He says the biggest changes he has seen in his career are the way garden centres have developed, especially in the last 10 years, to become destination centres.
Brooking said in growing the biggest change was the way nurseries have adapted to changes in garden centre retailing and the demands that has put on them; "As garden centre become better and better and more demanding, so the best growers have to become better and better at what they do to keep up."
Recently, Crosbys sold its site in Cheshire for redevelopment but Brooking says Quality Ornamentals has since built more glass and increased production. Quality Ornamentals is a sales and marketing company jointly owned by Crosby's Nursery and Les Halman Nurseries.
Brooking's replacement Wendy Robinson used to work for Vitax and ICL.
She says: "I had four years at ICL as north east area sales manager and then moved to the north west looking for something close to home and a new challenge and got the job as sales manager at Quality Ornamentals, replacing Paul Brooking, who has been there for 23 years. I saw the opportunity and thought I’d go for it. There are a lot of challenges and opportunities to further grow the business. I’ll be working with new customers and moving the business forward. There is an excellent background with the work Paul has set in motion with existing customers.
"I worked at Vitax for four or five years on the retail product side as well as then for ICL on the product side. My background with ICL working with growers and quality products is very important."