Al Fresco Fortnight to launch at garden centres

The 'Al Fresco Fortnight' event, part of the Love the Plot You've Got campaign, starts on Father's Day, 19 June.

The event aims to get as many people as possible eating outside at least once over the two-week period which also covers the summer solstice, allowing for the optimum number of daylight hours in which to be outside. Organisers Garland PR say "hundreds" of garden centres have downloaded material to promote events.

Marketing materials have been made freely available to promote the event nationwide, as retailers, suppliers and manufacturers of horticulture and outdoor furniture prepare to take part in the event.  The industry and consumers alike are being encouraged to host their own Al Fresco events and share on social media tagging @goeatalfresco and using the hashtag #alfrescofortnight.  

Chris Day from Buckingham Garden Centre, which will be running daily offers throughout Al Fresco Fortnight said: "The purpose of this event is very simple: by showing people how much fun they can have eating and socialising outside, it will get them using their outside space more and in turn they will want to improve their patio, roof terrace or garden.

"It’s not about making major changes as there are lots of different small things people can do to enhance their outside space – from hanging new lights to going potty with planters to updating their garden furniture.

"If people are stuck for ideas or would like some advice, they can visit the website or simply pop along to their local garden centre where the staff will be happy to help."

Cleeve Nursery have teamed up with the Big Green Egg BBQ Company who are holding a demo with product sampling on Father’s Day.  Alan Down, partner, said: "This event is a great evolution of Love Your Plot, it is something tangible that the industry can get behind.  It also comes at a time when we are less busy, and hopefully will give us momentum to continue to drive footfall through garden centres and engage with a younger potential audience."

Neil Grant, managing director of Ferndale Garden Centre, said: "For families, the garden is part of the home and eating outside is fun.  The long days and warm afternoons are ideal for bringing friends and family together.

"June is often the first real time many families get out into their gardens, and a few planted containers on the patio lifts a BBQ to your own mini summer festival!  Al Fresco Fortnight is a great opportunity to extend the season and reach younger garden users with tempting offers and simple ideas." 

Keith Nicholson, chair of the Garden Industry Marketing Board and marketing director at Westland Horticulture, said: "It is fantastic to see how the industry has embraced this event with a variety of on and offline offers to entice customers through the door. It’s such a simple, yet effective concept – inspiring customers to enjoy their outside space simply by eating in it!

"We believe that by eating outside this all-important consumer group will look at their outdoor space and start thinking about how they want to improve it. This is the all important first step to becoming a regular garden centre visitor."

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