In This Issue
That was the year that was... 2021
Large Fire at Longacres Shepperton - UPDATED
Tributes for Eddie Topping MBE, Founder, Pioneer, Dad
An Open Letter on the use of peat
We're Here For You
Blue Diamond to open the largest Home and Garden Centre in the UK
Altons BBQ World, Aylett Nurseries, Barton Grange, Baytree, Busy Bee, Groves, Pengelly, Pughs, The Old Railway Line and Squires Badshot Lea are the winners of GTN's Greatest Christmas Awards for 2020
Barton Grange Christmas 2020 - Exclusive GTN Xtra Photo Tour
£31m loss reported by Dobbies Garden Centre Group
Garden centre owners share their thoughts on being open during Lockdown 3
British Garden Centres announce 58th centre, in Harrogate, will open in April
Antony Harker to launch Altico at Glee - Read GTN's August issue on-line now
Nicholas Marshall returns... again
Four Oaks trade show director Pat Coutts sadly dies
Garden centres report busiest ever day as gardens are the focus for family re-unions this week - More comments added
Nicholas Marshalls Country House Group pulls out of Windlesham
Suez Canal blockage causes further delays for garden furniture
Joules acquires digitally led retailer Garden Trading
Easter thank you to growers, manufacturers & distributors from British Garden Centres
Elho takes top prize as GIMA Award winners announced
Sustainable decking brand invests in technology to aid its stockist partners
Bill Bickerdike, one of "the gang", has died
Westland call for reality to be brought to the peat debate
Picture Special of the glitzy GIMA Awards evening
Dobbies buy Johnsons of Boston
Government publishes plan to ban peat sales by 2024
Signs of growth for after lockdown
Has the sales volume bubble burst?
Dobbies No 71 opens in Boston, Lincolnshire
Nicholas Marshall interview and Solex On-Line Preview in GTN July 2021 Issue, live on-line now
£1.8m reward for Choice Marketing members
Smart, Kaemingk and Allensmore are Choice Marketing Suppliers of the Year
Alton's praised for tough stance on facemasks
Former LOFA secretary Phil Gibbs receives prison sentence for fraud
Blue Diamond acquires Mere Park Garden Centre
UK’s largest garden centre should get green light, say planning officers
GIMA Golf Day Photo Exclusive
Cherry Lane acquires Langford Garden Centre
Who have been the best buyers of the past eighteen months?
Industry prepares for a peat-less future
Derek Bunker adds his thanks to suppliers for "their efforts throughout this amazing period in garden centre history"
Shed prices set to soar
David Isaac says farewell to Johnsons of Boston
Europlants founder Renato Canale dies, aged 78
East Yorkshire garden centre sells for £1.5m
Petition to get Garden Centres in Scotland and Wales open again as soon as possible gains momentum, but they still need our help
BGC's Harrogate centre opens - Exclusive photo tour
Tong gets go-ahead to build £14m garden centre
57 garden centres vie for Christmas Greatness in GTN's Greatest Christmas Awards
Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021 FUNdraising goes past £35k and is still growing...
With eight weeks to go until Glee 2021, show organisers unveil a new date for next year’s event
Get your copy of GTN Xtra
Online petition launched to get Welsh garden centres re-opened – sign it NOW!
Farewell to the Eddie Topping, the Preston pioneer - UPDATED
GCA Christmas competition winners announced
Martin Stewart leads industry tributes at Memorial Service for Eddie Topping
Joe Swift opens The Plant Room by Camden Garden Centre in Richmond
GIMA Charity Golf Day welcomes the industry back with a day of sunshine and friendly competition
Christmas Future Trends and GTN's Greatest Christmas Awards Winners to be announced during Glee's on-line Festive Focus Day
Alan Roper wins Director of the Year Award
After a fantastic three days at the NEC, the return to Glee "has been really special"
Boyd's 100km in a day and AMES Amble add to the Garden Re-Leaf Day FUNdraising for Greenfingers
Online garden products retailer sold to private equity firm
little dobbies opens its doors in Bristol
AMES UK invest more than £1m in infrastructure and people in response to increasing market demand
Garden Centres re-open in Scotland... and it snows!
Sue Allen and Tammy Woodhouse to Brave the Shave on Garden Re-Leaf Day
Little Dobbies brings Garden Centre Christmas and houseplants to Richmond High Street
Eddie Topping retires
LOFA reports increased freight rates and container crisis
Excited to be back at Glee - GTN September, Glee Preview Issue, on-line here
Private equity group acquires leading garden product firm
Pearson Memorial medal awarded to Adam Wigglesworth of Aylett Nurseries
Turbo charged gardening as February breaks all records
Record end to a record year, up 28% on 2020, up 17% on 2019
Industry taskforce to produce roadmap for a peat-free future
AMES UK reports record revenues in 2020
Wildlife Trusts call for immediate end to peat sales
Hillmount boss warns of disarray for gardeners in Northern Ireland as spring approaches
Christmas Future Trends at Glee's Festive Focus Day
Future proofing your garden centre for maximum flexibility and profitability
No bubble burst yet for garden centre sales volumes
Garden Kitchen by Pugh's is a unique concept
Dobbies strengthens leadership team
Hetland Garden Centre sold to Caulders
Immediate ban on peat use unrealistic, says HTA
The COVID year in numbers
Fordingbridge undertakes major work at Norfolk centre
Lull in sales before mid-Summer
New brands confirmed for Glee 2021
The new revolutionary smokeless fire pit
Pershore School Horticultural Unit, Pershore High School, Worcestershire has unwanted visitors.
Choice Marketing readies ‘Meet the Furniture Buyer’ event
The BBQ game changer!
Sales up by 49% compared to previous nine years, despite being closed for Easter Sunday
Monkton Elm and Old Railway Line scoop top Wales & West honours in GCA Awards
Expansion for family-owned garden lifestyle business
Moving on up… slowly
One good week and gardening sales get going
Glee to return in September 2021
Ho, Ho, Ho! GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards are back…for real!
Dobbies reports 51% increase in sales
Bestsellers Top 50 charts every week
Buy your subscription to the GTN Bestsellers printed weekly newsletter
12 page GIMA Awards Special in GTN November/December 2021 Issue available on-line
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An Open Letter on the use of peat
No 3 Most read story in 2021 - From GTN Xtra Issue 51 2021

The undersigned feel there should be a much more open debate on the peat in horticulture issue with both for and against statements up for discussion.   It should be noted at the outset we all believe Sphagnum moss peat should not be used for soil improvement.

  • It is universally agreed peat should not be used for soil improvement, there are plenty of alternatives for this use, including garden compost, well-rotted manures and leaf-mould.
  • Sphagnum Moss Peat from Raised Bogs has been and remains the best constituent for seed, cuttings and potting composts.  Peat to case spawned mushroom growing media currently has no alternative.
  • Moss peat use in seed and potting composts is currently, by all available measures, an environmentally friendly growing media and in most uses, results in the absorption of CO2, plus the sequestration of carbon in woody growth and the soil.
  • Cut-away raised peat bogs can be restored, where water levels are raised and harvested areas re-seeded with the correct species of sphagnum. Newly planted sphagnum grows rapidly, laying down 5 to 7 cms per year, which make peat a sustainable and renewable resource.  (e.g. Beadamoss)
  •  Restoring cut-away bogs and the rapid growth of seeded sphagnum absorbs carbon dioxide in great quantity.
  • Most current peat-free composts need much higher rates of base fertilizer (up to four times more) to replace plant foods absorbed by breaking down fibres.  They also need more regular watering (at least double), which in turn leads to nitrates being lost in drainage water.  Peat has excellent water retention qualities and holds onto base fertilizers to feed plants.
  • The growth of some plants is not as good in many of the peat-free composts currently available and this includes all the ericaceous subjects, namely azaleas, camelia, heathers and rhododendrons.
  • Air dried peat can be compressed and is light in weight, so uses thinner polythene in wrappers and less fossil fuel to transport.
  • Sphagnum moss peat is sterile, clean to handle, pest and pollutant free.  Unlike some of the peat free alternatives, where there is a risk of introducing weedkillers and plant diseases.
  • Peat free composts are made up to widely differing recipes, so it is very difficult for home gardeners to adapt their watering and feeding practices when the compost mixes are no longer standard.  Where they experience poor growth and failures, we risk losing the attraction for people to stay at home gardening and growing some of their own food.



Sir Brian H  Donohoe Ret'd MP Secretary of the Gardening and Horticultural Group 1992—2015

Peter Seabrook, International TV Gardening Presenter/Gardening Editor, The Sun.

Robert Hillier, Director Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres.

Jim McColl, Presenter BBC TV The Beechgrove Gardening Progammes.

Adrian Bloom, Chair Blooms Nurseries Ltd.

Jason Bloom, Managing Director Blooms Nurseries.

Bunny Guinness, Garden Designer and Broadcaster.

Andrew Tokely, Horticultural Director, E. W. King & Co Ltd.

Garry Coward Williams, Editor, Amateur Gardening Magazine.

Robert Wharton, Director Wharton’s Roses (fears unfair European Competition).

Paul Wharton, Director Wharton’s Roses.

Alan Sargent, Founder Association of Professional Landscapers.

Paul Cooling, Chair Coolings Garden Centres. (Currently not enough Peat Free alternatives).

Neil and Nicci Gow, Experienced and long-term Garden Retailers.

Steve McCurdy, Managing Director, Majestic Trees Ltd.

Kenneth Cox, Director Glendoick Nursery and Garden Centre, Ericaceous Plat Exporter.

Christine Walkden, Gardening Broadcaster and Lecturer.

Steve and Val Bradley, Authors, Social Media, National gardening Columnists.

Graham Richardson, Group Managing Director Johnsons of Wixley and six fellow directors:-

John, Andrew, Iain, Robert, Eleanor and Jonathon Whitemore.

Douglas Wilson, Director/Partner, Trioscape Garden Centre and Nursery.

Jo Davey, Horticultural Marketing Research and Development Manager.

Michael Smith, Director Grange, Nurseries and MeadowCroft Garden Centre.

Simon Crawford, Director, Burpee Europe.

Tim Kerley, Director, Kerley & Co, Plant Breeders.

Derek Jarman, Director Hayloft Nurseries Ltd.


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