Non-stop growth at Farplants sees key promotion

Non-stop growth at Farplants sees key promotion

Following strong growth this year for the nursery co-operative Farplants, Andy Merrick has been promoted to Head of Sales.

Andy Merrick, previously the Garden Centre Sales Manager for the West Sussex based plant wholesaler, has been appointed to Head of Sales to continue the company’s growth plans. Since joining in 1999, he has progressed within sales and account management to manage the sales team and provide support to Farplants’ garden retailing customers.


Merrick has been an integral part of the Farplants product development team who have made over 1000…

How to prepare your front garden for trick or treaters

Multi coloured blossom lights

Not long now! The weekends over and the neighbourhood kids are planning their costumes at this moment to surprise you at your door. Is your house Halloween ready? If you’re not sure, then read on for a quick step guide through prepping your front garden for the arrival of trick or treaters.

Preparing the doorway

The first point of call for little Halloween goers is the door. Decorating your door is the first step in preparing your home for Halloween. The spookier the better! You can use anything from fake spiders and cobwebs to ghost doorway hangers and posters, to create…

Don’t let Halloween be a hair raiser for your dog

Following the recent release of the film It starring everyone’s favourite clown Pennywise – it’s clear we’re a nation that loves to be scared.

And as we head towards Halloween, houses will be adorned with scary spooks and costumes will be donned as people hide behind masks in order to shock their friends and neighbours.

Whilst this is a bit of fun for many people, our pet dogs can sometimes find this distressing – especially if they are part of the outfit! If your dog is nervous around strangers imagine opening the door to a masked ghoul or being around groups of excited…

Smart Garden Products appoints new Trade Marketing Manager

Caroline Halford

Smart Garden Products is delighted to announce that Caroline Holford has joined Smart Garden Products on 9th October as Trade Marketing Manager.

Caroline beings a wealth of trade marketing experience having spent several years working with Dexam, Canon, HoMedics and Bic, among others. On joining a new industry, Caroline says “I am looking forward to transferring my extensive marketing experience in housewares, licensing and FMCG to the gardening sector.  I feel very fortunate to be joining the Smart Garden team at a time of such growth for both the company and the industry.  I am…

App Development Company Launches Free App Competition for Independent UK Businesses

home and garden app

Mobile app development company Apps4U invites small businesses across the country to enter their free app development competition, with a prize worth nearly £2000.

Mobile apps are a major component in modern living. 85% of people say they prefer using apps over mobile websites, mainly because they streamline the user experience and make the business/service more accessible and easier to engage with. Given the popularity of apps, their benefits for a small business are almost immeasurable. Apps can help draw in new customers, inspire repeat business, establish…

Make your own pumpkin soup with Haskins Garden Centres this Halloween

pumpkin soup

Haskins is encouraging gardeners to make the most of their home-grown pumpkins with a delicious soup recipe for Halloween.


Alasdair Urquhart, plant advisor at Haskins Garden Centres, commented: “Making your own pumpkin soup is simple and rewarding. Even if you haven’t had time to grow your own this year, you can still follow our step-by-step recipe.


“We recommend saving the seeds once you’ve scooped them out, so you can roast them and sprinkle on top of the soup, to bring extra flavour. For a novelty twist, you could try serving the soup using the…

Neat Ideas “Everything to gain, nothing to lose”

Neat Ideas

The original in-store media company “Neat Ideas” offer a range of inspirational kitchen, garden, housewares & DIY products.


Everything we do, from selecting innovative quality products, to our packaging design and smart in-store media, is designed to ensure maximised sales.

With our in-store media and promotional approach, we ensure that our products offer more profit per square foot.

We offer Sale or Return (so retailers never have to reduce prices to clear stock) No quibble returns policy Targeted promotional periods – (8-12 weeks) Regular…

BEES™ Gift Displays - Gardening gift displays to drive year round sales

BEES™ Gift Displays - Gardening gift displays to drive year round sales

Following the success of BEES™ Seeds and Gifts over the last couple of years, G Plants have developed a collection of new wooden display units with vintage BEES branding, which will be available for delivery from December.


The products in these ranges have been designed to be suitable for year round sales, with attractive packaging, which makes them ideal for gardening gift lines to drive sales, even in quieter months.

Display stands are available when ordering a selection of BEES™ Seeds and Growing Gift lines, which can be stocked up with follow up orders…

DaVinci Garden Ornaments have been rebranded as Dinova Garden Art and are now available again in the UK and Europe through Melmar Stone

The industry was saddened at GLEE 2017 to hear that the range of DaVinci Home and garden products were no longer available to garden centres as the business had ceased trading due to personal reasons.

The good news is that Melmar Stone, one of the leading stoneware and garden ornament suppliers in the UK have formed an exclusive strategic partnership with the manufacturer of the range and are pleased to announce that the products are NOW available for ordering in time for the 2018 season.

This is important news because the products have been hugely successful in the UK and…

How do the likes of B&Q & Home Base make such a profit from the garden center range?

Garden Playhouse, the Cottage Playhouse

With margins of +140% on high ticket items that cost the retailer virtually nothing to stock, this was something we really wanted to find more out about. So to find out how they do this Garden Trade Specialist interviewed, the UKs most authoritative website on garden buildings.

The Cottage Playhouse

Q: So WhatShed, how did you find out that this was such an important profit center for the retailers?

A: From an online perspective WhatShed is one of the largest traffic drivers for some of these retailers. Over the last few years, they have opened up to us…

Hillmount Blooms Into Ards Following £1 Million Investment

Hillmount Blooms Into Ards Following £1 Million Investment

Hillmount Ards has opened its doors following a £1 million investment in transforming the site of the original Thriving Life Church at the junction of Movilla Road and Ballyreagh Road into a 10,000sq ft lifestyle garden centre with the creation of 25 jobs for Newtownards.

Robin Mercer, Hillmount Ards, said:  “I always promised my wife Edith that I’d open a garden centre in her home shopping town of Ards and after we opened Hillmount Bangor we began to search for a site.  Developing Hillmount Ards has been a real labour of love for Edith, our son Alan and I, and we…

Haskins Garden Centre in Roundstone supports sensory room project at St. Andrew's High School

Haskins Garden Centre

Staff working at Haskins Garden Centre in Roundstone are supporting a local project to build a sensory room at St Andrew's High School C.E. for boys.

The garden centre has donated a £100 gift card to a group of degree students at the University of Chichester who are behind the project. The students are in their third year of a primary teaching degree and as part of their training, they aim to raise £2,500 within the local community in order to create the new sensory room.

The sensory room project will help students who require different types of support throughout the…

From Canada With Love


It was my first time but definitely not the last one! Two weeks ago I came back from the International Garden Centre Association trip to Niagara Falls, Canada. With a group of over 200 people from all over the world, we enjoyed the trip through the garden industry in this part of Ontario.

Since I was travelling around in a bus with a group of about 20 youngsters from the industry it was very relaxed and entertaining, and we even learned something while having fun! Here are 3 online marketing tips that I learned about in Canada. You can apply these yourself into your own centre. And…

Gardening therapy

man gardening

AXA investigates the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening

Fifty per cent of people who have done gardening report an improvement in their happiness, 43 per cent say it’s relaxing and reduces anxiety and 42 per cent report an improvement in their mental health Meanwhile 45 per cent reported an improvement in their appreciation of nature and 18 per cent say gardening helped them sleep better 57 per cent of those surveyed said they were emotionally attached to their garden and would be upset if something happened to it


A spot of gardening not only gives you a…

GCA Trust’s delegates report back from the IGCA Congress


THE TWO young delegates sponsored by the Garden Centre Association (GCA) Trust to attend the 58th International Garden Centre Association (IGCA) Congress near Niagara Falls in Canada have reported back this month (October, 2017).


Zoe Willis from Perrywood Garden Centre and Liz Dowling from Millbrook Garden Company were both selected by the GCA Trust for the Dick Allen Scholarship Award Scheme. 


Zoe explained: “The week had a packed-full itinerary including many visits to Canadian garden centres, a visit to Toronto botanical gardens and a night hosted by…

How to Inspire the next Generation of Gardeners

Generation of Gardeners

Justine Newman, Horticultural Sector Manager of IML Labels, looks at the shortage of workers in the horticultural industry, identifies why this is the case, and suggests how we can help to inspire the next generation of gardeners.


The UK’s horticultural industry is worth £9 billion and employs almost 200,000 people. Yet, a survey of 18 year olds showed that 70% thought a career in horticulture was for people who had “failed academically”. Furthermore, almost 50% of under 25s saw horticulture as an “unskilled career”.


During the UK recession, despite high…