Nurseries should spread the load and listen to customers

Allensmore, Wyevale and Porters nurseries invited garden centre buyers to open days last week.

Taylor: managing director at Allensmore Nurseries - image: HW
Taylor: managing director at Allensmore Nurseries - image: HW

Why it is important to spread the load, listen to customers and market new ideas to customers were the big themes from some of Britain's largest nurseries at their open days last week.

In Herefordshire, Wyevale Nurseries and Allensmore Nurseries opened their doors to garden centre buyers. New marketing concepts, new plants, expansion plans and having a diverse offer for a wide range of customers were what the two nurseries had in common.

In Formby, Porters Fuchsias' Natalie Porter also held an open day last week, with retailers meeting her suppliers and discussing marketing ideas such as telling the stories of plants via information boards.

"Planterias that may not have as many staff as they would like may want to have more information boards available," she suggested. "We've been able to bridge the gap between our suppliers and our garden centre customers." Some 62 garden centres attended the open day as well as 12 suppliers such as Fargro, Hortipak, Teko and Syngenta, added Porter.

New plant showcase

Wyevale Nurseries showcased a host of new plants including the branded Hydrangea 'Magical' range and Phormium 'Chocomint' as well as plants for the future such as Euphorbia 'Frosted Flame', Dianella 'Wyeena', Daphne 'Perfume Princess' and Primula 'Ooh La La Pink'. Retailers chose their favourites.

Managing director Andy Johnson said listening to customers and "being light on our feet with a spread of trees, transplants, shrubs and herbaceous" are key to success. Wyevale has expansion plans in several areas, with new polytunnels and glass possible, he added. The "plant fest" allowed attendees the opportunity to see the lines first and cast their votes on how commercially viable they think they could be.

Wyevale product development co-ordinator Ben Gregory said: "The most popular new plant on the day was a brand new phormium, the name of which will be revealed at a later date. This new phormium really breaks the mould. It's an extremely compact grower with incredibly fine bronze foliage that will work very well in patio containers. It's also low-maintenance and perfect for the modern gardener."

Allensmore managing director Mark Taylor showed visitors round the nursery's three sites totalling 70 acres, including the four-year-old 40-acre Madley site. New point of sale and displays for Mother's Day (26 March) were showcased, featuring bedding, perennials and exotic stock. Rick McKeever has been working on display ideas. Taylor emphasised how Allensmore is a sales-led rather than production-led business so wants customer feedback on the ideas.

Mitigating changes

Spreading the risk around independent, multiple and DIY customers alongside trading a static 30% of stock helps mitigate any seasonal or exchange rate changes, he added. Impulse later-season plants are important and added value remains a strong element.

Madley has an 8-million-gallon reservoir and there is capacity and planning permission on site for another 10 acres of glass. Three acres went up in 2015-16. Much of this replaced a 2.5-acre site at Evesham that Allensmore has shut down.

The nurseries see advantages in bringing customers to their sites, where they can discuss what each side wants from the other and plan ahead accordingly. Taylor said: "We're constantly trying to improve the offer we deliver to garden centres and this gave us the opportunity to receive invaluable feedback from customers to help us move this forward in a direction that works for them."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Phygelius

Phygelius

Masses of colourful tubular flowers can give these plants a substantial presence in the border, says Miranda Kimberley.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.

Climbing roses

Climbing roses

Walls, trellises, pergolas and even trees can all be brightened up by these beautiful blooms, writes Miranda Kimberley.


Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Opinion... Shining a light on trading with Europe

Accurate figures are notoriously difficult to get at, but without doubt the UK imports a great deal of its ornamental plant requirement.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles