E-News: December 2009

September 2009


IGCA E News Number 4, December 2009

Our E News is a little shorter this month with everyone very busy with Christmas. On behalf of IGCA we trust you will have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2010.


Christmas Greetings to you all!

In spite of the U.K. apparently being the last country in Europe to show signs of recovering from the Global recession, it would appear that our garden centres are having a brilliant time in the build up to Christmas. At Millbrook we have just had two amazing days, with records being smashed, and having just returned from the North West, where I visited Barton Grange at Brock, I can confirm that they were ‘heaving’ with big spending customers. I can also confirm that the trees the ‘Congressees’ labelled during our visit there are looking healthy, and if it would just stop raining for a few days they will be planted before Christmas. Incidentally Barton Grange also won the ‘Best Christmas Display in the UK’ for centres taking £3m +, and well deserved it was too.

As you are probably aware, IGC has been having problems finding a country willing to host the Congress in 2011. We think we now have a solution, and hopefully, if an announcement of where the Administrators meeting in February 2010 does not appear in this newsletter, you will certainly hear before Christmas.

I must take this opportunity to wish you all joy and peace at Christmas, and wish you everything you could hope for yourselves in 2010.

Best Wishes, Sue Allen
The Millbrook Garden Company UK.
E: sue@millbrookgc.co.uk


Greetings from California!

The Christmas Season is upon us and in full swing. Amidst all the hullabaloo, we sometimes forget the reason for the season and so before I go any further, I would like to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Prosperous New Year.

Here in California, it is too early in the season to tell how it will all fall out. Everyone is skeptically optimistic and have hopefully adjusted their inventories accordingly. I have witnessed people spending money like they have it, so maybe we’ll see a little upturn compared to last year. We can only hope and work harder to that end.

We’re very interested to see what the next few weeks hold for us. We are determined to do our best to please our customers knowing that once they’re in the door we have a chance to capture their business and hopefully make them loyal patrons who will return in 2010.

Let’s plan for a great year ahead. Many of us have re-learned how to do business in a down economy but let’s not to forget to plan to have everything in stock when the time is right and be ready when the good weather comes our way.

Best Wishes,
Tom Courtright
Orchard Nursery & Florist, Lafayette, USA. tomcourtright@orchardnursery.com


News From the Canadian West Coast

The two largest Canadian independent garden centre groups (Sheridans located in Ontario and GardenWorks located in British Columbia) both report that Christmas season sales started slowly in late November with single digit increases over the 2009 season. The category that is performing very well is ‘branches, boughs, and stems of berries’ used to make ‘festive planters’ to place at entrances to homes. In many cases these planters are made by placing the branches and boughs into existing planters replacing summer annuals. This has been a large and growing business for several years.

Christmas tree trims and poinsettias are both increasing in sales after a tough season last year. With Christmas Day falling later in the fourth week of December and the lack of a good snowfall in Toronto, Christmas tree sales are starting slowly. This mirrors a trend last year in BC where sales were slow the first two weeks of December and came roaring back the last two weeks.

Best wishes for the Holiday Season,

John Zaplatynsky, GardenWorks, Canada,


News from Ireland

How could we be excited in the middle of the worst recession ever, monsoon rains, a year’s rain in one month. Our excitement is being able to sail down the main street of our village in a boat.

Despite Mother Nature throwing everything at us we are putting on a brave face by keeping our customers happy, feeding them in our restaurant and selling them plants. We are also doing tons of workshops on everything fromChristmas, fruit and vegetable growing to master chocolate classes & wine tasting. Santas reindeer are resting here on their way to the North Pole.

Bord Bia are looking at ways to help allstrands of horticulture in these difficult times.What an exciting life here in Ireland

Rachel Doyle – Arboretum Garden Centre, Ireland. E: rachel@arboretum.ie


Seasons Greetings from Japan

It is good time to see Japanese maple’ Momiji ‘ leaves turned red. Especially Kyoto city is so crowded by the tourist. After the Japan politics changed this Autumn, I feel something is changing in Japan gradually.

In the severe recession, we are trying to find new idea and products related ecological and economical. Our Japanese word ‘Mottainai’ means that we keep and save everything we can get with our highly respect. For example, we don’t waste anything if we can still use it. We also don’t want to have extra if it is not really necessary. We can develop the double eco products with Mottainai in mind.

In the gardening industry, we can see many products which save electric by solar or LED, water to reuse rainfall or ecological irrigation systems, improving soil products, and ecological bag. Garden centers sales are getting better because of the long good weather. Now we are focus on the gift market of year-end, Christmas, and a new year.

We will have some big flower festival in markets next January and February. We are looking forward to seeing you in Japan next October, 10 – 15 for the IGCA Congress. We wish you have Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Koichi Akatsuka, E-mail address: jgca@akatsuka.gr.jp
Web: https://www.jgca.gr.jp/community/


News From Switzerland

VRS technology transforms food waste into fertilizer.

There seems to be an interesting option for Garden Centre owners that run a restaurant to transform wastes from food preparation and table scraps on-site into fertilizer to be sold at the store. The unique VRS system turns most organic food wastes into true valuable resources! The VRS system is based on an ecological processing unit installed at the Restaurant. The drying process uses shredding and drying. The end product is sterile, and can be used as fertilizer.

Organic food wastes should not just be thrown out! Admittedly, they spoil quickly, but they contain valuable nutrients, such as protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It makes little sense from an ecological standpoint to burn or ferment them. In addition, the constraints on feeding these materials to livestock have been tightened more and more. Why not use the VRS technology to lower the carbon footprint of your company and promote a fertilizer that has been ‘locally produced’ in your own Restaurant?

For more Information: https://www.vrs-valuables.net/

Best regards from Switzerland,
ERNST MEIER AG. Erwin Meier-Honegger
Email: emh@meier-ag.ch www.meier-ag.ch


From the German Garden Center Association

In September Peter Botz was appointed Managing Director of the VDG. He knows the organization well, because he has been working for years on the board. The VDG office is right, to his great delight of the members actively utilized. Even organizations and authorities are very interested in sharing experiences. For our members, we organize a winter trip to the Christmas markets in London from 8 to 10 December for 28 participants. A highlight is our annual winter meeting, which to us by 17 to 19 January 2010 to Dusseldorf leads and is under the theme ‘Fit for your future’. Next year we are again represented at the fairs in Essen and IPM gafa in Cologne, to the lively exchange with our members. For 2010, we again offer seminars, such as Houseplants, herbs, business seminars and many more. On our newly designed web site www.garten-center.de find our members and all the important information.

The Association of German Garden Center has been very successful in the Taspo Awards 2009 in Berlin! The German magazine Taspo annually awards the coveted prizes for the best in the green industry. In two categories of the VDG was allowed to receive the first prize! ‘Best Internet presence’ in the green industry: Laverda brand of the VDG and the plants ‘Business Idea of the Year’ went to ‘our’ bio-herbal brand LA’BiO! One of our garden-centre members Brockmeyer in Halle got the award of the best garden-centre in Germany!

Very encouraging is the foundation of a second group of juniors. This became necessary after many young people wanted to join, but the age difference was too great. We encourage our juniors to strength; they are the future of our organization!

A manager tool is the inspection of the tray GartenCenter, developed by our partner organization in the UK and currently tailored from the best in our industry for all members who wish to improve their standard of quality. The statistics of recent years has shown that participants have improved by an average of 10%. Now, the questions were adapted to the structure of the German Accounting and also the weighting of the German situation.

Peter Botz email address is verband@garten-center.de


From Down Under – Australia

The headline in the business section of our daily paper today reads: ‘ABS figures to show hot and cold economy’. (ABS is the Australian Bureau of Statistics) I feel that sums up the Spring in Australia this year. It started quite well and we were all looking forward to a strong Spring but the weather intervened. Floods in Queensland and parts of NSW, a red dust storm in Sydney, welcome rain in Victoria but it’s always at the wrong time isn’t it, and then heat, heat and more early hot days around Australia all impacted on business. However, the industry is resilient and still smiling for another year. Average sales growth YTD to October (4 months) was + 3.48%. Not great but still growth.

Hortivations, Australia’s best trade event has just finished with a record attendance and brilliant displays. I will have a slide show of images on the Greenworld magazine web site early after January 10. There are other slide shows of interest there now and other news too. Have a look at www.greenworldmag.com.au

Hot sellers include:

  • Outdoor furniture
  • Herbs
  • Grow Your Own anything
  • Phalaenopsis Orchids
  • Roses if displayed correctly

Cheers, Leigh Siebler

Garden Centres Association of Australia Inc.

E: leigh@gravity.net.au