He said: "The industry has never had a better opportunity for growing plant sales. The market's growing - let's take advantage of it." Shepherd added that housebuilding is rising and more new varieties are coming through, with containers the consumer preference for growing plants.
Ball Colegrave's summer showcase, which continues to 29 July, has a themed garden centre installation aimed at retailers to give them display inspiration. Shepherd said rather than having rows of plants, the showcase offered inspiration to retailers and consumers.
Top plants showcased include the Grand Daisy, Bidens 'Bee Alive', Verbena Enduroscape, Petunia Tumbelina in blue, Begonia Northern Lights and Begonia Shooting Star.
Pan American Seed product development director Scott Rusch said durability was the most important attribute new plants needed, because of changes in weather that includes more flooding and drought. Rusch recommended plants such as calibrachoa, interspecific dianthus and impatiens alternatives such as Sunpatiens and Bounce.
Former GCA inspector Alyson Haywood, now at Van Hage, said indoor-style displays could work outide rather than "bring, flat benches", adding that her plant display philosophy was to "keep it simple sweetie" with colour blocking.
See more in next edition of Horticulture Week.