Love Your Garden - garden centre owners' verdict

Love Your Garden needs to keep concentrating simple projects ordinary gardeners can do for its third series in 2013, according to garden centre representatives.

The Love Your Garden cast - image: ITV
The Love Your Garden cast - image: ITV

Retailers say the Alan Titchmarsh presented show has been a positive for trade but a return to a Friday night slot and transmission earlier in the seaosn would help.

GIMA, which coordinates supply of products to LYG, is collecting feedback from the garden centre trade on how LYG can work better with the industry when the series, which finished its run on 31 July, returns in 2013.

GCA chairman and Garden Centre Group regional manager Peter Burks said:

"Love Your Garden has been well received and has resulted in some sales. Friday transmission would be better because it would be immediately before people start weekend projects. But I don’t think it’s a fallacy to worry about what plants will be on the forthcoming programme because you don’t know which plant of the many shown the public will connect with. It’s nearly always only one or two. Most people don’t have much imagination so if they can show how to make a boring garden much you can make of it a boring garden - that’s the real benefit."

Orchard Park Garden Centre MD Richard Cumming said:

"The impact of Love Your Garden has been reasonable but perhaps a little disappointing in that it has not encouraged the amount of direct business I hoped. But there has been a lot of competition for people’s attention on TV."

He said TV producers should "not dumb it down but should make it accessible". He said juggling the schedule to Tuesday from Friday might have lost some viewers but Gardeners’ World had probably lost some too after it lost episodes to sport this season. Cumming added: "Monty Don doesn’t really connect with the majority of garden centre customers. BBC garden show coverage has been good but they need to make that directly applicable to gardens."

Littleheath Garden Centre partner Barry Hall said: 

"Tuesday is a better time than Friday. Whatever you do you have to make it possible for the viewer. If they think it’s out of their reach, they turn it off. And you have to be careful you’re not just favouring certain suppliers because there could be a backlash from garden centres because not every garden centre will stock what’s on the show."

Scotsdales MD Caroline Owen said:

"It would have been better in the springtime but anything that gets people interested in gardening is very good. Probably, Fridays are better than Tuesdays because the programme is fresh in people’s mind at the weekend. We’ve probably not made the most of it in the garden centre this year. A meeting with GIMA with the programme."

Squire’s MD Dennis Espley said:

"I think it has been positive. We’ve had the odd comment about products people are asking for. It’s a difficult time of year and you’re not going to get the bounce sales-wise as in the spring  but I’m glad to see it and it brings in a different sort of customer, the more average person and the response has been quite good I’ve heard."

Audience viewing figures for Love Your Garden 2012 have been around the 3.1m-3.2m mark.

Gardeners’ World has been between 1.54m for a Tatton Park show special and 1.94m on 20 July.

The regular Gardeners’ World series took a four-week break because of snooker, tennis and athletics. It returned on 20 July. Love Your Garden finished its six-part Tuesday night one hour programmes run on 31 July.

Love Your Garden 2012 viewing figures ranged between 3.76 million for the opening show on 10 June 2011 and 2.57 million for the last programme.

Presenter Alan Titchmarsh said the series had been well received and a 2013 series was being planned.

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