'Cut your own' and other trends for 2011

Predictions for 2011?

Grow your own continues to dominate the thoughts of garden-centre owners, but the next big thing could be 'cut your own', with gardeners growing traditional blooms for arrangements such as dahlias, gladioli and Sweet William. Taylors Bulbs and Bransford Webbs are among those suppliers capitalising on gardeners who want to beat the florists next summer.

There will be a lot of talk about recession, but probably little impact on garden retailers. Speaking of which, more action from Dobbies is on the cards, with four opening in early 2011, at Braehead, near Glasgow and Houstoun Mains, near Livingston. In England, Dobbies is proposing new outlets at Orton Grange, near Carlisle and at Ashford in Kent. Another, in Cheshire, is planned.

Italian plants. The exchange rate has meant British plants have been cheaper than continental specimens for a couple of years. But sterling is strengthening, so overseas plants have more appeal. Monty Don returns to prime-time BBC TV with Great Gardens Of Italy in February (and to Gardeners' World). Mediterranean plant specialist Olive Grove Nurseries opened in 2010 and is already set for expansion.

At Chelsea, coastal gardens will be a theme, including one from Homebase. B&Q will back the tallest Chelsea garden ever.

North One Garden Centre's Paul Holt is probably the only "creative director" working in garden retail. He says heirloom garden antiques such as rhubarb forcers and old bell cloches will be big in the boutique market. This mirrors the revival in old varieties such as Mr Fothergill's Vegetable Explorer range. Holt studies trend forecast magazine Mix and says dusty blues and purples are the in colours. He adds that faux floral motifs and botanical references will cross over into mainstream home wares as part of the "botanica" trend.

Finally, GIMA director Neil Gow says British-made is going to reach an all-time high, with the Royal wedding on 29 April part of four bank holidays in a fortnight that could signal a sales bonanza for centres.

Matthew Appleby, editor, matthew.appleby@haymarket.com.

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