The Garden Centre Association held another successful Plant Area Forum at Ball Colegrave last week, with over 50 delegates in attendance.
The event was the GCA’s third. Delegates included plant area managers, buyers and supervisors and was facilitated by GCA inspector, Roger Crookes with assistance from Michael Cole.
Plant Area Forum
Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “Our third annual Plant Area Forum was a huge success. I would like to thank everyone who helped Roger and Michael, and the delegates who attended.
“The day would not have been the success it was without their contributions.
“I would also like to thank our hosts Ball Colegrave, whose glorious grounds made the event that much more special.”
The forum looked at current trends, challenges and future opportunity for outdoor plant departments.
Roger explained: “This feels like an exciting time to be retailing plants. There is an upturn in houseplant sales and some very encouraging late spring outdoor plant sales.
“We have been re-assured that more of the British public are experimenting with plants as a healthy feel-good hobby.
“There are of course some major challenges, not least the problem of finding and retaining the right staff. This is something we need to continue to work together on as a trade.
“What struck me again, during this year’s forum, was how open we are to discuss real issues with each other – I think this is a unique strength of our trade, getting alongside competitors and suppliers and sharing our plans and pains!
“We have some exciting future plans for the Plant Area Forum, including a study tour of some great plant areas. We will announce these soon.”
GCA inspector Michael Cole assisted Roger, and he brought his knowledge of commercial plant retailing to the forum.
Michael said: “The marquee, which accommodated the Plant Forum was buzzing with conversation about how we can continue to develop our plant retailing.
“We discussed ideas as to how we can present plants in even more inspirational ways to encourage customers to come back more.
We also spoken about how we can introduce new Millennial customers to buying outdoor plants as well as the houseplants.”