E-News: March 2017

Vol. 8, Issue 1  |  March 2017


Message From Your President

John Zaplatynsky

With our next face-to-face meeting taking place during IGCC in Niagara Falls, Canada, the Board of Directors has had discussions behind the scenes to set some planning into motion. Having last held a strategic planning session in 2012, the Board felt it was time that we meet again to determine IGCA goals and objectives, to maintain growth and improvement for the organization. Since 2012, we’ve accomplished much of what we set out to do during our last strategic planning session, including adding new member countries, driving innovation and education at each IGCC event, and growing the Study Tour.    

On the agenda for discussion during our September strategic planning session, we will be reviewing board size and succession, ways to expand our knowledge centre, as well as new touring opportunities. We believe the plans for discussion will allow for new focus and innovation for IGCA, and we look forward to the opportunities ahead. 

Best wishes to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere for a successful spring and summer and to those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoy the slower time of the year!  See you in Niagara Falls!

John Zaplatynsky
President IGCA, Canada GardenWorks Ltd.

Click below to jump to stories from this issue:



Czech Republic




South Africa




United States

Business Awards




News from Australia

By Leigh Siebler

Business conditions around Australia vary dramatically but most members are quietly happy with figures YTD despite politicians hitting the news with negative comments much too regularly.

Our Garden Releaf promotion has just finished and most reports have been very positive. Comments from customers have been great and I’d like to quote just a brief part of an email to Zanthorrea Nursery in Western Australia. Sabrina Hahn is a media personality in WA.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity today to support your efforts to raise money for beyondblue. When I arrived I enjoyed a delicious morning tea, with a wonderful array of homemade cakes to choose from. The highlight was listening to the brilliant talk by Sabrina Hahn about how gardening and nature can do wonders for our mental wellbeing. While it is a serious subject, she included her wonderful sense of humour and she had the audience captivated. Fortunately, I do not have a mental illness, but I took away ideas about how I might be able to help someone if they are not OK. For anyone who is struggling, it was interesting (and emotional) to hear about how she has been able to overcome a difficult childhood to become the person she is today, with examples of how they might also lift themselves out of the doldrums.”

I think we have 10 Australians booked in for the Congress in Canada, and feel sure it will be wonderful. 

Leigh Siebler

Manager, Garden Centres Association of Australia 


News from Australia

By Karen Moad 

On the March 19th over 80 garden centres around Australia participated in Garden Releaf. This program was established by Garden Centres of Australia after drawing upon inspiration of a similar model in the UK. It was launched in 2014 to help people understand the various benefits that spending time in a garden or simply being surrounded by gardens and green spaces can have on a person’s health and wellbeing.

The aim for garden centres was to encourage people to get into their garden in autumn, to encourage them to get planting or to simply take some time to visit a garden or centre garden to just enjoy. Each centre ran various promotions, activities and events with an emphasis on raising money for Beyondblue – a not-for-profit organization to support Australians suffering from anxiety, depression and mental illness.

Karen Moad, Managing Director of Rivers of Yarrambat 

Spring has sprung

By Claudia Santos

We’re officially in spring, and with it comes a countdown to September’s IGCC event in Niagara Falls. As many previous host countries know all too well, there is much that goes on in the lead-up to the event to make sure that each delegate not only enjoys the tour, but is able to get as much out of it as possible. For us, this has included making sure that each of the business sessions have content that will speak to and engage attendees, that our scheduling offers not only a good variety of stops but also that each day isn’t too long and cumbersome for delegates, and finally some great Canadian culture. Registration for the pre-tour, that includes time in both Ottawa and Montreal, is now open. Spots are filling up quickly, so if you do plan to attend, you can visit our website to learn how to do so. We look forward to hosting you!

Garden Centres Canada (GCC), the sector group representing garden centres at the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association, has been working hard to offer more programs and partnerships to our members. In conjunction with Canada‘s 150th birthday this year, GCC is working with an organization called ParticipACTION. The group’s mandate is to encourage Canadians to sit less and move more, and is working with GCC as an official program partner of their 150 Play List. Gardening is number 51 on the list, and it’s a great reminder to customers that what the industry offers is not only good for their physical health, but their emotional health as well. When customers shop at member garden centres, they will be given program links to the 150 Play List social media accounts, where they can register their gardening activity and be eligible to win great prizes including cars, hotel stays, and tickets to sporting events. Happy birthday Canada!

Claudia Santos
Canadian Nursery Landscape Association 

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Czech Spring 2017

By Michal Ferenčík

The start of the spring this year is now looking good. Weather has been kind to us until now, with no frost in the mornings. There has also been success for our association, from this month we now have two cooperative members of the association, and they have the potential to become members of the association in coming years They are small companies, but with opportunities to grow quickly.

A project which is now growing in our companies is the farm shop. After almost no winter in Czech it is time for spring. We are now testing suppliers and new products, which we are slowly implementing as a standard product in our shops. We are choosing the products according to what we’ve seen in the countries we’ve visited as companies and an association. We are looking for the best local products.

We are almost done negotiations with the potential sponsors for the IGCA Congress in 2018 in our country. All the necessary plans are going according to schedule. We are currently preparing the invitation, which you will see in Canada later this year.

Best regards, and I wish you perfect weather for your spring.  

Michal Ferenčík
Garden Centre Ferenčík

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Daniel Metivet Appointed Head of the FNMJ Board

By Christiane Weiller

The FNMJ board has appointed Daniel Métivet as its new president following the resignation of Patrick Lorie, who wishes to spend more time on his personal projects. Benjamin Dejardin (Jardineries Desjardins) and Thierry Sonalier (Groupe Jardiland) were both appointed as the new vice-presidents of our trade association. 

Daniel Métivet has been a member of the FNMJ board for 13 years and was vice-president since last year. He started his career in garden centres as one of the founders of the Jardiland chain and had been working 20 years as chief operating officer for the Truffaut garden centre chain until his retirement at the end of 2016. 

Christiane Weiller

FNMJ – Fédération Nationale des Métiers de la Jardinerie

GroMór 2017

By Fergal Doyle

Award winning garden designer Diarmuid Gavin joined forces with TV3’s Anna Daly Monday, 27th March to launch GroMór 2017, a nationwide campaign to get the country growing.

GroMór is an initiative by Retail Excellence Garden Centres and growers across Ireland, in association with Bord Bia, and sponsored by Bord Na Mona and Westland Horticulture.  The aim of the campaign is to give clear and useful advice on how to best grow plants, herbs, flowers, fruits, vegetables and to highlight the health benefits of gardening.

 The GroMór 2017 campaign encourages people to visit their local garden centre for expert advice on how to enhance their living space with nature.  A series of 50 free gardening demonstrations will take place throughout the nation in GroMór Garden Centres from April to September offering a whole variety of themes.  For those who cannot attend the events the website www.gromor.ie contains easy to follow guides and videos on how to grow flowers, plants, herbs, trees and vegetables whether it be on their windowsill, their balcony or in their garden.

Fergal Doyle
Arboretum; Chairperson REI Garden Group 

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Report from Japan

By Akihiro Ozaki

Tillandis, cactus and green plants that can still be enjoyed as interior plants, are very popular in Japan. The sizes range from large to small, and are we–used both this season, and throughout the year. We are grateful for these items as garden centres, as this trend seems as it will continue on for a while.  



Akihiro Ozaki 
Ozaki Flower Park 


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Update from South Africa

By Gerdie Olivier

It is currently our Autumn season in South Africa and due to warm weather and insufficient rainfall in some regions, sales haven’t been as good as expected.  Cape Town is in the midst of serious drought conditions and with their rainfall season only starting in a few months, they are experiencing severe water restrictions that has had a negative impact on sales.

We hosted our SANA Autumn Trade Fair in mid-March.  This show has grown to become the largest green trade show in South Africa with more than 120 exhibitors and exhibition space of 4 250m2.   We will also host a satellite fair in the Natal coastal region towards the end of March.

For our association and its continued growth it is very important to stay in touch with your members.  The SANA Facebook page www.facebook.com/sanurseryassociation plays an important role through daily updates on activities and projects.   This is supported by three different electronic newsletters sent out on a regular basis and our SANA website.

We recently hosted a student bus tour to allow students studying horticulture at tertiary institutes the opportunity to visit nurseries and engage with industry members to gain valuable information and practical exposure.  We took 45 students to Starke Ayres where they learned more about genetic testing for pests & diseases and about the processes involved in getting seed to a retail store.  They also visited Keith Kirsten Waterfall – a brand new retail store that opened in Spring last year.  Here they learned more about retail.  This was a great learning experience for all students and we endeavour to continue with this initiative.


The annual GCA Garden Centre competition is nearing completion.   Each participating grading centre is evaluated and a grading – Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – allocated.  The announcement of these grading awards will be done at a gala dinner in April.  Top awards and Garden Centre of the Year will be announced at our annual Convention in May.

Our annual winter Convention will be held in the Drakensberg in June. 

Our ongoing marketing campaign, Life is a Garden, is now in its eight year and the central theme for this year is “benefits of gardening”.  This message is communicated through our online strategy that is focussed on various social media platforms.  We have an interactive Facebook page www.facebook.com/lifeisagardensa, with our website www.lifeisagarden.co.za  remaining the central information portal.  To enhance our campaign and give exposure on consumer level, regular articles are published in print media and POS material is available for retailers to use in their garden centres. 


Gerdie Olivier
South African Nursery Association

EXPOGARDEN 2017: Spanish Garden Centre Congress

By Santiago González

Our annual conference, held in Palma de Mallorca last February 2nd. and 3rd, 2017, brought together about 250 participants, 75 garden centers and 43 suppliers.

The event was of great interest and very enriching for all its attendants. Our executive board opened the session emphasizing the opportunity that this event gives to the sector to work together, offering a space for interaction and reflection.

Main topics discussed were:

Innovation and Marketing: How to attract consumers, prices adjustments without falling into low cost, highlights and ideas for reaching new consumer clusters.

Happiness for success: The presenter focused his presentation on the idea of being happy as the best way to get more customers. He also talked about the best way of getting the most out of ourselves and our teams.

Consumer Analysis Retail in Spain: A specialist in statistics and operational research presented the results of such study.

Trends in Branding: The presenter gave us all kinds of tips and guidelines for present and future garden brands.

Cooking with flowers: Our Michelin´s Star (Andreu Genestra) gave us many ideas and examples of Garden Centers and restaurants collaboration.

Santiago González
Spanish Garden Center Association

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News from Switzerland

By Othmar Ziswiler

The Garden Fair “Giardina” is unique throughout Europe and took place during the 3rd week in March under the motto, “New Naturalness”.

The motto was not only close to nature and plants, but also the show gardens of the landscape gardeners. A few years ago they were “stone deserts” with only a few box-trees planted. This year, splendid planting stood out among the solitary trees. It was also exciting to see how the different exhibitors took up the subject of urban gardening. The presentations were, for Swiss standards, very colourful. You can find more information about Giardina here

The visitors also showed a large interest for new worm compost makers. They promise to transform green and kitchen rubbish into compost and worm tea, without any issues of odour, in households of up to five people. The developers are convinced that in a few years’ time, everyone will have one of them in their household. With a cost of more than CHF 150, this could have a nice turnover potential. For more information you can visit their website


Othmar Ziswiler


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AmericanHort News – Update from the United States

By Sherry Johnson

The AmericanHort GenNext Community is launching the first event of its kind at Cultivate’17, July 15, 2017, in Columbus, OH USA. CareerUP is a day-long workshop + inspiration series that provides the industry’s emerging professionals with skills, information, and inspiration needed to advance their careers, love their jobs, and help the industry grow.

Ken Fisher, AmericanHort President and CEO, said, “A growing concern is the serious need to develop young, skilled professionals who will continue to move the industry forward. This generational transfer is reaching a critical point, and AmericanHort is working to address the issues. CareerUP is just the starting point for helping young professionals achieve the skills necessary for healthy careers while developing skills to support business growth and industry sustainability.”

The event will feature an interactive workshop on high-stakes communication strategies, along with inspirational career stories and advice from industry trailblazers.

To learn more visit Cultivate17.org/CareerUP 

Sherry Johnson

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Business Awards

We would like to extend congratulations to member garden centre Arboretum Home & Garden Heaven, who entered the European Business Awards and won for Ireland, in the first round of public voting.

In round two they are representing Ireland in Europe, and need votes to win to become European Public Champion against 34 other countries.

Arboretum is extremely honoured to represent Ireland on a European stage. Voting windows are open until April 27, so if you would like to extend your support, you can do so by clicking on the link below and entering to vote. 

Good luck Arboretum Home & Garden Heaven!

Vote here.