Garden retailers sign up to industry Xylella statement

Following an emergency Xylella meeting held last week at the HTA, garden retailers have signed up to support a joint industry plant sourcing statement about Xylella fastidiosa.

The statement, which incorporates the existing HTA Ornamentals Management Committee statement, reads as follows:-

“As a minimum standard, the following businesses 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.”

The HTA is aware that this is a minimum standard and therefore individual businesses are encouraged to develop their own policy for managing the risks posed by Xylella fastidiosa.

The following retailers have signed up to the statement.  Orchard Park Garden Centre, St Peters Garden Centre, Henry Street Garden Centre, Aylett Nurseries Ltd, The Gardens Group, Klondyke Group, Scotsdales Garden Centres, Hillview Garden Centres, Notcutts Garden Centres, Haskins Garden Centres, Alton Garden Centre, Burleydam Garden Centre, Fresh @ Burcot, Fosseway Garden Centre, Squires Garden Centres, Hillier Garden Centres.

For the full list of businesses, including growers and retailers signed up to the statement, please see:https://hta.org.uk/plant-and-disease-alert-xylella-fastidiosa.html

Any businesses wishing to show their support for the statement should email policy@hta.org.uk in order for their name to be added to the list.

Commenting on this Raoul Curtis-Machin, HTA Director of Horticulture comments, “Retailers attending the meeting felt that a joined up industry statement for all sectors would be stronger. It became apparent that retailers felt inadequately informed about procedures to follow and the potential impact of Xylella fastidiosa throughout the supply chain. As a result a five point plan has been developed to inform about good practice with regard to plant health management.”

Xylella fastidiosa symptoms on Prunus (cherry). Courtesy: Donato Boscia. CNR – Institute for sustainable plant protection, UOS, Bari (IT) Laboratory, Angers (FR)

Xylella Five Point Plan

Under EU emergency measures there are additional plant passporting requirements for all professional operators sourcing Xylella host plants. This means that all those trading professionally in these plants must issue and retain passports where the plants are being supplied to another business entity, such as landscapers, designers and retailers. It also includes plants being imported direct to the final user.

All those involved in the commercial supply and receipt of host plants should:

  1. Check plant passports arriving with plants are correct and keep the plant passport to aid trace back if necessary. Label and keep records of the identity of all received batches of plants, including where the plants came from and when.
  2. Source from known suppliers or visit suppliers to view their processes, procedures, biosecurity arrangements and the plants they grow.
  3. Make sure that imported plants both originate from, and are sourced from, disease free areas. Details on infected areas are found at:http://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/plant_health_biosecurity/legislation/emergency_measures/index_en.htm.
  4. Maintain records of pesticide treatments and destroy old or unusable plants.
  5. Comply with the UK national requirements to notify the UK Plant Health Service about certain species of plants under the ‘EU Plant and Tree notification scheme’.

For trade guidance and information about Xylella priority hosts, follow the links from this page:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-plant-health-topical-issues#new-eu-emergency-measures-against-xylella-fastidiosa-a-bacterial-disease-of-plants

The authorities have also identified six High Risk plants:https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/assets/uploads/Xylella-host-info-note-version3.pdf

For more information about plant passports and keeping updated with legislation:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/plant-health-controls

For more information about plant health: https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/ or contact: planthealth.info@apha.gsi.gov.uk, 01904 40138.

GCA North Thames award winners announced

The Garden Centre Association on Thursday, July 27 unveiled its winners for the North Thames region during a presentation at Ayletts Nurseries in Hertfordshire.

Perrywood Garden Centre picked up the award for Garden Centre of the Year in the Destination Garden Centre (DGC) category while Sunshine Garden Centre picked up the accolade in the Garden Centre (GC) category.

Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “Our North Thames regional awards made for a very enjoyable evening for all in attendance and it was great to see the garden centre teams be rewarded for all of the hard work they have put in this year. “Ayletts Nurseries was the perfect host for the evening and Inspector Gordon Emslie’s findings, which he presented on the night, were extremely interesting.”

The ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant went to Poplars Garden Centre (DGC) and Thurrock Garden Centre (GC).

The Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre was awarded to Marlows Home & Garden Centre.

Iain added: “We will now have a break before the final regional awards evening for Scotland and Northern Ireland, which takes place on September 7 at Klondyke Mayfield.”

The full results for the North Thames region GCA area awards are as follows for the GC and DGC categories:

Garden Centre of the Year: Sunshine Garden Centre (GC) and Perrywood Garden Centre (DGC)

Customer Service Award for Best Customer Service: Sunshine Garden Centre

Environment and Community Award for Best Environmental Practice: Squires Garden Centre – Twickenham joint winner with Squires Garden Centre – Windsor

The Barton Grange Trophy for Innovation and Creativity: Perrywood Garden Centre

The Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre: Marlows Home & Garden Centre

The ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant: Thurrock Garden Centre (GC) and Poplars Garden Centre (DGC)

The GIMA Award for Best Garden Products Retailer: Sunshine Garden Centre (GC) and Ayletts Nurseries (DGC)

 Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer: Squires Garden Centre – Shepperton (GC) and Perrywood Garden Centre (DGC)

Best Outdoor Living Retailer: Squires Garden Centre – Shepperton (GC) and Altons Garden Centre (DGC)

Making a Buzz thanks to the National Lottery

We are delighted to announce we have been awarded £965,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to launch our Making a Buzz for the Coast project, which has been in its development stage. Thanks to National Lottery players who raised the money, we have been awarded a total of £1,077,900 (including development phase funding)! The project aims to secure the future of Kent’s bumblebees and other pollinating insects spanning 135 miles of Kent’s coastline from Dartford to Deal, starting in October 2017 until September 2020.

Making a Buzz for the Coast is an ambitious natural heritage project, which has been developed in partnership with several organisations, including Kent Wildlife Trust, Natural England, the RSPB and Kent County Council. Focusing on Kent’s wild pollinator populations, especially bumblebees and solitary bees, the aim of the Trust is to mobilise people in Kent to take action to protect these important pollinators.

The project’s three overarching themes, providing habitat, understanding populations and engaging communities and seven interlinked work strands will provide an enormous number of engagement, training and volunteering opportunities for the local community, and 400 hectares of bee-friendly habitat will be created, restored or improved for pollinators to help protect and link isolated populations. Kent has more bumblebee species than anywhere else in the UK and this coastline is a hotspot for rare bumblebees, including the Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum), which is one of the UK’s most threatened bumblebee species.

Making a Buzz for the Coast is fundamental to raising awareness about the importance of pollinators for Kent’s ecosystems, crops and local economy, as well as the special and rare species found along the Kent coast. Improvements to public greenspaces will make them more attractive to pollinators, whilst providing more opportunities for local people to enjoy and learn about wildlife.

BBCT Conservation Manager, Sam Page, said “Our vision is to inspire the people of Kent to take action for bumblebees and other wild pollinators. The Kent coast is a hotspot for some of the UK’s rarest and most threatened bumblebee species – but insect pollinators are also crucial to Kent’s local economy and fruit industry. Through this exciting landscape-scale partnership project, we aim to safeguard Kent’s bumblebee populations into the future.

Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East said: “We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, this project can now get off the ground to secure the future of some of the UK’s most rare bee populations. This pivotal project is sure to create a buzz amongst Kent’s communities with all the exciting opportunities on offer and we hope it will mobilise people to get involved and help to protect the natural environments on their doorstep.

We would like to extend our thanks to the John Ellerman Foundation, Dulverton Trust, Clark Bradbury Charitable Trust, Schroder Charity Trust, Thames Water, Kent County Council, RG Hills Charitable Trust and Chapman Charitable Trust for their contributions. In addition, we would also like to extend a huge thank you to our members, following their donations to last year’s summer appeal, which means this exciting project is now fully funded!

GCA’s South Thames area winners revealed

The winners of the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) South Thames regional awards were revealed during a presentation evening yesterday (Wednesday, July 26, 2017) at Castle Gardens in Dorset.

The title of Garden Centre of the Year in the Destination Garden Centre (DGC) category was awarded to Haskins Garden Centre – Roundstone and the Garden Centre (GC) category award went to Squires Garden Centre – Hersham.

Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “This was our fourth regional awards meeting of the month and it was a great success. I’d like to offer thanks to Castle Gardens for being brilliant hosts and congratulate all our very deserving award-winners, who were inspected by Michael Cole.

“Other awards on the night included The Barton Grange Trophy for Innovation and Creativity, which was awarded to Haskins Garden Centre – Roundstone and the Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre, which went to Hillier Garden Centre – Braishfield.

“We’re now looking forward to the penultimate regional awards night for the North Thames area tonight at Ayletts Nurseries in Hertfordshire. The final awards night will take place on September 7 at Klondyke Mayfield to announce the Scotland and Northern Ireland area award winners.”

The full results for the South Thames region GCA area awards are as follows for the GC and DGC categories:

Garden Centre of the Year: Squires Garden Centre – Hersham (GC) and Haskins Garden Centre – Roundstone (DGC)

Customer Service Award for Best Customer Service: Haskins Garden Centre – Ferndown

Environment and Community Award for Best Environmental Practice: Stewarts Garden Centre – Christchurch

The Barton Grange Trophy for Innovation and Creativity: Haskins Garden Centre – Roundstone

The Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre: Hillier Garden Centre – Braishfield

The ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant: Squires Garden Centre – Hersham (GC) and Haskins Garden Centre – Southampton (DGC) joint winner with Chessington Garden Centre (DGC)

The GIMA Award for Best Garden Products Retailer: Squires Garden Centre – Hersham (GC) and Haskins Garden Centre – Roundstone (DGC)

 Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer: Squires Garden Centre – Hersham (GC) and Ruxley Manor Garden Centre (DGC)

Best Outdoor Living Retailer: Squires Garden Centre – Long Ditton (GC) and Stewarts Garden Centre – Christchurch (DGC) joint winner with Haskins Garden Centre – Roundstone (DGC)

The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide. Through sharing information and its inspection programme the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.

GCA award winners announced for Midlands area

Members of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) yesterday (Tuesday, July 25, 2017) received awards for the Midlands region at a presentation hosted by Planters Garden Centre – Tamworth.

Webbs, Wychbold was awarded Garden Centre of the Year in the Destination Garden Centre (DGC) category and Fairways Garden Centre – Ashbourne picked up the accolade in the Garden Centre (GC) category.

Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “A great night was had by all in attendance at our third regional awards evening and the awards are testament to the dedication, hard work and effort put in by all of the garden centre teams.

“A big ‘thank you’ goes to Planters Garden Centre – Tamworth for hosting the shindig and to Inspector Alyson Haywood, who presented her findings on the night.

“Other awards on the night included the Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre, which went to Webbs, West Hagley and the Customer Service Award for Best Customer Service, which was awarded to Webbs, Wychbold.”

The next regional awards meeting for South Thames, will take place at Castle Gardens in Sherborne, Dorset this evening.

The full results for the Midlands region GCA area awards are as follows for the GC and DGC categories:

Garden Centre of the Year: Fairways Garden Centre – Ashbourne (GC) and Webbs, Wychbold (DGC)

Customer Service Award for Best Customer Service: Webbs, Wychbold

Environment and Community Award for Best Environmental Practice: Fairways Garden Centre – Ashbourne

The Barton Grange Trophy for Innovation and Creativity: Fairways Garden Centre – Ashbourne

The Dick Allen Award for Most Improved Centre: Webbs, West Hagley

The ifse Award for Catering Excellence for Best Garden Centre Restaurant: Fairways Garden Centre – Ashbourne (GC) and Webbs, Wychbold (DGC)

The GIMA Award for Best Garden Products Retailer: Fairways Garden Centre – Ashbourne (GC) and Webbs, Wychbold (DGC)

Best Indoor Lifestyle Retailer: Stratford Garden Centre (GC) and Webbs, Wychbold (DGC)

Best Outdoor Living Retailer: Stratford Garden Centre (GC) and Webbs, Wychbold (DGC)

Rising Stars shortlist announced

Westland_Rising_Stars_LogoThere was friendly rivalry at both the Westland/GCA Rising Stars North and South masterclass earlier this month, when all presented the results of their projects to the group, showing they have driven sales across spring as a result of their learning.

A total of 12 made it through to the third and final masterclass in October where they will bid for a place in the final, taking place at the GCA Conference in Stratford-upon- Avon from January 21-24.

Keith Nicholson, Marketing Director from Westland Horticulture said: “This is the time of year when the competition really starts! Already the Rising Stars are achieving big successes for their garden centres and this will only continue as we move into the third and final stage.”

The final candidates (in no particular order) are:

Northern Group 

1.Andreea Robertson – GardenWise

2.Jack Moyers – Barton Grange

3.Jayne Scott – Klondyke Daleside

4.Sarah Postlethwaite – Fron Goch

5.Emma Blackmore – Bents

Southern Group 

1.Mathylda Mucha – Millbrook

2.Jack Shilley – RHS Wisley

3.Tora Cook – Perrywood

4.Clark Lambert – Garsons Titchfield

5.Lisa Collingbourne – Squires Twickenham

6.Alexander Cawley – Squires Stanmore

7.Samantha Davis – Haskins

Ian Wylie, Chief Executive of the Garden Centre Association said: “The Rising Stars Programme is all about developing the talent in the garden centre industry for its continued success. It is great to see them already putting their new found knowledge into practice at their own garden centres with great success.”

Ian Boardman, IBBIS director and training facilitator for the group said: “The standard was very high – with lots of learning and many examples of large sales increases. Managing time and communication became the secrets to doing well in their projects.”

Raffia – From Madagascar to Scotland

Nutscene not only specialise in jute twines – but we also import a vast range of Raffia from Madagascar! But what is Raffia? Well the short answer is… Raffia is a natural wonder!

Raffia is a natural fibre and is commonly used in the UK in crafting projects, twines, ropes, shoes, hats and other textiles. The Fibre itself is created from the underside of the frond leaf. Also known as Raffia Palm, this native to Madagascar possesses large plume-like leaves that are utilised within a variety of industries and is a major part of the south Asian economy. The tree has been said to harness over 800 uses, with the leaves used in thatching, construction, mats, baskets, fans and hats! The tree is so valuable to this area that in Cambodia the tree is seen as a national symbol! Nutscene’s Raffia is created from the Palmyra Palm Tree and we have proudly supplied the nation with Raffia for over 25 years!

First and foremost, Raffia is created from sustainable sources. The Palmyra Palm Tree is part of the Borassus family, which consists of five giant fan palms which are native to the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and New Guinea. It is the stocks of the Palmyra leaves that create what we call Raffia. These stocks are essentially stripped to create a long, thin fibre which can then be dyed and woven into a textile! Pretty impressive for a palm tree stem!

Within the Island of Madagascar, the palms are harvested deep inside the forest. The colourful raffia that we all know actually starts life pale green in colour, but soon after harvest, dries out and turns beige in colour. The strands or fibres are then transported to a sorting warehouse where they are ‘sorted’ and broken down into category. Categories include: colour, length, width and texture.

This natural Raffia is the put into ‘Raffia Hanks’, spools or balls and subsequently dyed to the relevant colour before they are dispatched. The Raffia process is one that is time consuming, though the local expertise and knowledge ensure only the finest Raffia is exported from the Island. This resource is sustainable as strict laws limit the harvest period of Raffia, ensuring that it can only be harvested from June to October each year. This ensures that the plant can re-grow to its full strength prior to it undertaking any damage. Under these ideal tropical growing conditions, the plants grow at an extensive rate, though the local populace treat the tree with the utmost respect as it is a major contributor to their economy.

As well as being a popular crafting accessory, Raffia is also useful in and around the garden as the natural fibres are very gentle when tying back plants and can be utilised as an alternative to conventional jute twines. The natural fibres are very soft and pliable, yet incredibly strong, durable and easy to manipulate! It is for these reasons that Raffia is largely used in the textile industry and is a first choice for many flower and vegetable growers! Raffia is subsequently used for agricultural purposes and feature prominently in vineyards, gardens and florists.

Raffia is also a first choice for many aspiring crafters. The attributes that are associated with Raffia are that of a strong, durable, flexible yet soft binding material. Furthermore, Raffia is also utilised by companies for packaging purposes. The fibre is extremely popular and is often used as filler in boutique goods such as fine whiskies, oils, jams, wines or even soaps! The rustic look of the product provides high aesthetic value to boutique goods and preservatives. It really can help enhance the packaging and look of your goods! Additionally, Raffia is also a favourite in gift-wrapping!

Nutscene Raffia – More than one use…

Our Raffia’s are used for a variety of purposes – some a little stranger than others! When Nutscene recently attended the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we came across a trio of ladies who disclosed that they actually were rather partial to eating Raffia! Or at least they were when they were in school! But nonetheless, we certainly do not endorse nor recommend the consumption of Raffia – a natural product or not! In all the years that we have sold our Raffia, we have never heard of anyone eating it – it’s quite remarkable that we simultaneously bumped into 3 ladies who all had this rather strange guilty pleasure! For more on Nutscene’s Raffia visit: https://nutscene.com/products/nutscene-raffia

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.

COULD IT BE YOU?

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 https://www.facebook.com/BCTGA/ 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.”