Also supported by product and promotional initiatives from many of the gardening industry’s key suppliers, the third annual Garden Re-Leaf Day combined a fund-raising weekend with ideas to attract gardening customers back in-store after the winter.
Events included celebrity gardener talks, quizzes and treasure hunts, competitions, planting lessons and sponsored challenges. All proceeds from the weekend’s events will be donated to Greenfingers, Garden Re-Leaf Day’s nominated charity for 2014.
Garden Re-Leaf Day’s founder and Hillview Garden Centre CEO Boyd Douglas-Davies said: "What an inspiration to see so many garden centres and suppliers putting so much effort and fantastic creativity into this year’s Garden Re-Leaf Day. From one end of the country to the other, retailers had thought of some fantastic ideas and events to get customers back in store after the wet winter.
"The bonus was the opportunity to raise money for Greenfingers along the way – and we’ll be announcing the total monies raised in the summer. A huge thank you and well done to everyone who took part, or contributed in some way."
He added: "Footfall and extra sales income are as much one of Garden Re-Leaf Day’s objectives as the fund-raising, and it works – at our Studley site for example we saw a 30% uplift in sales revenue on that day compared with Friday the previous week. I would be interested in receiving updates from other retailers on any footfall or revenue increase they saw."
Millbrook Garden Centre’s Gravesend branch won a competition to win an appearance by ITV gardener David Domoney during Garden Re-Leaf weekend. The centre also had a coffee morning and Gardener’s Question Time hosted by BBC Radio Kent's Andy Garland; featuring garden experts Steve Bradley and Jean Griffin.
At Aylett Nurseries Matthew Biggs was the MC for their quiz.
Perrywood Garden Centre & Nurseries in Tiptree ran a ‘Pimp Your Gloves’ staff competition, donating £5 for every pair entered.
Fresh@Burcot Garden Centre launched a 32ft fund-raising mural with the help of local MP Sajid Javid, and artistic contributions from celebrities such as Alan Titchmarsh, Peter Seabrook and Ron Atkinson.
Webbs Garden Centre held a raffle and staff were invited to dress up in onesies for the day.
At CW Groves & Son’s Bridport Garden Centre twelve local primary schools were invited to take part in a ‘pallet garden’ competition.
The Gardens Group raffled off a three minute trolley dash in each of its planteria. At Value House Stores, children were invited to plant poppy seeds in return for a donation to Garden Re-Leaf, with the flowers set to bloom in time for the 100th anniversary of the First World War in August.
The Old Railway Line Garden Centre in Powys held fund-raisers including a plant identification challenge, a raffle, and ‘Fill The Pot’ – challenging customers to fill a pot with compost against the clock, using only a teaspoon.
On television, QVC viewers also helped to raise funds for Garden Re-Leaf Day by buying products from Richard Jackson’s gardening product shows on 15-16 March. In total the shows raised £22,700, with the top contributor, Hayloft Plants, donating £8,574 of this amount.
All The Garden Centre Group's 139 stores took part.
Sector suppliers including Scotts Miracle-Gro, Mr Fothergill’s, William Sinclair, Westland Horticulture, Kelkay, Solus, Smart Solar, Richard Jackson’s Flower Power, Pleydell Smithyman, Bon Bon’s, Neudorff, Gardman and Briers also gave financial donations towards Garden Re-Leaf Day’s marketing ‘fighting fund’.