Part of a large garden centre near Bristol, England

A garden centre (Commonwealth English spelling; U.S. nursery or garden center) is a retail operation that sells plants and related products for the domestic garden as its primary business.

It is a development from the concept of the retail plant nursery but with a wider range of outdoor products and on-site facilities. It is now usual for garden centres to obtain their stock from plants which have been propagated elsewhere, such as by specialist nurseries or wholesalers.

United Kingdom

The UK has a large and diverse garden centre industry. There are over 5,000 garden centres in the UK, ranging from small, independent businesses to large, national chains. The industry is worth an estimated £4.6 billion per year.

The most popular products sold at garden centres include plants, compost, fertilizers, tools, and landscaping materials. Many garden centres also sell pet-related products, home and interior products, and food and drink.

Garden centres are an important part of the UK economy. They provide jobs for over 100,000 people and generate billions of pounds in revenue each year. They also play a role in promoting gardening and outdoor living in the UK.

History of Garden Centres in the UK

The first garden centre in the UK was opened in 1860. It was called the Royal Horticultural Society's Garden Shop, and it was located in London. The shop sold plants, seeds, and gardening supplies.

In the early 20th century, garden centres began to become more popular. This was due to a number of factors, including the rise of the middle class, the increasing popularity of gardening, and the development of new technologies that made it easier to grow plants.

In the 1970s, garden centres began to grow in size and number. This was due to a number of factors, including the increasing popularity of gardening, the development of new shopping centers, and the rise of national chains.

Today, garden centres are a popular destination for people who are interested in gardening, landscaping, and outdoor living. They offer a wide range of products and services, and they play an important role in the UK economy.

Largest Garden Centres in the UK

Entrance to Bridgemere Garden World

The largest garden centre in the UK is Bridgemere Garden Centre (Blue Diamond Garden Centres), which is located in Nantwich, Cheshire. It covers an area of 50 acres and has over 1 million visitors each year.

The largest UK garden centre chains include:

UK garden centre chains
No. of sites 2022 turnover 2021 turnover 2020 turnover 2019 turnover 2018 turnover 2017 turnover
Dobbies 75 £279m £304m £252m £166m £148m £151m
British Garden Centres 61 £161m £162m £125m £49m £32m £29m
Blue Diamond 44 £259m £255m £210m £182m £128m £96m
Notcutts 19 £76m £80m £64m £76m £75m £71m
Squires 16 £68m £70m £53m £57m £50m £47m
Klondyke 22 £68m £65m £53m £57m £53m £54m
QD / Cherry Lane 16 £68m £49m £49m £43m £39m £35m
Longacres 6 £51m £52m £40m £37m £36m £32m
Hillier Nurseries 22 £55m £51m £38m £37m £33m £23m
Haskins 5 £44m £51m £38m £31m £32m £32m
Scotsdales 3 £20m £19m £22m £22m £22m
Bents 1 £25m £25m £18m £23m £22m £21m
Otter 7 £32m £33m £26m £26m £21m £20m
Wyevale 0 £0m £0m £0m £0m £336m £322m
Frosts 2 £17m £21m £17m £20m £20m £19m

The DIY chains B&Q and Homebase also have their own garden departments, incorporated within or alongside their traditional DIY warehouses or stores.

Evolution of Garden Centres in the UK

Garden centres have evolved significantly over the years in the UK. The first garden centre in the UK was opened in 1860, and it was a small, independent business. However, in the 1970s, garden centres began to grow in size and number. This was due to a number of factors, including the increasing popularity of gardening, the development of new shopping centers, and the rise of national chains.

In the early days, garden centres were primarily focused on selling plants and gardening supplies. However, over time, they began to offer a wider range of products and services. Today, many garden centres also sell pet supplies, home and garden products, food and drink, and even clothing.

In addition to their product range, garden centres have also evolved in terms of their customer experience. In the past, garden centres were often seen as a place to buy plants and gardening supplies. However, today, they are more of a leisure destination. Many garden centres have cafes, restaurants, play areas, and other amenities that make them a popular destination for families and couples.

The evolution of garden centres in the UK has been driven by a number of factors. The increasing popularity of gardening has been one of the most important factors. The UK is a nation of gardeners, and there is a strong demand for garden centres. Additionally, the development of new shopping centers has provided garden centres with new opportunities to grow.

The rise of national chains has also been a major factor in the evolution of garden centres in the UK. National chains have been able to achieve economies of scale, which has allowed them to offer lower prices and a wider range of products. This has put pressure on independent garden centres, and many of them have been forced to close.

Despite the challenges facing independent garden centres, there is still a strong demand for them. Many people prefer to shop at independent garden centres because they offer a more personal touch. Additionally, independent garden centres often have a wider range of products and services than national chains.

Wyevale Garden Centres

Wyevale Garden Centres was a British garden centre chain that was founded in 1962. The company grew rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s, and by the 1990s, it was the largest garden centre chain in the UK.

Wyevale's growth was driven by a number of factors, including the increasing popularity of gardening, the development of new shopping centers, and the company's acquisition of smaller garden centres. However, the company's growth also led to a number of problems.

As Wyevale grew larger, it became more difficult to manage. The company's stores became increasingly impersonal, and the quality of its products and services declined. Additionally, Wyevale's debt burden became unsustainable.

In 2012, Wyevale was acquired by a private equity firm, Terra Firma. Terra Firma's management team attempted to turn around the company, but they were unsuccessful. In 2020, Wyevale was forced to file for bankruptcy and was sold off to a number of different buyers, most notably Dobbies, Blue Diamond Garden Centres and British Garden Centres.

United States

Garden center in Ohio

The United States retail garden-center market contained roughly 16,000 independently operated companies in 2010 according to Research and Markets. The combined annual revenue for the lot of them is about $30 billion.[1] Most garden centers are independently owned. There are some regional chains, but there is no national US garden center chain, unlike in the UK where there are several. However, both of the largest home improvement stores in the US—Lowe's and The Home Depot—refer to their gardening departments as garden centers and larger hardware stores have "Lawn and Garden" departments.

Some of the items that can be found in US garden centers, often called nurseries, include annual and perennial flowers, trees and shrubs, roses, container gardens, hanging baskets, houseplants, water gardening, seeds and bulbs, potting mixes, soil amendments and mulch, fertilizers and chemicals, pottery, garden tools and supplies, fountains and garden decor, much like their UK counterparts.

Many US garden centers have other departments including wild bird feeding, floral, gift, outdoor furniture and barbecue grills, home decor, landscape design, landscaping services and pet supplies. Most garden centers have a large Christmas department during the holiday season. Some garden centres have added a cafe or coffee bar, but not like the restaurants found in some European garden centres.

Greenhouses are commonly part of a US garden center. Greenhouses protect the plants from late cold snaps, allow stores to keep houseplants in prime condition, and keep the customers dry on rainy days.

Garden centers employ horticulturists who can diagnose problems and make recommendations to gardeners. This is almost always provided as a free service in the store and some of the bigger garden centers have classes that are open to the public.

Many garden centers belong to a buying cooperative. The largest is Master Nursery Garden Centers with just under 800 members followed by Home and Garden Showplace (part of the larger cooperative the True Value Company) with 260 members, Northwest Nursery Buyers Association with 46 members and finally, ECGC with 14 very large garden center members.

The trade associations of independent garden centers in the US is the Garden Centers of America and the American Nursery & Landscape Association.

Germany

In Germany, garden centers which are part of big chains' hardware stores collect the majority of sales, followed by a few specialized chains that are somewhat smaller.[2]

See also

References

  1. ^ "100 top garden centers in America - Garden Center Magazine".
  2. ^ "Gartencenter - Umsatz der größten Unternehmen im deutschen Gartenmarkt | Ranking | Handelsdaten.de | Statistik-Portal zum Handel". 20 May 2021.