At 09:50am today (Wednesday 25th March 2020) the Dobbies team posted on their facebook page that they would temporarily close with immediate effect...
At 09:50am today (Wednesday 25th March 2020) the Dobbies team posted on their facebook page that they would temporarily close with immediate effect.
Woodcote Green Garden Centre, owned by Dobbies but run separately, made the decision to close the garden centre after closing last night but is keeping their Farm Shop open to serve their local community.
Normally we would have popped out to Dobbies Peterborough to take some photos of how the Dobbies team are managing the social distancing etc, but as we are on lockdown too we decided that would count as non essential travel.
We've asked Dobbies for a comment but as we publish this update we've not heard back yet. Watch this space.
David Domoney reached an audience of at least 5million this afternoon on BBC Radio 5 Live telling them the best way to get their garden supplies was to contact their local garden centre who would probably be able to arrange a delivery for them...
David Domoney reached an audience of at least 5million this afternoon on BBC Radio 5 Live telling them the best way to get their garden supplies was to contact their local garden centre who would probably be able to arrange a delivery for them.
David also suggested gardening as a great way to keep fit outside in the fresh air and away from smelly armpits in the gym!
Now that schools are closed many parents will be looking to get their children gardening as an activity to keep them entertained and learning. What a great opportunity for gardening, a whole cohort of children could be enthused in growing and spending time in the garden as the spirit of Dig for Victory is rejuvinated...
Now that schools are closed many parents will be looking to get their children gardening as an activity to keep them entertained and learning. What a great opportunity for gardening, a whole cohort of children could be enthused in growing and spending time in the garden as the spirit of Dig for Victory is rejuvinated.
Westland Horticulture are uploading project videos via YoubTube and their facebook page.
How are you helping your customers get their children gardening during the Emergency? Send us your initiatives and we'll pass them on to other centres - it's good to share! Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
It's been a sanguine day in the GTN Xtra office as notification after notification has come in from garden centres who have taken the huge decision to close their doors either at the start of today or as business closes tonight/tomorrow...
It's been a sanguine day in the GTN Xtra office as notification after notification has come in from garden centres who have taken the huge decision to close their doors either at the start of today or as business closes tonight/tomorrow.
At Perrywood, Simon Bourne said "It was a decision based purely on social conscious. We want to be part of stopping the spread of the Coronavirus rather than possibly contributing to the passing on.
"At the weekend too many customers were using the centre as a place to be rather than just a place to shop and staff were getting increasingly nervous," he added.
The list of centres to announce closures either today or at the end of tomorrow includes:
British Garden Centres
Knights Nags Hall & Betchworth
The Old Orchard
As I write this update, many more centres are staying open and promoting gardening for kids and arranging deliveries, but they are also planning for the future and a possible lockdown instruction from the government.
Please do use the comments link below to add your thoughts and ideas. Or e-mail me: email@example.com.
As garden centres shut their coffee shops and restaurants on Friday evening, some were arranging deliveries of fresh veg and other supplies and on Saturday morning Pop Up Veg shops were up and running...
As garden centres shut their coffee shops and restaurants on Friday evening, some were arranging deliveries of fresh veg and other supplies and on Saturday morning Pop Up Veg shops were up and running.
At Aylett Nurseries in St Albans the supplies came from their regular coffee shop veg wholesaler and the whole team got involved in the set up with customers hearing about it on facebook and arriving as early as 8:30 ready to shop. Staff were given the chance to shop from the supplies before the centre opened. Customers were really pleased to see the Dahlia coffee shop converted into a Farm Shop so quickly. Adam Wigglesworth said he hoped to be able to add other produce into the space over the coming days. "this has been more motivating to us all than Christmas!"
Adam said he got the idea from Terry Head at Stewarts where they also set up a Pop Up Veg shop overnight. "The staff have been so grateful that they can come to work, get all the fresh essentials and not having to worry about battling the supermarkets. The customers are amazed that we have manged to open a fresh produce shop in 24 hours which to some has taken a huge amount of stress off they in these horrid times."
Baytree near Spalding has used supplies from it's other centre, Baytree at Hilgay where they have an established Farm Shop, to create a Pop Up farm shop in Bulbland.
Take away hot food and drinks were also the order of the day at many centres. At Blue Diamond Redfields they were offering an extensive take away menu along with cakes and they were contacting all customers who had booked for Mothers Day to see if they would like a takeway service instead.
Garden centres are also busy setting up new on-line ordering services. At Ruxley Manor they say on their facebook page: "Our new trial online ordering system is now live! Until Sunday 22nd at 9pm you can order Outdoor Furniture and BBQs with FREE local delivery. https://ruxley-direct.co.uk/ After this time we will review the system and add more products so during this period of uncertainty there can still be plenty of planting and gardening to do!
This system has been built very quickly, so there may be a few bugs - we will do our very best to ensure your orders are delivered to you quickly and efficiently and appreciate your understanding during our trial period."
At Britsh Garden Centres Roxton they are providing a hand wash position at the front door. Well done!
How are you rising to the challenge of the Coronavirus Emergency? How are you managing customers to avoid crowding? We hear that most shoppers are making very targetted visits to centres, coming in to buy specific products, paying and going. With news this morning about National Trust gardens closing we need to be careful garden centres don't get targetted for closure because we have too many people visiting.
Here's a comment from Robert Mason at Sturmer Nurseries sent yesterday:
"Today on a sunny day, albeit with a piercing cold wind, we were busier than our best ever May bank holiday (even with our tearoom closed!)
"Customers were mainly after seeds, young edible plants, compost and growing media.
"People were determined to stock up ahead of social inclusion in their own gardens.
"Pensioners were out in force during the week, but today was mainly younger people.
"People were happy to be out in the fresh air - let's hope the garden centres are able to stay open. It's quite clear they are vital to everyone's morale and wellbeing."
Last week as the government announced 14 day self isolations along with other measures the picture looked really bleak and uncertain. However, gardeners initially have galvanised themselves into action and got ready for a long spring and summer of growing and enjoying their garden...
Last week as the government announced 14 day self isolations along with other measures the picture looked really bleak and uncertain. However, gardeners initially have galvanised themselves into action and got ready for a long spring and summer of growing and enjoying their garden.
Whilst there is still uncertainty as to what further restrictions may be imposed one thing is certain, gardening has taken off for the season big time and we expect the GTN Bestsellers figures for next week to show an acceleration of sales.
Our Epos data only covers volume item sales so we are unable to factually comment on restaurant sales but we know they have been hit, so there are holes in turnover and activity that need to be filled. Farm Shops appear to be part of that, and we saw plenty of chocolate items selling through in the data.
It’s a bit like Easter and Christmas rolled into one. We now need to make gardening so relevant to peoples well being during the next 12 weeks so garden centres can remain open as they are in Germany.
Stay safe and well.
GTN Bestsellers Top 50 sales volumes compared to the same week last year: week 11
If you are looking for that special gift for your Grotto, Orangutan Books (formally Hometown World) are the only publisher in the UK that specialise in producing extremely high-quality bespoke gift books for your Christmas event...
If you are looking for that special gift for your Grotto, Orangutan Books (formally Hometown World) are the only publisher in the UK that specialise in producing extremely high-quality bespoke gift books for your Christmas event.
Using a wealth of publishing expertise that has in the past created the best-selling local book series Santa Is Coming To and Santa’s Sleigh Is On His Way, our team will create a gift for your visitors that will be kept and treasured for many years.
This bespoke range contains storybooks about the child’s Visit to Father Christmas or to Santa, a Magical Grotto visit that features a ride on a steam train, a Sticker Activity book and the favourite family Christmas classic story The Night Before Christmas. Your book will feature your name or brand on the cover and throughout the story as well.
Order before April 30th and your unique books will be available for delivery from the beginning of October.
For more information call Garry or Roger on 01225 478444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can tell you about all the book options that we have available and how with your input we can create that truly bespoke book.
Nationwide garden centre group Notcutts is celebrating reaching one million charity donations made through Pennies’ digital charity box...
Nationwide garden centre group Notcutts is celebrating reaching one million charity donations made through Pennies’ digital charity box.
The milestone recognises customers from Notcutts’ 18 garden centres across the country who have collectively made one million micro-donations by rounding up their shopping to the nearest pound when paying by card, with the difference going to charity.
Fintech charity Pennies first enabled their digital charity box in Notcutts’ garden centres in 2016. Since then, customer donations have raised a total of £342,000 for a wide range of charities. Each Notcutts garden centre has selected its own local charities to support over the years, including local hospices, homeless shelters and community gardening groups, as well as national charities such as Age UK, Marie Curie, Royal British Legion and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Caroline Notcutt, Vice Chairman of Notcutts Group Ltd, said: “We would like to thank all our customers who, through their generosity, have helped us to achieve the incredible milestone of one million donations through Pennies. We are proud to have raised a fantastic amount which has supported the great work of so many charities across the country.”
Alison Hutchinson CBE, CEO of Pennies, added: “Notcutts’ garden centres are such integral parts of their local communities, so it always made sense that they would support local causes through Pennies.
“It’s been fantastic to see their generous customers round-up their card purchases over one million times in support of so many charities, from local hospices to air ambulance services. Pennies is all about making charitable giving easy, affordable and impactful, and Notcutts customers have proven just what a big difference micro-donations can make. From everyone at Pennies, thank you!”
Various parties in and around Dutch ornamental plant cultivation join forces to spread a positive message during the corona crisis: flowers and plants contribute to public health. With the hashtag #flowers4oxygen, they symbolically supply the world with much-needed oxygen through information and various actions...
Various parties in and around Dutch ornamental plant cultivation join forces to spread a positive message during the corona crisis: flowers and plants contribute to public health. With the hashtag #flowers4oxygen, they symbolically supply the world with much-needed oxygen through information and various actions.
The world's population is suffering from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the disease that broke out in the Wuhan region of China at the end of December 2019. The population in Western Europe has also been hit hard by the virus. Global measures such as home isolation and even complete lockdowns must prevent further spread. But what more can people do to stay healthy? According to various studies, flowers and plants contribute positively to public health.
Plants give us oxygen
The coronavirus causes respiratory complaints. Studies have shown that plants release oxygen and moisture to their environment through photosynthesis (converting sunlight into energy) and cell respiration. Increased humidity leads to improved respiration in humans. The NASA Clean Air Study conducted at the end of the last century also shows that plants are effective in purifying the air of toxic substances. By absorbing and breaking down harmful substances, plants create a healthier indoor climate.
Flowers make us happy
In addition to possible health problems, this difficult period feels uncertain for the entire world population. The same research shows that the presence of flowers removes feelings of anxiety and stress. In addition to brightening up the environment that everyone will see a lot in this period, the presence of flowers therefore have a positive contribution to mental health.
Flower and plant art installation at the Keukenhof
#flowers4oxygen will kick off with a gigantic flower and plant art installation at the famous Dutch flower park Keukenhof. This piece of art will be created by Dutch award-winning floral artist Sarah Dikker.
Garden Re-Leaf Day on Friday 13th March may have fallen in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, but that didn’t dampen the FUNdraising spirits of Greenfingers supporters across the country. Whilst the final total is yet to be announced, it has been confirmed that over £20,000 has already been pledged...
Garden Re-Leaf Day on Friday 13th March may have fallen in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, but that didn’t dampen the FUNdraising spirits of Greenfingers supporters across the country. The official ‘start to the season’ saw businesses and individuals come together to undertake a wide range of activities to help raise much needed funds for the children’s hospice charity. Whilst the final total is yet to be announced, it has been confirmed that over £20,000 has already been pledged.
The Garden Re-Leaf Sponsored Walk
Current total pledged: £15,000
One of the biggest events in the Garden Re-Leaf calendar is the annual Sponsored Walk and Cycle Challenge. This year over 100 people from garden retailers, suppliers and manufacturers along with teams from outside the garden industry walked a sponsored 10 or 20-mile circuit through the stunning Chiltern hills. Starting and ending at Chilton Garden Centre in Oxfordshire the participants were treated to stunning views along the way and a delicious barbecue upon their return thanks to headline sponsors, British Garden Centres, and the wonderful team at Outback. Refreshments along the way were kindly sponsored by Hozelock. Drinks on the finish line were kindly sponsored by LOFA.
Teams from Glee, Evergreen Garden Care, Kelkay, Apta, Mr Fothergills Seeds, Hornby Whitefoot PR, DAC Limited, Vitax, Farplants, Abacus Cards, Westland, Taylors Bulbs and Vitax along with Millbrook Garden Centre, St Peters Garden Centre, Poplars Garden Centre and Kew Green Hotels were amongst those that donned their walking boots for the scenic route, taking in some stunning sights along the way. The first industry ’10-milers’ crossing the finish line were GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer, his wife Karen and their two dogs, whilst Mr Fothergill’s Ian Cross was in the first 20-mile group to complete the course
Glee’s Matthew Mein, and Hornby Whitefoot PR’s Kimberley Hornby, both also completed their 120th mile for Greenfingers having taken part in every Garden Re-Leaf Walk. The competition for who takes the crown for ‘most miles walked’ continues in 2021!
The Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Challenge
This year saw intrepid cyclists take on the Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Challenge. Each entrant had a 25km route to complete and were able to go round as many times as time/their legs allowed. Seemingly we have some very fit (and competitive!) cyclists with many entrants completing 100kms, with Westland’s James Somerscales going the extra mile by completing an incredible 200km.
Across the country, garden centres, suppliers and friends of Greenfingers came together to create a vibrant day of FUNdraising. Here’s just a few of the activities that took place…
As well as playing an integral part in the 2020 Garden Re-Leaf Day Sponsored Walk and Cycle Challenge, British Garden Centres also held Garden Re-Leaf Day raffles in almost all of its 57 stores. The Wolsley Bridge store also held a cake sale, which together with the raffle raised over £600, whilst the Brigg store in Lincolnshire has confirmed that on the day, they raised an incredible £1,000.
Another garden centre chain who got well and truly into the Garden Re-Leaf spirit was Klondyke and Strikes who held events across its 22 strong store network. On the day, each cuppa purchased saw a 50p donation head Greenfingers’ way, whilst every planter sold raised an extra £1.
Over at Perrywood in Sudbury the team went #greenforgreenfinger with green clothing and even some staff dressing as giant cacti and Venus Flytraps! At Perrywood’s Tiptree site, a special Garden Re-Leaf Quiz was held, which raised an incredible £1,690 in ticket and raffle sales, whilst the café also raised money with the sale of special Garden Re-Leaf cupcakes.
At Alton Garden Centres, students from the local primary school helped plant up a beautiful display of pots and planters with proceeds from the sale of each being given to Greenfingers.
Hitchin Garden Centre held a special raffle, which gave the lucky winner a stunning orchid and everything needed to help it thrive. Longacres Bybrook Barn were another centre which held a special garden Re-Leaf raffle which featured a range of fantastic prizes including Easter chocolate, floral bouquets and other delicious treats.
At Darlac Tools cleanliness was the order of the day as the team opened a car wash for the day.
The Garden Design Company joined forces with Rowan Garden Centre to complete a sponsored dog walk, whilst Tarporley Garden Centre held a special raffle which features a treasure trove of goodies for all the family.
The Mr Fothergill’s FUNdraising also stretched beyond just the Garden Re-Leaf event in 2020. Since 2017 the team has been undertaking a wide range of fundraising activities from triathlons, ‘Beat the Walkers’ challenge, and cake sales, raising in excess of £13,500. A phenomenal effort from Team lightening Seeds!
The QVC family will be continuing its Garden Re-Leaf Day support with two special shows on 28th and 29th March.
Director of Fundraising and Communications Linda Petrons said: “I cannot thank people enough for their ongoing support and dedication to making Garden Re-Leaf Day such a continued success. Early indications show that we are on track to raise a really great sum again – a truly incredible achievement, particularly at what is a difficult time for many. I am endlessly touched by the generosity, creativity and selflessness that so many demonstrate, both on Garden Re-Leaf Day, and throughout the year. Every penny raised makes a huge difference to those that spend time in Greenfingers funded-gardens, so on behalf of them, and my team, the biggest possible thank you.”
Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021
Mark your diaries now – Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021 will take place on Friday 19th March!
River Street Events has taken the decision that, as a result of the evolving COVID-19 situation, it is no longer possible to hold BBC Gardeners’ World Live and the BBC Good Food Show Summer at Birmingham’s NEC from 18 – 21 June 2020...
River Street Events has taken the decision that, as a result of the evolving COVID-19 situation, it is no longer possible to hold BBC Gardeners’ World Live and the BBC Good Food Show Summer at Birmingham’s NEC from 18 – 21 June 2020.
It is with extreme regret that the decision has been made to postpone the shows until June 2021. Exhibitors and sponsors are being contacted personally. Anyone who has booked tickets to attend BBC Gardeners’ World Live will be contacted within 14 days regarding refunds and other options.
A huge amount of planning has gone into the development of the show, which was scheduled to have an outstanding collection of show gardens, over a hundred nurseries and growers, hundreds of exhibitors, numerous hands-on workshops anda fantastic line-up of experts and live entertainment. It is hugely disappointing that these efforts will not be realised in 2020, however, the team behind the event are now contacting everyone involved to bring all this, and more, together for anextra special event for garden and food lovers in June 2021.
Paul Byrom, Managing Director, said “It is with great sadness that we confirm that we cannot run our planned events at The NEC this summer. We take the health and safety of the audience, exhibitor and our teams with the upmost care and, in line with government advice, will not be running these events. An enormous amount of work has gone into the planning and development of these shows and we would like to thank everyone for their input, support and patience during these unprecedented times.”
Whilst events and mass gatherings may be off the cards for a while, gardening most certainly isn’t and the team will share advice and ideas over the coming months to support the gardening community.
BBC Gardeners’ World Live and the BBC Good Food Show Summer will next take place from 17 to 20 June 2021 at The NEC Birmingham. For further information visit www.bbcgardenersworldlive.com
David Domoney will be broadcasting across all platforms on social media a message to encourage the nation to garden during these difficult times and encourage people to keep in touch with their local garden centre...
David Domoney will be broadcasting across all platforms on social media a message to encourage the nation to garden during these difficult times and encourage people to keep in touch with their local garden centre.
David said: "During this difficult time, the importance of our gardens in boosting our mental and physical wellbeing while at home is essential.
"The nature on our doorstep can provide us with so much to enhance our quality of life, and we must encourage everyone to partake in nature-inspired garden pursuits.
"Our garden centres across the UK, employ thousands of people and they sit at the heart of their local communities. And it is during difficult times that these community focussed businesses are more important than ever.
"Whether people pick up the phone for gardening advice, get deliveries to their door, or choose to visit their local store or visit their local stores web site, garden centres provide something to inspire and support every generation.
"Whether it’s garden craft activities for kids, teaching them more about plants and wildlife, growing their own fresh food or simply enjoying plants that brighten our homes both inside and out. I believe that garden centres have so much to offer. Please stay safe and enjoy your garden."
We've reported garden centres stepping up their delivery services during last week but we may have to go further to be of real help for our communities...
We've reported garden centres stepping up their delivery services during last week but we may have to go further to be of real help for our communities.
GTN Xtra understands that some garden centre fleet car insurance policies may cover staff members making deliveries in their own vehicles. That would add considerably to your delivery capacity so we suggest you contact your insurance provider to see if this is an option for you.
It’s been a challenging time of big changes for us all and I hope this message finds you, your teams and your loved ones safe and well...
It’s been a challenging time of big changes for us all and I hope this message finds you, your teams and your loved ones safe and well.
The Coronavirus outbreak is affecting us all, right across the gardening and hospitality industries as well as Greenfingers Charity and the hospices we work with. And the team at Greenfingers Charity is working hard to ensure that our work continues albeit in a very different way for now.
Our absolute priority at this time is the well-being of our staff, volunteers, supporters, contractors and beneficiaries and we are closely following all Government and Public Health England advice about COVID-19 in relation to the way we work, our garden projects and fundraising activities.
As I am sure you are, we are reviewing advice on a daily basis and regularly reviewing our business continuity plan to ensure we can continue to progress garden projects and raise the vital funds needed to ensure we are able to continue our work into 2021 and beyond.
Some of you will already know that in line with Government advice, the Greenfingers Charity office is closed, and all staff are now working from home. You can still contact the team by calling 01494 674749 or by emailing individuals or via email@example.com. I know they would love to hear from you so please do keep in touch.
Whilst we will continue to work on those hospice gardens in the planning stages, we are working closely with hospice care teams to ensure their patients and families are not put at risk. This will mean that in the short term, Greenfingers Charity projects will be delayed and some work which was due to start in the coming weeks will, we hope, start later in the year or early in 2021.
Our work is only possible due to the generosity of our supporters. More so than ever your support is so important to us and the life-limited children and families our gardens support. And, on behalf of Greenfingers Charity, I can’t thank you enough for enabling the charity to create 59 gardens over the last 20 year.
To ensure the work of the charity can continue into 2021 and beyond, it is important that our fundraising activities continue wherever possible, without of course compromising the health and safety of our supporters, staff or volunteers.
Whilst there are no current plans to cancel events due to take place later in the year, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone the Summer Ball which was scheduled to take place in June.This, along with the effect this unprecedented situation has on our industry, will no doubt impact our income and the work we are able to do in the longer term.
Please do keep Greenfingers Charity in your hearts and minds at what is a very difficult time for all and, when you can please continue to support us, it will mean so much to us all and of course the children and families Greenfingers Charity gardens support.
Please do keep safe and well in the weeks and months ahead.
As we approach trading times that are uncertain now is a good time to access information that could help with managing sales and expectations during what could be a slow Spring.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be keeping GTN Bestsellers subscribers as informed as possible about what sold when during March, April and May of 2018 and 2013, when we also had slow starts to the season.
Take out a subscription this week and we'll donate money to Greenfingers Garden Re-Leaf Day too...
As we approach trading times that are uncertain as a result of the Covid-19 Virus pandemic now is a good time to access information that could help with managing sales and expectations during what could be a slow Spring.
GTN Bestsellers has been recording and analysing garden centre EPoS data for over 10 years so we’ve got history of how garden centres have traded through slow Spring seasons in the past.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be using that analysis to keep our GTN Bestsellers subscribers as informed as possible about what sold when during March, April and May of 2018 and 2013.
To receive that information along with our weekly printed Top 50 chart updates of what is actually selling well this year all you have to do is take out a subscription to GTN Bestsellers which costs just £145.00.
And to add to the funds of Greenfingers Garden Re-Leaf Day, for every new subscription purchased before 12:00 noon on Tuesday 24th March 2020 we’ll send £10 to the Greenfingers Charity.
Thank you for subscribing and helping Greenfingers too. If you have any questions about GTN Bestsellers please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07973 504214.
The GTN Bestsellers weekly EPOS analysis combines data from a pool of independent garden centres whose annual turnover is around £100m. Data from the same centres is received every week which makes the week on week and year on year comparisons particularly useful and great indicators of trends as and when they happen. By subscribing to GTN Bestsellers you don’t have to wait until the end of the season and next year to see if a new product or a new sector of products are selling well.
GTN Bestsellers subscribers stay ahead of the game. Buy your subscription today.
Boyd Batchelor from Tillage Nurseries contacted GTN Xtra this morning urging more centres to open a veg + food stall as soon as possible so they could remain open throughout any potential lock down...
Boyd Batchelor from Tillage Nurseries contacted GTN Xtra this morning urging more centres to open a veg + food stall as soon as possible so they could remain open throughout any potential lock down.
"Get down to your local fruit and veg market supplier, in all major UK citys to buy some pallets of stock asap." he said. "We've created a Combat COVID-19 flyer that we are sending out to centres with plant orders."
Tillage have £450k worth of plants to sell between now and the end of May. They, along with all other growers will be relying on enough garden centres staying open to allow for plants to sell through.
Thank goodness for gardens and gardening. Garden product sales really jumped last week as people prepared for a long summer of gardening. SBM Toprose 1kg remained the biggest selling volume garden product line...
Thank goodness for gardens and gardening. Garden product sales really jumped last week as people prepared for a long summer of gardening.
SBM Toprose 1kg remained the biggest selling volume garden product line.
Smart Solar’s Bee Bug Light climbed 20 places up the GTN Chart to No 2.
Vitax Clematis Feed Pouch 0.9kg was a new entry at No 50 as Clematis also re-entered the GTN plants chart at No 25.
The sales volumes in this weeks GTN Bestsellers Growing Media chart are the start of a mad period where compost sales have gone through the roof...
The sales volumes in this weeks GTN Bestsellers Growing Media chart are the start of a mad period where compost sales have gone through the roof. We’ve had reports of compost areas having to be-restocked hourly as customers rush into store to get the growing media they need for a summer of gardening.
Evergreen Garden Care Miracle-Gro Peat Free All Purpose 40 litres was the highest chart climber in the rush, up 22 places to No 25.
Westland New Horizon All Plant Compost 60 litres continued to be the biggest selling Westland volume line.
Westland Rose Planting Compost was a new entry at No 50.
We always expect Veg-2-Gro sales to increase in the second week of March as the stocks arrive in centres, but this year’s instant sell through may have caught people on the hop. Hopefully there will be plenty more stock following on as the demand is high, as it is for seed potatoes and veg seeds...
We always expect Veg-2-Gro sales to increase in the second week of March as the stocks arrive in centres, but this year’s instant sell through may have caught people on the hop. Hopefully there will be plenty more stock following on as the demand is high, as it is for seed potatoes and veg seeds.
Quantil Tomato Moneymaker 8cm becomes the first tomato No 1 Bestseller of the year.
Quantil Tomato Gardeners Delight 8cm, the usual first No 1, is a re-entry at No 4.
Thompson & Morgan Courgette Defender F1 Hybrid is the highest placed veg seed pack moving up 11 places to No 15.
As garden centres trade through the first weekend after the move to the Delay Phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, GTN Xtra has been asking garden centre managers and owners how trading has been this weekend and about their thoughts for the coming weeks...
As garden centres trade through the first weekend after the move to the Delay phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, GTN Xtra has been asking garden centre managers and owners how trading has been this weekend and about their thoughts for the coming weeks.
Martin Stewart told GTN Xtra that the two supermarkets close to their Christchurch centre had been busy all weekend with shelves cleared out as customers stocked up. "It's just like pre-Christmas food shopping here but we still had a fantastic day yesterday. With the rain today if the situation was normal we would be saying the weather is deterring people.
"At Abbey where there are no supermarkets nearby we were 30% up last week.
"I have one wish that is places like us are able to keep trading, we can cope with a spring that is 10% down but we don't want the panic of all shops being closed down. We can run our business leanly if need be and hopefully garden centres will continue to be seen as safe places to be."
Nigel Long at Longacres has tlod GTN Xtra on Wednesday morning: "We have seen some large increases in various departments ,but especially in household ,food and gardening. Customers look like that they are stock piling just in case that they have been told to self-isolate.
"We've also had a large increase on local deliveries across all departments. Catering yesterday dropped off the cliff and we will try and promote take away coffees and teas from now on.
"Let hope things get better soon.
At Bents Garden And Home, Matthew Bent says: ""Food sales are doing really well, especially meat and essentials. Plants, compost, seeds, edibles are really flying, customers are getting ready to spend time in their garden at home.
"We have put extra ranges of products in and more stock on the shop floor. In the restaurants there has been a big downturn and we've been widening between tables, reminding customers in the queues to leave space and the numbers have reduced massively."
Gerald Ingram at Planters sent us this update on Monday morning: "Trade has been very strong for the past week although the restaurants actually traded down slightly. We get the impression people are stocking up on essentials like compost, seeds and veg plants. This week last year saw a big upswing because of the weather being dramatically better so we may not match the figures, but that’s a weather issue not COVID 19."
Sam Bosworth in the Midlands reports: "Trade is still down on 2019, but up on 2018. Trade year to date to the end of week 10 in 2020 is 22% up on 2018, but 5% down on 2019.
"The weather is still currently a bigger influence than COVID-19, it is raining as I look outside now at a quiet car park, but the virus is really big long term issue to us and the trade. We have spent this morning looking at scenarios and trying to make plans. These include for total closure to retail businesses, closure of restaurants, or just a significant reduction in trade.
"Trade is still OK, coffee shops ticking along, but a noticeable difference in demographics. Our Elton store has a significantly older demographic and has already seen catering trade drop off significantly in the week, whereas Burton Latimer has held up better with a younger demograhic."
James Ducker at Langlands said: "Trade has been pretty normal over the weekend. The Farm Shop has been really busy and people are spending as usual in the Garden Centre and Coffee Shops."
At GCA Garden Centre of the Year, Fron Goch, Justin Williams says: "The situation seems very fluid with public opinion changing quickly. We are seeing the supermarkets being very very busy with people stocking up at the moment.
"Last week we did manage to match last year. But yesterday the restaurant was approx 25% down on transaction numbers against last weekend and it looks like today could be between 40-50% down transaction numbers wise in the restaurant against last year."
It was a different picture at Poplars in Toddington where Alastair Jackson commented: "Our restaurant was busy this weekend and footfall in general was excellent but lots of those people were just browsing or whiling away time. I think its all this talk of a possible lockdown. People want to get out while they think they still can!"
Across the big groups, Blue Diamond's Alan Roper said: "I was concerned because it felt quiet in the centres especially on budget day. However I've had some numbers in for Monday to Friday for some of the sites and they are up."
British Garden Centres said they had a slow start yesterday morning but the day picked up well by lunchtime and at Dobbies, CEO Graeme Jenkins has reported: "Trade has been very good, with strong like-for-likes across plants, gardening, food hall and pet categories in particular."
In Scotland, Colin Barrie of Caulders told GTN Xtra: "We are concerned as the current situation develops. The last 3 days have seen a noticeable decline in our coffee shops, yesterday was around 30% down on expected revenue. That said, the weather has also been against us in Scotland.
"I think over the coming days we will see older people staying at home as the fear factor and self isolation set in. The garden centre side of the business never gets going in Scotland until the second half of March so it’s difficult to judge where the effect on this is at present.
"Without being too pessimistic, I think this will be our most difficult season ahead in our 21 years in business..... hopefully the government will support independent businesses and allow them to survive it!"
Meanwhile at Groves in Bridport, Charlie Grove (pictured above) has found stocks of Christmas loo rolls which they have put out on sale to help alleviate that shortage and give customers some light relief too. "Look what we found in the stockroom to bring out to the shop! Loads of (Christmas) loo roll!" he says on their Facebook page.
"Perfect for cheering up your bathroom in an emergency!
"Don’t forget you can always phone through orders for local delivery if you find you can't get out so you can stay fully stocked with all of your gardening and pet needs.
Garden centres across the country are rising to the challenges of Coronavirus, making sure their customers are safe and selling a lot of gardening products too...
Garden centres across the country are rising to the challenges of Coronavirus, making sure their customers are safe and selling a lot of gardening products too!
Every centre contacted by GTN Xtra this week has reported an increase in sales of growing media, young plants (especially veg plants) and other gardening products as customers prepare for possible self-isolation with the intention of spending as much of their time in the garden as possible.
The buoyancy of sales can be seen in the latest GTN Bestsellers All Sales index for the week ending on Sunday 15th March. Our EPoS data analysis shows sales up 12% week on week and 17% up on the same week last year. We’ll include the full analysis in this weeks GTN Bestsellers for subscribers and the highlights in GTN Xtra. It will be interesting to see the breakdown of those sales.
High volume sales of Grow Your Own, Wild Bird Care and Jigsaws have been reported in the conversations we've had but the big downside has been a mass cancelling of events and sharp declines in restuarnats and coffee shops.
We’ve also heard that centres have been selling garden furniture and mowers. At Downtown Garden Centre Keith Wilbin reported two very large furniture sales to people who’d had holidays cancelled and wanted to spend the money on their garden instead.
At Ayletts Nurseries where re-stocking composts has been an hourly task, staff from the coffee shop where business has dropped off have been helping out in the production nursery making sure they have plenty of home grown plants to sell.
Many garden centres are offering delivery services, at Gates Garden Centre they have started on line orders and delivery from their new Farm Shop, focusing on elderly who are self-isolating, using the butchers refrigerated van in evenings.
The Old Orchard Nursery in Burwash is offering delivery or collect from the car park orders for groceries and take-away food.
Catering is the area hardest hit but where centres have Farm Shops the drop in catering sales appears to being made up partly by increases in food sales. At Barton Grange the catering team have upped the production of their own freshly made and frozen meals that are on sale in the Farm Shop.
Never before has there been so much potential benefit from a garden centre having a good e-mail database of customers to keep them directly informed of offers, or a large following on Facebook and other social media. There are some good hashtags out there encouraging people to get gardening, notably #keepcalmandgetreadytogarden as conceived by the Young People in Horticulture Association.
Sam Bosworth told GTN Xtra: “If you are self-isolating in May and June and the sun is shining, then why not do it on a nice set of furniture? We are about to embark on a local social media advertising 'campaign' telling everybody about our delivery service and our online shop.
“In 2007/8/9 we all felt that people could not afford (or would not commit to) holidays and spent money on the home and garden, I feel it will be the same this year. 70 years old is not as old as it used to be, they are far more active now, so I expect plenty of Septuagenarians to say "sod staying at home I am going out to do something", whether we agree with them or not!”
Getting back to gardening sales, an update from Andy Bunker at Alton Garden Centre this morning was: “Sales are very good in general, veg particularly and compost good as well. They are our bread and butter lines and a must for stay at home gardeners.”
Fortunately, suppliers of composts and other garden products have plenty of stock to allow for replenishment prior to Easter, which is only 3 weeks away now. Mark Portman at Evergreen Garden Care said: “We’ve seen loads of demand. The season has certainly got started and we are well paced for the season ahead. Where we have some weed killer products that are manufactured in France that may be an issue further down the line, but we have plenty of stock right now.”
Steve Harper from The Greener Gardening Company told us: “There are a few people mentioning that they have seen an uplift in sales of compost and plants but equally some stopping ordering because they seem unsure about whether they’ll be closed down so it’s a very mixed picture.”
In Holland “the clock” at Royal Flora Holland has seen a huge drop in demand which means there could be some great deals to be done provided customers keep coming into UK garden centres and keep on gardening.
In Germany where they have closed all non-essential retail stores, garden and DIY stores have been allowed to carry on opening. Let’s hope that is the situation here in the UK too!
With gardening being so good for the nations physical and mental health it makes total sense for customers who are able to, to get out and buy from garden centres. We will have to do lots of Social Distancing actions to make people feel even safer than usual in a garden centre but with the ingenuity, teamwork and passion of garden centre staff there are bound to be good solutions found. Where garden centres are a key part of their community the safety and wellbeing of customers and staff will be forefront in everybodies minds. Our industry sense of nuture will come to the fore and hopefully help as many people as possible through this difficult period.
At GTN Xtra we’d like to publish as much of a record of garden centre Rising to the Challenge of Coronavirus as possible so when you get a moment please send a note of your actions and your customers reactions, together with photos if you can, to email@example.com or use the comments link below.
The Blue Diamond shone brightly at the Chateau Impney on Thursday last week as over 500 colleagues and guests celebrated Blue Diamonds' sucesss in 2019 and announced the winners of the Blue Diamond Awards...
The Blue Diamond shone brightly at the Chateau Impney on Thursday last week as over 500 colleagues and guests celebrated Blue Diamonds' sucesss in 2019 and announced the winners of the Blue Diamond Awards.
The headline winners were Harlow (above) and Derby (below) centres who won the Blue Diamond Acorn and Oak Cup awards for garden centre of the year.
See GTN Xtra's photos from the dazzling Awards night below.
Over 100 walkers and cyclists took part in the Greenfingers Garden Re-Leaf Day Charity Walk and Cycle Ride in Chilton, Oxfordshire on Friday 13th March 2020.
The walkers and cyclists have raised over £10,000 in sponsorship to add to the thousands of pounds raised across the country on Garden Re-Leaf Day.
Matthew Mein, who's idea the first walk was six years ago, and Kimberley Hornby both completed the 20 mile route clocking up 120 miles to date for Greenfingers.
The first 20 mile industry walker back was, Ian Cross from Mr Fothergills, pictured above.
The first 10 mile industry walkers back were Trevor and Karen Pfeiffer powered by Doodles Olly and Floyd.
The cyclists rode four 25km laps of the Oxfordshire countryside to complete their 100km challenge. The first rider home was...
Huge thanks to headline sponsor: British Garden Centres who hosted the event at their Chilton Garden Centre.
Elsewhere across the country Perrywood Garden Centre held their annual Garden Re-Leaf DayQuiz Night raising an amazing £1690 in ticket sales and raffle ticket purchases.
And at Poplars Garden Centre they held their annual (in its third year) Garden Re-Leaf Quiz and Curry night in the restaurant on the evening of March 13th. They also had Colin Goodhand and his son Jack taking part in the Garden Re-Leaf Day bike ride. In total the two events raised over £2000 for Greenfingers.
Haskins Garden Centre in Snowhill, Crawley, has opened its doors to customers following a 12-month refurbishment costing £15m.
The new centre boasts a retail space of 11,813 sq.m., including an outdoor plant area and 440-seat restaurant complete with a newly installed pizza oven. Additional space has also been created to accommodate 170 restaurant guests on an outdoor patio.
Up to 70 new jobs have been created to accommodate the centre's expansion. Car parking has increased to 346 spaces. See GTN Xtra's photo tour of the new centre below.
Chief executive Julian Winfield said the Snowhill team worked tirelessly to ensure the centre was able to remain open for the majority of the project, with minimal disruption.
“We can't wait to receive our customers' feedback on our new and improved facilities,” he added. “Over the years, we have built a loyal customer following and we are proud to be able to give back to them in this way with our new expanded centre.”
Haskins acquired the Snowhill site in 2003, inheriting a number of ageing buildings.
Haskins also has centres in Ferndown in Dorset, West End in Southampton and Roundstone in West Sussex. The family business recently acquired Forest Lodge Garden Centre, Bird World and Garden Style in Farnham.
Pictured (left to right): Julian Winfield, Jamie Haskins, Ally Haskins (married to Jamie) and Warren Haskins, the group's chairman.
The opening event was attended by the current GCA Chairman Mike Burks and three past Chairs; Warren Haskins, Sue Allen and Julian Winfield.
Garden Centre Photo Tours
If you've missed one of our popular photo tours of garden centres then click on the links below:
Every week GTN receives and analyses epos data from a number of UK garden centres to produce the GTN Bestsellers charts...
Every week GTN receives and analyses epos data from a number of UK garden centres to produce the GTN Bestsellers charts and weekly bestsellers sales tips.
The full charts which provide useful insight into product sales peaks, new trends and new link sales opportunities are published in the weekly GTN Xtra newsletter.
As the year goes on we give sales volume comparisons with 2017 as well as 2018 to allow your teams to see variations over a three year period.
Access is by subscription only. For £145.00 per year you and your team can have access to the most up-to-date gardening sales analysis that has already helped many UK garden centres increase their sales. To subscribe call 01733 775700, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or buy on-line using this link.
Highlights of the GTN Garden Products Bestsellers chart for this week are here
Highlights of the GTN Garden Plants Bestsellers chart for this week are here
Highlights of the GTN Growing Media Bestsellers chart for this week are here
Highlights of the GTN Wild Bird Care Products chart for this week are here
Highlights of the GTN Veg-2-Gro chart for this week are here
WARNING the GTN Bestsellers Charts seriously improve the business of our subscribers. Invest 15 minutes each week in improving your sales using the GTN Bestsellers charts and your turnover and customer satisfaction will improve too.
Get the GTN Bestsellers charts in full every week in the GTN Bestsellers newsletters for only £145.00.
GTN Bestsellers is the only industry source of weekly garden centre sales information, collating Epos data from centres with an aggregate turnover in excess of £120m.
Use the weekly Garden Products and Growing Media Top 50 sales volumes charts to plan your hotspot and other promotions and ensure you have the right products in stock to satisfy the needs of your customers.