Bents wins Garden Centre Association top centre award at annual conference

Bents has won top garden centre at the annual Garden Centre Assocation (GCA) winter conference.

Also among the winners were Notcutts Norwich, who won the Worrall Cup for best point-of-sale.

Pennells Lincoln won most improved garden centre after a refurbishment led to a 12% increase in inspection scores.

Taylors Bulbs won the Haskins Stewart memorial award for the GCA member of the year for the 3rd consecutive year.

Stewarts Gardenlands won Ruxley Rose best planteria in the UK; Sunshine Garden Centre won the award for smaller garden centres and the Gardens Group won the Green City Community Award for the 2nd year. 

GCA Inspector Ian Boardman also listed 17 highly commended centres that scored over 81% in inspections and 16 centres of excellence that beat 84%: Bents, Webbs, Barton Grange Brock, Haskins Ferndown, Planters, All-in-One, Frosts Woburn Sands, Grosvenor, Burleydam, Woodlands, Cowell's, Millbrook, Coolings, Poplars, Sunshine and Lady Green.

Boardman reflected the theme of the conference by saying: "Whatever you did last year on grow-your-own, you can raise the bar this year."

Annual figures announced at the conference showed that spend in garden centres was up 13% in 2009. Customer numbers were up 2.8% and catering numbers were up 6.8%. Overall, centres were up 10%, with December sales up 14.5%.

New members of the 140 centre-plus GCA are Hare Hatch Sheeplands, Bridgeford, Stratford, Fron Goch, Goldings, Raemoir and Shoots Stanmore.

The winners

  • Worrall Cup for best point-of-sale Notcutts Norwich
  • Barton Grange trophy for best displays Heighley Gate
  • Dick Allen award for most improved centre Pennells Lincoln
  • Best Christmas displays Castle gardens, Barton Grange Brock
  • Best houseplants Knights Nag Hall, Webbs
  • Best people Byrkley
  • Best outdoor living Stewarts Country, Frosts Brampton
  • GIMA award Monkton Elm
  • GCA associate member of the year (Haskins Stewart Cup) Taylors Bulbs
  • Green City community award The Gardens Group
  • Ruxley Rose award for best planteria Stewarts Gardenlands
  • Best small garden centre Sunshine Garden Centre


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