B&Q's Tim Clapp highlights confusing horticultural terms as potential barriers to new gardeners

Speaking at GroSouth, the B&Q plant buyer and Kingfisher head of range said terms such as herbaceous were off-putting for inexperienced gardeners.

B&Q head of range, Tim Clapp
B&Q head of range, Tim Clapp

Hardy, deciduous, ericaeous, shrubs, perennials, evergreen, herbaceous, annual, AGM and mulch are all terms that we potentially "need to ban" said Clapp.

In a speech on what the customers wants from garden retail plant sales, Clapp played a Radio 4 You and Yours broadcast in which an inexperienced gardener spoke of her confusion and lack of success gardening. Clapp says he plays the recording at all his meetings.

He said these gardeners want their garden to look nice, want to be successful, want it to be easy and want to make small effort but get big rewards.

Clapp said bugbears were using Latin, there being 65,000 plants in the RHS Plantfinder, that expert advice is necessary and things are named in a difficult to understand language. This overwhelms the "iPad generation".

He said the solution was innovation, bombproof plants, simple solutions, plant and forget, and no instruction plants.

Clapp added that of 20 shortlisted plants at Chelsea Flower Show's inaugural new plant of the year in 2010, a show of hands of the audience showed only four were grown much now.

As well as too many new plants, he said there was not enough garden testing, not enough asking what is beneficial to the consumer and too much focus on novelty.

He suggested there were not enough grown of popular new plants, such as Chelsea winners. Farplants Nick Richards said he produced 30,000 of a new plant for the garden centre market.

Clapp said gardening was to newcomers as wine was to gardeners - "a language which means nothing to people".

At GroSouth, best stand went to Blue Ribbon, most innovative product to Macpac's letterbox plant packaging and feature award to Rick McKeever's USP Creation's Wonderwall.

See more in next issue of Horticulture Week.

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