Garden Re-Leaf activities update

More than 500 UK garden centres and scores of leading gardening suppliers, journalists and supporters will be holding special events for Garden Re-Leaf Day - 13 March - designed to inspire Britain's gardeners.

Garden Re-Leaf team - Hillview Garden centre CEO, Boyd Douglas-Davies, Sue Allen of Millbrook Garden Company & Greenfingers chairman, Richard Jackson at Poplars Garden centre - image: Greenfingers
Garden Re-Leaf team - Hillview Garden centre CEO, Boyd Douglas-Davies, Sue Allen of Millbrook Garden Company & Greenfingers chairman, Richard Jackson at Poplars Garden centre - image: Greenfingers
An industry-wide initiative, Garden Re-Leapf is aimed at engaging with gardeners young and old, experienced and beginners while raising money for Greenfingers, the garden industry charity that creates gardens for children's hospices.
Examples of activities taking place:

  • A children’s hospice gardening workshop run by Grosvenor Garden Centre in Chester
  • Nature trail tours arranged by Coolings Garden Centre near Sevenoaks
  • Each of The Garden & Leisure Group's seven centres will be holding local activities, including Cadbury  Garden & Leisure in Bristol who are working with Stewart Garden and Pippa Greenwood on a Grow Your Own promotion.
  • A charity auction will be held by Groves Nurseries in Bridport plus Charlie Groves from the nursery will be running the Bath Half Marathon in aid of Garden Re-Leaf.

Many garden centres are also inviting their customers to what is hoped will be the world's biggest quiz – a celebrity gardening quiz arranged by Garden Re-Leaf featuring gardening questions set and recorded on CD by well-known gardeners, including Alan Titchmarsh, Christine Walkden and Peter Seabrook.

Suppliers, gardeners and other celebrities too are pledging their support with a range of attention- and money-raising ideas:

  • Celebrity gardener Joe Swift will be auctioning a bespoke garden design
  • Peter Seabrook and The Sun newspaper are planning a massive Strawberry Planting event
  • Beth Chatto’s Garden is organising expert horticultural talks at its Tea Room and children’s activities on the day
  • Other well-known names to have signed the Garden Re-Leaf Pledge Pad include Charlie Dimmock, Tommy Walsh and David Domoney.

Among the gardening suppliers to get involved are:

  • Sinclair Horticulture who will be transforming a neighbouring street with sponsored hanging baskets
  • Suttons Seeds are creating a garden for a local school for severely disabled children, as well as arranging a ‘Great Grow-In’ event
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro will be hosting a fully funded garden party on the day at the retailer who wins their Jan/Feb display competition; plus they will be hosting a giant cream tea party in an attempt to create a new Guinness World Record. Kelkay have created a character called Digby who will get up to all sorts of mischief on March 13th with £2 from every Digby sold going to Greenfingers
  • Compost specialists Westland are running a competition that will reward the most effective garden centre event with a lorryload of compost worth £10,000
  • Thompson & Morgan are donating 50,000 packs if Rudbeckia Cherry Brandy as part of a world record attempt for the number of seeds sown in one day
  • QVC shopping channel and its gardening suppliers, including Thompson & Morgan, Hayloft, De Jager, Whetmans Pinks and Raymond Evison, will also be showing its support with a special two hours show during which every item sold will raise money for Garden Re-Leaf.

Garden Re-Leaf’s originator, Hillview GC CEO Boyd Douglas Davies, announced the initiative at the Garden Retail Awards in 2011:

"Garden Re-Leaf Day is about creating gardening activities that really launch the season," he said. "We’ve been overwhelmed by how many retailers and suppliers have risen to the challenge. From community projects to fun events and practical gardening ideas, these initiatives will engage with gardeners whatever their age or experience – often raising money for Greenfingers at the same time. We want to inspire gardeners in their thousands, so get 13th March in your diary and take part!"     
Gardening broadcaster Alan Titchmarsh is one of those who has pledged his support for Garden Re-Leaf Day. Speaking at the 2011 Garden Media Guild Awards in London in November, he urged other gardening journalists to add their own support:

"You've heard of Comic Relief and Sports Relief... next spring, the garden industry is launching its own version, Garden Re-Leaf.  On Tuesday 13th March, gardeners young and old will be celebrating the start of the garden year with fun, fundraising events to raise money for Greenfingers, our garden industry charity. Already, hundreds of companies have pledged to take part. Garden Re-Leaf day could become the biggest event in the gardening calendar."

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