Recent HTA figures showed catering averages 20 per cent of sales at garden centres and plants 19 per cent. Figures from individual centres such as Poplars bear this out but the Squires garden centres MD told the GCA conference: "Plants are a big part of my business. You are not going to sell much coffee or many gifts unless you have good plants. End of story."
GCA inspector Roger Crookes said: "Plants are the core of our business - our shop window."
His tips included demonstrating how to garden in containers and vertical gardening to help those with smaller gardens and to exploit the interest in grow your own and bee-friendly gardening with edible hedge displays.
GCA Ruxley Rose plantarea awards went to Cowells (under £4m turnover) and Van Hage Great Amwell (over £4m).