2016 we had only utilised multiple retailer channels to sell our mat ranges, however we recognised the potential that the garden retail market offered, particularly when considering our new recycled mat collections. We knew that green solutions and innovation was at the core of garden retail


and was driving consumer demand. But we also knew that in such a loyal industry, where so much value was placed on longstanding relationships, that it would be a tough challenge to breakthrough. However it was a combination of this understanding that actually helped us to find our place within the garden retail supply chain. Our dedication and commitment to our product, particularly knowing we were bringing the right product to market at the right time, and knowing it would add value to existing garden offerings helped to ignite a similar passion amongst garden centre buyers, whilst an understanding of the supply chain paid dividends. Since this time, we have been lucky enough to work with a wide range of garden retailers, all of which have been incredibly supportive in wanting our ranges to succeed and giving us opportunities that new suppliers like us could only dream of.


Are you currently working on new products for the garden market? We’re always looking at ways to add value to existing ranges, and will be keeping our ear to the ground for future trends that will shape consumer design needs. Wherever possible we’ll look to add new designs that appeal to these trends. Additionally, we’ll also look to expand and enhance those ranges that have captured the attention of the garden market so well in recent years - particularly our GIMA and Glee award winning Tierra Verde planters. We’ll also look to develop our merchandising and POS support, ensuring that our retail customers feel confident that they can sell the unique benefits of our products. Does customer feedback help you to frame your strategy? Absolutely! Customer feedback is vital in ensuring the longevity of our brand, and we welcome it wholeheartedly. It’s very easy to wear blinkers, especially with a product or range that you feel passionately about. However blinkers don’t enable us to learn, nor do they enable us to form meaningful relationships with retailers and end users.

Award winning products used in award winning garden Primeur supplied a selection of products from their award winning ranges, including borders and planters, to a local business, River House Bed & Breakfast, Malham. River House loved the eco-friendly products and were keen to use the Roman Stone Border and Tierra Verde Planters in their garden to help create a warm welcome for guests to their B&B. This year River House entered Yorkshire in Bloom and after many hours of hard work creating a beautiful surroundings they were awarded GOLD status. The judges said of the winning entry: “The immediate impression at the front was of a beautiful garden which emanated peace and tranquility. The hard landscaping, hanging baskets and tubs, used high quality, innovative products of good aesthetics manufactured from recycled tyres.”

Do you ever consider looking at other recycled materials? Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on products’ environmental credentials, and the market for sustainable goods is being driven by innovation that meets such needs. Now we have proven the value and benefits of recycled rubber and have seen both retailers and consumers embrace the concept we feel confident that we might be able to push the envelope a little further in the ranges we can develop in the future.

www.primeur.co.uk www.gardentradenews.co.uk

October 2019 7


Crowning moment for ‘STONE KING’! Winning a New Product Award at Glee was the crowning moment for exciting launch. Award-winning The Patio Black Spot Removal Company is reporting another wonderfully successful Glee, securing orders from another 29 garden centres spread over the UK and winning a prestigious New Product Award. “I would like to thank both new and existing clients who visited our stand at Glee and placed orders at or since the show, said Sales and Marketing Director, Simon Essex. Due to popular demand from existing clients, Glee 2019 witnessed the company launch an exciting new product, ‘STONE KING’ Restorer, which immediately received the Award for ‘Best New Product in the Garden Landscaping Section’. The garden retail market has been crying out for a product to restore garden ornaments, such as statues, bird baths and stone art, that works virtually instantly and does not require pressure washing, being simply washed away with warm water. ’STONE KING’ Restorer fulfils that criteria as it offers the customer a pre-mixed solution that can be applied to any garden stonework. Utilising EUCHAN2 technology, created by the company, ‘STONE KING’ Restorer is a spray-applied thixotropic liquid that adheres to a vertical surface, penetrating the surface on contact. Green algae is gone in minutes, while patio black spots and red algae is removed in 90 minutes. Original colour is completely restored, together with the beauty of the ornament! ‘STONE KING’ Restorer provides virtually instant results, and is therefore unaffected by sudden rainfall. There is no mixing, so no mess, it’s biodegradable and also bird-friendly. Above: Simon Essex proudly displays the Glee New Product Award for ‘STONE KING’ Restorer on the company’s stand. Having restored the ornament, ‘STONE KING’ is a ‘one-off’ treatment, and customers can keep their garden ornaments in tip-top condition by buying and applying ’STONE KING’ Preventer at a quarter the price of the original treatment. It will prevent the return of the black spots. Orders for ‘STONE KING’ Restorer and ‘STONE KING’ Preventer are available for delivery in January.

Great additions to The Patio Black Spot Removal Company range – ‘STONE KING’ Restorer and Preventer.

8 October 2019


4For more details visit www.patioblackspotremoval.com


Taking matters into Will Blake, general manager of St Peter’s Garden Centre, explains how he’s put sustainability initiatives at the forefront of his Worcester business. The inferences in a recent ITV programme that the garden centre industry was not serious enough about key environmental issues like the destruction of peat habitats and plastics recycling angered those who know differently. One of them is Will Blake, general manager of St Peter’s Garden Centre at Worcester. “They were trying to pick a fight with an industry that does care and is trying to do something about it,” he said. Spurred into action after attending the HTA’s outstanding ‘Sustainability Matters’ one-day conference earlier this year, Will decided to take the matter into his own hands. By the time the ITV programme aired this summer, he had already launched an initiative that led to his local county council advising consumers that non-black plastic plant pots would, for the first time, be accepted for kerbside recycling collections. (Recycling of black plastic is unreliable as recycling centres bounce a beam of light off it – and because black absorbs light, black pots shoot off into the section destined for landfill or incineration). While the recent introduction of plastic plants pots coloured with a taupe dye (supplied by Aeroplas of Tipton, which makes 100m plant pots a year) is a major step towards solving one of the horticultural industry’s gargantuan recycling issues, the problem won’t disappear altogether until all plants sold are in taupe pots and all consumers know they can put unwanted pots in their reycling bins. Most of St Peter’s suppliers – and its own production nursery – have switched to taupe, which is becoming an increasingly familiar colour in planterias across the country. Will believes plants not in taupe will soon stick out and that consumers will vote with their feet. Taupe was conspicuous on the plant benches at Glee last month, although most small low-margin plants were still in black. The problem for recycling is that the vast majority of local authorities still don’t accept plastic pots, black or otherwise – even though many sorting centres are able to sort them. St Peter’s has already tried an alternative system of dealing with plastic pot waste, where consumers returned their pots to the centre for recycling. Transportation costs amounting to thousands of pounds a year forced them to abandon it. “In any case,” Will said, “it’s not right, is it, to have to bring pots back to the garden centre?” Will says a dilemma that should have been easy to solve turned out to be complex,

10 October 2019


his own hands

involving confusing protocols that appear to differ from region to region. Nick Baker of growers Bransford Webbs was another HTA conference delegate who was inspired by the day’s agenda – but frustrated by correspondence from local councils stating in effect that “we can’t take this stuff, full stop”. He shared these letters with Will, who spotted that locally-based Severn Waste Services was the contractor responsible for collecting and sorting household waste in Worcestershire and Herefordshire. He recalled that 15 years earlier, before his St Peter’s days, he had known someone whose husband was Fernando Capelastegui, one of the company’s directors. She put them in touch with each other, sparking a chain reaction that could in time reap a premium dividend for both sides. Fernando invited Will to bring a selection of pots, including black ones, to the local sorting station, which employs state-of-theart EnviroSort technology to sort four types of plastic waste. Will saw for himself how, at speeds barely visible to the naked eye, plant pots of all colours deemed “uncollectable” by the council were scanned and sorted into the appropriate recycling channel (or incineration batch in the case of black ones). That same day, Fernando undertook to recommend to the county councils within five days that they could now advise consumers that non-black plastic pots could be accepted at the kerbside. Within two weeks, they had secured confirmation from both councils that the move could go ahead. “I know this is not that great a story,” Will said. “but it shouldn’t be this complicated, as what we ended up with is very easy

to achieve – but there is a lot of red tape involved. “The learning I picked up from it for the benefit of other centres is that if you try to go through local authority or county council, it’s like wading through treacle. If you can get to the re-processing plant or sortation centre and get them to change their instructions, it seems to speed up the whole process.” Will related his tale to delegates at last month’s IGC Congress , attracting keen interest that is now winging its way around the world as others prepare to tackle what is



clearly a global problem. And, best of all for the UK, Severn Waste Services has agreed to help compile a comprehensive national list of re-processors and sorting stations so that garden centres can replicate Will’s initiative. 4To watch a video of the EnviroSort process, go to: http://www.severnwaste. com/envirosort/the-process/ 4To find out where customers can take plant pots for recycling locally, go to recyclenow.com/local-recycling and enter a postcode.

October 2019 11


industry. Sustainability was always a main aspect of ScanCom’s DNA, but the initiation of DuraOcean ocean plastic is one of the company’s most exciting breakthroughs. ScanCom has demonstrated how a vision can be transformed into reality, believing in the concept throughout the process and making all the effort and investment that was required – even when, at times, the road ahead appeared to be impossible.

Meet the designer behind

DuraOcean DuraOcean, the first mass market garden furniture made from recycled ocean plastic waste, is taking the UK market by storm. After being crowned Best New Product at the SOLEX exhibition at the NEC in July, manufacturer LifestyleGarden and its parent company ScanCom International has witnessed huge interest from garden furniture buyers who are increasingly demanding sustainable products – with interest coming from sectors as diverse as garden centres, restaurants, hotels and cruise liner operators. Here, we introduce ScanCom’s awardwinning designer, Inbal Kahaner, and reveal how her design brought DuraOcean to life, focusing on why it is fast becoming the muststock garden furniture product of 2020. What inspired you to become a designer? As far back as I can remember, I always had an interest in creating, building, assembling or fixing broken items. I was always interested in how things work, what material they are made of, and the story behind the product. I still remember a time when I went shopping for a dress, and came home with a fancy new toolbox instead.

12 October 2019

What type of products did you design before joining Scancom International? From the start of my professional life, I have specialised in designing and developing products for mass production, focusing on furniture and mould-injected products. My furniture designs have been sold worldwide over the years in various markets, including Europe and America. Each product sold is a new adventure, which shapes me as an industrial designer, and as a person. The best part of being an industrial furniture designer is traveling the world and seeing your own creations being used in random restaurants, hotels or even just on a private balcony. Scancom International and LifestyleGarden have a strong environmental ethos. How do these principles fit in with your own views? One of the reasons I joined ScanCom is that, from the outset, I could see potential opportunities for co-operation, sharing our passion for innovation with the company’s well-balanced approach to nature and technology. ScanCom is a dynamic place, which demonstrates a good balance between meeting customers’ needs and leading the


What inspired your design for DuraOcean? During the design process I created a fresh, new interpretation of the traditional slatted outdoor look by merging it with a soft and embracing shape that can also be used indoors. The length of time between an idea and the resulting mass production product is very long, and the process involves examining every tiny detail. It took more than a year of development to find the balance between the perfect shape, the right comfort and the best production method. There were many risks involved. Investment in tooling and processing was high, as this was a new material which needed to be carefully tested and studied. The first time I saw the chair coming out of the mould was a magical moment for me. What trends are shaping the global markets for outdoor furniture? Modern consumers are more and more aware of their responsibility to purchase sustainable products, and in most cases, they are even willing to pay a bit more. However, consumers are increasingly regarding their outdoor environment as an extension of the indoors, and this is why shoppers will not compromise on design. The DuraOcean chair represents a recycling transformation, from harmful and polluting ocean waste into a functional and stylish piece of furniture that meets current trends. Consumers get to enjoy the added value of upgrading their living space and protecting the environment. As word spreads, more chairs will be sold, helping to clean the oceans of polluting waste.

To find out more about LifestyleGarden visit www.lifestylegarden.com


60 years of gardening

...and still leading the way Hozelock celebrates making life easier for the trade as well as gardeners with great new products. Hozelock has been making gardening easy since 1959 and is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year as one of Britain’s best loved gardening brands. Founded on an airfield, in the village of Haddenham, Buckinghamshire, Hozelock’s drive has always been to develop technically perfect, visibly striking products. Now the Birmingham based UK brand leader makes more than 75% of its range in its British factory, a fact which appeals to

the UK gardener and has helped Hozelock to support garden retailers nationwide for 60 seasons. From introducing the world’s first plastic hose connector, the Hoze-Lock, to releasing the Pure BioMix, to make natural and effective fertilisers quickly and easily – Hozelock combine a knowledge and passion for gardening with a pride in craftsmanship to develop solutions that help gardens flourish and come to life.

Automatic watering made easy Hozelock champion watering wisely with their automatic watering range – gardeners can combine their choice of Hozelock controller with the Easy Drip system, or to a Hozelock sprinkler to create an adaptable and bespoke system. The Select Controller is Hozelock’s NEW automatic watering controller, with 16 different pre-set watering programmes – from 4 times per day to once a week – and a duration of up to 60 minutes. With water saving and sustainability at the top of gardeners’ agendas, the NEW Select Controller can also be connected to a rain water butt tank to control micro irrigation installations as it works at just 0.1 bar. As it’s not only simple to install but also straightforward to adjust, the Select Controller is the perfect introduction to automatic watering.

Advanced hybrid hose technology Hozelock garden hoses are flexible, strong and easy to use – the innovative range has the perfect solution to meet all watering needs and provides a secure, leak-free connection every time! Tuffhoze is a NEW hybrid garden hose, combining the best of PVC and textile hose technology, that’s amazingly flexible, super tough and lightweight – up to 50% lighter compared to traditional hoses and incredibly agile. Tuffhoze comes with a 30 year guarantee as it features a stylish grey Tuff-Fibre woven technology as its outer layer, which is UV resistant, easy to clean and incredibly durable for long lasting wear. At its heart is a traditional PVC Dura-Tech inner core that


has a guaranteed length and an industry leading high pressure burst resistance of 40+ bar, allowing constant, high water flow even at low temperatures – so watering the garden just got a lot easier! Plus, it’s available in a range of sizes to suit every garden (12.5m, 25m and 35m). Hozelock is supporting the Tuffhoze launch with an eyecatching in-store DQP format which is available to display and handle the products and explain the key features.

www.hozelock.com October 2019 13


The day Glee went

Glee went Floral Thursday in support of Greenfingers Charity’s special 20th anniversary year, The event, supported by Garden Trade News and Glee, saw exhibitors and visitors to Glee joining in the fun by wearing an array of floral clothing throughout the day. All those taking part were asked to support the charity by buying a raffle ticket which was entered into a prize draw to win fabulous prizes. £1,420 was raised for Greenfingers thanks to Floral Thursday 2019. GTN’s Greatest Floral Team Award went to Evergreen Garden Care. Greenfingers Ambassador Trevor Pfeiffer suggested the idea after getting so many positive comments while wearing floral shirts at Glee last year. “Every time I wear a floral shirt for work it makes people smile so if we can get as many people at Glee on Thursday wearing floral what a happy place it will be!” Greenfingers Charity’s Director of Fundraising & Communications, Linda Petrons said: “This is a fabulous new initiative which we hope will become a regular event in the Glee and Greenfingers Charity calendar. We’re hugely grateful to ITE and Garden Trade News for their support which will not only raise the profile of the charity but also help to make a difference to life limited children and their families who spend time in hospices.” The Grand Floral Thursday at Glee raffle was drawn by TV Celebrity David Domoney.

14 October 2019



t floral

Glee 2019 attracted quality buyers, says show director Matthew Mein This year’s Glee has been hailed as a great success with show director Matthew Mein stating: “The quality of the buyers at the three-day show has been incredible.” Glee moved its open days to Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, a decision that paid off handsomely, according to Matthew. “There has been so much happening this year. We’ve had really positive feedback from all the exhibitors across Glee, and we also managed to launch PAWExpo in readiness for 2020. “Meeting so many of the CEOs as well as buyers from some of our big multiple chain garden centres has been really interesting, especially with all the activity going on at the moment in the industry. It’s great to hear and see so much general upbeat positivity, and I believe that’s based on garden centres being a really good retailing industry, in terms of steady trading.


“Garden centres are so much different to the high street and that positivity is coming through. Retailers are definitely in a buying mode. We’ve had lots of feedback from our suppliers taking good orders as well as lots of interest being shown in their products. “Having a Tuesday start has been extremely helpful. The quality of buyers that came in on that first day was a reaction to that. It enabled a lot of buyers to visit Glee after their Monday reordering day. It’s certainly made Glee more accessible. “And buyers are spending longer periods of time at the show, returning on a second or third day. People have to take a couple of days to ‘shop’ the show properly. “We’ve also received good feedback from international buyers who’ve returned to the show after a five or six year absence. The size, scale, depth and breadth of Glee have surprised them. Glee is definitely getting back on the international stage.”

October 2019 15


Organic firm sows seeds of success

Natural Grower scooped the 2019 GIMA Innovators Seed Corn Fund 2019. Here we take a look at how this forward-looking is making a difference. Natural Grower is reporting strong demand from buyers for its products. Its hero product, Natural Liquid Fertiliser, the product which caught the eye of the GISCF judges in 2019, is supplied concentrated. Once diluted, it can be poured around the base of border or container plants – adding nutrients precisely where they’re needed with no waste – so the goodness is rapidly absorbed by root systems as a potent nutrient boost. Beating off stiff competition and judged by a panel made up of both Glee and GIMA representatives, Natural Grower – as GISCF winners – will receive support up to the value of £6,000 to help with development and marketing costs associated with entering the UK garden retail market, including a year’s full GIMA membership, and a wide range of business support tools. Natural Grower products are approved by The Soil Association, Organic Farmers and Growers, and The Vegan Society, so both novice and experienced gardeners can harness the benefits with full confidence that the fertilisers are truly organic as well as being free from animal by-products. Owner of Natural Grower, Charlotte Beaty, points out that consumers are looking for “effective, organic and vegan-friendly fertiliser solutions.” She explains: “Vegan gardening is the growing movement of the moment. Organic gardening has steadily grown over the last few years, and more people are now looking to grow veganically. Most organic fertilisers or soil conditioners have animal by-products in them, so vegan growers have been delighted to finally have a nutrientrich product to use to grow their fruit and vegetables”. Natural Grower’s products are 100% earthworm-friendly and ideally positioned to help retailers expand sales in the fastgrowing organic and vegan sales categories. In addition to Natural Liquid Fertiliser, the company also offer the Natural Soil Conditioner, which is an innovative mulch that’s designed to be dug into garden soil prior to planting. Because it’s rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and trace elements, the goodness is gradually broken down by soil-borne organisms, making Natural Soil Conditioner the ultimate ecofriendly long-term slow-release fertiliser. So how did it all begin? The story that brought Natural Grower to market is an inspirational tale that underpins the brand’s deep-rooted environmentally friendly ethos and commitment to bringing new vegan

16 October 2019

fertilisers to market. Natural Grower’s owners, Charlotte and Richard Beaty, come from a family that has farmed at Nevil Holt in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, for over 50 years. Formerly a dairy unit before diversifying into arable, in 2014 the business invested in an anaerobic digester, a smart piece of technology that uses naturally occurring bacteria to break down maize without the use of chemicals. While the resulting biogas goes into a power unit that converts it into electricity to supply the National Grid, providing renewable energy for 1,000 homes each year, the process also produces a by-product called digestate, the magic ingredient behind the Natural Grower brand. Digestate is fed into a separator to produce a liquid fertiliser and a mulch. This free-from-animal-matter fertiliser was used on the family’s farm to replace chemical fertilisers, with outstanding results witnessed in farm crops, as well as in garden vegetables and plants. While the nutrient


rich liquid fertiliser and mulch is spread on the farm’s fields to grow the next crop of maize, extending its use by launching into the consumer market was a natural progression for the business, as it looked to fill a gap in the market for vegan-approved fertiliser. Crucially, Natural Grower is safe to use in gardens that are home to children, without posing any risk to pets or wildlife – a key demand of modern consumers. The benefits of Natural Grower can now be harnessed by domestic gardeners, via a rapidly expanding network of stockists. Launched in February 2019, Natural Grower already has 15 stockists across the UK, and the list is set to grow. Natural Grower fertiliser is attractively packaged to boost sales and competitively priced to help retail managers grow sales of organic plant food and soil improvers. A 2-litre bottle of Natural Liquid Fertiliser costs £12.99 with a 10-litre liquid bottle carrying an RRP of £34.99. The 16-litre tub of Natural Soil Conditioner is priced at £17.99.


Eco initiatives at a cost... Associate editor Mike Wyatt was impressed with all the sustainable initiatives on display at Glee. But he wonders, who will carry the cost of environmentally-friendly products? The supply chain’s ability to pick up a ball and run with it was hugely apparent at Glee this year. You couldn’t move for sustainability initiatives. It was particularly noticeable in garden care…the launch of peat-free Happy Compost (Bord na Mona), Miracle-Gro Performance Organics (Evergreen Garden Care), Resolva Weed Preventer (Westland), Tierra Verde planters made from recycled rubber tyres (Primeur), kerbside recyclingfriendly taupe pots in the Green Heart area, to name just a few examples. It was, of course, reflecting the heightened awareness of the issues involved in the wider political and retail spheres – and suppliers’ efforts were rightly applauded. But this groundswell of eco action

propagated another key question. In a nutshell, it was: “Will the environmentallyfriendly price premium stick?” Or, to put it another way, who’s going to carry the cost? Peat-based composts are cheaper to produce than peat-free ones. Organic plant foods are more expensive to make than synthetics. Taupe-dyed plastic flower pots cost more than the traditional black versions.Inevitably, consumers will be paying more for such products. Ann Marie O’Riordan, marketing director at Evergreen Garden Care, made the point in a media presentation at Glee that consumers will have to be better educated about the performance benefits you get when you pay a little more.


Miracle-Gro Performance Organics is being positioned as a premium range from which you can expect all the benefits we have come to expect from the original brand… but with better eco-credentials. Peat-based Levington, which old diehards like me used to think of as the bee’s knees in growing media, is now the value label. Good, better, best and all that. Over at Westland, peat-free New Horizon growing media, in which huge amounts of development time and money have been invested, is still outsold by peat-based Jack’s Magic, which, of course, carries a lower price and is available in generous multi-bag deals. The company’s marketing director, Keith Nicholson, says that despite the industry’s move towards a peat-free future (as demanded by the government), it’s currently still all about price in the compost market. Time will tell how consumers, who are clearly demonstrating their concerns about the environment in increasing numbers, will react to enforced inflation. I believe they will pay up, eventually, as long as the products work well – but to get the “proper” price these products deserve, we could be in for a longer wait.

October 2019 17


Sale of the Century: The Facts A rundown of who bought which Wyevale Garden Centre Centre Blooms Gloucester Heighley Gate Huntingdon Woodbridge Woodcote Green Woodlands Altrincham Andover Beaconsfield Blooms Rugby Brighton Bury St Edmunds Cadnam Findern Galton Hare Hatch Harlestone Heath Havant Hungerford Keston Leicester Rowena Lelant Marple Moreton Park Northampton Pennine Peter Baratt’s Gosforth Peter Baratt’s Stockton Poppleton Royston Shenstone Stratford Upon Avon Swansesa Swindon Telford Thornbury World’s End Wolds View Bold Heath Bolton Carr Gate Coventry Leyland Albrighton Birchencliffe Blooms Bressingham Gardenlands Hemel Hempstead Louth Tarporley Wolseley Bridge Bournville Braintree Brockworth Carmarthen Chilton Chipperfield Crawley Harrow Hitchin Lewes Ongar Osterley Paddock Wood Playhatch Pulborough Ramsgate Sprowston Stanway Stevenage Tring Upminster Wimborne Winnersh

Offers Based on £2,000,000 £14,000,000 £2,200,000 £11,250,000 £35,000,000 £3,400,000 £900,000 £6,500,000 £9,250,000 £4,000,000 £7,000,000 £4,600,000 £5,000,000 £7,500,000 £5,500,000 £7,250,000 £1,000,000 £7,000,000 £6,000,000 £5,250,000 £8,000,000 £900,000 £7,000,000 £8,000,000 £1,900,000 £6,000,000 £800,000 £8,000,000 £7,500,000 £1,500,000 £8,500,000 £1,200,000 £5,250,000 £5,750,000 £2,100,000 £900,000 £13,000,000 £230,900,000 £1,800,000 £2,100,000 £250,000 £2,100,000 £300,000 £1,400,000 £2,000,000 £900,000 £1,400,000 £3,400,000 £2,000,000 £3,000,000 £1,200,000 £3,800,000 £1,100,000 £1,000,000 £400,000 £400,000 £2,400,000 £3,500,000 £700,000 £400,000 £3,800,000 £1,900,000 £600,000 £1,100,000 £400,000 £2,800,000 £2,700,000 £1,300,000 £200,000 £200,000 £400,000 £900,000 £400,000 £200,000 £5,000,000 £57,450,000

Bicester Avenue Blooms Cardiff Cadbury Crockford Bridge Endsleigh Melbicks Percy Thrower Sanders Garden World Nailsworth Blooms Worcester Canterbury Chartham Hereford Lower Morden Rake Tunbridge Wells Bridgemere

£1,000,000 £1,300,000 £2,500,000 £800,000 £500,000 £9,250,000 £8,500,000 £12,250,000 £500,000 £3,800,000 £500,000 £1,000,000 £1,400,000 £500,000 £5,000,000 £1,700,000 £50,500,000

18 October 2019

Purchaser Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Dobbies Total British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres British Garden Centres Total Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Blue Diamond Total

Centre Binfield Aldridge Keynsham Shirley Codicote Croydon Purley Way Windsor World of Pets and Leisure Chichester Enfield Seven Hills

Offers Based on £2,400,000 £800,000 £1,300,000 £2,000,000 £10,000,000 £2,800,000 £5,500,000 £3,000,000 £1,700,000 £2,300,000 £3,500,000 £35,300,000 £2,700,000 £700,000 £1,100,000 £3,800,000 £3,400,000 £11,700,000 £8,000,000 £6,500,000

Purchaser Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Developers Total Hilliers Hilliers Hilliers Hilliers Hilliers Hilliers Total English Salvage Rochmills Group

£3,100,000 £2,800,000 £5,900,000 £5,200,000

Otter Nurseries Otter Nurseries Otter Nurseries Total Tates of Sussex

£2,600,000 £1,000,000 £800,000 £200,000 £4,600,000 £4,400,000

In-Excess In-Excess In-Excess In-Excess In-Excess Total Longacres

£1,200,000 £1,800,000 £3,000,000 £2,700,000

Cherry Lane Cherry Lane Cherry Lane Total Squires

Worthing Ferring

£1,500,000 £1,000,000 £2,500,000 £600,000 £1,800,000 £2,400,000 £2,300,000

Maidenhead Aquatics Maidenhead Aquatics Maidenhead Aquatics Total Blackbrooks Blackbrooks Blackbrooks Total Cobbins

Crowland Potters Bar Rayleigh Syon Park Thatcham

£200,000 £400,000 £200,000 £500,000 £900,000

Closed Closed Closed Closed Closed

Sherfield On Loddon Raglan Wych Cross Hamstreet Bude Sudbury Ashford Sidmouth Oxford Findon Wellingborough Woking Blooms Cheltenham Blooms Solihull Blooms Swindon

£1,600,000 £1,500,000 £1,400,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £900,000 £800,000 £700,000 £700,000 £500,000 £500,000 £250,000 £250,000

Capital Gardens Coldbrook Ventures Coolings Grovewell Homeleigh Perrywood St Johns Kings Exmouth AWBS Findon Garden Centre Ltd Higgins Building Supplies The Plant Area Ltd Webbs Rosebourne Studley Grange Limited Elm Court Garden Centre Ltd Grand Total

Cheddar Dorking Lechlade Marlow John Brown Hereford Woburn Sands Jack’s Patch Taunton Old Barn Fair Oak Landford Salisbury West Parley Springfield Barnett Hill Podington Heathlands Dummer Par Hastings Lower Dicker

Elm Court

£200,000 £448,850,000

Centres in multiple ownership Sep-19 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10= 10= 12= 12= 12= 12= 16= 16= 16= 16= 16= 16= 16= 16= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 24= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44= 44=

Group Dobbies British Garden Centres Blue Diamond Klondyke Notcutts Hilliers Squires Cherry Lane Hillview Caulders Otter Nurseries Capital Gardens In-Excess Longacres Newbank Bypass Nurseries Coolings Frosts Grovewell Haskins RHS Plant Centres Tates of Sussex Thompsons Barr Group Berwick Blackbrooks Creative Gardens Hillmount Homeleigh J Parkers Garden Centre Langlands Millbrook Nortons Group Pennells Planters/Garden King Rosebourne Scotsdales Shaw Trust Stewarts The Gardens Group Van Hage Webbs Whitehall Adrian Hall Baytree Benny Beg Bosworths Carnon Downs Cotswold & Vale Deans Flowerland Golden Days Gouldings Halls Honnor & Jeffrey Knights (Chelsham & Woldingham) Knights (Godstone & Nags Hall) Lakeside/Fonthill N1 & W6 Garden Centres Noble Family Perrywood Plants 4 Life Polhill Pople Garden Centres Pughs Rouken Glen Ruskington/Belton Sapcote Seasons Garden Centres St Bridgets Summerseat/Bradley Fold Urban Jungle

Outlets 69 49 37 22 18 17 16 14 8 7 7 5 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2

Leading Garden Centre Groups by number of outlets Sep-19 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10= 10=

Jun-18 2 8= 4= 3 4= 7 6 8= 8= NEW NEW

Group Dobbies British Garden Centres Blue Diamond Klondyke Notcutts Hilliers Squires Cherry Lane Hillview Caulders Otter Nurseries

Outlets 69 49 37 22 18 17 16 14 8 7 7

change since Jun 18 69 49 37 22 18 17 16 14 8 7 7

Source GTN - updated 25-09-19, includes transactions in progress and centres trading under licence transferring to British Garden Centres.



ÂŁ447m 145 57 42 129 37 11 5 Total value of all sold sites

centres up for sale

sold for ongoing long term trading


different buyers

sites bought sold for by Dobbies development


sites closed

October 2019 19


Welcome to the world’s biggest Garden Trade Fair!

Sleek, low furniture lines, recycling and urban gardening were the main themes at the world’s biggest garden trade fair, spoga+gafa, in Koln, Germany at the start of September. Filling 14 halls of the koelnmesse, where else would you find a BBQ designed for carrying on the handlebars of a bicycle?

Elho demonstrate pot recycling Elho’s main message at spoga+gafa was their containers are made with 70% recycled materials and they put on a great live demo of plastic being recycled to create pots. What a great way to underline the environmental message.

20 October 2019



Efsa Concept store drives environmental themes This year’s Efsa concept store, in a rebuilt old style glasshouse structure, displayed several great ideas for getting the recycling and environmental issues across. The beer served was ‘made from heaven’ as it uses recycled rainwater. There were great displays of water recycling and delicious taster ideas for a plant based menu. The Tartar of Water Melon with Smoked Tomato and Basil was a big hit!

Recycled lounging around ideas Here are three spoga+gafa examples of garden lounging, featuring recycled materials. The Tiipii snugglke coccon is made from recycled plastics, the Shou garden chair is made from recycled ocean waste (mainly fishing nets) and the Cocoon from Unknown Furniture is made from reheated lava rock.


October 2019 21


Capi aim for cradle to cradle With Capi pots made from 100% recycled materials their next ambition is to create a network that enables their old pots to be collected and recycled into new pots.

UK hybrids get great reception LeisureGrow and Hozelock both took their hybrid products to spoga+gafa and received great interest. The LeisureGrow Hybrid Grillstream BBQ was a big hit and Hozelock’s TuffHoze looks set for wide distribution across Europe next year.

Eco pots go up the walls Eco pots, made from 100% recycled material, which have sold so well through Dobbies Garden Centres this year, had this very natty system for hanging pots on walls on show.

Even seed packaging can be recycled Dutch company Baza have a range of products packed in recycled tea sacks.

Edleman light up houseplants Edleman had a great display of houseplant accessories that include interior lighting that will add another dimension to houseplant displays and probably sell well too! There’s talk of Edleman exhibiting at Glee next year… watch this space.

And finally... 22 October 2019

After two days at spoga+gafa, walking miles and miles, it was a great relief to find this welcome to Koln display from the UK’s Red Gorilla.



The 250 delegates of IGCA 2019 on the steps of Hatfield House.

Delegates from across the world visit UK garden centres IGCA members from across the world were in London and the South of England last month taking part in the annual IGCA Congress with their base in Windsor. A total of 250 delegates, travelling in five executive coaches, over the five days of congress made visits to Redfields, Rosebourne, Stewarts, Haskins, Coolings, Millbrook Gravesend, Ruxley Manor, Longacres, RHS Wisley, Squires Hersham and Badshot Lea, John Lewis, Aylett Nurseries, Europlants, Garsons and Kew. As well as the garden centres their itinery included visits to the Bombay Sapphire distillery, a Thames cruise and the London Eye, the Changing of the Guards, Hatfield House for a medieval banquet, a tour of Windsor castle and closed with a gala dinner on Friday 6th September. The next IGCA Congress will be in South Africa from October 18th to 23rd 2020.

Westland were the headline sponsors for the congress, with additional sponors being Evergreen Garden Care, Kaemingk, Pleydell Smithyman, Smart Garden Products, the HTA, Garden Connect, Europlants, Fitt Technology and Taylors Bulbs.

24 October 2019

Delegates were warmly welcomed at all of the garden centres, none more so than at Ayletts.



Taking part in ‘mad’ croquet challenge In the presence of Alice, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter, delegates took part in a ‘mad’ croquet challenge.

What Brits do best Chris Beytes, a trade journalist from Grower Talks, American, gave an overview of what he feels UK garden centres do best: 4They have fairly basic structures. We haven’t been to a single crystal palace or a million dollar new shiny structure that, you know, amazes everybody and it’s hard to pay for. 4Tremendously good and extensive signage. So that after 15 minutes of walking through, I know what their guarantee is, I know their delivery policy, I know they will load my car for me. All those kind of little details that nobody had to tell me. 4They have a wide range of product – clothes, food, luggage, gifts, jewellery. And food is tremendously important and a big profit centre, both served in store and ready to go.

4I’ve been here at Christmas time, so I know that garden centres own Christmas in the UK. 4The number of concessions is something you rarely see in America, whether it’s outside or inside – the woollen goods, carwash or the garden sheds, you know, home improvement, all those things. 4Solar lights. Somebody pointed out it’s the big hot new thing. Solar lighting for the garden. So you won’t walk into any garden centre without seeing the massive display of solar lights. 4I guess the last thing is probably how much autumn is promoted. They tell you it’s autumn in case you didn’t know, there are signs about autumn everywhere. And we don’t tend to do as good a job of that in America.”

RHS Wisley shop makes a huge impression Victoire Coquelin, Cote Nature, France “The most interesting thing was Squires Hersham and that was really nice because I could see one of my garden centres in it, but this was far better. “It was interesting to see the range size and comparing what we are doing in France to the things they are doing here. “Otherwise I think the one that I really loved the most was RHS Wisley shop, because I’m merchandising, furniture-related, obsessed. I really loved it. “I will definitely think about the restaurant parts because we don’t have any in our garden centres and it represents a huge part of the business here. We’ll try to find out if it’s compatible with the French market.”


October 2019 25


What the IGCA delegates said GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer caught up with the IGCA Congress at Aylett Nurseries and asked: What their highlight had been and what ideas they would be taking back home.

Andy Roy, Oxley Nursery, Australia “What really blows my mind is how most centres are way more than a garden centre. To think you’d go to a nursery and come out with a pound of sausages. It is not something my brain’s computing terribly well at this stage. “Part of the beauty of the congress is most of the learning is done on the bus or over a couple of drinks later on. “A topic of particular passion for me is engaging children. Some other delegates are talking about having learning gardens. So, learning becomes fun. “And environmentally there’s some very good things being done here and we’re all behind that sort of enterprise. Our ultimate goal is to be a carbon positive business.” Mark Sipkens and Brian Sipkens, of Sipkens Nurseries, Canada, and Phil Paxton, Wheatland Trees, Canada Mark and Brian Sipkens said their highlight was the interaction with other garden centre owners and the greenhouses at Wisley. “They’re very good, very well maintained. Somehow they’re getting enough funding to keep it working. The problem is making it so attractive people want to come back. So that was quite shocking compared to a lot

of other botanical gardens that are under funded and neglected.” Phil Paxton added: “My big takeaway is how event-based and wide ranging the garden centre experience has become. We saw a centre selling reptiles and fish. We sell pet foods but it’s never dawned on me that we could do something like that. On the other side of the equation, you’ve got places with things like butterfly gardens and other attractions.”

Yasuaki Hirata, Hirata Nursery Co Ltd, Japan “The highlight was RHS Wisley. The customers looked so happy, there were lots of people and the great quality of plants. “I’m thinking it is time to start a restaurant business in Japan, we have just a small coffee shop at the moment.” This is the fourth year that the GCA Trust has sponsored two delegates to attend congress. Sam Clark from Cowells and Emma Lamb from Barton Grange were this year’s sponsored delegates. Sam said his highlight had been speaking to all the international delegates and seeing so many Southern centres. “I’ve never had a chance to see a lot of the Southern centres and there have been some fantastic ones. It’s been a really good experience. Emma added: “It has been phenomenal. Just seeing the Southern centres and how they’re progressing. Their plant selection is second to none. Meeting all the staff who have been so welcoming. You can see the passion just pouring out of them. On learnings from his days on congress Sam explained: “We’ve been having some great conversations on our bus about staff management and incentive schemes.” Emma gained a lot of inspiration from the Australian delegates: “I’ve taken a lot on from the

26 October 2019

guys over in Australia, especially about just making things a bit more exclusive. They are using social media to post out that they’ve got this special new plant arriving tomorrow morning and they have people queuing outside from four o’clock in the morning just to get an exclusive, two-thousand-dollar plant.”


Sue Allen, Chair of the GCA Trust, has been to at least 25 IGCA Congresses. “I started in 1991 and missed a few. But this is the first time we’ve been able to visit Millbrook. So that was my highlight because I basically cried the whole time the dcelegates were there, but that was because I was just overwhelmed by it all.


AQUA 2019 gets set for exciting show AQUA 2019, the UK’s aquatics and water gardening industry exhibition, is getting ready to stage another memorable show in October with an impressive list of exhibitors. Visitors to the exhibition at Telford International Centre on October 16-17 can expect a busy and exciting event with the exhibition hall packed with UK and international companies. As well as meeting up with a long list of AQUA regulars, visitors will be greeted by a host of new faces. AQUA event chairman Dr David Pool said: “This event was set up by the aquatic trade for the aquatic trade and the organisers are constantly listening to feedback and looking for new ways to improve the visitor experience. We’re certain that time spent at AQUA 2019 will prove to be both memorable and valuable. “A lot of planning and hard work has gone into organising this show and I’m confident you will have an enjoyable and profitable visit.” A number of companies will be exhibiting at AQUA for the first time, including Aqua Roche, Xodis, The Gala Group, Garden Timber, Bentley Advanced Minerals, Aqualine, La Motte, Plimat, Garden Aquarium. Charlotte Whitehead, of LaMotte Europe, said: “We are excited to exhibit at AQUA for the first time and to introduce the new SpinTOUCH FX – a proven multi-parameter water testing system, now available to the freshwater aquarium and aquaculture markets.” French company AquaRoche will also be an AQUA first-timer as Jerome Levassor explained: “The UK is one of the biggest markets in Europe and we have a limited presence in the country. However, we can say that the shops we work with are performing pretty well with our products, and we’ll hope to get this message across at the exhibition.” Plimat manufactures high quality WRAS approved Industrial Plastic Pressure Pipe Systems in PVC-U and ABS, and the

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company’s Paul Hobby said: “We’re really looking forward to showcasing our products at AQUA 2019.” Martin Pring , of Bentley Advanced Materials, acknowledged that AQUA was the ideal place to exhibit his company’s products to UK and international buyers. “We’re excited about exhibiting for the first time at AQUA and to be able to introduce our creative moulding and casting products that we supply to help bring aquatic decoration ideas to life.” Garden Aquarium design and manufacture a range of premium raised garden ponds with large viewing windows. “We can’t wait to display our products at the show and look to expand our approved stockists across the UK,” said the company’s Gareth Thomas. Once again the New Product Showcase, sponsored by pbwnews, is set to be one of the highlights of the exhibition. All the items will be entered into the New Product


Awards, which will be judged by a team of independent retailers on the opening morning of the show. In recognition of the importance of the New Product Showcase, the Awards will be presented to the winners at a sold-out AQUA dinner, in front of an audience of over 600 people from the industry after the first day of the show. As well as getting to see all the new products to be launched on to the market, visitors will be well looked-after during their stay, including free parking, a free catalogue and a free lunch voucher. For a full list of exhibitors and how to register for free entry visit www.aquatelford.co.uk Date for the diary AQUA 2019, October 16-17, Telford International Centre

Launchpad to sales success

Winning an award in the AQUA New Product Showcase can be the launchpad to huge sales. That’s according to companies whose new products have been recognised at previous exhibitions. Manufacturers can be confident that successful products have a great chance of becoming bestsellers because a panel of retailers decides the awards. And past winners admit that winning an award can certainly increase the profile of the items to the trade. The New Product Showcase, sponsored by pbwnews, is a great opportunity for visiting retailers to see and touch the new products they will be stocking for the coming season. The Showcase is designed to help you to find easily the latest and most exciting products to hit the pet trade, as they are gathered together in one, extensive display. Once you’ve seen what you like you then have the opportunity of visiting the stand of the manufacturer or supplier of that product to discuss it in more detail. There is an information card beside each product, giving details such as suggested retail price and where in the show you’ll find the item’s exhibitor. All entries in the Showcase will judged by the panel of retailer judges for the New Product Awards on the first morning of the show, so the results will be known and highlighted throughout the exhibition. In recognition of the growing importance of the New Product Showcase, the Awards will be presented to the winners at the AQUA dinner for the first time, in front of an audience of over 600 from the trade after the first day of the show.


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Profile for Garden Trade News

GTN October 2019  

GTN October 2019