Haddonstone Wins 5 Star Award At Chelsea Flower Show

HaddonstoneHaddonstone, the UK’s leading manufacturer of fine garden ornaments and architectural stonework, has been awarded a 5 star Tradestand Award at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show 2016.

The design for the exhibit (stand number RHW376) was inspired by the lost gardens of Llanerch Hall, Denbigshire, displaying the transition from Tudor to Palladian Style. Haddonstone launched a significant number of new products at the show including a triumvirate of busts depicting Britain’s foremost names in the fields of literature, architecture and landscape – William Shakespeare, Inigo Jones and Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Other designs launched at Chelsea include the Jacquemart Hunting Dogs and the Napoli Fountain.

Simon Scott, Marketing Director, comments ‘We are delighted to have won the award as it represents all of the hard work that has gone into designing and constructing such a magnificent exhibit. My thanks go out to the exhibition build team and in particular to Mick Teall who lead the construction of the design and Neil Schumacher who lead the planting plan and selection for the exhibit.’

haddonstone chelsea 2016

Titchmarsh Describes Downing Street as the ‘Greyest Frontage Known to Man’

rhs logo 2015Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Vice President Alan Titchmarsh volunteered to buy, plant and maintain urns of plants outside Number 10 Downing Street in order to raise the profile of front gardens on what he described as the ‘greyest frontage known to man’.

Speaking at the first ever RHS Greening Grey Britain Front Garden Summit, Mr Titchmarsh lamented the loss of front gardens and challenged the audience of horticulturists, national and regional politicians, public policy figures, planners and engineers, to work together to halt the destruction of environmentally and socially important green spaces across the country.

Responding to Mr Titchmarsh’s Downing Street offer, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark MP, who was speaking at the event, promised to personally tell the Prime Minister about the suggestion, before adding that he’s sure the Prime Minister would be thrilled to hear of the offer.

Alan Titchmarsh in  itv's Best Back Gardens

Alan Titchmarsh

The Front Garden Summit represents an escalation in the charity’s ongoing Greening Grey Britain campaign to revive the nation’s front gardens and encourage the replacement of hard, grey surfaces with plants.
New research commissioned by the RHS found that only 10% of the 2,067 respondents said growing plants in their front gardens was an activity in which they would like to get involved. This finding, combined with data showing that despite regulation designed to limit the use of impermeable surfaces being in place, three times as many front gardens have been paved over compared to 10 years ago, means that there is a real need for decisive action to be taken.

The scale of the challenge was highlighted by RHS Director General Sue Biggs who explained that since 2005 more than three million front gardens had been completely paved over, and that more than seven million had been partially paved.

She went on to describe how the loss of these green spaces increased the risk of flash flooding in urban areas, as water could not drain off at a controlled rate; how they contributed to the reduction of plant and wildlife biodiversity, and that they increased the urban heat island effect, as concrete retains heat during the day and releases it at night, leading to increased urban temperatures.

During the event, which was attended by more than 100 people, the audience heard of the many health and wellbeing benefits of front gardens, while the Secretary of State highlighted the social importance of front gardens. He said: “Front gardens, unlike many back gardens, aren’t just permeable to rainwater, but to social interaction. So when we lose them, we don’t just lose greenery, but a bit of our humanity.”

As the event drew to a close Mr Clark committed to asking his officials to review the rules on the use of permeable paving in order to assess how well they’re working and whether they need to be improved.
The RHS Greening Grey Britain campaign aims to harness the power of the public to turn 6000 grey areas green by the end of 2017.

HTA to relocate

hta 2016Following an extensive search, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is delighted to announce that suitable new premises have been found and the association will be relocating to Chilton, Oxfordshire in October 2016.

Commenting on the announcement HTA Chief Executive Carol Paris said:

“This is a really exciting development for the HTA, helping to keep it moving forward as a modern trade body. The Association has long outgrown its current premises in Theale and the new premises will provide a better working environment and greater opportunities which members will be able to benefit from. Theale is currently home to the HTA, APL, BOPP, International Association of International Producers (AIPH), Chartered Institute of Horticulture, HTA Benevolent Fund and the Garden Centre Association (GCA). The extra space and parking strengthens the opportunities for the HTA as a ‘horticultural hub’ where members can work, meet and collaborate in the interests of the wider industry. There will be opportunities for immediate efficiencies that the previous building did not allow.

Carol Paris

Carol Paris

I am grateful to the Board for their unanimous support for this significant project that will be key to achieving the strategic aims for the HTA. “

The new office facilities offer good access to the A34, M4 and M40 and mainline rail networks through Didcot Station. The building offers a more efficient office environment which will include a lounge where members can work and a series of meeting rooms, event and showroom space which will be available for members to use at preferential rates.

Adam Wigglesworth, HTA President, commented “The HTA Board made the decision in April 2015 that as custodians of NGGV investments a higher proportion of the portfolio should be invested in providing a more secure future for the organisation. The opportunity to invest in the Chilton office is consistent with the prudent management of the funds and will bring tangible benefits to the membership and organisation. I am confident that the Executive will seize the opportunities created.”

HTA Council member Neil Grant added, “All businesses should operate with the right ‘equipment’. Having seen the over worked offices in Theale and being privileged as council member for Yorkshire, to know what been worked on behind the scenes this is a really important part of our HTA’s future development. This piece of equipment is much needed.”

“The profile of horticulture is starting to impact at a much higher level than ever before in our nation and the new facilities will allow this to continue and grow. We will all benefit from the results of this and current developments the HTA are undergoing. “

22nd Chelsea Gold Medal for David Austin Roses

David Austin LogoDavid Austin Roses have won their 22nd Gold Medal at this years 2016 Chelsea Flower Show.

Davis who is celebrating his 90th birthday this year commented. ” I first exhibited at Chelsea in 1983, and this has been my 33rd show. Its always the pinnacle of my year and introducing my new varieties of English Roses gives me the utmost satisfaction.”

david austin roses chelsea 2016 2 david austin roses gold chelsea 2016

Golden Wonder

Thompson & MorganA Great Pavilion exhibit without a single decorative bloom on show has again charmed judges into awarding a Chelsea Gold Medal to Scots potato aficionados Morrice and Ann Innes.

The exhibit, sponsored by Thompson & Morgan, acts as a simple showcase, highlighting more than 140 varieties, and traces the origins of the potato while drawing attention to its diversity and versatility in the garden and kitchen. Morrice of Old Town, Aberdeen, claims to have the largest private collection of potato varieties, built up over 20 years, and has long championed his favourite vegetable.

In 2015 Morrice and Ann took the first ever Gold Medal for a potato-only display in the show’s 150 year history. Having followed judges recommendations for 2016 by giving the tubers more breathing space on a bigger stand, they have done it again.

Many of the potatoes on display this year come from Morrice’s unofficial national collection of over 300 varieties, and include original South American species as well as historical European heritage varieties such as Karaparea, which was taken to New Zealand by Captain James Cook in the 1770s. The exhibit is completed with some 50 modern varieties grown from Thompson & Morgan seed potatoes including blight resistant main crop Sarpo Axona and high-yielding salad potato Jazzy, currently the mail order supplier’s best seller.

left to right John and Rhona Marshall with Ann and Morrice Inne Photo Credit Jonathan Ward/Thompson & Morgan

left to right John and Rhona Marshall with Ann and Morrice Inne
Photo Credit Jonathan Ward/Thompson & Morgan

The modest, yet impactful display also includes several plants of wild potato species which were the starting point of many of today’s cultivated varieties. Seeds of these species varieties were supplied by The James Hutton Institute and grown in containers by Thompson & Morgan’s horticultural team in Ipswich. Visitors to the show have commented on the surprisingly pretty flowers of these wild forms.

Morrice said: “We’ve tried to tell the tale of the potato by highlighting a vast array of skin colours, shapes and sizes, while suggesting the best uses of each variety and the places where they come from. You won’t find many of the varieties for sale at the supermarket. Hopefully we’ll help inspire more people to grow potatoes and to try some of the more unusual forms while they are at it.”

Photo Credit Jonathan Ward/Thompson & Morgan

Photo Credit Jonathan Ward/Thompson & Morgan

Thompson & Morgan has worked with Morrice and Ann in the past, scooping silver and bronze medals at previous RHS shows, and is delighted to see a second Gold Medal awarded to the nation’s favourite vegetable. Thompson & Morgan Vegetable Product Manager, Colin Randel, worked with Morrice to set a world record for the largest display of potato varieties at the 2004 Shrewsbury Flower Show. He said: “Amongst all the glitz, glamour and colour of the world’s most prestigious flower show, it’s great to see a homage to the humble potato stand out from the crowd to scoop another Gold Medal. Morrice and Ann have put on a fantastic display again this year. There’s pretty much every potato colour under the sun on show, from very old varieties right up to our latest hot potato, Jazzy.”

We have our hole back for golfing refreshment heaven

maryanne stokes logoMaryanne Stokes Ltd  is delighted to say that they have their hole back !!!  Yes … no need to fret as you wipe your hot brow on June 9th at the GIMA Charity Golf Day, the Maryanne Stokes team, to include Maz, Claire from CM Ventures and Rebecca from Kidwells Law will provide you with all the cool drinks and nibbles you need for the strength to Beat The Pro.

The GIMA Charity Golf Day on the 9th June 2016 is a great way to entertain your customers, build team commitment or get your brand in front of customers and colleagues…So if you haven’t booked to come along and join in with the fun there is still time to do so by either booking a team of golfers or why not just come along for the evening event where a charity auction will take place along with a meal and entertainment from the after dinner speaker Steve Kindon.

Taking place at the Telford Hotel and Golf Resort in Shropshire, this event will be helping charity too, with proceeds of the 2016 GIMA Charity Golf Day being split equally between Greenfingers and Perennial.

Remember, as you valiantly work your way around the course setting up your birdies and your bogeys, that SEVEN is the magic number…..Hole number seven is the oasis of calm and cold drinks which will see you whizz around the rest of the golfing green like Tiger Woods on caffeine!!

We have our hole back for golfing refreshment heaven … enjoy !!

And just in case you can’t remember where to find us as they say in Bingo….Lucky seven – God’s in heaven – One little crutch – David Beckham – One hockey stick – A slice of heaven

A record breaking year for the New Plant Awards

hta national plant show 2016The lead up to the National Plant Show 2016 goes from strength to strength with a record breaking amount of New Plant Awards entries. With over 110 entries so far and counting, the New Plant Awards, sponsored by the RHS, are the beating heart of the show and creates an area bursting with inspiration for our visitors.

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) are currently working with Joy of Plants to validate all of the entries which will then go on to be judged on the day before the event. Our panel of judges includes Marcus Cousins (Aylett Nurseries), David Mitchell (Wyevale Garden Centre), David Hurrian (Gardeners World Magazine), Michael Perry (Thompson & Morgan) and Jim Gardiner (RHS) are looking forward to seeing the wealth of choice and deliberating to choose their top picks in each category.

In addition to the formal announcement in the New Plant Awards area on the opening morning of the show we will also have a seminar session focussing on the winners where Andy McIndoe, along with our judging panel, will highlight the victorious plants and give you the background on their benefits and how these can bolster your plantarea offering.

The HTA National Plant Show takes place on 21 and 22 June at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. For more information and to register in advance please visit www.nationalplantshow.co.uk


A great year for HTA and APL Members at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

 APL the association of professional landscapersAPL members have once again had a clean sheet this year, with all our members involved in a Chelsea garden going home with a medal. Mark Gregory, APL Chairman and Landform Consultants, has gone home with a staggering 4 medals this year.

The winners are as follows:

GOLD – The Garden Bed – a partnership with ASDA – Frosts Landscapes

GOLD – The Chelsea Barracks Garden – Landform Consultants

GOLD – The Morgan Stanley Garden for Great Ormond Street Hospital – Bespoke Outdoor Spaces

GOLD – Vestra Wealth’s Garden of Mindful Living – RDC Landscapes

SILVER-GILT – The World Vision Garden – Garden Builders

SILVER-GILT – Papworth Trust – Together we can – Landform Consultants

SILVER-GILT – Royal Bank of Canada Garden – Landscape Associates

SILVER-GILT – The Hartley Botanic Garden – Landform Consultants

SILVER – Pro Corda Trust – A Suffolk Retreat – Living Landscapes

SILVER – The Brewin Dolphin Garden – Forever Freefolk – Designed by Rosy Hardy of Hardy’s Plants

SILVER – The Watahan East & West Garden – Landform Consultants

APL apprentices from Blue Skies Garden Maintenance Services, Oakley Landscapes Ltd (Hilary Oakley, Daniel Dunford, Callum Murphy and Ashley Kimber) and Myerscough College (Nick Atkinson and James Fare) have also taken part in helping to build The Hartley Botanic Garden this year as part of the APL Apprenticeship programme.

Third place was taken by the industry collective garden Sun Flower Square for Calendula POWERDAISY SUNNY Calendula POWERDAISY SUNNY (‘Kercalsun’) (PowerDaisy Series). Bright yellow flowers on a spreading plant which is easy to grow in containers and border.

HTA Members who have won medals in the Floral Marquee include:

GOLD – Ashwood Nurseries

GOLD – Burncoose Nurseries

GOLD – David Austin Roses Ltd

GOLD – Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants

GOLD – Hillier Nurseries

GOLD – Peter Beales Roses

GOLD – Walkers Bulbs @ Taylors


SILVER-GILT – Cooks Garden Centre

SILVER-GILT – Harkness Roses

SILVER-GILT – Kelways Plants

SILVER-GILT – The Sun Flower Square

SILVER-GILT – Todd’s Botanics


Discovery Zone

SILVER-GILT – The Scott’s Miracle-Gro Company for the Miracle Gro-wers Urban School Garden

BRONZE – Capel Manor College – Beans Beans

The Sun Flower Square is garden industry collaborative exhibit in the Great Pavilion. The project spearheaded by The Sun’s Gardening Correspondent Peter Seabrook and co-ordinated by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA). Working in association with the Garden Centre Association (GCA) the exhibit has brought together over 120 suppliers, growers and garden retailers and features over 40 new plants.

The Sun Flower Square in the Great Pavilion features four model garden displays, each 4m x 4m square, the same size as the average front garden in Britain Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants took second place in the Chelsea Plant of the Year 2016 for Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’Geum ‘Scarlet Tempest’. Bred by Elizabeth MacGregor in 2012 from parentage of G. ‘Beech House Apricot’ × G. chiloense ‘Red Dragon’.

HTA member, Hozelock, won product of the year for their Cloud Controller. This mobile app, hub and remote tap unit allows gardeners to remotely set, pause and adjust garden watering schedules. It also keeps you informed about current conditions and changes of weather.

APL members Langdale Landscapes were awarded Best Show Trade Stand and a 5 Star Trade Stand Award for their work on David Harber Plus, Landform Consultants got a 5 Star Trade Stand Award for their work on Hartley Botanics, and Morgan Oates were awarded a 5 Star Trade Stand Award for their work on Rupert Till.

For more information on the RHS Chelsea Flower Show visit https://www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show

Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time Summer Garden Party arrives in Scotland for the first time

bbc radio 4The annual Gardeners’ Question Time (GQT) Summer Garden Party bids a fond farewell to Wales as it gets ready to head to Scotland for the first time, where it will take place in the spectacular setting of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) on Saturday 9 July 2016.

Founded in 1670, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh began life on a modest patch of ground no bigger than a tennis court and was Scotland’s first physic garden. Today, it’s an internationally renowned centre of excellence in plant science, horticulture and education, making it the perfect setting for this year’s GQT Summer Garden Party.

The day-long gardening festival offers visitors the opportunity to meet the GQT team face-to-face, take part in recordings of the programme, and see horticultural walks, talks, plant sales and demonstrations happening right across the botanic garden – ranging from pest and disease clinics to tips on how to maintain a healthy and productive herb garden.

The garden party will feature the pick of the crop of gardening gurus, including GQT’s Bob Flowerdew, Bunny Guinness, Matthew Wilson, Pippa Greenwood, Anne Swithinbank, Matthew Biggs and Chairmen Eric Robson and Peter Gibbs. They will be joined by Scottish gardening hero, and star of the BBC’s Beechgrove Garden, Jim McColl.

GQT Chairman, Eric Robson, says: “We’re delighted to be bringing our Summer Garden Party to Scotland for the first time, and especially to the RBGE – an institution that plays such a vital role in plant conservation and horticultural research. In recent years, the event has attracted listeners in their many thousands and we hope that this year will be even bigger, bringing our guests, and Radio 4 listeners, the best gardening advice and a fun day out for the whole family.”

Simon Milne MBE, Regius Keeper of RBGE, says: “Our world-leading gardens and their plant collections are looking quite brilliant and it is wonderful to be hosting this year’s GQT Summer Garden Party. We look forward to engaging with the country’s gardening community in what I am sure will be an enjoyable and inspirational day. And, as well as speaking to people who already have an interest, I hope it will also encourage many more to be enthusiastic about the amazing and beautiful world of plants and to help protect the natural world.”

Tickets for the Summer Garden Party will go on sale today, Friday 20 May and will be available to purchase on the RBGE website: rbge.org.uk. Tickets cost £10.50, including the booking fee, and will give visitors access to all the events happening at the garden party (please note that entry to the main marquee recordings of GQT is limited and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis to ticketholders on the day).

There will be two recordings of GQT at the garden party, and BBC Radio 4 listeners will be able to hear all the highlights on Friday 15 July at 3pm (repeated Sunday 17 July at 2pm) and Friday 22 July at 3pm (repeated Sunday 24 July at 2pm).

The GQT Summer Garden Party was hosted at Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral in 2012 and 2013, and at The National Botanic Gardens of Wales in 2014 and 2015.

April showers dampen traditional garden centre sales

GCACold and wet weather in April put a dampener on sales in traditional categories but boosted non-traditional ones at member garden centres according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade results.

Sales of houseplants were up just 1.92% while sales of outdoor plants were down -17.47%. Clothing sales were up 9.95% and catering was up 8.90%.

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, explained: “April was a very cold and wet month so it’s no surprise that sales in traditional categories were down. The frost seemed to linger a lot longer this year, which would have put a lot of people off gardening.“Another factor for poor sales was that Easter was very early this year, in March, compared to 2015, when it was in April.“Despite sales in traditional categories being down, there was some positivity in clothing and catering. Food hall and farm shops sales were also up 3.70% compared to the same month last year.”

The new walkthrough houseplant department at Blackbrooks Garden Centre.

The new walkthrough houseplant department at Blackbrooks Garden Centre.

Seed and bulb sales were down -9.28%, garden sundries were down -16.21% and furniture and barbecues sales were down -23.50%.

Steven Palmer, Financial Director at Squires Garden Centres, which has centres across Surrey, Berkshire and Sussex, said: “Direct comparisons are distorted due to Easter falling in April in 2015 but not in 2016. The unseasonably poor weather in the south meant reduced demand for traditional seasonal gardening products, including furniture. “However, demand for gifts remains robust and bird care products benefitted from the poor weather.”

Sales in pets and aquatics departments were up 1.45%. Gift sales were down -1.14% and hard landscaping down -12.68%.

Mark Winchester, Managing Director at Blackbrooks Garden Centre in East Sussex, said: “April was unseasonably cold and while our gifts, clothing and catering were up, our horticultural products were down. The only real winner was our houseplant department, but this could have been in part due to a redesign incorporating a walk through department on the way to the checkouts, resulting in a 100% uplift in sales.”

The GCA BoT reports are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement. They are made available mid-month following the end of the prior month after all member garden centres have submitted their results.