The need to engage new gardening audiences has been acknowledged since the heady days of BBC TV show Groundforce, when gardening sales peaked. But that need has now become more urgent thanks to a dramatic decline in home ownership among young adults.
The key debate is one in a series of top-level panel discussions and presentations that will take place during the course of the day at the Garden Retail Summit, which is hosted by Horticulture Week and will take place at London's Grand Connaught Rooms on 4 February.
The Summit is set for an inspirational start with Blue Diamond managing director Alan Roper, who will tell the story of the development of Redfields Home of Garden & Living, one of the finest examples of retail in the UK.
Meanwhile, Newey Group chairman Alex Newey, Squire's Garden Centre chairman Dennis Espley, Blue Diamond's Roper and Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA) chairman Paul Bevington are set to debate the explosion in consolidation activity in the garden industry.
The not-to-be-missed, top-level panel discussion will be introduced by Andy Newman of mdj2 and will ask how far this burst of consolidation activity will go, and examine the likely impact of consolidation on the sector's garden centres, suppliers and customers.
The day-long special garden industry event will also feature a series of major panel discussions and presentations on:
- The impact of a volatile euro on the garden plant and product supply chains.
- Managing the National Living Wage.
- The growing trend for "little and often" plant supply.
- Key policy and political game changers.
The full speaker line-up includes Alan Roper (Blue Diamond), Alex Newey (Newey Group), Andy Bunker (Tillington Group), Andy Newman (mdj2), Andrew Saunders (Management Today), Boyd Douglas-Davies (Hillview Garden Centres), Dennis Espley (Squire's Garden Centres), Geoff Caesar (Bransford Webb Plants Company), Jane Lawler (Lawler Associates), Mark Glover (Bellenden Public Affairs), Matthew Appleby (Horticulture Week), Matt Graham (The Plant Yard), Neville Stein (Ovation), Paul Bevington (LOFA), Stan Green (Growforth), Tim Briercliffe (International Association of Horticultural Producers), Tim Clapp (B&Q/Kingfisher) and Vicky Nuttall (Garden Industry Manufacturers Association).
To book tickets to the Garden Retail Summit 2016 on 4 February, go to: www.gardenretailawards.com/summit or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The summit will be followed in the evening at the same venue by the Garden Retail & Garden Industry Awards 2016 which is also taking bookings.