The garden industry: a look back at 2014's biggest developments

Garden centres and nurseries saw consolidation and some sales growth in 2014, with Wyevale Garden Centres, Solus, John Woods and Roundstone making headlines.

January:

  • Retailers put back bedding stocking a fortnight to Easter after big wastage in the cold spring of 2013, which worked out well given the rainy start to 2014.
  • Notcutts bought Garden Pride.
  • Kelkay bought Borderstone.
  • GCA 2013 retail sales were up 3.68 per cent. HTA said sales were up six per cent.
  • The EU attempted to implement Plant Reproductive Material legislation –but failed.
  • Seed and plant companies linked to WW1 charities for poppy promotions.
  • Thompson & Morgan left TV shopping channel QVC for Ideal Shopping Direct.
  • RHS appoints David Morley from John Lewis to run its retail, gardens and shows.
  • Hillview Group buys Garden Store

February

  • Growers such as Earley Ornamentals installed biomass boilers.
  • Mail order bedding retailer Canny Gardener went into liquidation.
  • The Garden Centre Group installed WH Smith and Costa Coffee concessions and dropped concessions provider First Franchise.
  • Boningale bought Worfield Gardens.
  • Crest Garden and Smart Garden stepped up entry to the wholesale market.
  • QD Stores buys Early Dawn Nurseries to make it 10 garden centres.

March

  • Downward price pressure hit garden retailers.
  • Garden King Bradley closed.
  • March sales rocketed.
  • Waitrose expanded its garden pods, seeking 10 per cent of the market.
  • Garden Industry Marketing Board Love the Plot You’ve Got promoted.

April

  • Next opened two further Home and Garden stores.
  • B&Q launch coir ‘teabag’ bedding from Coletta & Tyson
  • Hillview Group buys Little Heath GC.

May

  • Garden Centre Group rebrands as Wyevale Garden Centres.
  • Strong plant sales lead to unfounded shortages worries.
  • Delamore and Volmary form partnership
  • GCA April sales up 16 per cent
  • Javado wins Chelsea Flower Show plant of the year for Hydrangea ‘Miss Saori’
  • Solus heads towards administration

June

  • GCA sales up 16 per cent by end of May
  • Garden centre construction takes off
  • Scotland independence vote worries sector
  • Notcutts pulls out of Waitrose Bagshot store plan

July

  • Defra launches ornamental round table
  • UK-grown call from cut flower growers
  • Scotts buys Solus out of administration
  • Fulham Palace GC for sale
  • Morden Hall GC taken over by National Trust

August

  • Wyevale Garden Centres revise growth strategy
  • HDC opens bedding centre at Baginton
  • Dobbies opens at Bar Hill within a Tesco

September

  • Christmas tree import prices dip
  • Bedding growing projections for 2015 down
  • Barton Grange to sell Garden Centre Plants as retailers divest growing arms
  • Peter Beales begins again after bereavements
  • Tim Clapp leaves Wyevale GCs to end mass shake-up of staff
  • Nottingham Aquatic Centre and Tall Trees Garden Centre goes into administration
  • Wyevale GCs buys Moreton Park GC

October

  • Redfields phase two opens
  • Garden centres rebrand as home and food retailers
  • Sinclair unveils Ellesmere Port ‘supersite’
  • John Woods undergoes CVA
  • Blue Diamond buys two Trelawney sites
  • Wyevale GCs buys Trelawney Ashford
  • Primrose increases turnover to £33m to become largest garden centre
  • Homebase decides to shut 80 stores, with many going to B&M, The Range and others.

November

  • Suttons Seeds undergoes management buy-out
  • Glendale Horticulture buys Mahood Bros assets, with Mahood Brothers later going into administration.
  • Neame Lea wins Tesco bedding contract from Cresco, which closes
  • NFU reveal retailers have not engaged with code of good buying practice
  • Newey Group take over Roundstone Nurseries

December

  • Wyevale Garden Centres buys Raglan and Podington and launches new catering concepts
  • Homegrown poinsettias production up 15 per cent
  • Will George retires from Prenplants
  • Wyevale GCs buys four Golden Acres Nurseries centres.
  • Garden centres see sales rise around eight per cent on 2014 on average as the year ends.

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