Industry stars hailed at top awards events

Leading figures from across both the garden industry and the landscape and amenity sectors gathered earlier this week to watch the very best among their peers pick up coveted awards at the premier annual awards events run by Horticulture Week and sister-title Garden Retail.

First up, on Monday night, were finalists in the Garden Retail Awards, hosted by Garden Retail editor Matthew Appleby and held at London's prestigious Grosvenor House hotel. Among the winners receiving awards in front of more than 300 garden industry guests were Sue Allen, chairman of Millbrook Garden Company, who won the 2009 Lifetime Achievement award.

Another big winner was Scotsdales Garden Centre, which picked up the award for Retail Outlet of the Year - Over £3m Turnover for the third year in succession. Perth's Glendoick Garden Centre, meanwhile, took the honour for Retail Outlet of the Year - Under £3m Turnover.

It was also a big night for Whitehall Garden Centre, which won the new Best Online Retailer category for its new website and also took the Best Customer Service award.

Langlands took the hotly contested Best Catering Facilities award for its restaurant, which aims to source as much food as possible locally and to cook it fresh.

Caroline Owen, incoming president of the awards' headline sponsor the HTA, addressed the event, as did Appleby.

Congratulating all the finalists, Appleby told the audience that while garden centres had weathered the recession better than ordinary retailers through a combination of the weather, grow-your-own and a high-quality shopping experience, there was no room for complacency with concerns over environmental issues, choice and price still high.

On Tuesday, it was time for the Horticulture Week Landscape & Amenity Awards hosted by HW editor Kate Lowe - again held at the Grosvenor House hotel.

More than 300 leading figures from the sector came to see the very best in their industry pick up awards - including Fira Landscape, which picked up the Best Use of Plants in the Landscape award for the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea.

Quadron Services picked up two awards - for Contractor of the Year - Grounds Care and the Partnering Award for its alliance with the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames.

The award for Lifetime Achievement went to Norman Hambrook, who built his now leading family-owned landscaping business from scratch in 1970.

Groundwork London beat stiff competition this year to win Best Playscheme with its design for King George's Field Playscape. Meanwhile, Nottingham City Council's parks team picked up the coveted Open Space Management Team of the Year award following a "whirlwind" 12 months in which the city's parks were pushed up the agenda.

A special award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry was presented to Robert Hillier by HW editor Kate Lowe.

Jack Ward of headline sponsor NPTC addressed the event along with Lowe, who said that despite the challenges facing the sector there were many reasons why it should hold its head high in the coming months - not least the resilience and skill of green-space professionals themselves.

"Whether contractors, designers, managers or suppliers, so many green-space professionals have, of necessity, proved extremely adept at securing alternative funds for projects. They have become brilliant advocates for urban green space before local politicians and are highly skilled at working with their communities to get projects off the ground. It is those individual qualities - the qualities of the horticulture 'champion' - which I believe are going to be absolutely critical in the months ahead."

Full details of winners from the Horticulture Week Landscape & Amenity Awards and pictures from the event will be published in next week's edition of HW.



Best Themed Promotion: Burleydam Garden Centre - The Good Life

Most Successful New Product: The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company - Miracle Gro-Singles

Most Successful New Plant: John Woods Nurseries - Cornus Venus

Best Business Development: Coolings Green & Pleasant

Best Concession: First Class Hair, Golden Acres Nurseries

Best Customer Service: Whitehall Garden Centre

Best Catering Facilities: Langlands Garden Centre

Best Pet or Aquatics Department: Planters Garden Centre

Best Planteria: Planters Garden Centre

Retail Outlet of the Year - Under £3m: Glendoick Garden Centre

Retail Outlet of the Year - Over £3m: Scotsdales Garden Centre

Best Online Retailer: Whitehall Garden Centre

Commitment to Education/Training Award: Garden & Leisure Group

Community Involvement Award: Gordale

Best Environmental Policy: Garden & Leisure Group

Employee of the Year: Amy Goldsack, Shoots Garden Centre

Lifetime Achievement Award: Sue Allen, Millbrook Garden Company



Best Use of Plants in the Landscape: Fira Landscape - Margaret Thatcher Infirmary, Royal Hospital, Chelsea

Best Parks or Gardens Project: South Tyneside Council - South Marine Park

Best Playscheme: Groundwork London - King George's Field Playscape

Best Residential Garden Project: Arun Landscapes - Surrey Manor Garden

Best Commericial Project: BDP - Baldock Town Centre

Contractor of the Year: Arboriculture UPM Tilhill

Contractor of the Year: Grounds Maintenance Quadron Services

Partnering Award: Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and Quadron Services

Most Outstanding Commitment to the Community: Form Associates - Northala Fields

Most Outstanding Contribution to the Environment: CR Swift Landscaping - Northala Fields

Overall Contribution to the Industry: Robert Hillier

Open Space Management Team of the Year: Nottingham City Council Parks and Open Spaces Services

Professional Gardener of the Year: Colin Porter, North Devon Hospice

Apprentice/Trainee of the Year: Andy Pember, Quadron Services

Lifetime Achievement Award: Norman Hambrook.

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