Hillview expects to add two more garden centres this year

Boyd Douglas-Davies' Hillview Group is expecting to add to its 11 centres in 2017.

Boyd Douglas-Davies of Hillview Group
Boyd Douglas-Davies of Hillview Group

Douglas-Davies said 2017 had started well, with soft play areas helping footfall core garden sales at half term.

He said on a recent trip to Italy his focus had been on instant garden plants such as £20 photinias and 6ft cane wisterias.

Hillview Group is marketing 'Britpots' in 2017 as a best of British collection, supplemented with highlights from Europe. This includes Wyevale Nurseries, Hawkesmill and Bransfords stock, including winter ranges.

He said: "We're going to revitalise British branding in March. There's definite consumer awareness. Everyone likes to buy British. The British brand has value."

Hillview's cafe at Studley as recently opened and £1m has been spent across the centres in the last year.

Douglas-Davies said: "The idea is to keep upgrading and acquiring. I'd like to think we'll buy another couple of centres this year and continue at that pace."

He founded the annual Garden Re-Leaf day, which is on 17 March this year, and said £140,000 was raised in 2016. In 2017 there will be more 24 hour plant-athons, a Greenfingers charity walk from Scotsdales on 17 March, and other events on the day.

The charity plans to create seven more children's gardens in 2017-18. New gardens at St Andrew's Hospice in Grimsby, Robin House in Balloch and Noah's Ark in Barnet are planned subject to funds.

Garden centres bought recently include Abbey Garden Centre in Titchfield, Hampshire sold to Stewarts Garden Centres, Woodborough was sold to Whitehall and Scotland Nurseries to Hillview.

Meanwhile, a garden centre and nursery on the outskirts of Ripon has obtained permission to develop a café at the site alongside outdoor seating and children's play area. Larkhill Nurseries, owned by F Tate and Sons, occupies a six-acre site off the B6265. The business has now secured approval from Harrogate Borough Council for a planned expansion designed by Studio 4.

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