Garden Retail Awards 2012: The winners - Updated with link to full winner reports

The Garden Retail Awards hailed the best in the garden centre industry last night at London's Grosvenor House in Park Lane after a year when retailers pulled out all the stops to attract custom in the wettest season for a century.

Westland Star of the Future: Matthew Lowe, Merryhatton Garden Centre (sponsor Westland), Garden Retail Awards 2012
Westland Star of the Future: Matthew Lowe, Merryhatton Garden Centre (sponsor Westland), Garden Retail Awards 2012

Some 350 garden industry figures watched as the stars from all parts of the sector received their awards at the event which was opened by Garden Retail editor Matthew Appleby.

Among the many garden centres securing top trophies this year were leading turnover single centres Longacres, Scotsdales and Cadbury Garden & Leisure.

Meanwhile stars on the shop floor competed for the Westland Star of the Future award, with the winner this year Matthew Lowe from Merryhatton Garden Centre having passed on knowledge gained at college, and building gardens at Chelsea and Gardening Scotland.

Winner of the employee of the year was Darren Sanders of Garden King, who has thought outside the box to promote the small centre while tackling the harsh realities of this year’s downturn in a sensitive manner.

The Garden Retail Lifetime Achievement Award went to Ron Bent, who is renowned for having pioneered quality catering at his centre, which also grows its plants and is at the forefront of destination garden centre retailing. Accepting his award, Bent said it was for doing a job which he had "loved for every single minute".

For a more detailed write up on each of the winners as well as pictures from the night, go to our Garden Retail Awards 2012 page by clicking here.


  • Best Themed Promotion: New Hopetoun Gardens (sponsor Horticulture Training Company)
  • Best New Plant Variety: Thompson & Morgan Digitalis 'Illumination'
  • Best New Product: Roundup Gel from Scotts Miracle-Gro
  • Best Business Development: Longacres
  • Commitment to Customer Service: Sidmouth Garden Centre (sponsor Town & Country)
  • Best Catering Facilities: Jessie's Kitchen at Turriff's Garden Centre
  • Best Wildlife or Pets Department: Cadbury Garden & Lesiure (sponsor PATS)
  • Best Planteria: Coolings Nurseries
  • Retail Outlet under £3m: Sidmouth Garden Centre (sponsor Haxnicks)
  • Retail Outlet over £3m: Scotsdales (sponsor Quinton Edwards)
  • Urban Garden Centre: Camden Garden Centre (sponsor Mr Fothergill's)
  • Commitment to Staff Development: Bents Garden & Home (sponsor HTA)
  • Community involvement: Scotsdales (sponsor Sinclair)
  • Greenest Garden Centre: The Secret Garden Centre
  • Employee of the Year: Darren Sanders, Garden King (sponsor MorePeople)
  • Sales Team of the Year: Sidmouth Garden Centre (sponsor Briers)
  • Westland Star of the Future: Matthew Lowe, Merryhatton Garden Centre (sponsor Westland)
  • Best Retail Nursery presented by The Sun: Woodlands Nursery & Garden Centre
  • Lifetime Achievement: Ron Bent, Bents Garden & Home (sponsor Bosmere)

The Judges

  • Eve Tigwell, director Eve Tigwell Consultancy
  • Martyn Cox, garden writer
  • Adam Pasco, editor at large, Gardeners’ World magazine
  • Marc Rosenberg, news editor Amateur Gardening
  • Graham Clarke, director Hamdene Horticultural Publishing Services
  • Chris Day, plant publicity manager, Buckingham Garden Centre
  • Gavin McEwan, Grower editor Horticulture Week
  • Gillie Westwood, for GCA chief executive
  • Steve Bradley, gardening correspondent The Sun
  • Val Bradley, gardening correspondent The Sun
  • Paul Pleydell, director Pleydell Smithyman

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