GTN September 2020 - Garden Trade News UK

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gtn SEPTEMBER 2020

Advice & information for garden centre professionals

£3m tv campaigns








VISIT OUR NEWLY DESIGNED PETERBOROUGH SHOWROOM Our research shows that consumers are more engaged than ever before with core gardening. Not only were there 2.2m new gardeners, but 73% of gardeners spent more than usual, and prospects are strong with 89% of gardeners planning to do the same in 2021. We are focussed on delivering green growth in 8 key categories.






LEADERS IN lawncare Westland is proud of our position as market leader in both the lawn fertiliser and lawn seed markets*. The research and technology behind our products guarantee the best results, with constant innovation and investment.

Our Most Advanced Grass Seed Yet

Joining the Smart Seed family in 2021 is our most advanced seed technology to date, Gro-Sure® Smart Lawn Seed Shady & Dry. Our latest innovation contains a unique seed blend of 3 specially developed varieties that thrive in the most difficult conditions. This includes areas with minimal light, as well as in the driest of conditions, under trees or in full sunligh sunlight. Shady & Dry also featu ures our innovative Aqua gel coating that aids germination and establishment to boost performance and results. Gro-Sure® Smart Seed Shady & Dry is available in a 20m² size for 2021.

Tomorrow’S Technology Today

Aftercut Triple Care has been developed using a new formulation that delivers a similar performance to a lawn feed weed & moss killer, without the use of herbicide. It has the perfect nutrient balance to strengthen, green and promote a healthy lawn. Enriched with iron, it also helps prevent moss. This no herbicide technology is part of the Westland sustainability plan to minimise the use of chemicals in our gardens. This advanced lawn treatment will be available in a 100m² and 400m² sizes for 2021.


Aftercut lawn care promotion in 2021 Af tercutt All In One Lawn Feed Weed and Moss Killer contains 2,4-D, Mecoprop-P, Dicamba and Ferrous Sulphate. Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use


*GfK Lawn Fertiliser & Lawn Seed Panel Market Jan-June 2020

All the products you need to grow

Inspiring a Generation

Our Homegrown by Unwins range supports all consumers through the complete growing journey with expert advice, trustworthy information, and quality products.


Seed Innovation


to grow

Indoor KitS

Exciting new lines include Unwins Windowsill Microgreens, growing kits perfect for small spaces and packed full of vitamin boosting qualities for healthconscious consumers. Unwins Chilli Growing Boxes and Salad and Herb Kitchen Garden Kits will help ‘at home chefs’ turn cooking from scratch into a genuine homegrown experience. As sustainable gardenin ng trends continues, Partner Plants represe ent a brrilliant opportunity to add value to the category.

2020 has seen a huge boost in the popularity of growing fruit and veg at home, visible through the 600% increase in online page views of Westland Grow Your Own articles this year! Homegrown by Unwins combines our Seed and Propagation categories to help all growers achieve more success throughout their growing journey. Inspiring and engaging anyone with an urge to grow, while driving sales for our retail partners.



Television oct-nov


Westland is driving category growth by investing £1.1m into the Peckish bird care brand, as it soars onto the airwaves with a TV campaign that celebrates the joy of inviting birds into the garden.

£1.1m Investment

Supported by targeted press and digital media activity, the Peckish campaign will take flight across the UK and Ireland throughout October and November. The popular Peckish TV ad, set to reach over 25m people, has been updated for 2020 and brings to life the enjoyment of encouraging more birds into the garden.




NATURAL BALANCE The Peckish Natural Balance range helps give birds the nutrients they need throughout the year. Designed with the environment and nature aware consumer in mind, Peckish Natural Balance is made from sustainable packaging, meaning zero single use plastic. With the pleasure that feeding birds brings, there is a lot to feel good about with Peckish Natural Balance!



GARDMAN – Leading Growth

Founded over 27 years ago, Gardman is the UK’s No. 1 wild bird care brand. Our work with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) gives scientific insight and research that supports the development of our range of bird food and accessories.

These insights, development and packaging has put Gardman at the forefront of helping grow bird populations in the UK.

increased WILD BIRD numbers since 1970...




Consumer Trends & Gardman

The food we put out for birds has changed dramatically over the last 4 decades. Before 1980, people typically put out a small number of foods for birds, often kitchen scraps on homemade bird tables. Since then, many more kinds of bird food have become available and a variety of food means a variety of birds. Birds that were rarely spotted in gardens 40 years ago are now Seed mixes were much more common. Over the 40-year first advertised period, 133 species were recorded at garden feeders – over half of all British bird species.


1987 1991 Fat Balls introduced


Black Sunflower Seeds introduced


Sunflower Hearts and Nyjer Seed introduced


Huge range of straights & speciality food available


growing success

Restoring nature’s balance Organic gardening is gaining traction rapidly. Today, 67% of gardeners consider themselves to be eco-conscious and 3 in every 4 people avoid using chemicals in their gardens.

Westland’s all new Growing Success “Safer Garden” range has developed organic formulations with natural extracts so gardeners can tackle pest & disease confidently.

The new range consist of 3 new products that deliver high efficacy levels against pest & disease without harming beneficial insects like bees or ladybirds. The clever formulations also build the plants defence mechanism to be able to withstand future attacks.

Fungus Stop uses natural conifer extracts to help treat mildew, alternaria, leaf spot, fruit scab and rust on fruit, vegetables and flowers. With the rose market growing 9% year on year, Rose Guard is set to be a success and the organic option to keep roses in top condition. Finally, Bug Stop contains natural citrus extract and an emulsifier to help combat pest like whitefly, greenfly, spider mites and many others on all crops without harvest interval so gardeners can enjoy their own grown immediately after treatment.

Slug Stop barrier pellets have been proven to protect both treated and neighbouring plants, as slugs stop feeding completely. Keeping their shape in wet conditions, these pesticide-free, child and pet safe pellets ensure slugs and snails stay at bay.

Growing Success Slug Killer Advanced contains Ferric Phosphate. Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Stop weeds RESOLVA AD

before IS BACK they start

ON TV FOR 20211

Resolva Weed Preventer is a 100% natural formulation which reduces the need for hand weeding in beds, border and vegetable patches by preventing weed seed development and establishment.

of fast-acting The Resolva range ol and ntrrol co st pe , ers kill weed a b be to s ue cleaners contin and kn deners. o rd ga h wit rite ou fav firm weeds w-how to s to nd b bra fr the g rtin po and is om develo p We’re sup ping 100% V TV n with a heavyweight a tural. The ca t the m campaign throughou be bro paign will y Ma in u ys g lida ht to li two Bank Ho in stor fe ocial e so 2021, backed up by gondo through la er nc ue e infl d n an ds, media wobb ler activity focusing on guide s, shelf s g a our ground-breakin range nd a handy o e guide f shopper Weed Preventer. Th s to and em educate first product of its d ed We , UK the in d garde power kin ne world rs in the Preventer uses of wee ds. new technology


Resolva On tv every year since launch Resolva Xpress contains pelargonic acid. Resolva Xtra Ready to Use Weedkiller contains Mecoprop-P and Dicamba. Resolva Path & Drive contains acetic acid. Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.





Our product innovation is always driven by consumer research, so we know we’re solving the big challenges gardeners are facing every day.

for wee d ng an d openin in g comp os t bags

Feedback from consumers this year showed us that people need more from their gardening tools – and that the trowel is the most relied upon garden companion, often used for a variety of purposes.


We’ve used that insight to create the new Kent & Stowe Capability Trowel, a game changer that fills a multitude of functions and takes a traditional tool to the next level!

Our Luxury Leather Water Resistant Gloves are made from high quality soft and supple leather. They are perfect for heavy-duty gardening tasks such as weeding and pruning, even in e wet conditions. Built to last, they are also double stitched with a ‘keyston ne e’ thumb separately stitched, to minimise wear and tear.

for to ugh s oils






Flopro is making a difference in the watering category for 2021 by showing consumers the right way to water for better garden results. Moreover, we guarantee that our products work with all watering brands and are anti-leak. Our distinctive range is supported with off fixture displays for great sales results in store.




Flopro is disrupting the hosepipe market with our new and innovative SmartFlo Next Generation No-Kink Hose Set. It tackles the e most common challenge consumers have with hosepipes: kinks! Because the hose expands when in use, it pushes out any kinks. The hosepipe is flat when not in use for flexibility and to save on storage space. It is also ideal for use on a reel or cart. The SmartFlo Hose Set comes with a strong 30-year guarantee, ensuring its longevity for even heavy-d duty watering tasks.






Flopro is launching the new and improved EasyHose Complete Hose Reel Set. The reel is designed for better stability, so unwinding and rewinding your hose is a simple job. The carry handle can be used to easily transport the reel around the garden or can even be used as a hose guide when wall mounted to make rewinding a breeze.


Most consumers ers water their garden because they have containers and flower beds. Our unique SoftFlo Advanced Gun is the perfect watering partner for them. With a gentle water flow, it will not disturb compost or harm roots and flowers. It has a clever setting that waters direct to the roots rather than the leaves for even better results. Furthermore, the SoftFlo Advanced d Gun has a water flow adjustment and on/ off using just one hand – for easy and enjoyable watering.

Investing in the future Growing Media

NEW HORIZON LEADING THE WAY IN PEAT FREE £1.5m New Horizon keeps on setting new standards in peat-free compost. Its unique blend enriched with Bio3 is delivering market leading results both in sales growth and consumer results. New Horizon performance and position is benefitting from Westland’s ongoing commitment never to use ‘green waste’ and focus on in-house developments. To continue to


drive New Horizon, Westland will be reaching over 20 million homes and investing over £1.5 million in a multimedia campaign in 2021. This includes TV in a advertising during Easter and the May Bank Holiday period. The campaign will invite consumers to ‘Join the Greatest Grow on Earth’ and make the switch to peat-free.





Westland is launching a new range of soil-based planting mediums and a soil improver as part of our ongoing strategy to reduce peat usage. Soil is quite literally full of life! In fact, it’s been said that a handful contains more organisms than the amount of humans that have ever lived on Earth! Westland wants to change the way consumers think about soil and provide them with planting mediums that will deliver the very best results. That’s why our new planting mediums are enriched with ‘Active Bio-Life’ to support life in the soil. So our Flower Planting Soil 40L, Vegetable Planting Soil 40L and Soil Improver 50L create healthier soils for healthier plants.


Empowering gardeners inside and out





Indoor gardening is a huge trend and set to continue into 2021 and beyond. More people are maximising their indoor space and appreciating the benefits that having houseplants has on their wellbeing. With houseplant sales up 26% year on year* consumer desire for Westland indoor composts and feeds is ever increasing.

16% MORE


Westland’s indoor potting mixes are rolling out an improved pouch format that stands up on shelf, making it perfect for merchandising. From potting mixes to watering indicators and feeds, our Indoor range has everything needed to help bring the outdoors in!


Our standout POS and everything needed, including ‘plant table displlay stands,’ which allow retailers to merchandise specific feed alongside the relevant plant, are aimed at enhancing the consumer’s knowledge and d gardening experience; whilst also driving spend in-store.






*Source: HTA Garden Retail Monitor February, 2020

SPECIALIST FEEDS& COMPOST Following the successful launch of our specialist compost range last year, Westland is expanding further with complimentary feeds. Tailored to meet specific plant needs and blended to support optimum plant health, these high performance specialist feeds: rose, ericaceous, hydrangea, seaweed and organic vegetable can be easily merchandised to encourage shoppers to ‘pop a feed’ in their basket alongside their compost and plants.


Long growing in garden term centres needs investment

specific Sales increasing 7


WE delivering a green growth plan are for gardeners tomorrow

Sustainable growing media strategy % PEAT FREE Westland’s unique peat replacement technology extended across range in 2021 1996




70% 2015



PACKAGING Reduction strategy




* Where regulation allows.

L ET & B



Helping your Themselves Plants protect


that build plant health and reduce the need for regulated rescue products



2023 P



Single use plastic Eliminated by


gtn SEPTEMBER 2020

Adviice & infformattion for garden centre professionals

New Products Galore

- Christmas Plans – 10 Years of Garden Re-Leaf Day

GLEE GATHERING, but not as we know it The Werthei m Legacy End of an era.

Interview with Neil & Nicci Gow.

Call 012 4 to a 3 55 4 4 rran g e F 55 site R visit EE

Committed to helping garden centre retailers grow With over 50 years experience in supplying to horticultural retailers, Fordingbridge are dedicated to helping our clients trade whatever the weather. Our design & build experience can help you open new opportunities for your garden centre.

Contact us today to arrange a FREE site visit

01243 55 44 55


How lucky we are! A common strand of conversations across the industry during August has been “How lucky we are to be working in the garden retailing industry!” And indeed, we have all been in the fortunate position of seeing sales run at record summer levels and catch up on the deficit caused by the lock-down closures of March, April and early May. The GTN Bestsellers All Products Sales Index shows August garden centre volumes to be a massive 20% up on last year and even higher than May sales were in 2019. Normally an increase in August sales wouldn’t be significant as it’s usually one of the quieter trading months of the year, but, within the epos data analysed by GTN Bestsellers every week we’ve seen massive increases in growing media, garden care products, pots and plant sales. That all indicates a new style of gardening that just keeps on growing. Some believe it is new gardeners buying through the summer because no one told them they can’t, others say it’s a result of planterias and centres being full of stock as growers and producers catch up on sales. What ever the reason, if the pattern of this summer

is to be continued through next year then we have even more reason to consider ourselves lucky. It’s sad that we can’t all meet up at the NEC next week for Glee, there are so many stories to be told and greetings to be made, however the Glee team and ourselves are doing all we can to keep everyone connected and up to date with new product information via the Glee Gathering and the Glee Daily News.

See you, virtually, at Glee! EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Garden Trade News Potting Shed Press Ltd Dairy Drove Thorney Peterborough PE6 0TX Tel 01733 775700

GTN Bestsellers All Barcode Products Index Epos Data Sales Volume Week by Week May - August 2016-2020

THE GTN TEAM Editor Trevor Pfeiffer Associate Editor Mike Wyatt Digital Editor Neil Pope Advertising Sales Alan Burdon Subscriptions Karen Pfeiffer Design & Production AT Graphics Ltd Kirsty Craner – Design Alun Jones – Production Manager Robert Tipping – Managing Director James Tipping – Technical Director Printing CG Print Ltd Do you qualify for a copy of GTN?























If you’d like to be added to the GTN distribution list, please send your details to Karen@pottingshedpress. to see if you qualify to be included. Alternatively, if you prefer your Garden Trade News digitally, sign up for GTN Xtra, our weekly e-mail newsetter at And, if you want the fastest garden centre sales analysis, take out a subscription to GTN Bestsellers our printed weekly sales data newsletter. For just £145.00 per year you get Top 50 sales charts created from weekly garden centre epos data. Contact for more details and to subscribe.

Potting Shed Press Ltd

In this issue

Westland 8 page pull out The end of an era, Neil & Nicci Gow Over 200 New Products from Smart The Wertheim Legacy Primeurs virtual updates Christmas is coming Onduline transform the garden Hozelock’s new sprayers 10 Years of Garden Re-Leaf Day Evergreen Garden Care Autumn Special

Front & Back Wrap 4 8 12 16 18 21 22 24 27

Garden Trade News is published by Potting Shed Press Ltd who also publish: GTN Bestsellers, GTN Xtra, Glee Daily News and the Glee Catalogue, and the Solex Sun. Potting Shed Press also supply Garden Radio to over 100 garden centres across the country.

Glee Gathering


Happy Days ahead for compost


New Products at Glee

36, 38 and 42

Grow your card sales


LOFA Assured at Stewarts


Eat Out To Help Out


Showrooms to visit


HTA Column


GIMA Column


Director Trevor Pfeiffer SMALL PRINT: All material [copyright symbol] Potting Shed Press Ltd 2020. 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.

September 2020 3


The end of an era

GTN’s Mike Wyatt catches up with Neil and Nicci Gow as they bring the curtain down on horticultural and garden centre careers that span over forty years. When Fresh@Burcot near Bromsgrove closed its doors for good in early August, it wasn’t the first garden centre site – and it certainly won’t be the last – to be lined up for housing development. Following a successful planning application originally submitted four years ago, Neil and Nicci Gow decided the time was right to realise the freehold site’s value. “It’s been fun, it’s been profitable ” said Neil, “and we have reached our end goal – which was not only to achieve the ambition of running our own business but also to have an asset with potential for use for some other purpose.” The bijou Burcot Garden Centre was part of the shrinking Hurrans group when Neil and Nicci bought it in 2007, barely months ahead of the financial crash that devastated the world’s economies. “If we had started three weeks later than we did, the bank manager wouldn’t have lent us the money,” Neil recalls. The couple had never intended the project to be a new long-term family business. “We made that plain to the kids,” Neil recalls. “And the kids made it plain to us that they didn’t want that!” added Nicci.

Neil knew it made sense to keep one eye on the pension pot. When they were handed the keys to Burcot, Neil was one year into his role as director of the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association, a job he had taken as his previous managerial position with Thompstone Brothers was winding down when the brothers began disposing of their three well-respected centres – Worcester, Byrkley Park and Whitacre. The subsequent GIMA years (20062014) sealed Neil’s reputation as one of the industry’s true all-rounders in a career that had already embraced DIY and garden centre retailing. As it happens, the starting point was an interest in gardening, rather than horticulture. Neil’s father was a mining engineer who spent much of his working life below ground. “He was a very keen gardener and always said the garden was his green lung,” Neil recalls. “So I was exposed to gardening and particularly to vegetable growing.” Leaving school at 16, he took a

Neil and Nicci Gow receive the Bronze Award for their planteria team in the small garden centre category of GTN’s Greatest Awards in 2016.

4 September 2020

Fresh@Burcot’ss typically vibrant POS.


Positive messages, not only promoting the plants but also that vital add-on purchase, the growing media (bottom). summer job at a tomato nursery. “I realised that if I actually knew what I was doing, this gardening lark could be quite fun,” he said. After a spell as an RSPB reserve warden, he studied horticulture at the West of Scotland Agricultural College, leaving in 1978 to join the DIY chain Dodge City, later to become part of the burgeoning B&Q empire. As the DIY market entered its boom years, the trail-blazing B&Q team enabled Neil to acquire business skills and retail experience that were unique at the time. “It was the beginning of DIY stores opening garden centres and that was my brief,” Neil recalls. B&Q’s mercurial growth - nerve-wracking for the traditional garden centre industry – was driven by cashflow, driven in turn by stockturn. “Everything was rented - the buildings, the shop-fittings, the stock. Stock turn was everything. If you could sell the stock before you paid for it, you didn’t have to have the capital tied up in it. It all revolved around the stock-turn. It was a real rigid discipline. The target was seven weeks, because you paid for it in eight.” The rate of expansion was governed by how quickly the new stores opening team, of which Neil Gow was part, could get the new outlets trading after moving in. “We got it down from three weeks to one.” The group opened 60 stores during his tenure. Naturally, this turned out to be of great interest to the embryonic Wyevale organisation - Neil’s next stop – which was about to embark on a similarly ambitious expansion programme. The future empire

was barely a twinkle in its founder’s eye, with just five garden centres to its name at the time, so Neil’s arrival with a headful of cutting edge retail intelligence was gratefully received by the then chief executive, Brian Evans. Also working at Wyevale was the future Mrs Gow - nurseryman’s daughter Nicci Edmonds, carving out her own horticulture career after studying commercial horticulture at Writtle College. Nicci’s father, John, returned from a Nuffield scholarship trip to the US fired up by the growing practice of growing plants in containers, helping John Tooby’s Bransford Nurseries (now the Bransford Webbs Plant Company) to become a major pioneer of container growing in the UK.

Neil’s role as a regional manager took them across the expanding Wyevale estate, involving 11 moves in eight years, while Nicci took on the managers role at their highest turnover centre – Northampton Vale. Then, with Wyevale’s transformation from a small entrepreneurial group to a fast-growing stock market-listed chain managed from the top down, the Gows sought pastures new. “When I first joined the rule was just ‘make a profit’. By the time we left, you had to ask permission for everything - that’s not a criticism, just a fact of life.” The couple headed back to Worcestershire, Nicci’s home turf. Initially Neil joined the Malcolm Scott consultancy, helping operators like Barton Grange, Stewarts and

September 2020 5


Above: the entrance to the covered plant sales area at Fresh@Burcot. Right and bottom right: Neil and Nicci promote their bare essentials for World Naked Gardening Day 2020. Bottom left: Neil & Nicci under a Wyevale umbrella on their wedding day in 1983. Haskins to push the boundaries of garden retailing, while grower-trained Nicci worked at a houseplant nursery and became a Field Officer for the HTA. Joining the Thompstones to manage their trio of centres saw Neil “back in my element, dealing with plants and people”. Nicci took on the administration role at the Worcester centre while raising their two daughters. When the GIMA opportunity arose, Neil’s background in garden retailing injected valuable insight into the association’s work on retailer-supplier relationships. Buying the Burcot site from Hurrans saw the couple’s long-held dream – to run their own business – become a reality. “The centre was a manageable size two people could do something with, it was freehold, with good people, in a good catchment area and something we could just about afford,” said Neil. “I had just turned 50 so we decided it was now or never. They chose to call the new business ‘Fresh@Burcot’ to both emphasise a distinctive contemporary edge to their approach and their aim to ensure their plants, produce and food were fresh and, wherever possible, locally or regionally resourced. “We like to think we were at the leading edge of that trend, even if we didn’t drive it as sharply as we would have liked.” Nevertheless, the Gows tripled turnover in the first five years, despite the difficulties posed for businesses and consumers during the financial crash. “We had some pretty steep hills to climb and three harsh winters on the trot. It wasn’t easy.” With a more relaxed pace of life now on the horizon, Neil recalls the words of

6 September 2020

Malcolm and Ros Joyce after they sold their Woodlands centre many years ago: “The best thing is waking up in the morning and not giving a toss what the weather’s like!” What next? First, their house and garden in Worcestershire will, they say, get some muchneeded TLC, then some potential consultancy work will retain links with the industry that has enriched their working lives. Neil is a Trustee of the David Colegrave Foundation, which funds career opportunities for students in horticulture, and works with Pershore High School’s RHSaccredited School Gardening programme, which produced a runner-up in the 2019 RHS-led School Gardener of the Year Awards. So, as two careers change direction, a whole new generation stands to benefit.

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Over 200 New Products from Smart will please and surprise

Describing 2020 as “extraordinary” is an understatement. Like everyone in the gardening industry, Smart Garden Products watched in helpless frustration as the best gardening weather for a generation arrived in April and May, to no avail, due to garden centres being closed. Thankfully, when they did re-open in midMay, a huge pent-up demand was unleashed. Managing Director Jonathan Stobart told GTN: “We now count ourselves amongst the lucky few that have emerged unscathed from this unprecedented, hugely challenging period. “Meanwhile, we have been busy developing over 200 new products across all of our product groups. Despite having had to operate with all the travel restrictions imposed over the last few months, we are delighted with the breadth and innovation we are introducing for 2021. We hope our customers will be pleasantly surprised! “Within our Solar category, we have extended our ‘Super Smart 365’ range while our best-selling Cool Flame collection now includes new colours, Carry Packs and a stunning String Light. Our Starbursts and

8 September 2020

Spiralights are consistent best sellers so we have added yet more choice to wow our customers even more, while our String Light category is boosted with eight new designs. “Our Solar range also covers solar water features, with three exquisite new designs introduced for 2021 using Smart patented technology. “A standout success this season has been our Faux Décor category which we are building further with a striking new selection of Faux Bouquets and Faux Trellises, including an Ivy Leaf Trellis with integral solar LEDs – perfect for patio parties!” Stocking up on Grow-Your-Own for 2021 One of the consequences of the Covid-19 lockdown has been a renaissance in GrowYour-Own. “It has been a challenge this year


keeping up with demand for our GroZones, Watering Cans, and Cloches. To try and ensure perfect availability in 2021, as well as introducing new items such as Tomato GroBoxes and Home & Balcony Watering Cans, we are already stocking up heavily on this dynamic product group, said Jonathan.

fabric figurine Door-Stops. There are also additions to all of the other product groups including Flamboya Décor, Elvedon, Hanging & Patio Gardening, ChapelWood Wild Bird Care and Eureka Lighting, all of which feature in the 2021 Catalogue. Jonathan added: “Our Zöon Pet brand launched in autumn 2019 has been widely welcomed by our retail partners and is already flying off the shelves of over 400 stockists. We are now adding another 60 new items to this 700-strong collection. “Our showrooms at Peterborough and Abingdon are open, fully stocked with the entire Smart offering. It is an experience not to be missed and we look forward to extending our hospitality to our customers in a totally safe and comfortable environment.”

See the entire Smart portfolio Following its second successful season within the Smart portfolio, the refreshed Briers collection is being further enhanced for 2021 with the addition of two beautiful design themes - Bees and Posies. In the home-enhancing Outside In collection, Smart are adding Doormats and Clocks, as well as a beautiful selection of Firefly Lanterns; and to cap it all off, an adorable range of filled-

September 2020 9

This winter it’s all about snuggling in, sustainably. Stock Coffee Logs this season. Fire logs made with recycled coffee grounds. Made in the UK.


Innovative solutions for the new gardening season Europe’s leading gardening brand, GARDENA, continues to focus on bringing innovative solutions to passionate gardeners in 2021, with more than 35 product innovations and range refreshes for the upcoming gardening season. These are some of the highlights. Roll-up for innovation The popular GARDENA Wall-Mounted RollUp Hose Boxes range will be entering the 2021 gardening season with fresh designs and improved handling, and will also include an innovative new garden hose box. The GARDENA Wall-Mounted Hose Box has already proven itself with innovative features like RollControl: A high quality brake for controlled retraction, a high quality spring for long-lasting automatic rewinding, a hose guide for even hose roll-up and short locking points for effortless handling, all backed by our Frost and UV proof promise and a 5 year warranty. The new range will include additional features like a new wall bracket for even more space-saving storage and higher flexibility (Patent pending), new internal construction to reduce the size of the box (Patent pending) and improved quality hose for no blockages, no twists and comfortable rewinding. From 2021, the range will also feature a Garden Hose Box. Mounted to a metal spike for flexible placement in the garden and a stable hold in the ground, this hose box allows for 360° swivelling (Patent pending)

for flexible and comfortable handling and reaching every corner of the garden. GARDENA enters the Garden Decoration sector with a system that promoted a garden lifestyle all year round The new GARDENA ClickUp! is a flexible system for the garden that offers decorative elements throughout the year and contributes to species protection. Its basis is durable FSC®-certified larch wood handle. Equipped with a connector, it is inspired by the Original GARDENA System, where different attachments can be mounted with just one click. This creates a firm, wobblefree connection. With different attachments depending on the Season, including an Insect Hotel, Bird Feeder, Rain Gauge, Flower Bowl and Torch Fireplace, this provides a whole host of possibilities to individualise your outdoor living space. Sustainable plant care The plant protection market is changing. With a growing trend for natural solutions, gardeners are wanting a garden that is not only beautiful, but healthy. The new range of GARDENA Pump and Pressure sprayers have a host of new features including a filter for self-brewed liquids.

> Your local GARDE ENA Sales Agent will be contacting you to take you through the range innovations in more detail. If you need any more information about the products, or the rest of the GARDENA range, please contact

September 2020 11


The Wertheim Legacy

GTN pays tribute to the original garden centre Guru, Ernest Werthiem. As a landscape architect in the fifties he designed his first retail plant nursery for Jack Schneider. The term garden centre didn’t exist before Orchard Nursery was designed and developed. Then in 1958 Ernest predicted that plants would sell better and last longer if they were sold in containers rather than bare root or rootballed. UK garden centre owners who worked with Ernest Wertheim, who died last month aged 100, have hailed the California-based garden centre consultant as a visionary who did more than any other to shape the modern garden retail industry, here and around the world. Berlin-born Ernest became a personal friend to many, sharing details of the astonishing story (later collated in a book, ‘Chasing Spring’) of how he escaped the Nazis and ended up in the US, where General McCarthy recruited him as an intelligence officer to work behind enemy lines in the Far East. Trained as a landscape architect before World War II, he set up his consultancy

12 September 2020

Through tough questioning, Ernest challenged his clients to think outside the box and fully explore the kind of businesses they wanted to create.

in San Fransisco in 1940 but it was with his business partners, the late Jacob van Der Ploeg and, more recently, Frederick J Kleymeyer, that he forged a post-war reputation as a horticultural retailing guru. The business became known internationally as WVK and has been credited with inventing the garden industry we experience today - not by imposing a prescriptive formula on clients but by motivating and inspiring owners (in the words of Guy Topping of Barton Grange) “to work out what garden centre you wanted to build rather than deliver the garden centre that he thought you should build”.


The entrance to the Open Sky plant sales glasshouse at Bents Garden & Home, one of the first of its kind in the UK.

Bold, Imaginative plant retailing at Barton Grange Garden Centre.

Ernest developed close friendships with the Bents and other families with whom he worked. Here, with Ron and Matthew Bent, he holds a copy of his fascinating autobiography, Chasing Spring.

Bents Garden & Home Ron Bent, chairman and founder, and his son Matthew, CE, say Ernest’s influence on their family business can’t be summed up in a few words. Matthew: “One thing that Ernest brought to us was to think long term, not just short term - that is, start with the final plan and then work back.” Ron: “Ernest changed me from being a ‘need it now’ reactionary planner to a longterm detailed planner. Initially, his need for detail was a huge frustration but the results from the detail proved it was critical to our future success.” Ron recalls meeting Ernest when he was a guest speaker at a Garden Centre Association conference in 1988. “I was immediately taken by him and his approach to garden centre planning and design,” Ron told us. “He was a very knowledgable plantsman and garden designer so his approach was totally different. He was also actually a psychologist. “He would listen to all of your hopes and aspirations and ask you the most difficult questions; nothing escaped his observations, but he always managed to capture your ideas and dreams in his notes and eventually on paper in the garden centre design. “‘What would Ernest ask?’ is still a core part of our discussions and planning. Ernest has helped us plan and deliver every stage of our development from the first shop extension in 1996 to our latest expansion plans. We are enormously grateful to him for all the help and guidance he has given to us over the years, but most of all we will miss him as a dear and cherished friend.” Matthew added: “He has had a fantastic effect on the business helping us to work

Ernest in World War II with General Macarthur, who recruited him as an intelligence officer for Far East duty. together better, plan better and see the business from the customers’ point of view.“ Peter Seabrook, journalist and broadcaster Peter never worked with Ernest but met up with him many times at GCA and international conferences and congresses. “The first lecture he gave, in London (in a first-floor hotel conference room overlooking Green Park if I remember correctly) in the early days of garden centres, made a lasting impression. He was so professional in the preparation and presentation, spoke such good common sense and obviously from personal experience. “The clearly remembered piece of advice that stuck with me from that lecture was his research which indicated customers were unlikely to walk through items for sale for more than 30 yards, unless we brought something into view to tempt them further. Having an attractive roadside entrance, clear signage and not too much of it were other early messages.

September 2020 13


The rotunda that greets visitors at the entrance to Barton Grange Garden Centre. “His energy and work ethic were exemplary. The last time we met he had flown in on the red eye, well into his eighties, if not nineties, had freshened up in his London hotel and came to lunch at the Farmers Club with Guy Topping. He was full of questions about trade and garden centre business in the UK before going on to lecture at a large DIY company conference. “Ernest was remarkable, so committed to the job, so hard working and with such knowledge and experience, we will not see his like again.” Barton Grange Garden Centre Guy Topping, MD, rejects the suggestion that Ernest was simply an ideas man who offered solutions on a plate. “What he did was take you through a painstaking process of thinking through every last detail of what you wanted to create and then drawing that up and facilitating further testing of your plans until all parties were content with the outcome,” he says. “I suppose what he had was bags of patience, an overwhelming desire to want to help people get it right and an incredible eye for detail. “He also had amassed such a wealth of

experience which he could rely on to offer examples of what others had done. “I also think that by working with Ernest, his clients benefitted from an education in how to approach detailed planning which has no doubt stood them in great stead moving forwards.” Russell Winteridge, manager of the Barton Grange Garden Centre, agrees. “Our Flower Bowl project is testament to Guy’s points – Ernest had no input into it but the quality of the end product was a direct result of us assimilating Ernest’s unique way of working. We simply wouldn’t approach any large project in any other way now.”

Ian Baldwin, Industry analyst Manchester-born Ian, another former member of the Malcolm Scott team, has been based in the US for the past 25 years. “His awe-inspiring early life in 1930s Germany created the resolve, passion, diligence and work ethic that we all knew in him,” he says. “He was a visionary leader in an industry that needed his constant probing, challenging and downright ‘ornery’ approach. “I have always admired the way he asked questions to owners and managers that no one else would ask. RIP Ernest and thank you for your legacy and amazing changes you gave to this wonderful business.”

Neil Gow, garden centre consultant and former director of the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association, Neil was working with the Malcolm Scott consultancy when he first met Ernest. “My overriding memory of Ernest was his energy. He just kept driving on in pursuit of perfection. ‘Design is about people,’ Ernest would say. He had an absolutely natural understanding of the customer’s needs and of horticulture which, in combination, led to innovative retailing that enticed the customer to spend. What more could any garden retailer want from a consultant helping them grow their business?”

Haskins Garden Centres Warren Haskins, chairman, who employed Ernest to help plan the development of all three Haskins purpose-built centres, believes Ernest coined the term ‘garden centre’. “I met him at an IGCA Congress in California in 1981 and he started work for us a year later. The designs of the centres that he worked on were all unique as he was skilled at interpreting the businesses’ experience and ideas and working with the owners. “We opened our first purpose build centre in 1994 and have used the same model for three further centres, most recently at Snowhill near Crawley. “He really got behind the families and the way a centre operated and we found that with our new concept we could run our purpose build centres with fewer staff due to the straightforward built-in efficiencies.” “It is difficult to select one particular idea but possibly the most valuable development that came from Ernest was the flow around the whole centre. The main 3m path in the shop leads you through the leisure sections to the covered outside sales area and rather than just To encourage business efficiency, Ernest inspired innovation not just at front-of-house but in the crucial storage and warehousing zones. The new warehouse area at Haskins Snowhill.

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Bents Garden & Home at Glazebury. One of the largest garden centres in the world, inspired by Ernest Wertheim.

Wide covered walkways leading to a new point of interest are key to Haskins floorplans

put a 3m covered walkway round the open outdoor sales area, he designed a 12m cover so our plant beds start under cover but extend into the open, which draws the customer outside without realising. This spacious flow has been invaluable during the pandemic. “The other significant development was the way we handle goods. The deliveries come into the side of the centre to the warehouse, storage and plant receiving area but the volume lines, the garden sundries, composts and bedding plants are just the other side of the receiving area, so we are able to run our centres with less labour than many others.”

schemes for future growth. “While we did not directly construct any of the buildings he designed, many of his thoughts and proposals lie within our garden centres,” Martin Stewart, chairman, recalls. “Each time he worked with us, he came to stay with me. It was a privilege to host him. He will always be remembered as one of the funniest, most knowledgeable, interesting and considerate people I have ever met. Embarrassingly, even as a man 40 years my senior, I was the one pleading to be allowed to call it a day and get some sleep. His energy was staggering. So too was his life story. “He was much loved and sadly missed at Stewarts.”

Stewarts Garden Centres Stewarts worked with Ernest for about three years, exploring options and outline Stewarts is just one of an impressive list of elite UK garden centres that Ernest Wertheim helped to shape.

Alton Garden Centre Derek Bunker, chairman, was another owner who valued Ernest as a friend as well as a consultant. He says Ernest “really opened our eyes”

Ernest and his wife Margit with Warren Haskins, who regularly visited the Wertheims in San Fransisco. in those early days. “He was the first adviser we spoke to who we felt could do something for our business . His favourite question was ‘Why?’ He made you think about why you were doing something and encouraged you to look at other ways. “He never stopped working and even when we went out for an evening meal with him, he would be pointing out how the restaurant could be more efficient!”

September 2020 15


Primeur brings updates to market… virtually! The show must go on, so whilst the industry won’t be meeting at Glee this year, Primeur is ensuring that its retail customers don’t miss out by bringing its entire w dedicated virtual tours. showroom to them via new Located in Bingley, West Yorkshire, Primeur’s 667 sq ft showroom is home to the company’s full product offering, including the multi awa ardwinning Eco Garden collection of eco-friendly recycled rubber planters, stepping-stones an nd garden borders, as well as its ever-popular Mighty Mats doormat ranges. Following a number of recent updates, the showroom ha as been completely revamped to ensure that virtual customers can enjoy the full Primeurr experience, with uninterrupted access to the complete 2021 portfolio. An investment in new video conferencing facilities and a tech savvy team, means that retail customers will be able to get up close and personal with new and existing products, with the team also on hand to talk through the range’s benefits and USPs. Virtual meetings can be booked directly with the Primeur team and are available throughout the season to provide optimum exposure to the sales opportunities on offer. Jenny Douthwaite, Sales Director at Primeur said: “With exhibitions off the agenda for the

foreseeable future, it is vital that we look to alternatives to ensure that we remain visible to our customers. Virtual tours are the closest thing we can get to the real thing, which is why we are pleased to be offering them to retailers ahead of the 2021 season. Our virtual tours will take in our entire showroom, focusing on both existing ranges and our latest product introductions, and will be supported by the full team so that all pre-season orders can be taken on the spot to avoid delay. We’re really looking forward to having the opportunity to catch up with our retail customers, and to share with them the successes of the last 12 months; successes we know will translate into sales for them in the coming gardening year.” Primeur’s market-leading merchandising displays and retail support will also feature heavily within its virtual showroom tours, ideal for retailers who want to maximise the sales potential of these consumer favourites. Double digit growth for Primeur Despite a worldwide pandemic potentially standing in its way, 2020 has proved itself to be a year of significant growth for Primeur. Not only has demand for its product portfolio

soared throughout the pandemic, but the business can now reveal double-digit growth for its flagship Eco Garden range. The Eco Garden line-up, which includes Primeur’s highly acclaimed Tierra Verde self-watering planters, as well as Recycled Rubber Stepping-Stones, Deck Tiles and flexible Recycled Rubber Border Collection, has witnessed phenomenal growth during the first eight months of 2020 as the UK turned to gardening during lockdown. Year on year sales are currently exceeding 62%, with further growth expected for the remaining quarter of 2020. To further put this into context, in 2019 Primeur sold 66,161 units, but this year, despite the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company has already sold a staggering 106,974 units; an amazing achievement despite the springtime lockdown which forced garden centres nationwide to remain closed during peak springtime trading season. The launch of Tierra Verde planters for the 2020 season has further powered the Eco Garden range to the next level, with more than 6,000 units already delivered to retailers

Primeur adds the Carolina Border to its extensive Eco Garden border collection

16 September 2020


The new 15cm Octavia Planter in Pewter

this year. In response to stockists’ appetite for recycled rubber innovations, Primeur has delivered 197 large stands to retailers during 2020, that will assist retailers in creating high impact merchandising of borders or mixed displays of borders and stepping-stones instore as we head into the 2021 gardening season. It’s also worth noting that these numbers have a positive impact upon the environment. Primeur is currently helping to repurpose more than 5,000,000 tyres every year and giving these recycled materials a second lease of life in the nation’s gardens. Jenny Douthwaite added: “That really is an achievement to be proud of, and one that is making a genuine difference when it comes to protecting g the environment.”

The new Sonata Trough

New for 2021 range expansions From interior furnishings to exterior home improvements, the colour grey is continuing to rise in popularity, dominating surfaces from wall coverings to kitchen units, tiling, cladding, doors and windows – while the trend for cool, contemporary shades of grey is witnessing unprecedented popularity in the nation’s gardens, too. Not wanting to miss out, Primeur is adding a number of grey colour ways to its bestselling product lines ahead of the 2021 season, including the Railroad Tie (25x60cm) in grey, as well as the popular Ultra Curve EZ Border. Previously only available in Earth, the 122cm-long Brick borders will be available in grey in heights of 9cm or 15cm, helping gardeners to add a cutting-edge look to flower borders and vegetable beds. Grey will also feature in the new Carolina Border collection, as well as an Earth colour option, highlighting the geometric design perfectly. Dimensions of this new border will be 2x15x120cm and will be supported by a retail price of just £16.99. Three new planters also join the Eco Garden line up. First up will be the new 15cm Octavia Planter (RRP £24.99), offering a smaller size

option within this popular planter collection. The bestselling Sonata range will see the introduction of two new trough planters in response to both retailer and consumer demand. At 71cm wide and standing at 50cm high, the larger trough will be a commanding planter in any garden setting, whilst the smaller trough (61cm wide x 15cm high) will provide the ideal solution for window boxes and herb gardens alike. Jenny Douthwaite said: “There is no question that gardens are viewed as an extension of the home, so it makes sense that interior trends are being reflected in consumer demand for products used in the garden. The popularity of grey, in particular, shows no sign of abating, whilst container gardening continues to see more and more people engage with this fuss-free style of horticulture. Our latest range expansions have been curated to maximise the opportunities of such trends, providing retailers with products that we believe will hit the spot for consumers in the coming year.” Find out more To find more about Primeur’s full product range as well as how to join one of its new virtual showroom tours, please contact the team on 01274 518800 or email

September 2020 17


Christmas is coming – but not as we know it!

What will the festive season bring for garden centres? As many prepare to install their Christmas merchandising we explore the various approaches being taken to ensure that customers receive the fantastic Christmas experience that they y have come to expect. p

December is usually the second-biggest sales month of the year for many garden centres. They have cornered the market in being the place to go for trees, decorations, seasonal plants, presents and festive fare as well as a magical Christmas experience from grottos and Breakfast with Santa events through to circuses and ice-rinks. This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Christmas trading is extremely difďŹ cult to predict. It can be argued that after such a challenging year consumers will be looking forward to spending this Christmas but it also needs to be taken into account that with unemployment at the highest level in 15 years the disposable income of many families will be limited. Couple this with the need for consumers to feel safe in their shopping environment and it becomes even

18 September 2020

more tricky to plan for the season ahead. Reassuringly garden centres were top of the list in a YouGov Survey (April 2020) when the public were asked which types of destination they would feel comfortable visiting after lockdown putting them ahead of the high street retail environment. 64% of consumers stated they would be comfortable visiting garden centres compared with 40% visiting clothing shops and indoor shopping malls. Since reopening on 13 May garden centres have received praise from consumers on how they have implemented social distancing measures and this will have reassured visitors to make return visits to an environment in which they feel safe in. However, there will still be an impact on garden centres this Christmas with the number and types of Christmas related events and

CHRISTMAS activities curtailed. Larger scale events and activities such as circuses and ice rinks will be unlikely given the difficulty they present with regard to enforcing social distancing. Christmas grottos too are impacted. Pugh’s Garden Centres in Wales hit the headlines in July, with coverage on the BBC News when they announced that their well-attended annual Santa experience would not be taking place this year commenting that it would “be irresponsible for us to run our experience given the current pandemic situation”. Communicating their news via Facebook, Pugh’s explained: “We feel that offering something small just for the sake of it would firstly not do justice to the experience that we have worked so hard to build upon and secondly y not fulfil the demand for the number of people who would want to visit us, so this year we have decided to take a break for everyone’s safety. We hope you understand our decision as it was very difficult to know what to do for the best and this was a really tough call to make.” Pugh’s reassured their customers that they will endeavour to ensure the most magical shopping experience and focus on creating beautiful displays, as well as VIP shopping experiences, sumptuous Christmas goodies in the Food Hall, late-night shopping and a Christmas Tree shopping experience. At the time of writing many other garden

ccentres are still in the process of reviewing ttheir Santa experience for Christmas 2020. O Otter Nurseries have communicated to their ccustomers via their website as follows “Santa h has been in touch with us to confirm he will be fl flying around the world on Christmas Eve with h his sleigh and reindeers, to deliver presents to a all the children whilst they sleep. He has also a asked us to ensure that it’s safe for him to visit O Otter in Ottery St Mary this year and we must a also ensure that it’s safe for all the families and cchildren too. This is very important for Santa!” T They are encouraging customers to sign up to ttheir Santa’s Magical Kingdom e-newsletter to g get any updates about their Christmas plans as w well as looking at their website. It is a similar story at Grovewell Garden C Centres with their communication as follows, ““For now we are in close discussions with F Father Christmas to discuss his Grotto plans and we hope with the help of the elves, we will be able to bring you some Christmas magic – social distancing or not.” Gordale Garden Centre run a charity grotto every year, raising an amazing £18,000 last year, and so they are looking at how they can adapt what they do this year to enable them to continue to raise money. They recognise that whatever they do it needs to be good – parents and children are very demanding! When it comes to planning the layout of Christmas this too will present challenges in 2020 Jill Nicholson Director of Gordale Garden Centre comments, “We are formulating our plans now but it is going to be different this year. We will be looking to have fewer displays, wider aisles, fewer samples out and longer opening hours to assist with customer flow.” She adds, “Whilst we are not opening Christmas any earlier than usual we will be putting it out as and when we can. We already have calendars and diaries on display with crackers, wrapping paper and cards following shortly.” At the Dutch Nursery and Garden Centre in Hatfield they are planning a larger area for their Christmas display to help with social distancing and in anticipation of a busy season. They are also moving their festive food into the Christmas display rather than in the food

September 2020 19


hall. Opening Christmas in early October, ahead of when they usually do, they are aiming to extend the sales period especially if another lockdown happens. Breakfast with Santa, along with other events, has been cancelled for 2020, due to staffing levels and social distancing difficulties with children. At Pentland Plants, Christmas will go ahead as planned mainly. Interestingly they have noticed that gift sales started to pick up after the café opened and that customer buying habits are different to what they were pre-COVID. Sales on luxury ‘going out’ items such as handbags and jewellery have reduced with increased sales on products such as toiletries as people look after themselves whilst staying at home. Anticipating an unprecedented demand this year for retail, events and experiences Duchy of Cornwall Nursery in Lostwithiel are busy planning a magical experience for customers. General Manager Karl Taylor explains, “Our theme for the glasshouse and tipi will be around fur and fire with a general outdoors feel to it. We are featuring many more living gifts and alternatives to conventional products. We will also be offering workshops and a kids reindeer trail along with late night shopping and supplier events and a magical family evening with hog roast, magic, music and trees. We will also be running pre-booked Christmas lunches in all areas including exclusive

20 September 2020

private dining options, pre-booked suppers and feasts. This will be at a higher frequency than usual with numbers to each event.” Many garden centres are still considering their options around Christmas events. At the Gardens Group, Managing Director Mike Burks explains, “We plan to leave it as late as possible to communicate our Christmas plans to make sure we make the most of the autumn gardening season. We will continue to space out displays, operate a one-way system, provide plenty of hand sanitising stations and convey positive messages about how we can keep everyone safe.” At Coolings Garden Centre they are planning on opening Christmas as normal, bearing in mind social distancing. Managing Director Gary Carvosso comments, “We will be offering the same volumes of Christmas stock as last year and are anticipating that sales may be better due to people staying at home and wanting to make an effort to cheer up their living space.” Whilst not planning a grotto this year Bents Garden & Home are planning a fireworks event, Christmas opening, Christmas preview, winter food markets and Santa’s arrival. Managing Director Matthew Bent explains, “Breakfast and tea with Santa are on hold at the moment due to the available space in the dining areas although if space allowed this type of bookable event could provide a great opportunity to see Santa safely and with distance. We are also looking into bookable private dining pods, huts or igloos for our dining offer and winter food

markets.” Taking a break from TV advertising this year due to the volume of people this drives Bents will work harder on segmented targeting of their Privilege Club members. At Burleydam Garden Centre Christmas will be very different this year with the catered events which form the backbone of their Christmas ‘out of hours’ events cancelled due to social distancing. Managing Director Sally Cornelissen comments, “We are interested to discover what effect this will have on our Christmas turnover. Are we running these events from habit for the benefit of a regular audience who are not necessarily good spenders?” She adds, “The grotto will be a modified version this year; Father Christmas will be in attendance but there will be no private audience for each child, just a viewing experience with an opportunity to post a letter. We are also considering a ’Teatime with Santa’ event. We are aiming to begin opening Christmas displays at the beginning of September in case of another enforced lockdown. We have not ordered extra stock and were unable to shorten our larger orders but are hopeful that customers will want to put on a good Christmas for the big family occasion.” So with Christmas preparations around the corner garden centres are doing their utmost to ensure that customers will still be able to have a magical Christmas experience instore. This will be needed more than ever this year after such a turbulent time. Sure it won’t be the same but there is no doubt that with their creative approach garden centres are the place to go this festive season!

Written by Gill Ormrod with additional research by Steve Myatt Looking Good this Christmas The HTA are hosting a ‘COVID-19 Christmas – Visual Merchandising Online Workshop’ on 15 September. With a focus on trends and retail data gathered specifically for Christmas 2020 this two-hour online workshop with industry professional Sarah Manning, will focus on the See It, Like it, Buy it theory, customer flow and food trends. It will also look at how to merchandise your garden centre Christmas effectively with potential restrictions in place and to allow the customer to feel comfortable and still have the festive experience. Taking place from 4 pm – 6 pm on 15 September the workshop is available to HTA members for £20 per delegate. > For further information and to book your place visit academy/vm-christmas.html


Time to transform the garden Despite all the uncertainty and ‘new normal’ routines that have emerged, it is safe to say that 2020 has definitely been the year for embracing gardening and DIY. Increased time at home, due to lockdown, meant that homeowners took the time to complete jobs previously at the bottom of a to-do list and the continuous good weather, from May through to August, created the perfect environment for people to give their gardens a makeover. This has created a surge in sales for numerous gardening brands, such as Onduline, a world leader in lightweight materials for roofing, including systems for cladding and waterproofing, underlays, and corrugated plastic sheeting. The lightweight eco-friendly corrugated roofing system, on offer from Onduline, has become a popular choice with homeowners who are looking for an attractive, long-lasting solution for refurbishing their garden sheds, summer houses, children’s playhouse and housing for pets. The ease of product installation and sustainability (the product is made from 50% to 60% of recycled materials) are two of the key selling points for the Onduline roofing system. Another is the breadth of product choice, with ranges being suitable for every shed and outdoor building. • ONDULINE CLASSIC – a ‘high

performance’ lightweight corrugated bitumen roofing system available in a choice of colours and is suitable for both renovation and new constructions, and can be used on either wooden or metal structures • ONDUVILLA TILE STRIP – these tiles give a traditional clay tile look to a roof with the added benefits of being lightweight and easy to install. Available in retail friendly packs of 7 and in a choice of colours, including shaded red and green which gives an aesthetically pleasing look. • ONDULINE EASYLINE – the complete roof system ideal for small to medium sized roof applications and is available in a range of bright colours to give any roof a vibrant finish, whether a garden shed, children’s playhouse or garden storage building. • BARDOLINE roof shingles – a simple to install lightweight roof system with

guaranteed water tightness and AA fire rating making it suitable for any roof. Customer benefits aside, from a garden centre’s perspective the product is very simple to stock. For example, the EASYLINE sheets, which have a ten-year guarantee come in smaller sizes, which make them easy to transport in a standard sized car and can be available in one standalone branded pallet. Speaking of the opportunities with garden centres Onduline Managing Director, Paul Duffy, commented; “A growing number of garden centres now promote and offer new garden sheds and garden buildings, but very few offer the materials to renovate them and this is a growing market with lots of potential. “We want to overcome this barrier and highlight how our product can be regarded as a DIY product which is an essential part of any garden transformation or makeover.” Since the launch of the Onduline sheet in 1944 in France, the Onduline Group today sells in virtually every country worldwide with 7 production plants, 35 subsidiary companies supplying roofing products to over 130 countries. > For more information on Onduline’s lightweight and durable roofing solutions for a range of commercial, agricultural and garden buildings, and DIY projects, please visit

September 2020 21


Hozelock launches new Sprayer range

Sprayers are suitable for applying many different garden chemicals, offering an economical solution to treating large areas effectively and comfortably. In 2021, Hozelock launches it’s new, complete range of sprayers compatible with a variety of different treatments to meet the needs of every gardener. Accurately target protection from disease, pests and weeds to maintain a beautiful garden with a sprayer - save money and reduce plastic waste by pairing it with a concentrate chemical rather than opting for a ready to go solution. Using a 500ml concentrate, at 20ml/litre with a Hozelock 7l sprayer, can result in the same amount of solution as 50 x 500ml ready to go trigger sprayers! For indoors, small gardens and balconies Hozelock offer a range of trigger and pressure sprayers under 2l. These lightweight bottles come in a variety of trendy colours and are perfect for quick tasks. The new Pulsar range of pressure sprayers provides an offering for all, from the amateur grower to a gardening expert, depending on treatment and equipment requirements. The Pulsar Plus sprayer comes with a durable aluminium lance, comfortable 2-handed

22 September 2020

pumping handle and the innovative Multi Nozzle (7l and 12l models only). Offering the user 3 nozzles in 1, conical mist to jet, wide fan and narrow fan, the Multi Nozzle ensures the user always has a suitable spray pattern for the specific treatment. For those looking to apply aggressive chemicals, the Pulsar Viton offers high resistance with Viton seals, a composite lance and the ability to access difficult areas with a flexible lance included. The Pulsar Plus Comfort 12l and 16l knapsack sprayers are ideal for spraying larger areas – the ergonomically designed tank has a curved shape that follows the shape of the back and reinforced, adjustable foam straps for optimal comfort. These models also include a 1 bar pressure regulator to help you protect the environment by preventing over spraying and extending your area coverage.



Get a constant spray at the touch of a button with the Hozelock Electric Sprayer no pumping required! This new 15l knapsack sprayer has an 18V lithium-ion battery that will spray for up to 4 hours dependent on the pressure used - perfect for spraying large gardens, orchards or vineyards. There are 3 pressure settings dependent on treatment

and the sprayer can be recharged and ready to go again in 4 hours. To complete the range, accessories are available to increase your spraying accuracy further - reach new heights with a lance extension, target plants with a weeding cone or increase your coverage with a nozzle boom.


New Micro Reel for the urban garden Research suggests that the trend for small gardens continues to develop. UK gardens now average 12m x 12m for those under 45 years old and while 77% of adults have a garden, 20% of those are a terrace, patio or balcony (HTA 2017). Hozelock’s Micro Reel has been given a makeover, with a new design making it easier than ever to water your small garden. The new look Micro Reel has an original ‘Click & Go’ design. Simply ‘click’ the connector onto the tap and let the rotating drum unwind the hose as you walk. The integrated handle makes rewinding the hose quick and easy. You can water at any length by

walking out the exact amount of hose required, or wind it off the reel for greater flexibility. Equipped with 10m of hose and a nozzle, that can be kept tidy when not connected to the tap, it is ideal for watering small gardens and balconies. This reel is light - similar in weight to a bag of sugar - and has a comfortable carrying handle. Offering the benefits of a larger reel, stored neatly in a compact size!

For urban garden spaces without an outdoor tap, the Micro Reel can be connected to an indoor mixer tap using a Hozelock indoor tap solution such as the Mixer Tap Connector. The reel is made at Hozelock’s head office in Birmingham, making 100% of the brand’s Hose Storage portfolio made in Great Britain and France. > To find out more about Hozelock’s product range visit or phone 0121 313 4242.

September 2020 23


10 years of Garden Re-Leaf Day

Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021. Friday 19th March 2021

A look back at the garden industry’s favourite FUNdraiser. £700,000 raised and counting… 2021 will mark the 10th anniversary of Garden Re-Leaf Day. What started as a small idea to kickstart the gardening season has grown into a huge annual event which sees the nations garden retail sector and many other supporters of Greenfingers Charity come together to create a vibrant and fun day of fundraising. Since the first Garden Re-Leaf Day in

24 September 2020

2012, a whopping £700,000 has been raised- helping Greenfingers Charity to complete even more inspiring and magical gardens for life-limited children and families who spend time in hospices across the UK. With more gardens in the pipeline as we approach Garden Re-Leaf’s 10 year anniversary, we look back at the many incredible activities that have helped shape

this much-loved fundraising event.

From then to now The brainchild of former CEO of Hillview Garden Centres, and now PR & Communications Director at British Garden Centres, Boyd Douglas-Davies, Garden ReLeaf Day originally launched in July 2011 at the GIMA Awards in Leeds. Pegged as the


industry’s answer to Comic Relief, the first event took place eight months later in March 2012. During these eight months the garden retail industry threw its weight behind the occasion, with the industry press as well as The Sun, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, Garden Answers, Garden News, Which?, BBC Radio, and QVC building buzz around this exciting new annual fundraising day. It was safe to say that even in its infancy Garden Re-Leaf Day successfully put gardening at the forefront of millions of minds; raising awareness, passion and knowledge for all things green. The first Garden Re-Leaf Day saw over 100 garden centres participate in a range of events, collectively raising £46,000. As more garden centres and others joined the fun in 2013, 2014 and 2015, thanks to Glee’s Matthew Mein, alongside garden centre fundraising the very first Garden Re-Leaf Sponsored Walk took place. 25 intrepid walkers took in the sights of the Thames as they headed into central London, ending their 25-mile-long journey (though the walkers will tell you it was a little further due to a slight mishap with the route!) at Clifton Nurseries.

So many ways to get involved! Since 2012 Garden Re-Leaf Day has seen the garden retail industry dig deep, supporting the event with a wide range sup

September 2020 25


of fundraising activities. Friends of the charity from outside the garden sector have also joined in the fun as Garden Re-Leaf Day’s popularity continued to rise. In the last few years, the annual event has seen hundreds of companies and individuals take part in a wide range of activities, including everything from tombola’s, coffee mornings, workshops, curry & quiz nights, community projects, product promotions and even painting themselves green all in the name of charity. The #Glovies campaign also helped to raise awareness of Garden Re-Leaf Day and Greenfingers Charity with the likes of Joanna Lumley and Chris Evans, donning special green gardening gloves at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show throughout the years, capturing the moment on social media to p prompt garden lovers to donate. Pushing physical limits and team activities h shaped many Garden Re-Leaf Day has e events. In 2016 a 24-hour plantathon saw k figures and teams from garden centres key c complete a feat of endurance, forgoing s sleep to plant up and then upsell decorative p pots and planters. And the sponsored walk c continued to grow in popularity, with a 1 10-mile route introduced as well as a Cycle C Challenge which has seen some riders t tackling over 100 miles on the day.

26 September 2020

And if that wasn’t enough, Garden ReLeaf went international in 2014 when the Garden Centres Association of Australia added the event to its own calendar, replicating the success of its UK ‘cousin’. The perfect team-building opportunity, Garden Re-Leaf Day often draws praise for not just its ability to kickstart the garden season, and to raise funds, but the fact it is such a great team-building opportunity. Each year the event sees companies return with bigger and more enthusiastic teams getting involved. Many suppliers, including Stihl, Evergreen Garden Care, Rolawn, GIMA, Deco-Pak, Mr Fothergill’s, GCA, Hozelock, Durstons, Elho, HTA, Taylors Bulbs, Great British Card Company, Glee, Kelkay, Ames, Hornby Whitefoot PR, Cadix and the phenomenal team at Kew Green Hotels who have brought Greenfingers close to its heart, with fundraising activities year-round as well as on Garden Re-Leaf Day. Since 2012, retailers have played a pivotal role in promoting the event and the work of Greenfingers to consumers. From Poplars, Millbrook, Scotsdales, Altons, The Old Railway Line, Perrywood, Longacres, Haskins and Hillview to Burford, Barton Grange, Blue Diamond, Orchard Park, Klondyke, Monkton Elm, Squire’s, British Garden Centres and many other garden


retailers across the country have embraced all aspects of this annual event to create an exciting buzz in-store. Under the watchful eye of Richard Jackson, the Founder President of Greenfingers Charity, the TV shopping channel, QVC and its vendors, has also proved itself to be a regular key supporter of Garden Re-Leaf Day, helping to raise funds and at the same time awareness of the charity’s work. Talking about Garden Re-Leaf Day’s 10th anniversary Boyd said: “It’s hard to believe that Garden Re-Leaf Day will be 10 years old! What a decade it has been! So many have fallen in love with Garden Re-Leaf Day, which is why we see support for the event grow year after year. Greenfingers Charity is endlessly grateful for your support and I really hope that this support continues long into the future as it means that not only can the charity help more hospices, but it also creates a real fanfare to start the gardening season – something I know both retailers and suppliers benefit from”. And of course, with the year ahead filled with so many unknowns for us all, what is

certain is that the nation has embraced gardening and realised the benefits of spending time outside All of us in the garden industry can benefit from this and so it would be great to see many more retailers and suppliers kick-starting the gardening season by holding Garden ReLeaf events and raising money for our favourite charity”. “We can’t wait to see you all next year for more amazing fundraising as we celebrate this incredible milestone. The date for your diary is Friday 19th March!”

Find out more > To find out more about the work of Greenfingers Charity, contact Linda@ or join in the conversation by joining Greenfingers on social media - Greenfingerscharity/, @GreenfingersCha on Twitter, and @Greenfingerscharity on Instagram and LinkedIn. You will be able to find out more about Garden Re-Leaf Day, including ways to get involved by visiting https://www. See you on the 19th March 2021

September 2020 31


It’s Glee time, but not at the NEC

Introducing Glee Gathering, 15-16 September 2020, a unique two-day digital experience designed to inspire whilst engaging buyers and connecting our community together. The Glee Gathering on 15-16 September 2020 will host a virtual showroom of our exhibitors, engaging product showcases, exclusive content sessions and panel discussions, a platform to connect buyers and suppliers in a one-to-one environment, and the 2020 Glee New Product Awards, in association with Garden Trade News. All from the comfort of your home or office.

Virtual Showroom The Virtual Showroom is all about brand discovery. With over 150 brands taking part in the Glee Gathering, you’ll be able to browse the latest and most innovative products from exhibitors, including look books, videos, news and more. The Glee Gathering will connect buyers and suppliers directly, all with a few clicks of a button.

to the latest products. What’s more you will be able to directly download brochures and show offers, and talk to the company as you watch these sessions. This unique platform presents the newest products to the Glee community, companies who will be showcasing in these hours include Evergreen, Woodlodge, Schuerich, DecoPak, Kaemingk, Meadowview stone, Hygeia, Kelkay Primus, Beefeater, Steiff, Chive … and over 100+ other brands. The Glee product showcase is not to be missed.

Product Showcase Brought to Glee Gathering by popular demand, the Product Showcase’s video first format is a must see. Each day we will feature 5, one hour-long, sessions dedicated to Garden Care, Outdoor Entertainment and Decoration, Landscaping, Home and Gift and Pets. Each hour will feature 10 companies who will show you what’s new, and importantly when you can have it in store. They will walk you around their showrooms, show you what they are excited about whilst introducing you

32 September 2020

The Agenda Glee Gathering will present two days filled with exclusive content. The theme behind our content this year is to discuss and explore how Garden Centres can continue to take advantage of the new groups of customers that are have discovered their outdoor spaces. Over the two days we will explore the future of garden centre retail, we will talk about how you can take advantage of the shop local trend, where consumers are incredibly motivated to support local business. We will explore the impact of hospitality and in store food retail, and not forgetting how stores are more conscious of the importance of ensuring sustainable operations. With 15-20 leading garden centres sharing their views and experiences, the Glee Gathering Agenda is not to be missed… but if you do miss a session … it’s all available on demand for you to catch up on.

O One-to-one meetings A the heart of the Glee Gathering is our At s secure meeting platform that will enable onet to-one meetings and virtual networking with t individuals who matter most to your the b business. Each meeting room will enable y to talk face to face and share materials you i a secure environment, with the software in e ensuring that you stay on track with all the p people you want to see that day.

GLEE GATHERING Tuesday 15th September 11:00am

Unlocking the opportunity: Reimagining the Garden Centre Retail

Whilst there is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging time for retail, for garden retail, it has unlocked a number of new opportunities. Spending more time at home has unlocked a new customer base and outdoor living and garden care has never been more on trend. The question now is how to continue to take advantage of this popularity wave to ensure these new customers become your new regulars. Join us for this discussion as talk through how to garden centre retailers can take advantage this new consumer trend and continue to connect with consumers as we come out of a pandemic, what is the evolution of the customer experience in store, where can digital fit in, and where do our panel see as the next big opportunities for the industry?


Glee New Product Awards: Pitch the judges Part 1

The Glee New Product awards are back, albeit virtually, and hosted by Trevor Pfeiffer, Director of Garden Trade news. This time you get to see the pitches, the product, and the panel of expert buyers as they judge the entries and question brands about their products as they try to uncover what the best new products are coming onto the market this year and next.


Customer Experience: What does that really mean today?

Whilst there is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging time for retail, for garden retail, it has unlocked a number of new opportunities. Spending more time at home has unlocked a new customer base and outdoor living and garden care has never been more on trend. The question now is how to continue to take advantage of this popularity wave to ensure these new customers become your new regulars. Join us for this discussion as talk through how to garden centre retailers can take advantage this new consumer trend and continue to connect with consumers as we come out of a pandemic, what is the evolution of the customer experience in store, where can digital fit in, and where do our panel see as the next big opportunities for the industry?


The e-commerce conundrum: Creating sustainable online operations

During lockdown many garden centres were forced to rapidly evolve their online operations. One such area is in eCommerce and online presence. With the slow resumption of normal operations, how can you develop an online strategy that is sustainable for the long-term? How can an online presence help to engage with your customers? What are the big wins of operating online? How can you set up a sustainable fulfilment operation?

> Showcase your brand at Glee Gathering and reconnect with the industry.

Wednesday 16th September 11:00am

Hospitality and Food: Taking advantage of the ‘Shop Local’ trend

According to research it takes 66 days to build a new habit. During lockdown, many consumers formed new habits, with many being forced to discover local food retailers on their doorstep when supermarkets and deliveries where difficult to access. This has led to a consumer movement around shopping locally and supporting local businesses. Importantly, customers can see who their money is going too and are really embracing the notion of supporting their community and voting with their wallets with which businesses they are now supporting. Developing a hospitality or food offering within your Garden Centre is a well-established way to help make your location a destination experience and diversify your income, but for many local farm shops have also helped tap into the conscious consumer market. What are the best ways to set up a farm shop/café? How can you build lasting relationships with local farmers and suppliers? How can you continue to make yourself a centre of the community whilst ensuring a level of business resilience?


Glee New Product Awards: Pitch the judges Part 2

The Glee New Product awards are back, albeit virtually, and hosted by Trevor Pfeiffer, Director of Garden Trade news. This time you get to see the pitches, the product, and the panel of expert buyers as they judge the entries and question brands about their products as they try to uncover what the best new products are coming onto the market this year and next.


Sustainability: Time to #BuildBackBetter?

The retail industry as whole is undergoing transformational change as it explores new operating models and supply chains. However, it’s vitally important that in a post-Covid world, the sustainability agenda is not forgotten as to consumers it’s still toward the top of theirs. Join this cross industry panel as they discuss their journey, key starting points, and the importance of building goof practices into the core of your brand values. The question is, with many competing priorities, how can you continue to bring sustainable processes into your business, and importantly, how do you communicate this to your customer?


Glee New Product Awards: The winners

Product Showcase Hours 10:00am

Garden Care


Outdoor Entertainment and Decoration




Home and Gift


Pet Care

The Glee Gathering is also proud to be working with GIMA again to take GIMA Connect into a virtual environment. This exciting speed-networking opportunity is designed to put the best brands in front of pre-qualified and purchase-ready buyers for an hour each day. Dynamic and fast paced, as always this is an hour well spent for all participants. If you are a GIMA member or a buyer who would like to participate please get in touch with GIMA to secure your space.

New Product Awards The Glee New Product Awards are back, albeit virtually, and hosted by Trevor Pfeiffer, Director of Garden Trade News. Each year the Glee New Product Awards in association with Garden Trade News offer brands the opportunity to pitch their latest product to an expert line up of buyers who will choose the best product in each show sector. This year however, you get to see the process. Join us on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th at 12:30 – 1:30, as you get to see the pitches, the products, and the panel of expert buyers as they judge the entries and question brands about their products as they try to uncover what the best new innovations are coming onto the market this year and next. Plus, don’t miss out as we announce the winners at 16:30 on Wednesday, 16th September.

How to get involved Glee Gathering brings the gardening community together this September. Register for your space to benefit from the latest insights, best new products, exclusive networking opportunities and more. https://

Product Showcase Hours 10:00am

Garden Care


Outdoor Entertainment and Decoration




Home and Gift


Pet Care

September 2020 33


Happy Days ahead for compost

The Greener Gardening Company expands its Happy Compost range and ramps-up production to meet unprecedented demand for compost With the nation having embraced gardening during lockdown and a new ‘gardening army’ discovering the joys of growing flowers, fruit and veg for the first time during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s no surprise that garden centre sales of compost have skyrocketed. The Greener Gardening Company, which has been at the forefront of growing media innovation, has been pulling out all the stops to help the nation’s retailers to replenish stock and meet unprecedented nationwide demand for compost. Now, the company is poised to expand its offering and help retailers to deliver sales growth in 2021. Demand for compost soared this summer, with The Greener Gardening Company up 17% up on budget by the end of June, marking a 41% rise in sales compared to the same month in 2019. Consumers’ appetite for quality growing media continued to go through the roof in July, resulting in sales that were 98% up on budget. To help retailers obtain sufficient stock to satisfy customer demand, the company is operating with 24-hour production throughout summer and into autumn, instead of scaling back

34 September 2020

to single shifts after peak season, as in normal years. The strategy is succeeding in building up healthy levels of stock that will ensure continuity of supply in the event of any future challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic – with the aim of having all garden centre stock on the ground by Christmas, ready for the 2021 season. ble Happy Compost range to double in size for 2021 nt With innovation at the forefront of the company’s drive for ng growth, The Greener Gardening Company is doubling the size of its top-performing 100% nge peat-free Happy Compost range for the new season, to meet growing consumer demand


for sustainable compost and eco-friendly soil improvers. Happy Compost delivered exceptional performance prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, with The Greener Gardening Company reporting an eight-fold increase in sales compared to 2019, with strong repeat orders. The eco-friendly range, with its powerful brand identity, launched in 2019 to address rising consumer demand for 100% peat-free growing media that offers top performance. The initial line-up included All Purpose Com Compost, Vegetable Com Compost; Rose, Tree & Shrub Com Compost, Soil Improver and a Tomato Planter. With dema outstripping supply, demand a new additions to the Happy range include Farmyard Manure, Enric Enriched Top Soil, Lawn Soil, C Mini Chip Bark, Composted Bark, Mediu Chip Bark and Chunky Medium B Chip Bark. Th Greener Gardening The Com Company’s Sales and Marketing Dir Director, Steve Harper said:


“Happy Compost has set a new benchmark for sustainable growing media and its unrivalled performance is driving brand loyalty among environmentally conscious consumers. Not only is Happy Compost delivering growth for The Greener Gardening Company, but it is helping retailers to capture a new ‘gardening army’ – consumers who dabbled at gardening for the first time during lockdown and are keen to garden in a sustainable manner.” Steve added: “Gardening with wildlife and the environment in mind was already high on the consumer agenda prior to lockdown, but events of this year have accelerated the trend towards environmentally sound products. Expanding the Happy range for 2021 addresses demand for products that are labelled as peat-free and deliver first-class performance.” Striking a chord with eco-conscious and vegan consumers The ‘hero product’ and stand-out best-seller within the Happy Compost portfolio for 2020 has been All Purpose Compost. Its multitude of uses for flowers, fruit and vegetables has resonated with consumers who are committed to tracking down quality peat-free growing media, while the compost’s vegan-friendly

ingredients have chimed with the UK’s growing band of veganic gardeners. Happy Compost – which has been specifically designed to drive sales within the garden centre sector – is powering The Greener Gardening Company’s switch to sustainable growing media. Last year, peatfree accounted for less than 20% of the company’s overall sales, but this year it’s likely to increase to 46% - with sales on track to be more than 50% peat-free in 2021. Staying true to its environmental responsibilities, Happy Compost is the company’s most eco-friendly range to date. Not only is its packaging recyclable, but it incorporates 30% recycled plastic in its bags, the highest amount currently achievable. The compost’s formulation, which was extensively trialled for more than two years prior to launch, outperformed all brandleading peat-free compost.

Three powerful brands backed by clear messaging The Greener Gardening Company’s 2021 portfolio will be divided into three distinct offerings, to help retailers to cater for their customer base while delivering clear messaging for consumers. The expanded Happy Compost range will lead the way in 100% peat-free innovation, while the company’s established Growise brand will meet demand for traditional specialist growing media. The buoyant market for volume-driven, multibuy-led offers will be enhanced by the company’s Richmoor garden professional brand. Innovative and creative point-of-sale materials, including roadside banners and Correx boards, are available across all brands, delivering powerful messaging and enhancing brand identity instore, helping to drive sales at the point of purchase. As the 2021 season approaches, The Greener Gardening Company is looking forward to forging closer relationships with retailers and, backed by dynamic brands that are proven to perform, helping the growing media category to achieve a year of exceptional growth. Find out more To find out more about The Greener Gardening Company’s leading range, please visit

September 2020 35


Who will be the winners in the Glee New Product Awards, in association with GTN, for 2020? Despite Glee not taking place for real at the NEC the teams at Glee and Garden Trade News are pulling out all the stops with Gee Gathering “exhibitors” to create a virtual showcase of New Products for 2021. All Glee Gathering “exhibitors” have the opportunity to enter up to five new products in each of the following categories: • Garden Plants Seeds and Bulbs • Garden Growing Materials (Plant feeds, pest and weed control, growing media, cloches, seed trays etc) • Garden Growing Containers (All pots, planters, hanging baskets etc) • Garden Decoration (Garden ornaments, garden lighting, plant supports, wall art etc) • Garden Tools & Machinery (Hand and powered garden tools, garden gloves, garden kneelers etc) • Garden Landscaping (Paving, statuary, garden buildings etc) • Garden Leisure & Entertaining (BBQ’s, garden furniture and accessories etc) • Garden Wild Bird and Wildlife Products (Wild bird feeds, feeders, wild life products etc) • Garden Home, Giftware and Clothing • Garden Retail & Industry Services • Pet Products

36 September 2020

A team of judges, led by GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer, will sift through all of the entries, submitted on-line with pictures and videos, and select a shortlist for each category that will be announced on Monday 14th September in Glee Daily News. Then, during the Glee Gathering, 15th and 16th September, representatives of the three shortlisted products in each category will have the opportunity to “pitch” via live video to the judges, and the assembled Glee Gathering Audience, before they make their final decisions on the winners. By the end of the Glee Gathering on 16th September we’ll have announced winners in each of the categories above, plus the judges will also decide who should be the winners of the following overall Glee New Product Awards: • Best House Plants and Accessories • Best of British Award • Best Eco Initiative Product Award • Best Overall New Product at Glee Entries have been pouring in for the Glee New Product Awards, in association with GTN, and here is a selection of the entries received as this issue of GTN goes to press. Continued on Page 38

Traeger sees UK sales soar by over 350% in 2020

More time at home and warm summer months have been the perfect recipe for a huge boost in Traeger sales in 2020 - with sales of their 100% natural hardwood fuel grills rising by over 350%. As the inventor of the world's top selling woodfired grill, Traeger use hardwood-fired grilling to provide the utmost versatility to outdoor cooking - creating BBQ meals to perfection every time. The range, including Timberline, Ironwood, Pro and Ranger models, offers something for every garden, courtyard and balcony across the country. > To find out more about stocking Traeger Grills contact Jo McDonald jmcdonald@traegergrills. or phone 07884 115817.


Take advantage today and grow your sales At Royal Canin, we have been committed to providing cats and dogs with tailor-made nutrition for over 50 years. With approximately 40% of households owning a cat and/or dog and pet food offering you the opportunity to drive repeat visits and a lifetime value from your customers, this represents a huge potential. Garden Centres are a great opportunity to provide pets with quality nutrition and provide your customers with another reason to visit. We are offering unique ranges and merchandising solutions for Garden Centres to make implementation easy and provide you with a great additional sales opportunity.

If you are interested in becoming a Royal Canin stockist or would like more information please contact us on 0330 678 1520

EXCLUSIVELY FOR GARDEN CENTRES ŠRoyal Canin SAS 2020. All rights reserved.

NEW PRODUCTS Evergreen Garden Care launches all new, all natural lawncare

To meet the demand for natural lawn care products, Evergreen Garden Care ( and their leading brand Miracle-Gro are delighted to announce the launch of two new products, new MiracleGro Evergreen Natural 4in1 and Miracle-Gro Thick’R Lawn. New Miracle-Gro Evergreen Natural 4in1 is a 100% natural version of Miracle-Gro Evergreen Complete 4in1, the No 1 Lawn care brand in the UK market (GfK, Total Panel Market, YTD June 2020). With the demand for more sustainable gardening solutions increasing, the innovative launch from Evergreen Garden Care is natural, pesticide-free, and available in 100% from plant based recyclable packaging. The formula doesn’t compromise on quality, delivering first visible results in seven days and taking only four weeks for lawns to

become 50% greener. Weed seeds may be present in the soil and can remain dormant until conditions are favourable for germination. Others can be dispersed by the wind and land in the lawn. The unique combination of 100% plant based nutrients of Miracle-Gro Natural 4in1 will prevent the growth of new weeds. The natural fertiliser helps to fight moss. The first effects will be rapid and visible after only 2 The second new launch to Miracle-Gro’s portfolio is Miracle-Gro Thick’R Lawn. Designed and proven at Evergreen Research Station to make lawns 50% thicker after just one use and in just one month, the fertiliser will nourish grass for up to three months and improve the pH of the soil. Thick’R lawn is made from 100% natural materials and is available in recyclable packaging. The new product delivers first results seen in just seven days. > To find out more, visit

Primus launches latestt garden d mustt haves at Glee Primus has revealed the latest garden must have’s just in time for Glee with the launch of two brand new ranges that are sure to appeal to children and parent’s alike! Peppa Pig is an all time favourite and now, you can stock the full range of five hand crafted garden ornaments with an RRP of £24.99. Dinosaurs are always all the rage and with the Primus range of four large metal dinosaurs, you can transform a space into a Prehistoric Garden in no time! RRP is £44.99 per dinosaur and whichever new product listing you choose to stock, Primus is offering a free merchandise display unit per customer on your first order. > Continued on Page 42

Request your copy of the NEW 2021 Catalogue Catal Catalogue now • • +44 (0)1384 319844 38 September 2020

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gathering Virtual Show

Are you looking for products ts that that: t: Are low in chemical inputs? Harness the power of pure biology? Are derived from sustainable and natural ingredients? Have RHS endorsement? That are organic or vegan friendly?

Increase the spend value from your customers with Empathy

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Grow your card sales the easy way…

Award-winning Fron Goch and Haskins garden centres choose Woodmansterne as their greeting card category management partners. Greeting cards are a growth area for garden centres - they drive footfall all year round, with a good margin that supports other garden centre gifting categories. When cards are retailed well, they create a visually-impactful area to grow sales. That’s where category management plays a key role, ensuring great availability, a varied product range from different publishers, day-to-day management, as well as sales reporting and analysis. GTN spoke to Kati Taylor at the Garden Centre of the Year 2019, Fron Goch, and Michelle Martin from the successful garden centre group, Haskins, to understand their recent success with card category management.

Card sales up by over 30% at Fron Goch Kati Taylor, Head of Retail & Marketing at Fron Goch Garden Centre in Carnarvon, North Wales, told GTN that they were looking for an improved greeting card department because of developments at the award-winning centre.

“Fron Goch has evolved over the last decade from a trip for a couple of plants to a chosen destination for a relaxed shopping and dining experience.” “Strengthening our developing ell-being, departments of houseplants, well-being, side the cards, books and clothing alongside introduction of new departmentss was the driving force behind the new £1.5m improvements project started at the beginning of the year.” Why did Fron Goch move to W-Select? “Card sales had stagnated over the last few years and the ageing area no longer fitted the customers expectations in range. Changing the area, installing new fixtures and tailoring the range has had immediate results. After extensive research and visiting various suppliers at Spring Fair we decided Woodmansterne had the range, quality and look we were desiring.”

Emma Bridgewater cards for Woodmansterne What was your experience of working with Woodmansterne? “Throughout the whole process the team remained easy-natured and professional. From the initial conversation at Spring Fair, communication throughout to the installation, Woodmansterne have proven to be both professional and collaborative. Working together we designed the space and layout, colour matching with new and existing departments alongside the designated area and planned the specific card designs and collections we felt would fit our customers needs.” How has the new card department at Fron Goch worked? “Since the new department was installed the feedback from both customers and team have been incredibly complimentary. The merchandising support has proved invaluable and despite it being such a short period of time we have seen an instant increase in sales of over 30%. The fresh range, clear signage and the ability to include a large selection of Welsh cards into the collection meant we now have a unique display that we are proud of.” Would you recommend W-Select? “Highly. The whole process has been a joy. The fit out, range of cards and back up support has been exceptional.”

40 September 2020

GTN PROMOTION Haskins give their cards a fresh new look At Haskins’ five centres in the South of England, Michelle Martin their Gifts and Seasonal Buyer explained it was time to give the cards department a fresh, new look. “Haskins were keen to move the department forward, whilst it wasn’t broken there was an opportunity to improve the selection, improve the sales and get greater eater visibility of what we were selling. “The Woodmansterne team were very accommodating, quick to respond to queries and questions. During the changeover and installations, Woodmansterne managed the process extremely well to make the transition as seamless as possible. “Since the installation we have had very positive feedback from customers. The focus on the selection and the placement of genres has also had a positive impact, resulting in positive sales growth in all stores since the installation.” “I would very much recommend Woodmansterne to anyone looking to improve their greetings card sales.”

Seth and Paul Woodmansterne, the second and third generation leading the brand that supplies over 30 million cards a year.

Why Woodmansterne? Woodmansterne are a third-generation family business supplying premium greeting cards to leading independent retailers, all designed and manufactured in the UK. They work with the very best of British talent including the National Trust, Quentin Blake, RSPB, and Emma Bridgewater.

Why W-Select category management? Woodmansterne have become experts in visual planning and category management, working with leading retailers in the UK, meaning they can offer the following services:

Woodmansterne pioneered the ‘Smart Seal’ in 2019, allowing them to remove plastic packaging from all their cards, saving a million pieces of throwaway plastic every week. Their cards are printed with vegetable inks on paper from sustainable forests and all their envelopes are made from 100% recycled postconsumer waste.

• A bespoke assortment tailored to your customers • A unique caption calculator ensuring the optimum product mix • An assortment of designs from the very best publishers • Regular analysis and reporting • Less admin, meaning more time for you and your team

Smart Seal means no plastic packaging on Woodmansterne cards

The new card department at Haskins Snowhill

Get in touch! We would love to explore how we can help your business grow Get in touch 01923 200 600 or You can see more of what they do at

September 2020 41

NEW PRODUCTS Primeur on the right tracks with railroad stepping stone

Award winning Primeur have launched a Recycled Rubber Stepping Stone in Grey. Eco-friendly, light weight, weather resistant, crack, rot and mould proof. They say: “Our railroad stepping stone in earth is the best selling option in the stone range and we are now offering this in a grey option to meet customer demand for this colourway. Grey is proving to be the best selling colour accross our ranges so we want to give customers what they want. > www.

Grow Your Own kits for the novice entered by Taylors Bulbs in the New Product Awards

Grow Your Own products are a major part of the Taylors Bulbs Spring 2021 catalogue which contains over 40 new varieties of summer flowering bulbs, seed potatoes, onions and garlic. As more and more people discovered or rediscovered the benefits of fresh, homegrown produce during the lockdown period, we have all seen growth that is driven by existing as well as new customers to the gardening market. Included in the range are two new Grow Your Own kits; for the novice, the Vegetable & Seed Growing Kit and the Potato Growing Kit from Taylors Bulbs are designed to be

the perfect solution for those new gardeners who are a little unsure what to select and how to grow them. The Vegetable & Seed Growing Kit contains a broad range of easy to grow favourites including onions, garlic, seed potatoes as well as lettuce, courgettes and tomatoes. Each kit comes with planting labels and full and easy to follow planting instructions. The Seed Potato Growing Kit contains three varieties of seed potato with a potato growing bag for each variety, perfect for the smaller garden, patio or even balcony. Both kits are packaged in attractive crate style packs, and with an RRP of only £9.99 they are a superb impulse purchase product. > For more information, contact Taylors Bulbs on 01406 422266, Email or visit their website

Coco & Coir set new standards for Coir compost

Southern Trident, through its brand Coco & Coir has set new standards for the highest consistency and quality of Coir compost combined with the highest regard for the environment. The branding, products, range, and labelling have undergone a complete review for launch from September. NPD has resulted in additional new Coco & Coir peat-free products, such as COCO DOTS and innovative, unique, recyclable non plastic packaging. >

42 September 2020

NEW PRODUCTS Copper Water Bottles help the environment one sip p at a time.

The Copper Water Bottles from Tilnar Art are not only sustainably sourced, but are recyclable and plastic free, coming in a beautiful recycled paper gift box. Choose a Reusable Water R bl CCopper W t Bottle from their H2O Collection to help reduce Plastic Pollution . They are ocean friendly, hand finished & Fair Trade and they have health benefits. “By using our Copper Water Bottles you will be helping the environment one sip at a time by reducing JAVADO present a revolution the use of single use plastic water bottle” in plant breeding Tilnar Art H20 Collection £22.99. A revolution in plant breeding! The Mangave Mad about > Mangave Mission to Mars, pops out because of his hugh, vibrant, red leaves. The varieties of Mad about Mangave® are real water savers! Mangave loves a spot Dead Head’s are a Snipz in full sun but indoor it’s also no problem! from Creative Products Mangave Mission to Mars has an intense red Regular dead heading with these great mini snips coloration from the leaves. Wide, thick green leaves promotes longer flowering, improved appearance and healthier plants. Ideal for pinching back are heavily speckled with burgundy red, with annuals and cutting herbs. spots that bleed into each other for an overall red Spring action handles for simple dead heading appearance. It’s a stunning eye catching indoor or and pinching. Dead Head Snipz retail at £2.99. summer patio plant. > >

Rich Planting Feed from the makers of Bloomin Amazin

Rich Planting Feed, from West Country Soil Imporvers, is designed to meet the needs of gardeners planting and establishing new shrubs, trees, roses etc. It is made from a by-product from the production of biogas so it is sustainable and 100% peat free. It feeds plants, suppresses weeds, preserves soil moisture and deters slugs. In line with the sustainable credentials for Bloomin Amazing, our new RIch Planting Feed is packaged in a brand new and unique biodegradeable and recyclable film (Cycle+). >

Lights in motion from The Solar Centre

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Jardinopia launcched their Feeder Friends brand at Spring Fair 2020. The Range of 10 designs in our antique bronze finish all come with a spare drip feeder bottle & in their own gift package. They are designed to cover unsightly plastic feeder bottles. All parts of the product can be recycled. Jardinopia are the first to launch a decorative drip feeder bottle cover. “We designed the range to fit most bottle sizes available and to be fully recyclable. The Feeder Friends hide the drip bottles and add glamour to any pot, hanging basket or planter. Can be safely used indoors or outside.” Feeder Friends Plant Drip Feeders retail at £9.99 . >

September 2020 43


Stewarts trust in LOFA Assured

Karl Read is the Furniture Buying Manager for Stewarts Garden Centres, who operate three centres across the South of England. He is responsible for the purchasing of all the outdoor living ranges they supply, and manages their largest store in Christchurch, Dorset.

We spoke to Karl during this year’s Virtual SOLEX, to find out what purchasing from LOFA Assured members means to their business. Have you heard of LOFAssured? “Yes I have. I have been responsible for our purchasing for 17 years now so have always been aware of LOFA and their members. Going to SOLEX every year you are inevitably aware that all exhibitors here are LOFA members and, with that, you learn what the LOFA Assured initiative is all about. Do you think the initiative helps you as a retailer? “I feel as a buyer you have to be morally conscious of what you are purchasing. Seeing the LOFA Assured tags on products

44 September 2020

does make that decision a bit easier, as you know that somebody else has already done the due diligence on the products and they are most likely made to a better standard. When you buy products from China or the Far East, there are various grading tests that they go through and, with no uniformity, it can be complicated for some retailers to fully understand what they are buying. With LOFA Assured, you have the confidence that the cushions you are buying only comply with the toughest fire and safety regulations. “It is definitely a peace of mind thing from a retailer point of view. If you are a responsible retailer then you should be conducting checks to ensure what you are selling is safe. If anything, ever did happen, I would want to know that we, as a business, were not a contributing factor to that.

Do you communicate to customers that the cushions you sell are LOFA Assured? “Not specifically, however a lot of the cushions we sell come with the LOFA Assured tags on and we do not take them off. Even before LOFA Assured was launched, we always performed due diligence on our suppliers, so I think there is a level of trust with our customers of what they can expect when buying from Stewarts. “That said, not many consumers have ever asked us what the tags mean, as I don’t think they are aware that outdoor cushions have to be fire retardant in the UK, in the same way they don’t know what FSC means. Do you think consumers would be more inclined to buy a LOFA Assured product if they knew more information about the campaign? “I think it has the potential to do so. It is something that we will be looking to promote more heavily going forwards, though I think it also hinges on the type of retailer you are. Some consumers are heavily driven by price and will therefore be drawn to the cheaper non-compliant products. Stewarts, however, is not an entry level point retailer and, as such, our customers are more driven by quality than price in their purchasing decisions and, with that, comes an assurance that what they are buying is fit for purpose.” > For more information on LOFA Assured, please visit

Lofa Assured is an intitiative to ensure all cushions sold by LOFA Members comply with current Government Fire Safety Regulations. To find out more visit In Partnership with Hertfordshire Trading Standards and FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association).


Eat Out to Help Out – the garden centre experience

The Government’s Eat Out to Help Out (EOTHO) initiative gave diners 50% off their restaurant bill up to the value of £10 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout August. Many garden centres signed up to take part in the scheme and so we take a look at how successful this has been for them and how they are now gearing up their catering operations for autumn and beyond.

At the Dutch Nursery and Garden Centre in Hatfield EOTHO has worked well with trade in the restaurant very busy from Monday to Wednesday, running slightly ahead of weekend trade. Lynn Gulliver, Food Hall Manager explains, “We have seen sales increase in other areas due to the new footfall. As we move into autumn we are expanding our menu from the basic version that we are currently running to include full breakfast, jacket potatoes and soup. We are unlikely to be offering our full menu

until 2021. We haven’t got a suitable outdoor area to cover to use through the winter but we will be using the whole of the café area of which we are currently using 3/4 of the space. After a slow start, EOTHO has been positive for Seven Oaks Garden Centre in Ruthin, North Wales. Owner Ian Forsyth explains, “The first couple of weeks of the initiative were poor then the third week saw us within £100 of our previous best-ever week. Overall the garden centre is trading well above

expectations. As we move into the autumn and winter we will see how the weather goes but customers have already been indicating that if the weather is good they will wrap up and sit outside. It seems that they are just happy to be eating out again.” Through participation in EOTHO The Gardens Group has seen increased sales and the initiative has played a part in encouraging some customers to return for the first time reassuring them that it is a safe environment

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Outdoor dining proved popular at Burford House Garden Centre to return to. Managing Director Mike Burks comments “Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday have been busy days for the whole garden centre and it has also made us more weather resistant. Moving into autumn we will monitor carefully the numbers of customers and how the restaurant trade impacts the garden centre in terms of the total number of customers that we can safely have on site.” Participation in EOTHO has seen sales climb Socially distanced outdoor dining on Bank Holiday Monday at Burford House Garden Centre

significantly in August for Coolings’ three sites that have reopened catering, with the remainder of the weeks in August staying buoyant. Interesting their Potted Garden site has seen larger weekly increases than the other sites without catering reopening at all! This may be down to its high proportion of outside sales area and people feeling comfortable shopping outdoors. Managing Director of Coolings Gary Carvosso adds, “We are reviewing the covered seating available for the autumn in catering as inclement weather closing outdoor areas will reduce our seating capacity considerably.” At Bents Garden & Home EOTHO has made their already busy dining areas even busier which has been challenging. Managing Director Matthew Bent comments, “The initiative has driven people in but has potentially and unfortunately made the experience and the increased volumes a bit difficult to manage with all the social distancing and reduced capacity measures in place. This has made the experience not always as enjoyable for the customer that was ‘coming anyway’. We know that the initiative has brought in new customer types, not necessarily our usual type of customers, and we hope that some of them will make return visits in the future.” He adds, “Dining average sale has been almost double across the three days of the scheme. It is generally up anyway due to the change in service style but was even higher

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Dining amongst the plants at Perrywood’s new Glasshouse Cafe on the days of the scheme. Overall store footfall has been fairly consistent with the other weekdays when the scheme is not on.” Since re-opening their restaurant on 13 July Burleydam Garden Centre has experienced a steady increase in customer flow but a decrease in general customer spend. Director Sally Cornelissen explains “We attribute this to a return of ‘browsing’ customers who are diluting the big basket spends we have become used to. Despite decreasing our covers by a third our restaurant trade is now not far from normal levels.” Dobbies signed up to EOTHO across all of their restaurants, as well as passing on the VAT reduction to customers making eating out extremely cost-effective. Dobbies was awarded AA COVID-19 Confident accreditation across

The spacing of tables provides a reassuring environment for customers at Perrywood

The Greenhouse Cafe at Perrywood, in the bedding plant greenhouse, was opened to add extra capacity

48 September 2020

all 68 restaurants due to its stringent safety measures. At the time of writing customers who visited Dobbies in Ayr on Friday 21 August are being traced after an outbreak of COVID-19 linked to a customer at the restaurant. Whilst low risk customers are being asked to be extra vigilant with regard to any symptoms. A Dobbies spokesperson said, “We have robust social distancing and cleaning processes in place with Government and Environmental Health guidelines. Our team supported the NHS Test and Protect procedures. The restaurant and other areas across the Ayr store have been deep cleaned as a further precaution and remains open.” Gordale Garden Centre have not yet opened their coffee shop but plan to do so shortly. Jill Nicholson explains, “With our garden centre already very busy we didn’t want to jeopardise sales across other departments such as plants, furniture and BBQ sales because our shop numbers were in the café. We felt that EOTHO would bring a lot of people in for the offer only. Interestingly we visited another garden centre on the second Tuesday of the offer and there was a queue of 60 plus people waiting to enter the restaurant, another queue to enter the store with the main tills deserted.” She adds, “We are opening at the beginning of September with a much-reduced menu, table service and spaced out tables. It remains to be seen how profitable this will be for us.” Carolyn Spray, Owner of Pentland Plants comments, “EOTHO has moved our busiest days around rather than increasing sales by much. General garden centre sales have been much higher than the same days last year. We have introduced table service and plan to continue this until the end of the year at least. Whilst we are not providing additional covered space outside we may move things around in the gift area to increase our café space indoors.” All in all, Eat Out to Help Out has been successful for the majority of garden centres that have taken part, helping to drive traffic on traditionally quieter days. But this has not been without its challenges. Time will tell as to

At Munros Nurseries in Inverness, their 5 dining gazebos have created a real talking point with customers saying how safe they feel at the centre. Their facebook post went crazy, reaching 50,000 people! whether any new customers attracted in by the offer will make return visits and also whether catering revenues will continue to rebuild again once the offer period finishes. Autumn and winter will bring different challenges with the weather impacting the use of additional ‘outdoor’ catering areas created over the summer. Many Christmas related catering events will also be curtailed or required to take a different approach with social distancing and restricted numbers.

Written by Gill Ormrod with additional research by Steve Myatt

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The Greatest Showrooms

The Glee Gathering virtual event is fast approaching – but if you want to get close up and personal with some of next season’s key launches, you might want to take advantage of showroom visits being organised by a number of leading suppliers. Here’s a list of some we were aware of as this issue went to press.

now, September is filling up fast.”


Wildlife World are inviting new and prospective customers to visit their new showroom, adjacent to their workshop near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. “We’d love to see you as we’re bursting with ideas, concepts, new product ranges and proven winners that will delight and inspire your customers” they say. You can take a quick virtual tour of the new showroom via the trade website (register at To book a virtual or in person visit, email >Find Wildlife World Ltd at: Manor Farm Barn, Chavenage, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8XW

Wildlife World

Westland has invested in a brand new 500m2 COVID secure showroom in Peterborough. Its ready and open to visitors from 1st September. The venue showcases and brings to life, all of their 2021 consumer innovation and marketing campaigns across the entire retail division. The showroom encompasses all the 2021 product ranges including: Westland, Gardman, Peckish, Kent & Stowe and Flo-Pro. Visits are strictly by appointment only via your Sales Representative, and numbers are strictly limited. For booking enquiries email Westland’s Simon McArdle told GTN: “It’s an outstanding experience that isn’t just products on shelves. I would strongly encourage as many customers as possible to make a booking

WIDDOP Gift suppliers WIDDOP have opened the doors to their 15,000 sq.ft. Showrooms in North



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50 September 2020

SHOWROOM VISITS In addition, the company’s mobile showroom will stop at 14 destinations across the south-west and south-east, offering the chance to meet one-to-one for a bespoke tour of the WIDDOP offering. > Register your interest at Find WIDDOP and Co,15 minutes from Mancheser city centre, at: Broadgate, Broadway Business Park, Chadderton, Oldham, OL9 9XE


Manchester to enable buyers to browse all 8000+ products on offer, including all 700 new additions, from 1-30 September. Rigorous hygiene and safety standards have been applied, so visitors can browse safely and still enjoy award-winning hospitality and service. WIDDOP are also offering fuel expenses, free point of sale packs, printed catalogues, exclusive digital content, marketing materials, vouchers and more.

From 7 September to 16 October Woodlodge are opening their showroom to showcase their 2021 ranges on a Gleestyle display. Slots are in intervals of 20 minutes to help stagger visitor flow. They estimate it will take 2.5 hours to complete the tour of the stand. Visitor numbers in the marquee are capped to 20 people at a time so visits must be pre-booked. “We are taking contact numbers so we can offer track and trace and will have face masks and hand sanitising stations available,” they say. For customers who do not wish to travel, a virtual 360° tour, this will be available during the week beginning 7 September, along with the 2021 catalogue. > Find Woodlodge at: Babdown Airfield, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8YL Tel 01666 501000 email

Primeur (virtual) Primeur say they are also looking to create their own mini-Glee via virtual tours, product launches, and online meetings with customers. “Throughout the autumn season we will be continuing to communicate with our customers either directly or via the media, to continue to showcase the many ways we can help drive sales both during the anticipated extended season, as well as long into 2021.” Details of their virtual showroom tours will be announced shortly. > Tel 01274 518800 or email

Fordingbridge Design and build contractors Fordingbridge are offering to organise live walk-throughs at numerous existing installations across the UK for some of the country’s most prestigious garden centres, including Squires, Haskins, Notcutts and Dobbies. Projects include walkways, canopies and full retail buildings. Customers can choose the most convenient location to visit. > Contact: FraserDixon@Fordingbridge. Tel 01243 558173. > If you’d like to publicise your showroom in future issues of GTN or GTN Xtra please e-mail


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September 2020 51


Have we said goodbye to the normal plant sales slump in mid-June? BOYD J DOUGLAS-DAVIES, HTA PRESIDENT

52 September 2020

Have we said goodbye to the normal slump in mid-June? Was it real or did we create it by both stopping production and cutting retail stock levels? Looking to 2021 and beyond let’s make sure we don’t forget the new customers who have no understanding of ‘the old world’ and are happy buying plants all summer as long as we keep putting fresh, appealing, quality plants in front of them. Plant buyers remember the lessons of 2020; throw away the rule books and work with British growers to ensure the industry has a long and healthy future. Growers embrace the opportunity we all stumbled on by chance this year and include follow-on crops in your schedules for summers ahead. The HTA’s retail data, made freely available to members, and the GTN Bestsellers weekly charts confirm the same thing. New shoppers love big plants that

look great in planters. They love plants that have been in circulation for years. And they love quick and easy results. Many a £25 lavender has been accompanied with a lead like planter and a bag of compost. No tools required by many a new gardener! > The Horticultural Trades Association is the UK industry’s leading membership organisation. It welcomes all sectors of horticulture – to join, please contact






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Five years of plant sales analysis GTN Bestsellers, May 2016 to August 2020

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Without doubt, British growers have had the single most challenging year in the modern history of commercial horticulture… and it isn’t over yet. As we moved through March and rumours of lockdown started to gather pace, and then became reality, growers were faced with the impossible challenge. “When will our customers start ordering again? Do we furlough the team and plants die? Or keep the team and the business dies?” Truly a situation that I hope no one has to ever face again. Particularly hard hit were the growers of seasonal crops that had just stocked the UK’s garden centres with wonderful plants in anticipation of the first strong weeks of Spring trade. Inevitably, growers took the only possible option and furloughed as many of the team as they could, the few remaining did what they could to maintain existing stocks. Whilst time ticked on, the team at the HTA were fully engaged with Government, negotiating an early reopening of the retail sector. There is no doubt that supporting British growers was part of the persuasive argument for getting garden centres open. From reopening, demand for plants has been beyond wildest expectations. To an outsider this will seem like the perfect outcome. However, many growers simply didn’t have the labour or funds during lockdown to keep potting on stock, so when custom arrived they had a gap in the production schedules. Fortunately, some of the young plant producers took a gamble and at their own risk continued to produce stock long beyond normal dates. What a great move! New-to-the-garden customers ignored tradition and kept buying plants in huge numbers through June, July and (relatively) even August.

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GIMA digs deeper to probe how the Covid-19 pandemic could influence innovation ahead of the 2021 season VICKY NUTTALL, DIRECTOR OF GIMA Suppliers’ innovation is the lifeblood of garden retail, with stand-out new product development capable of igniting sales regardless of category. As September gets under way and we move into autumn, GIMA members would normally be putting the finishing touches to their new season ranges ahead of Glee – eager to network at the industry’s annual showcase and get the lowdown on exciting developments that will shape the sector in the New Year. Of course, nothing is normal about 2020 and while the cancellation of this year’s Glee because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic leaves a gaping hole in the industry’s calendar, suppliers remain busy behind the scenes, making eager preparations for this month’s ‘virtual Glee’, with a busy schedule of online meetings in the pipeline. The pre-season build-up to 2021 might be taking place in cyberspace rather than in the halls of the NEC, but the same questions are on everyone’s minds: after a year of unprecedented economic turbulence, what level of innovation is in store, and how will influences and trends shape the next 12 months? These questions will be the focus of a GIMA panel debate on 8th September, but I remain confident that we will see innovation coming through, as suppliers address challenges that stood in the way of new product development earlier in the year. The first issue being tackled is resource capacity: employees who devise new products and develop fresh ranges are likely to have been furloughed earlier in the season, setting projects back. Businesses are now in a better position to channel more resources into innovation, but heightened demand resulting from the gardening season extending into autumn is piling-on extra pressure, as manpower is channelled into getting orders out of the doors. We’re still likely to see some real winners in terms of quality when it comes to new product development,

54 September 2020

but perhaps on a smaller scale when compared to 2019, with some projects coming to fruition next year. In addition, anyone sourcing product from the Far East is likely to discover that suppliers are facing similar issues, as the region works to restore normal output – a challenge in the new world of socially distanced working. Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown has thrown the spotlight onto health, not just human wellbeing, but safeguarding the health of the planet. Environmental protection was a heavy influencer of new product development last season, and the events of this year will serve to fuel demand for eco-friendly products in 2021. One topic that will dominate is single-use plastics, as GIMA members strive to reduce dependency on virgin plastics and boost levels of recycled plastics in packaging. A recent GIMA presentation by consultant Jane Lawler revealed that two thirds of consumers have cut their consumption of single-use plastics while 43 per cent already actively choose brands because of their environmental values. In a bid to address the plastics issue, GIMA members are being encouraged to sign up to the GIMA Plastic Packaging Pledge, designed to minimise the adverse impact of all types of plastic packaging use by member companies in the garden sector. The GIMA council has agreed a set of targets that goes further than simply eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging. By 2025, we aim to ensure that 100% of plastic

packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable – with 70% of plastic packaging effectively recycled or composted. Members are being asked to achieve 30% recycled content across all plastic packaging. While our plastic reduction goals are clear, the direction of pre-season orders for 2021 is yet to take shape. Some retailers are working to bolster levels of pre-season stock ahead of next spring, in anticipation of heightened demand resulting from strong performance this summer, which is extending into autumn – and as a precaution due to the ongoing risk of regional lockdowns. Others, however, may adopt a more cautious approach – especially centres that didn’t have a home-delivery service in place this spring and ended up sitting on high levels of stock during lockdown. With a heavy focus on preparing for Christmas at present, it remains to be seen how the 2021 pre-season period will pan out. On a final note, we must remain alert to the fact that Brexit will soon be upon us. Hopefully, a UK-EU trade agreement is imminent, but in the face of ongoing uncertainty, GIMA will be providing members with an update on trade negotiations in early September. There is concern over the potential for heightened levels of bureaucracy and administration, while businesses require clarity over where they stand with import and export tariffs. Growers are understandably worried about the risk of delays at borders and subsequent knock-on effects on perishable goods. There’s no doubt that the road ahead is going to be bumpy as we navigate through the combined challenges of Brexit and coronavirus – but rest assured that GIMA will work tirelessly to provide clear, up-tothe-minute information and protect the interests of its members. > For further information please contact GIMA on (01959) 564947 or

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Please contact us to book a pre-season meeting! World of Make BelieveÂŽ is a trade mark of Fountasia Limited and the designs featured within these products are protected by Registered Design Right and/or Copyright. Fountasia IP cannot be used without permission and we reserve the right to take action against any unauthorised use.

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