Garden Centre Group (GCG) chief executive Nicholas Marshall said the garden party had three functions - to award the Ravenscrofts' presidency of the centre, to celebrate 50 years since Bridgemere's foundation and to reward long-serving staff.
Marshall said he saw the future of garden centres as one-third horticulture, one-third catering and one-third franchises, with the franchises paying loan interest "before I get out of bed".
Bridgemere now has nine franchises - Hobbycraft, Ripples, GBC, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Antler, Cotton Traders, Moshulu, Rainbow Play and the Works.
Marshall revealed that GCG intended to spend millions more on Bridgemere's shopping areas after investing in what may be the longest covered walkway at a garden centre, the restaurant and sensory and grow-your-own show gardens to add to the revamped 18 existing gardens. Bridgemere spent money on the gardens rather than exhibiting at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show this year.
GARDEN PARTY: SELECTED GUEST LIST
- Robert Hillier (Hillier)
- Dennis Espley (Squires/Garden Centre Association)
- Caroline Owen (Scotsdale)
- Bob Hewitt (Klondyke)
- Nick Davies (Solus)
- Adam Taylor (Taylors Bulbs)
- Mark Taylor (Allensmore)
- Philip Harkness (Harkness Roses)
- George Lisher (Cobbins)
- Danny Adamson (William Sinclair)
- Philip Day (Edinburgh Woollen Mill)
- Nick Hamblin (Cotton Traders)
- David Rance (Ripples)
- Keith McIntyre (First Franchise)
- Barry Day (Town & Country)
- Guy Moreton (MorePeople)
- Stephanie James (Frank P Matthews)