Eaton, formerly at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, said using more local suppliers, further promoting the Award of Garden Merit and stocking plants when in flower in the garden will help sales. He plans to expand the range from 2,500 to 4,000 plants by the end of 2017. Wisley is 265 acres with 42,000 different plants, while Harlow Carr covers 65 acres with 12,500 varieties.
"People come to us for knowledge and I want to make sure they come to us for varieties," said Eaton. There will be a new flower show at the garden on 10-12 June featuring 30 nurseries.
A larger shop is due to open at Wisley in February 2018 as part of a £50m development. Wisley is now combining plant centre and shop sales figures, with income at £8.65m. The plant centre, run by Ross McEwan, has branched out this year to stock garden furniture and is set to expand ranges further. As part of the plan a British plant growers' retailing area will be part of the shop.
At Harlow Carr, Nigel Dunnett is working on a masterplan to get visitors into the middle of the garden and then feed outwards, as opposed to doing circuits of the garden.