Seabrook urges Garden Centres to back rose festival

Veteran Sun columnist and broadcaster, Peter Seabrook has called on garden centres to back a National Rose Festival Week in the 3rd or 4th week of June. Read more - members only

Peter Seabrook

A round-up of 2017, a year dominated by Brexit and Xylella

2017 started with a flourish but lost momentum and settled to be an OK year. Suppliers worried about Brexit, the living wage, higher costs and Wyevale. Retailers and growers worried about Xylella. Takeover activity reached new peaks among suppliers, but no major garden centres changed hands. The industry said goodbye to some old friends. Read our review – (open to non-subscribers). Read more - open to all

Plants and gardening sales fell in October

Lower plant and gardening sales means that October income was level with last year according to the latest figures from the GCA. Plus, we look at gardening totals for 2017. Read more - members only

Choice members look forward to £1.5m rebate

Last week’s 3 day conference and trade show, held by Choice Marketing, eclipsed the HTA Futures conference that it clashed with, by drawing 160 delegates. 90 suppliers exhibited at the trade show. Read more - members only

Despite the boom of March and April the season evens itself out

Declining gifts sales and slow restaurant growth has knocked the performance of bigger garden centres according to the half year figures from the GCA. Read more - members only

Summer displays at Bents

Wayfair becomes an important route to market for Solex exhibitors

The chat at Solex centered around topics like: Wayfair, empty warehouses and price rises. And has 2017 really been a vintage year? Read more - members only

Woven and wood mixed from 4SO

Garden centres are still significantly ahead in 2017, despite a lull in May

Why, at the end of May, are small garden centres up +11% for the year while large garden centres are up +5%? And where's the houseplant boom? Read more - members only

Old inspectors return as dates are set for GCA Awards meetings

Due to illness one of the new GCA inspectors has been forced to step down this year. So two, who had intended to retire, are back as judges and will address the newly announced regional awards meetings.  Read more - members only

Staff from Brimsmore Gardens with their awards presented last year

GCA reveals 22% increase in April Sales

GCA garden centre sales were 13% up on last year after a strong April, with massive growth in plants and garden furniture in the warm, dry weather. What will they be after May? Read more - members only

Caution after a buoyant Easter

Garden centres report an excellent Easter and April with sales up 40% on last year and storm Katie. But chief executives tell us, “We must keep our feet on the ground,” and it will get tougher, with increased competition and inflation. Read more - members only

It’s the squeaky door that gets the oil

Suppliers, hit by Brexit and high transport costs, call for a task force as a lobbyist warns, ‘If politicians don’t hear from you they will assume there is not a problem.’ Read more - members only

GCA figures confirm a slow start to 2017

Despite a strong start for plant sales, GCA statistics show total sales were down in January and February with restaurants and gifts faltering. Read more - members only

Bedding displays at Hillier in Newbury

Lots for the Garden Press to write about

There was plenty to see and hear at the Garden Press Event including a snail fence, outdoor fragrances, a new urban compost from Scotts and news of some enhanced summer events. Read more - members only

Woodlodge's Dorset rocking chair.

UK growers scoff at Dutch views of Brexit

At yesterday’s HTA Contact conference one Dutch grower told how he fears that Brexit will mean no UK nursery industry within 5 years. Read more - members only

Jan de Vries

2016 - a year of change

2016 saw second tier garden centre chains and independents invest as Wyevale consolidated. Homebase and Argos are sold. The HTA moved offices and moved to become the lead association for all gardening related businesses. Glyphosate, Xylella and the weather made frequent headlines. Scotts and Bayer looked for a way out of distributing consumer garden chemicals. Read our review – open to all. Read more - open to all

Bunnings buys Homebase

Christmas trading patterns have changed

Christmas buying is getting earlier and overall sales have dropped in many centres, not helped by snow on the peak live tree weekend, closing some centres. Despite this, overall garden centre sales are up for 2017. Read more - members only

Snow affected Christmas Tree sales

Bents crown their 80th year with the GCA Christmas display award

Bents have wrestled the GCA Christmas Display award back from Barton Grange, while Castle Gardens in Sherborne prove invincible yet again in the category for smaller garden centres. Read more - members only

Castle Gardens Christmas Display

New National Home Improvement Week will clash with Garden Re-Leaf Day

BHETA has created a new National Home Improvement Week for the home and garden industry on dates in the middle of March that clash with Garden Re-Leaf Day. Read more - members only

Syngenta to be the new sponsor of Cultivation Street

Syngenta and their Calliope brand are to sponsor David Domoney’s community gardening campaign, Cultivation Street, which adds a mentor scheme in 2018. Read more - members only

Glee reveals the short list of top garden industry buyers

Glee has opened the vote to find the UK's best garden buyers. They have revealed a shortlist of 25 buyers across 5 categories: independent garden centres, multiples, DIY / Builder Merchants, online and other. Read more - members only

Westland and Smart Garden take the top GIMA awards

The top GIMA awards went to Westland for Product of the Year and Smart Garden for Supplier of the Year. Briers took the export achievement award. Read more - members only

Westland hold the sword of homour for best product

How will the election result impact the garden sector?

Do we face opening the UK market to imports from the US? LOFA members fear exchange rate volatility. The HTA is concerned about retaining the relationship it has built with Government on ways to promote plant health and cut plant imports.  Read more - members only

An average May fails to dent strong 2017 sales figures

Despite an only ‘average’ May, which fell well behind May 2016, most garden centres report they are still well up for the year. Cautious optimism defines their view for the rest of the year. Read more - members only

Average spend falls as sales rise

GCA figures for March confirm that it has been a gardener’s spring. However, despite rising prices and sales, the average customer spend has fallen. What does this indicate? Read more - members only

Garden centres cannot compete on price alone

Garden centre property consultant, Gilbert Evans, warns how discounters and online retailing are impacting smaller garden centres. Read more - members only

Should garden suppliers sell online and through Amazon?

Should suppliers sell online and through Amazon or rely on Garden Centres to reach the consumer? Gardenforum hosted a debate at the GIMA day conference. The answer was clear – garden centres have an important place but they must adapt, the Internet is not going away. Read more - members only

Suppliers assess impact of Brexit and look ahead

Suppliers reveal the impact of Brexit so far and look ahead. Imports costs have risen by up to 25%. Fears include the uncertainty, being outside the single market and customs bureaucracy. Read more - members only

Squire’s and Cowells take the top GCA plant awards

It’s three awards each for Squire’s, Cowell’s and Barton Grange at The Garden Centre Association conference. Squire’s and Cowell’s are the best GCA plant retailers.   Read more - members only

Colin & Sarah Squire,  Julian Winfield, Ian Hammond, Squire's plant manager& Roger Crookes

GC Christmas sales have ‘stalled a bit’ after a 7 – 10 year trend of huge increases

The majority of garden centres say Christmas sales were up but competition is increasing and December sales were disappointing for some. Read more - members only

Challenging themes from the HTA Marketing Forum

How one garden centre used only Facebook to promote its Christmas opening evening and took £25,000. Social Media is about building relationships and engaging the community around you. Are you marketing to attract strangers or friends? Read more - members only

Alan Down of Cleeve Nurseries

To see earlier stories - Look in the News Archive