Garden Retail Awards 2012 turn spotlight on best retail nursery

The Garden Retail Awards 2012 feature a new category this year: Britain's Best Retail Nursery. Garden Retail teamed up with The Sun, which has invited its readers to vote for their favourite establishment.

Garden Retail judge and Sun gardening writer Val Bradley has overseen the count and adjudication for the award, which drew votes in their thousands from consumers.

The Sun asked it's readers to vote for the retail nursery they find provides the highest-quality plants at value-for-money prices and gives good service along with sound free advice.

The four finalists are Coolings in Kent, Cowell's in Northumberland, Groves Garden Centre & Sweet Violet Nursery in Dorset and Woodlands Nursery & Garden Centre in Leicestershire.

Garden Centre Group's Woodlands began life as a nursery in 1978, growing bedding plants and tomatoes and producing, at the height of its capacity, four million rooted cuttings a year. It now grows 45,000 poinsettias a year.

Coolings has a 1.8ha nursery that produces 200 varieties of shrubs, 500 herbaceous perennials, 200 conifers, 150 roses, a vast range of trees plus 80 per cent of the garden centre's total bedding plant requirements, including 6,000 hanging baskets. More than one million plants are produced each year.

Groves Garden Centre nursery uses 0.8ha of the 2.4ha site. The nursery grows a wide selection of plants for sale at the centre but specialises in sweet violet and also looks after the national collection.

Cowell's grows a huge range of plants at its own nursery. It uses a "home-grown quality" logo on plants and the plant information boards that says: "By growing the plants ourselves we can reduce the 'plant miles' to 'plant metres'."

The award will be presented at Grosvenor House on Park Lane, London, on 7 November. Sposnors include Sinclair, HTA, Quinton Edwards, MorePeople, Mr Fothergill's and Westland.

Tickets are selling fast. See, email or call 020 8267 4433 to attend.

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