Garden Centre Group chief executive Nicholas Marshall said training would keep his staff ahead of competition from supermarkets and DIY stores: "We're training everyone, particularly in horticulture through online learning from the financial director down. It's our most important new move."
Dobbies chief executive James Barnes told delegates at last week's conference: "We are in a fantastic place right now. We've heard how awkward it is out there."
He added that garden centres were "an antidote to anxiety" and offered the following to customers: products that are built to last; life balance; eco-credentials; bite-sized indulgence; and the opportunity to sell crafts, cooking and grow-your-own and to promote more recycling and "less tat".