New Area Sales Manager joins Vitax

Following a period of sustained growth, Vitax has added to its sales team with the appointment of a new area sales manager to work across the South West.

Julian Franklin, who has over 20 years’ experience working in the gardening and horticulture sector, joins from Town and Country where he was area sales manager for the South West for 17 years.

Responsible for managing existing customers as well as securing new business, Julian will be working with clients primarily across Somerset, Devon and Cornwall.

Julian will also be working closely with Vitax’s existing South West area sales manager – Julian Goodhand – who will continue to cover Avon, Wilts, Hants and Dorset.

This is the first time Vitax has split its southern territory between two managers, but is essential to manage growth as Colin Wetherley-Mein, Vitax’s sales manager, explains: “Vitax has experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years which has seen its customer base in the South West increase considerably.

“To enable Vitax to continue to provide a first-class customer experience, we have taken the decision to appoint a second area sales manager in the region to manage client relationships.

“Julian’s experience speaks for itself and we are delighted to have him on board.  Working in the area for over 17 years, Julian has already built a good network of contacts and has contact with the majority of our clients – which is essential for continuity.”

Julian Franklin with Daniel Wilkinson

Prior to joining Town and Country, Julian worked for Gibbs Palmer but says now is the time for change as Julian Franklin, Vitax’s joint South West area sales manager, explains: “I have worked with Town and Country for the majority of my career and have thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but it is time for a new challenge.

“I know Vitax well and wanted to move to a company that is highly regarded in the industry.  Having worked in London and the South East, I am now based in the West Country and will be able to utilise my knowledge of the area to help Vitax grow further.”

Julian joins a sales team of 11 covering the UK and Ireland.


Do you know a Mary Christmas? Are you a Miss Elle Toe? Could you tag a Robin Redbreast? Are you mates with a Frank Incense?

The British Christmas Tree Growers Association are on the hunt for the most Christmassy person in the UK.

The competition

BCTGA has launched a competition on Facebook page and is asking you to comment on the post if you name has Christmas connotations or tag in friends who fit the bill.
At the end of September, entries will be judged by a panel of Christmas tree growers from BCTGA and shortlisted to five.
The final five will then be put to a public vote.
The person voted as having the most Christmassy name in the UK will win a real Christmas tree up to 8ft tall.
This will be delivered to the winner’s house in December in time for Christmas.

Terms and conditions

• The prize draw promoter is British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA).
• BCTGA reserves the right to change these terms at any time and to communicate the changes to entrants by updating these terms on this website.
• The prize draw is open to mainland UK residents, excluding employees of BCTGA or any other organisation linked to the prize draw in any way.
• BCTGA is inviting users to enter the competition on Facebook.
• To enter, users must comment with their name on the Facebook competition post. They can also tag in friends with Christmassy names and these friends will then be considered for the prize.
• The prize is non-negotiable and no cash alternative will be offered.
• Judging will take place at the end of September and a shortlist of five entries will be made by the end of the first week of October. A public vote will then decide the winner. This public vote will run until mid-November.
• Any entries submitted after September 30th will not be eligible.
• Proof of your Christmassy name will be required.
• BCTGA will reject entries which are (but not limited to) offensive, abusive, misleading, unethical, discriminating, defaming or pornographic in nature and such posts will not be deleted. BCTGA’s decision is final and no discussion will be entered into concerning the outcome.
• The shortlisted entries will be contacted via social media no later than three working days after the competition closing date. The winner will also be contacted this way no later than three working days after the end of the public vote.
• The winner will have five working days to respond and accept the prize. Delivery of the Christmas tree prize will be made at a mutually convenient time in the first two weeks of December. The winner can specify the size of the Christmas tree up to 8ft.
• The tree will come from one of the BCTGA farms around the UK.
• Entrants consent to participate in any publicity generated as a result of the competition.

By entering this prize draw, entrants acknowledge that:

• The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook.
• You are providing information to BCTGA and not to Facebook.
• Entrants must not engage in or be connected with any conduct that may bring BCTGA or its products into disrepute. BCTGA reserves the right to remove any content which violates this term
• BCTGA will not accept responsibility for any late, lost, damaged, incomplete or fraudulent entries, entries lost through technical fault or for technical problems. Proof of entry is not automatically proof of receipt.
• These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales.
• By entering the prize draw, the entrant agrees and is bound by the terms and conditions outlined above.

Harley’s Flowerbed Design Will Shine All Summer Long

Squire’s Garden Centres have announced that Harley Silvestri, age 9 from Hampton Hill Junior School, is the winner of their competition to design a planting scheme for a flowerbed at the Environment Agency’s lock on the River Thames in Teddington.

220 children aged between 6-11 from Hampton Hill Junior School, The Russell School and Latchmere School took part in the competition, which is run by Squire’s in conjunction with the Environment Agency.

The children were given a template of a circular flowerbed with a sundial in the middle, and were invited to suggest colours and patterns that could be planted up. The design brief was the Sapphire Jubilee, to celebrate Her Majesty’s sixty five years on the throne. Sarah Squire, Deputy Chairman at Squire’s and Mandy Marshall from the Environment Agency’s River Thames Waterways Operations team judged the designs, and the children who created the best designs in each age group from each school were invited to a prize giving afternoon tea with their parents at Squire’s Garden Centre in Twickenham on 6th July. All children who attended received a certificate and a goody bag from Squire’s, and Harley Silvestri’s winning design has been planted up at Teddington Lock.

Sarah Squire, Squire’s Deputy Chairman commented “We were overwhelmed by the number of entries this year, and the time and effort that the children put into them, so congratulations to everyone who took part. It was lovely to meet the finalists at our special prize giving afternoon tea party. We awarded winners for each age category, and the overall winner of the competition was Harley Silvestri. His design was chosen as it followed the Sapphire Jubilee theme nicely with the colours that he selected. His design has been planted up at Teddington Lock and it looks absolutely stunning. I’m sure that visitors to the lock will enjoy the special Sapphire Jubilee planting scheme all summer long.”

Mandy Marshall from the Environment Agency added: “We love being part of this annual event, and every year’s winning design is wonderful and really brightens up the lock. Our staff really enjoy planting it and maintaining it to keep it looking its best. They also put all the design entries on display for visitors to admire, and people are always highly impressed with how good and how imaginative they all are. The children are so talented – it’s amazing.”

GCA reveals N.East and N.West regional winners

North East and North West regional members of The Garden Centre Association (GCA) are celebrating after picking up awards during a presentation evening yesterday (Wednesday, July 19, 2017) at Klondyke Strikes Wilmslow Garden Centre.

In the North East, Cowell’s Garden Centre was awarded Garden Centre of the Year in the Garden Centre (GC) category and Tong Garden Centre received Garden Centre of the Year in the Destination Garden Centre category. In the North West Fron Goch Garden Centre (GC) and Bents Garden & Home (DGC) received the accolade.

Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “The second round of our regional awards meetings was extremely enjoyable and we’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Klondyke Strikes Wilmslow Garden Centre for being wonderful hosts. “It was great to see our members picking up their awards, which included Klondyke Lady Green Garden Centre collecting the Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre in the North West and Tong Garden Centre in the North East. “The winners of The Barton Grange Trophy for Innovation and Creativity were Cowell’s Garden Centre in the North East and Bents Garden & Home in the North West.”

The next regional awards meeting for the Midlands will take place at Planters, Tamworth on Tuesday, July 25.

The full results for the North East and North West regions GCA area awards are as follows for the GC and DGC categories:

North East

Garden Centre of the Year: Cowell’s Garden Centre (GC) and Tong Garden Centre (DGC)

Best Customer Service: Klondyke Stokesley Garden Centre

Environment and Community Award for Best Environmental Practice: Klondyke Stokesley Garden Centre

The Barton Grange Trophy for Innovation and Creativity: Cowell’s Garden Centre

The Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre: Tong Garden Centre

The ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant: Klondyke Northallerton Garden Centre (GC) and Tong Garden Centre (DGC)

The GIMA Award for Best Garden Products Retailer: Cowell’s Garden Centre (GC) and Tong Garden Centre (DGC)

 Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer: RHS Harlow Carr Plant Centre and Gift Shop (GC) and Heighley Gate Garden Centre (DGC)

Best Outdoor Living Retailer: Coletta & Tyson joint winner with Klondyke Beverley Garden Centre (GC) and Tong Garden Centre joint winner with Langlands Garden Centre – Shiptonthorpe (DGC)

North West

Garden Centre of the Year: Fron Goch Garden Centre (GC) and Bents Garden & Home (DGC)

Best Customer Service: Barton Grange Garden Centre

Environment and Community Award for Best Environmental Practice: Bents Garden & Home

The Barton Grange Trophy for Innovation and Creativity: Bents Garden & Home

The Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre: Klondyke Lady Green Garden Centre

The ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant: Fron Goch Garden Centre (GC) and Bents Garden & Home (DGC)

The GIMA Award for Best Garden Products Retailer: Fron Goch Garden Centre (GC) and Barton Grange Garden Centre (DGC)

 Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer: Fairways Garden Centre – Macclesfield (GC) and Barton Grange Garden Centre (DGC)

Best Outdoor Living Retailer: Fron Goch Garden Centre (GC) and Gordale Nurseries (DGC)

The team from Garden Centre of the Year (GC) in the North East winner, Cowell’s Garden Centre, with (right) GCA Inspector, Roger Crookes.


Staff from Bents Garden & Home with their awards, including Garden Centre of the Year (DGC) in the North West, and (second from right) GCA Inspector, Roger Crookes.


The team from Garden Centre of the Year (GC) in the North West, Fron Goch Garden Centre, with (right) GCA Inspector, Roger Crookes, and their awards.


Greenfingers Charity commissioned TV Gardener Adam Frost to design the new Courtyard Garden at Keech Hospice, Luton with the help of team members from Homebase. As an existing good friend of Greenfingers, the charity was delighted to invite Adam to perform the official opening ceremony held on Monday 17 July 2017.

This is the 53rd therapeutic and recreational garden built by Greenfingers Charity in children’s hospices around the UK from the Isle of Wight to Loch Lomond. Funding for this project very much relied on the generosity of Homebase DIY chain who have been donating all the 5p carrier bag tax collected since the levy was introduced in October 2015.

  • The original plain space was transformed from a drab concrete courtyard with the muscles and resources of Jody Lidgard and his team of skilled craftsmen at Bespoke Outdoor Spaces.
  • They created a colourful, three-dimensional garden with easy access for wheelchairs using plants that will delight all the senses of the adults and children who spend time at Keech Hospice Care and their visitors.
  • This team will also be commissioned by Greenfingers Charity to work on the design and build at another children’s hospice garden in the grounds of St Andrew’s Children’s Hospice, Grimsby – due to be created later this year.

Additional funds were also raised by bride and groom, Jacquie and Paul Hutt, who asked guests at their 2015 wedding to make a donation to Greenfingers Charity in lieu of gifts.

Speaking at the opening, Adam Frost said, “I hope this Courtyard Garden surprises people to start with and then puts a smile on their faces. It’s a wonderful space which seriously ill adults and children can use in many different ways.”

Until now the garden at Keech Hospice Care, which supports adults from Luton and South Bedfordshire, and children from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes, has remained relatively bereft of interesting plants or features since the hospice opened twenty-six years ago.

Adam said he designed the new garden to be a vision of bright colours, with a water feature at its centre and chose bold circular patterns to take visitors on a journey. “I didn’t want to be too clever, but it’s not just any place we are creating. It’s a space that mums and dads and their kids will use and where patients can look out to when they’re being cared for and having their complementary therapy.

“I’ve tried to bring wildlife and the garden inside the hospice and give patients here at Keech Hospice Care a place that is calm and reflective,” said Adam.

Liz Searle, Chief Executive Officer at Keech Hospice Care, said “The new garden will give patients and their families a space to relax at a time in their lives when it matters the most.”

She continued, “It’s the perfect place to just sit and be still. It provides a beautiful space for the opportunity of reflecting, relaxing and escapism not only for patients but also our excellent care team and volunteers. At a time when a person needs peace and quiet or when families want to sit, laugh and make memories – Adam’s garden will be there.

“We all love the bright colours of the garden as we are a hospice full of life! It’s a real oasis, it’s magical. We’ll be showing it off to the public at KeechFest on Sunday, 10 September 2017 as we invite everyone to buy tickets and join us for an afternoon of live music here at Keech Hospice Care.”

GIMA Awards 2017 – And the winners are ……

The winners of the GIMA awards 2017 were announced last week at another sell-out event (Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales). The pinnacle of the garden retail industry’s calendar, the event brought together manufacturers, retailers, members of the press and industry figures, to celebrate the 16 highly-deserving winners.

This year Westland Horticulture is the proud winner of the GIMA Sword of Excellence, whilst Smart Garden Products has scooped the GCA Supplier of the Year, and Briers take home the Gardenex Export Achievement Award. Elho, Burgon & Ball, Hutton Garden and Landscaping Products, Hawkesmill Nurseries, Forest Garden, Horticulture Trade Association, Fallen Fruits, and Gardman complete the winners roster in 2017.

GIMA Director, Vicky Nuttall, commented on the event. “I would like to be the first to extend my congratulations to all of the winners. Each year we say that the calibre of entries could not be exceeded, and each year we are proven wrong!  This year saw not only a record number of entries, but the quality of these entries was the best yet. Our judges really did have their work cut out. I think we can agree though, that the winners are highly deserving of their awards. Each of them have created a product or service that really stands out in this hectic industry we work within. This level of ‘standout’ has to be celebrated, and it’s fantastic to be able to provide this platform for celebration and recognition.”

This year, the GIMA judging panel was made up of Julie Burrell, Head of Trading Seasonal and Stationery, Wilko Retail,Tony Kersey, Garden Tools & Watering Buyer, Bunnings & Homebase, Neil Grant, Managing Director, Ferndale Garden Centre, Robert Hall, Halls Gardensite, James Hollingworth, Garden Products Buyer, Suttons Consumer Products, Nick Liszka, Buying Manager, Wyevale Garden Centres, Neil Pope, Garden Trade News, Andy Schofield, Commercial Trading Manager, Home & Garden Group and Allan Wilson, Senior Buyer, The Klondyke Group.

Vicky added: “My thanks also have to go to the panel of dedicated judges who gave up their valuable time to take part in this year’s judging process. Their combined expertise and market knowledge has been invaluable throughout the judging process, and has helped to create  a particularly strong list of winners.

“Finally, I extend my thanks to all those that have entered the awards in 2017, as well as our sponsors, without whom we would not be able to put on an event of this scale.”


GIMA Sword of Excellence

Winner: Westland Horticulture – Westland SafeLawn

What the judges said: “A great new product that clearly addresses both the customers’ needs and concerns, with a really strong marketing campaign behind it. A very worthy winner.”

GCA Supplier of the Year

Winner: Smart Garden Products

Finalists: Decco, Woodlodge

What the judges said: “Great quality of products, service and reliability”, “Fantastic innovation and new products” and “Even in a difficult year the service was excellent”.

Gardenex Export Achievement Award

Winner: Briers

Finalists: Smart Garden Products, Crest Garden

About the winners: Currently Briers export to 20 different countries, and have witnessed particular success from the United States, the Netherlands and Belgium. Briers’ presence and growth on the continent has been cemented by Jackie Eades’ association with EFSA and the long-term commitment to numerous trade shows.


Garden Care

Winner: Westland Horticulture – Westland SafeLawn

Finalists: Round Up – Round Up Telescopic Weeding Wand, SBM Life Science Ltd – Baby Bio® Feed & Mist for Orchids, Sipcam UK – Ecofective range

About the winner: Unlike existing ‘all-in-one’ lawn products, CleanLawn does not require children and pets to be excluded from the treated area after application, and does not require a spreader to be applied without the risk of scorching. In addition, raking out dead moss and thatch is not necessary as these waste materials are ‘eaten’ by microorganisms, leaving you more time to enjoy your lush, green lawn.

What the judges said: “Addresses the issues the consumer demands, simply and effectively”

 Growing, Planting Equipment and Sundries

Winner: Elho b.v. – Elho Corsica Door Stopper

Finalists: Hozelock Ltd – Superhoze 30m & 15m, FITT SpA – YOYO 2017, Elho – Super XXL Grow Table and Lid

About the winner: The door stopper is a totally new product to the market. There is no other synthetic product at present that is able to be planted to create a unique way to hold open a door. With the addition of wheels to easily move when planted this makes it innovative.

What the judges said: “Innovative new design, it broadens the use of standard planters.”

 Garden Tools, Machinery and Implements

Winner: Burgon & Ball – Ergo Deadheader

Finalists:  Spear and Jackson – Select Stainless Allotment Hoe, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company – Evergreen Wizz Year-Round Spreader, Hozelock Ltd – Pico Power, Pico Power Home, Burgon & Ball – FloraBrite range

About the winner: This tool is designed to be held in a new way. The finger loop, uniquely shaped handles and comfort grip allow the Ergo Deadheader to nestle in the palm, taking the strain off the wrist and thumb for more comfortable cutting.

What the judges said: “Designed with the user in mind not just the task, it’s easy and comfortable to use.”

Outdoor Leisure

Winner: Hutton Garden and Landscaping Products – Melrose Dining Set

Finalists: Woodlodge Products – Mendip Fire Pit, CPL Distribution Limited – Homefire Olive Briquettes, Fallen Fruits – Dachshund Bench

About the winner: Most outdoor garden furniture is produced using small dimension softwood with the aim of achieving low cost to the consumer. The Melrose is proof that using innovative British manufacturing techniques, high quality products can be produced at a very affordable price.

What the judges said: “Excellent value for money with good environmental credentials, and it’s made in the UK too!”

 Plants, Seeds and Bulbs

Winner: Hawkesmill Nurseries – Salvia Microphylla ‘Jeremy’ or Salvia ‘Pink Lips’

Finalists: Westland Horticulture – Unwins Sensational Sweet Peas range, Mr Fothergill’s Seeds Ltd – Optigrow vegetable seeds, Hawkesmill Nurseries – Victorian Viola range

About the winner: Salvia Pink Lips (Jeremy)® is a pink form of the popular Salvia Hot Lips and is exclusive to Hawkesmill Nurseries for 2017. The stunning blooms are pink-white instead of red-white (Hotlips) and the flowers have a larger size (about 50% larger compared to Hotlips).

What the judges said: “Beautiful and hardy; a great follow up to the popular Hot Lips variety.”

Garden Landscaping

Winner: Forest Garden – Decibel Noise Reduction Panel

Finalists: Grange Fencing Ltd – Adjustable Garden Screen, Deco-Pak Ltd – Milano Porcelain Paving, Ronseal – Garden Paint New Colours, Forest Garden – Whitby Arch & Arbour Range

About the winner: It is the first attractive, affordable and ready-assembled acoustic panel on the market available for purchase and home delivery from national retailers. Unique Triform technology incorporates boards with a triangular profile that optimise the diffusion as well as reflection of nuisance noise.

What the judges said: “Shows a good understanding of the need to reduce noise and stress in the urban environment.”

 Garden Clothing & Gifts

Winner: Horticultural Trades Association – National Gift Card

Finalists: Crest Garden – Kent & Stowe Gardener’s Clothing/Gift, Burgon & Ball – FloraBrite range, Crest Garden – Kent & Stowe Garden Gift

About the winner: Unlike the old propriety gift cards, retailers can sell as well as redeem the NGGC. The purpose-built transactional technology enables the card to be activated by any epos system and even online. This enables the widest possible sale and redemption possible. The gift card is all-inclusive for retailers.

What the judges said: “A great product for driving more sales into gardening” and “Great for both retailers and customers.”

 Pet Care, Aquatics and Wild Bird Care Products

Winner: Fallen Fruits – Best for Birds Range

Finalists: Cadix UK – Outdoor Statue Birdbath, Gardman – Butterfly Glass Bird Bath, Wildlife World – Dewdrop Wildbird Window Feeder

About the winners: Fallen Fruits’ Best for Birds wedge and hanger feeders are aimed at the entry level price point; a pocket money product. They allow customers to experiment with different feeds in different locations to see what suits their garden birds. The feeders are colourful and easily disposed of when empty.

What the judges said: “Innovative unique design, low cost and recyclable.”

Garden Lighting, Water Features & Ornamentation

Winner: Smart Garden Products Limited – Eureka! Retro Solar Lightbulb

Finalist: Smart Garden Products – Illumina Silhouette Table, The Solar Centre – Lumify USB Solar Festoon Lights, Smart Garden Products – The Elvedon Collection

About the winner: Following the success of the Eureka! Solar light bulb, this larger sized light bulb and retro Edison filament lighting effect continues the evolution of the Eureka! range of products and provides consumers with an enticing, new option. The new flattened bottom allows them to sit on tabletops as well as hang.

What the judges said: “Bang on trend again; a great new twist on a bestseller.”


Best Point of Sale Material

Winner: Briers Ltd – Kids Range New Display Concept

Finalists: Kelkay Ltd – Collections, Smart Garden Products – Doormat displays, Westland Horticulture – Smart Cover Mega Pallet

About the winner:  Addressing the retailer’s needs directly, by enabling them to display a high impact range that delivers in a compact footprint.  The new merchandisers are robust enough to withstand the retail environment and flexible enough to allow retailers to choose their ranges to suit their customers.

What the judges said: “A great use of space and colour with a strong link to the product.”

Best Consumer Product Packaging

Winner: Westland Horticulture – Westland Safelawn

Finalists: Wildlife World – Floral Gift range, Burgon & Ball – Brie Harrison range, Hozelock – Superhoze Packaging

About the winner: Extensive research gave Westland the insight needed to spot a gap in the existing lawn range. Parents and pet owners were worried about safety concerns, rather than seeking organic alternatives. By naming the product ‘SafeLawn’ and giving clear visual representations on pack, Westland was able to identify a consumer need.

What the judges said: “Functional, colourful and distinctive packaging with clear messaging addressing the consumers fears and aspirations.”

Best Marketing Communication Award

Winner: Gardman Ltd – The Royal British Legion Charity Campaign

Finalists: Westland Horticulture – Westland SafeLawn, Hozelock – Bizzi Marketing Campaign, Wagner System GmbH – Out of Black Forest video

About the winner: Gardman became corporate partners with the Royal British Legion and launched a range of poppy wild bird care products; a cast iron poppy bird feeder dish and two premium wild bird care seed mixes. Through sales of these products, Gardman have managed to raise an incredible £240,000 to support veterans and their families.

What the judges said: “A simple but effective campaign that delivered great results and ticked all the boxes: Product that sold through, an excellent marketing campaign, and a worthy charitable connection.”

RHS Young Designer 2017 Announced at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

24-year-old Ula Maria from Northampton has been awarded a Gold medal and the coveted title of RHS Young Designer at this year’s Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Flower Show Tatton Park.

Returning for its ninth year, the competition’s theme was inspired by ever increasing working hours. Highlighting the creative and mindful benefits of green spaces, three finalists were selected to design a Show Garden demonstrating what the fusion of garden and office means to them.

Her winning garden ‘Studio Unwired’ was designed as a contemporary outdoor hot-desk office within an urban setting. Creating a space that combines tranquillity with a rustic elegance, the garden is designed to transport users out of the crowded and conventional office space into a serene, earthy environment.
On being crowned as RHS Young Designer 2017, Ula said: “I’m so happy and incredibly proud to have taken part in this competition. It has been such an exciting and inspirational experience to be a part of it and amazing to have the opportunity to do what you really love. I still can’t believe it and I’m so thankful to everyone who helped on the garden.”

Fellow finalist Jake Curley (25) also received an RHS Gold medal for his garden ‘Business and Pleasure’, which was inspired by the New York-style rooftops and highline typical of urban environments. Meanwhile 27-year-old Anca Panait’s ‘Prospect and Refuge’ garden was awarded Silver-Gilt, and offers an enclosed escape from the outside world, using height variations to buffer city noise, creating a space for quiet, undisturbed work.

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park has become synonymous with budding new talent with previous finalists going on to design at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, including Hugo Bugg and Sam Ovens, who also won a Gold Medal at the first ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show this year. RHS Young Designer 2016 winner Caitlin McLaughlin also secured a Gold working with multi-award winning designer Sarah Eberle on an exhibit for nursery giant Hilliers at RHS Chelsea in May, while finalist Kate Saville and 2015 winner Tamara Bridge created the Jo Whiley Scent Garden as part of the Show’s BBC Radio 2 ‘Feel Good Gardens’.
Continuing the theme of youth in horticulture, the RHS Young Landscape Contractor (supported by BALI) and RHS Young Planting Designer 2017 competition also returned to the show for its second year to challenge Young Landscape Contractors and Young Planting Designers to work together and deliver a Garden showcasing their skills. The 2017 winning title of RHS Young Landscape Contractor was awarded to Elliott Hood (26), and RHS Young Planting Designer to Ben Poulter (25) for their coastal retreat, ‘Chaos to Coastline Coastal Garden’.

Tickets are still available for RHS Tatton Park which runs until Sunday 23 July. For more information or to buy tickets, visit

Xylella fastidiosa – a threat to the U.K. Horticulture industry

Guidance on sourcing plant material

For Retailers, Landscapers, Growers, Designers and all dealing with plants in a professional capacity.

What is the threat?

Xylella fastidiosa is one of the most harmful bacterial plant diseases in the world. It can cause severe losses in a wide range of hosts and there would be a massive impact on the plant trade across all business sectors in the event of an OUTBREAK in the UK.

An OUTBREAK of this disease, where several different plants are infected, will trigger immediate stock destruction within 100 metres and a movement ban of host plants within a 10-kilometre radius for up to five years. This will dramatically and immediately affect most plant selling operations, as well as impacting on all businesses dealing in plants within the 10km zone. Gardens could also be affected.

What should businesses do to stop it coming into the UK?

Only buy potential host plants from trusted plant passported suppliers who know where their plants come from. We strongly recommend that potential host plants are not sourced from or near regions where there have been findings of Xylella fastidiosa. Current demarcated areas can be seen at:

The list of host plants is growing and includes many popular garden and landscape plants, such as lavender, rosemary, oak and many others. The current list of confirmed hosts is at:

What happens if the disease is found in the UK?

The full emergency measures imposed at EU level are only triggered when the disease has spread and there is an OUTBREAK. The full emergency measures are not triggered if the disease is found on a single plant or within a batch of plants and is diagnosed and contained before it spreads. This is known as an INTERCEPTION. Stock will still be destroyed in this circumstance but the movement ban is very unlikely to come in force.

Several wholesale nurseries have signed up to plant sourcing statements such as the one below:

“The following nurseries have taken the decision NOT to knowingly purchase any host plants originating from regions where the disease Xylella is known to exist. The decision has been taken after detailed consideration as to the potential catastrophic impact the introduction of the disease could have to the UK environment, coupled with the ever increasing number of host plant genera of this disease. This is in line with DEFRA’s good practice recommendations.”

For the full list of nurseries signed up to the statement, please click here.

Rare plant is star attraction at Notcutts Garden Centres

Gardeners across the UK have a rare opportunity to plant something special in their garden, with a brand new hibiscus arriving at Notcutts Garden Centres this month. The new variety with its glorious flowers has been exclusively launched for customers at Notcutts’ 18 garden centres across the country this month.

The new Hibiscus, called ‘Starburst Chiffon’, has special double flowers that can grow up to 10 centimetres in size. The flowers have a soft pink centre surrounded by an array of pale pink petals, each with striking deep pink lines which seem to ‘bleed’ from the centre outwards.

Bred in Norfolk by Dr Roderick Woods, the new hibiscus plant produces a rich abundance of flowers from July through to September, and can grow into a nicely shaped shrub with an average height of 175 centimetres. The plant is low maintenance, can survive in temperatures as low as -25 degrees and is ideal for adding a splash of summer colour to any garden, sunny terrace or balcony.

Stuart Andrews, Plant Buyer for Notcutts, said: “We’re very proud to offer customers an exclusive launch for the stunning Starburst Chiffon Hibiscus. We stock a wide range of plants at all our garden centres year-round, but it’s particularly exciting when we can provide gardeners with something extra-special.

“The Starburst Chiffon hibiscus is a truly unique and beautiful plant that will add a ‘wow factor’ to any outdoor space. Also, as Hibiscus are hardy and flower late in the season, it will keep your garden looking bright and colourful until early autumn.”

Customers are invited to visit their local Notcutts Garden Centre to take a look at the new Hibiscus Starburst Chiffon. The exclusive plant is available to buy in all 18 Notcutts centres from July 2017.


A survey by Squire’s Garden Centres has found that 72% of people spend more than 3 hours gardening each week, which is great for health and well-being.

However, getting out in the garden is not just about serious horticulture, 84% of people surveyed have ‘played’ in the garden in the last year, by doing handstands, cartwheels, used a hula hoop or even run through a sprinkler just for fun! The statistics are even more interesting when you consider that the majority of respondents (85%) were aged fifty plus.

  • 33% have run through a sprinkler
  • 23% have done yoga, pilates, or used a fit ball in the garden
  • 21% have been on a swing or slide
  • 16% have used a hula-hoop
  • 15% have jumped on a trampoline
  • 14% have skipped in the garden
  • 7% have done a handstand or cartwheel

So get out in the garden – tend the plants, but try a childhood activity that will make you feel like you are five again, it’s fun and free!