Optimism follows dismal February as GCA anticipates bumper Mother's Day garden centre sales

Final Garden Centres Association (GCA) February figures show an 11% drop in sales for the month, compared to February 2008.

But Garden Centres Association chief executive Gillie Westwood said March sales would claw back losses and "put garden centres back on an even keel" with record Mother's Day sales likely this weekend.

Westwood said: "Garden centre owners are much relieved by the weather this month. If it continues, March will certainly be a lot better than last year. For instance, Millbrook Garden Centre is 40% up this month.

"There's optimism at the moment after February's whitewash. It could be a record Mother's Day weekend."

Garden centres are gearing up for Mothering Sunday with children's planting events and special displays of flowers and chocolates.

Squires will be running its annual children's planting promotion where children can plant up a basket of primroses for their mother in store from 19 to 22 March. The price of £3.50 includes a container, compost, three primroses and a bow.

Webbs Garden Centre will hold potting workshops on 21 March from 11am - 5pm potting seasonal plants into a basket to take home.

Webbs staff will be on hand to guide youngsters through the planting "so they can learn from the experience while having fun". Tickets are £4 per child to include all plants and materials.

Van Hage has stocked up on flowers in its Disflor cooled florist shop.

GCA February figures:

Overall: down 11%
Plants: down 30%
Houseplants: down 20%
Pets and aquatics: up 10%
Catering: up 5%

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