THE URBAN RAIN GARDEN SHINES AT RHS HAMPTON COURT PALACE FLOWER SHOW

The Urban Rain Garden has won a Silver Gilt medal at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Squire’s Garden Centres and Landform Consultantsjoined forces to present this stunning contemporary garden in the new RHS category ‘Gardens for a Changing World’, which reflects the more sustainable direction that gardening is taking worldwide.

The garden is designed by Rhiannon Williams, one of the youngest designers at the show aged just 23. It showcases clever rainwater management techniques, so that all rainwater and run-off from the house is redirected, stored and used within the garden. A really unusual feature of the design is that there is both a front and back garden with a walkway in-between. This allows show visitors a 360-degree view of the garden, giving it a very interactive feel. Natural stone supplied by London Stone and a stunning planting scheme goes to show that gardening can be sustainable without compromising on beauty.

Sarah Squire, Deputy Chairman at Squire’s commented; “It’s a beautiful garden, which is contemporary and sophisticated, and it is also thought-provoking, as it addresses the issues of climate change and sustainability. Planting is zoned to deal with varying water levels within the garden, using a subtle colour palette of purples, greens, yellows and whites. The garden is a very relaxing space to be in, and the craftsmanship and execution is second to none.”

Designer Rhiannon Williams said of her medal; “I couldn’t be more thrilled. This has been a fantastic experience from start to finish and the team has been amazing. I always wanted to create spaces that are beautiful, functional and inspirational and The Urban Rain Garden will hopefully do just that. My aim was to demonstrate how designed interventions, both small and large, can be incorporated into our gardens, to allow us to adopt a more sustainable approach to water management.”

You can visit The Urban Rain Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show from 3rd-9th July.

616 Plants, Three Hours, One Garden – Celebrity Gardener Danny Clarke Accepts the Challenge

Honda (UK) will kick-off its appearance at next week’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show with a live challenge which will see Danny Clarke, aka ‘The Black Gardener’, tasked with creating a nine square-metre vertical installation, made up of 616 plants, in no more than three hours.

Danny’s brief is to create a design based on his interpretation of Honda’s ‘Engineering for Life’ philosophy. The challenge will begin on the Honda stand (HC535) at 11.30am on Tuesday 4th July, with a strict cut-off of 2.30pm to complete the unique installation.

Danny’s canvas for the day will be a 3m x 3m wall-mounted display of 77 Vertigarden planters (www.vertigarden.co.uk), in 11 rows of seven, each accommodating eight 9-10cm pot plants. Once complete, the display will stay in place throughout the duration of the show, with Danny’s creation kept perfectly intact by Vertigarden’s in-built irrigation system.

Danny Clarke comments: “I love a challenge, and this is the ideal brief for me as it perfectly illustrates my mantra that no matter how little time, space or budget you have, you can still create a beautiful garden. I’ve had a lot of fun already in creating a design based on my interpretation of Engineering for Life, and all will be revealed by 3.30 on Tuesday (I hope!).”

Steve Morris, Head of Honda (UK) Power Products comments: “Danny is perfect for this challenge, having worked with him on a number of projects over the last year, he is also a great fit for the Honda brand – not least because of his friendly, relaxed and down-to-earth manner but also his ability in making gardening accessible and sustainable. Our Engineering for Life philosophy encapsulates our engineering excellence, including outstanding reliability and durability, and Honda’s desire to produce quality, user-friendly products in the most sustainable way. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Danny’s interpretation of this is.”

Danny will also be appearing on the Honda stand each day throughout the show to meet and mingle with visitors from 2pm-4pm. All show-goers are warmly invited to come along and meet Danny, to see his creation in the flesh, and to hear first-hand how his design came about.

Away from fast-fit vertical gardens, Honda’s display at Hampton Court will also point to a smarter, cleaner and quieter vision for Lawn & Garden products, with robotic lawn mower Miimo headlining, alongside three ultra-convenient handy cordless products – a leaf blower, grass trimmer and hedge cutter – powered by a highly-advanced 56-volt lithium-ion battery. As an added incentive, anyone purchasing a Miimo at the Show will get a complimentary cordless lawn trimmer including battery and charger, while purchasers of any of the three cordless products will benefit from a free battery and charger.

Completing Honda’s line-up will be its range of premium petrol-driven lawn mowers, starting with the handy IZY range, through to high-end pedestrian models and lawn tractors. For more demanding domestic and professional users, Honda will also show its high-performance four-stroke hedge trimmers and brushcutters.

Honda will be running its popular Tidy offer campaign throughout the Show with savings up to £400 off selected products, and all purchases on the stand will receive a free pair of Briers gardening gloves. The Garden Discovery Trail will once again be running where participants will uncover the secrets and stories behind Honda’s product development and Engineering for Life philosophy to be in with a chance of winning a £1,000 e-voucher for Honda’s official online store.

Follow @HondaUKPower on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up-to-date with all the latest news on Honda’s power products or visit http://www.honda.co.uk/lawn-and-garden.html for further information on Honda’s lawn & garden range.

HOORAY FOR HASKINS WHO HAVE RAISED A STAGGERING…

Adrenaline junkie Conna Powles, buying director at Haskins Garden Centre, will be attempting a wing walk to raise money for Greenfingers Charity on Sunday July 2. Initially setting out to raise £1,000 to help build gardens for children spending time in hospices across the UK, Conna has been overwhelmed by support and is currently set to donate £4611.69!

Talking about her forthcoming Greenfingers Charity challenge, Conna said, “I like to complete a challenge or host an event every year for a cancer charity, having lost my brother recently and my sister is in remission. To date I’ve completed a parachute jump, an abseil and The Moonwalk and I now just need to tick off wing walking. After watching a video about the benefits children and families get from having a beautiful space to go to, Greenfingers Charity seemed the obvious choice to support.”

Greenfingers Charity are also delighted to receive a further £5,945 from Haskins Garden Centres, of which £2945 was donated from the stores 5p carrier bag tax. Head Office cake sales and raffles across all four centres topped the figure up.

To support Conna and her ambitious wing walk please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/

Father and Son-flower growers

This week is British Flowers Week, early sunflowers are harvested for Waitrose, by a father and sons team in the Lincolnshire Fens, near Spalding. Henry and Charles Robinson are the sixth generation of flower growers, working on their 147 year old family farm, with their father Richard. The Robinson’s farm has 420 acres of sunflower fields, with the growers picking eight to nine million stems a year. They also grow sweet Williams for the supermarket, which has a long standing commitment to supporting British growers. During the summer months, 60% of the flowers Waitrose sell are sourced from British farms.

Waitrose Horticulture Buyer, Lucy Matthewson, says, “Sunflowers are a true sign that summer is here and we’re lucky to work with such dedicated British growers to offer our shoppers an abundance of homegrown flowers. And what could be more surprising than treating Dad this Father’s Day to some colourful blooms, grown by a father and his sons?”

Photo credit: Fiona Hanson/Waitrose

Says sunflower grower, Henry Robinson, “Growing flowers for us is not just a job, it’s a passion. We never get bored of seeing our fields of sunflowers. We pick the stems when they are five to six feet tall and by the time they arrive at Waitrose, they’ll be ready to open, showing off their magnificently cheerful yellow colour. I’m due to be a father for a second time this weekend and so this Father’s Day will be extra special for my family.”

British Flowers Week starts next week, running from 19th to 25th June.

Steph McGovern to host HTA Garden Futures Conference 2017

Garden retail – the great escape – is the theme for this year’s HTA Garden Futures Conference and Dinner, which takes place on Wednesday 4 October at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire. This one day conference and dinner is aimed at all those from across the garden industry from business owners to directors and managers.

The theme of this year’s one-day strategic event reflects the role of both gardens and garden centres as an escape and focuses on the benefits, positive role and unique opportunities that this provides for the industry.

This year’s event will be hosted by award winning broadcaster Steph McGovern from Breakfast News. Steph has been working in financial journalism for over 13 years and has been part of the BBC Breakfast family for the last five. Steph travels all over the UK to cover economic and business news for the BBC and since joining Breakfast has broadcast live from over 500 businesses. On top of this Steph regularly stands-in as a main presenter on Breakfast and this year launched two new shows, a primetime BBC One programme called ‘Shop Well For Less’ and a children’s TV show ‘Pocket Money Pitch’ for CBBC. This autumn Steph will also be joining the presenting team on BBC One’s ‘Watchdog’.

Also, joining the programme is Rachel Lund from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Rachel heads up the BRC’s Insight and Analytics team, and is responsible for all of the BRC’s data gathering and market analysis activities including the Retail Sales and Footfall Monitors.

Josh McBain from the Foresight Factory will present on The Ageless Society demonstrating how the changing demographic provides huge opportunity for the garden industry with a big focus on experiences rather than material objects.

In a session sponsored by Fiskars, botanist, science writer and broadcaster James Wong will be speaking about the role of merchandising and the way in which garden centres can utilise cross-category merchandising to help illustrate the benefit of plants.  This picks up findings from his most recent TV programme ‘The Secrets of your Food” where James looked at how plants and plant science underpin the food that we eat.

Following on from the Retail Lab @ Glee there will be a Retail Lab @ Garden Futures panel session providing the opportunity to find out more about how retailers can make the most of this feature which showcases innovative ways of illustrating lifestyle themes.

Look out for further details about speakers over the coming months.

Make sure you don’t miss out! Book your place now at www.hta.org.uk/gardenfutures

For further information about sponsorship opportunities at the conference and dinner please contact Tim Bell, HTA Commercial Manager Tel: 07808 775 177 Email: tim.bell@hta.org.uk or Phil Swainston, HTA Commercial Sales Executive Tel: 07783 625 037. Email: phil.swainston@hta.org.uk

GIMA Golf & Activity Day Round Up

Last week, suppliers and retailers from the garden retail industry came together for a day of fun, team building and networking at the GIMA Charity Golf & Activity Day, raising much needed funds for Greenfingers and St.Richard’s Hospice.

The 2017 event marked the first time that Kwik Cricket and the Laser Clay Shooting Challenge were added to the mix, opening the event up for more industry colleagues to get out from behind their desks for a day of team building and fun.

In total 17 teams entered the annual golf competition, and another two completed the rivalry over on the Kwik Cricket and Shooting pitches.

On the golf course, the biggest prize on the day was over the 18 holes. It was a fiercely fought competition but it was the team from Grange Fencing who retained their winner’s title, taking home the trophy for the second year running. Coming up a close second was Smart Garden’s A-team, with the Mr Fothergills team following behind in third position.

As always, the golfers had not just their handicap to beat, but a number of other prizes up were for grabs keeping the competitive juices flowing. The winners of all the prizes from the golf course included Steve Harper, James Mitchell, James Parr, Steve Ainscough, Simon Neat, Jerry Walker, Phil Swainston and Raoul Curtis Machin, who all successfully beat the pro. Each of these lucky winners took home a voucher for a ‘four-ball’ at Telford Golf and Country Club.

There were also several spot prizes available, the winners of each receiving a bottle of champagne and sleeve of golf balls. The winners were:

  • Nearest Pin 3rd Hole – Pete Bunker
  • Nearest Pin 11th Hole – Chris Owen
  • Nearest Pin 16th Hole – Andy Bestwick
  • Nearest Pin in 2, 8th Hole – James Mitchell
  • Longest Drive 14th Hole – Dave Kearsley
  • Straightest Drive 18th Hole – Derek Bunker

The competition was equally fierce over on the Kwik Cricket and Shooting pitches in Lilleshall, the cricket club of Colin Wetherley Mein of Vitax. The first time these events have been added to the roster, participants were unsure to begin with but quickly discovered their talents for both the cricket and laser shooting. Like the golf, these events also included a sense of friendly competition with Andrew Peers winning the shooting challenge, and a team made up of colleagues from Cadix, Kelkay, Glee, Bathgate and PetQuip winning the overall challenge.

Vicky Nuttall

Aside from the fun, there was also a serious element to the day, and that was to raise funds for two most deserving charities – Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice, the latter being selected as GIMA’s 2017 charity by GIMA president, Chris Ramsden. The total fund raised will be revealed at the GIMA Awards on July 13th, Celtic Manor.

Talking about the Golf & Activity Day, Vicky Nuttall, GIMA Director said: “What another fantastic event. The weather may have been a tad unpredictable but nothing we aren’t all used to! It was so great to see so many retailers and suppliers coming together for a day of networking, friendly competition and fun. I’m sure Greenfingers and St Richard’s Hospice are going to be overjoyed by the endless generosity of all those that attended.

“Our thanks go to everyone who attended, as well as all the staff at the Telford Hotel & Golf Resort, and Lilleshall Cricket Club. Here’s to next year!”

 

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT APPOINTMENT AT MR FOTHERGILL’S SEEDS

Matt Jackson has joined Mr Fothergill’s as Business Development Manager. This is a new role and Matt will work with the key garden centre groups and collaborate closely with the field sales teams. He comes to the Suffolk seedsman after 12 years in the garden centre supply trade and brings great experience to the position.

Matt said: “I am delighted to be joining Mr Fothergill’s to team up with their accomplished sales force. There are exciting plans for the future and I hope to contribute my part to the full!”

In his personal life, Matt enjoys travelling and sport. He has run over 100 road races in the past including two trips around the London Marathon course. He is now concentrating more on road cycling and has ambition to complete the severely testing, mountainous, Etape du Tour race in France. He is also a Manchester United season ticket holder but the company hasn’t held that against him!

GRANGE STRENGTHENS MARKETING TEAM WITH TWO NEW APPOINTMENTS

Leading garden structures company, Grange Fencing has boosted its marketing team with the appointment of two dedicated team members.

With over 15 years of marketing experience, CIM-qualified Mark Morris has been appointed marketing manager at Grange Fencing and will be responsible for ensuring continuous progression across all aspects of the company’s marketing and communications strategy. Mark will be supported by recently appointed marketing executive Peter Holloway, who brings with him an in-depth knowledge of retail marketing and relationship management.

Commenting on his new position, Mark said, “ Grange Fencing is a well known and hugely respected name in the industry and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to be part of the company’s strategic planning. Grange is at an exciting stage in its development and I look forward to overseeing the company’s ambitious plans throughout the coming years.”

Mark and Peter will be joining Grange’s head of commercial, Rob Giles and marketing co-ordinator, Julie Hall to create a steadfast marketing team.  Of the recent developments, Rob said, “ We welcome Mark and Peter to the team and are confident that their experience and knowledge will be instrumental in bolstering Grange Fencing’s credibility as a market leader in its sector.

For more information about Grange Fencing and the company’s range of garden structures and fencing, visit www.grangefen.co.uk

SBM Signs Up to Back Greenfingers

After raising £3,150 for the Great Garden Re-Leaf 20 Mile Walk, SBM Life Science has formalised its support for Greenfingers, making it the company’s Charity of the Year.
The SBM Life Science team, which is responsible for the Phostrogen®, Baby Bio® Toprose and Provado® brands, will organise events and activities throughout the forthcoming year in aid of Greenfingers.
“The newly formed SBM Life Science organisation is delighted to pledge its support and partnership to further help the terrific work of the Greenfingers Charity,” said Darren Brown, Country Head, SBM Life Science Ltd.  “The entire UK SBM team is motivated to make a difference to this terrific industry relevant cause.”

 Linda Petrons, Head of Fundraising & Communications at Greenfingers Charity, said: “Following the team’s involvement in Garden Re-Leaf Day, we are delighted SBM Life Science has chosen to support Greenfingers as their Charity of the Year.  We very much looking forward to working together to bring the precious gift of a garden to more children, and their families, who spend time in hospices across the UK.”

From left to right: Linda Petrons, John Ashley (Chairman), Darren, Lisa Barrow (SBM National Account Manager).
Greenfingers is a charity dedicated to creating beautiful, well-designed outdoor spaces at children’s hospices for the children and their families and friends to benefit from and enjoy.
To date the Greenfingers Charity has created 52 inspiring gardens and outdoor spaces in hospices around the country, and is planning seven more, four of which should be completed in the next 12 months.  SBM Life Science’s support will contribute to this valuable work.

Westland winner donates part of his prize to grandchildren’s school

Westland winner Peter Knight from Taunton has donated part of his £1,000 prize to his grandchildren’s primary school to use in its garden.

Peter was one of the first to win a competition held by Westland to celebrate the 15th anniversary of its No.1 selling compost, Westland Multi-Purpose Compost with John Innes.

He bought the compost at his local garden centre, Monkton Elm in Taunton, which is where he also collected his prize. He spent the money on a few gardening supplies for his own garden, donating the rest to North Newton Community Primary School, which his grandchildren Sophie (8) and Harry (5) attend.

The school will spend the money to enhance a garden for early years’ pupils, which is used to help children connect to nature and to give an understanding as to where flowers, vegetables and fruit come from.

David said: “I always buy Westland Multi-Purpose with John Innes as it’s a good quality compost that delivers consistent results. As a gardener myself, I feel it’s really important that we teach the younger generation how to get outside and grow. My grandchildren love their school garden and so I knew this would be a worthwhile way to spend part of the prize money.

Peter with trolley

“I have given the school an Olive Tree, which is what they wanted, a pot for it, compost (Westland of course!), and some play sand. For my own garden I have bought a few plants, a selection of Westland products and some tools I always wanted, and I’ve saved some vouchers for further items throughout the year.”

Westland also donated £150 worth of Kent & Stowe hand tools for the school which will be arriving in the coming weeks.

Jen Richardson, Senior Marketing Manager for Westland said: “We ran this promotion to celebrate the success of our popular Multi with JI compost which celebrates its 15th birthday this year. It’s been a highly profitable promotion for retailers, generating a 22% increase in sales so far. We will also be using PR to generate publicity around the winners as an added benefit for retailers.”

Contact your Westland Sales Rep to order in the celebratory 50L and 60L packs. The 3 competition winners for April were:

 Peter Knight, who bought from Monkton Elm Garden Centre in Taunton

 Julie Shaw who bought from Homebase in Huntingdon

 Sue Ainsworth who bought from Sycamore Garden Centre in Ellesmere Port