“We’re a nation of garden lovers who get a huge amount of enjoyment from our outdoor spaces and we must pick up our trowels and invest time now to ensure we have great gardens, with the maximum feel good factor, come summer.” Market director for outdoor at B&Q, Steve Guy

the internet. They are transient and space-restricted; often living in rented homes with little to no garden or outdoor space.

The Eco-Gardeners – this group of people is seeking a more sustainable, environmentally- friendly way to garden, embracing the grow-your-own trend, in a bid to shrink their food miles and reduce their carbon footprint. The Entertainers – with a growing desire to turn the garden into the fifth room of the house, this group has boosted sales across garden furniture sets, barbecues and outdoor lighting, as having the space to entertain is deemed the second-most appealing garden feature for Brits.

B&Q market director for outdoor, Steve Guy says: “We’re a nation of garden lovers who get a huge amount of enjoyment from our outdoor spaces and we must pick up our trowels and invest time now to ensure we have great gardens, with the maximum feel-good factor, come summer.”

Nurturing and thriving

Wyevale Garden Centres’ fertilisers and chemicals and growing media buyer, Duncan Mclean says: “My contemporaries have had little interest in gardening but, as they get older and have children, I see a growing gardening aspiration among them. However, they worry about doing it wrong. We need to demystify gardening for this generation and support the less- confident gardener.” So, how should retailers reach out to the new wave of amateur gardeners, and how can the art of

gardening be broken down and explained in a clear, concise way? Wyevale is finding new ways to guide its customers, with over 250 advice articles on its website and step-by-step ‘supermarket style’ recipe cards in centres to help them build projects around their garden. “Retailers supply planters ready- planted with decorative plants and herbs,” says Forest Garden’s Nicola Simpson. “A kitchen/herb garden is a great introduction to GYO – this can be achieved in a very small area, and Forest Garden has introduced tiered and corner planters which offer more growing space without taking up too much floor space.” Eco-conscious customers are looking for simple-but-effective ways to improve their environment, Professor Alistair Griffiths spoke at the most recent HTA conference about ‘Health, Wellbeing and Horticulture’ and said: “The horticulture industry is worth about £13billion and [there is] massive potential as an industry to produce products that maximise environmental resilience. We need more people to reconnect with gardening and the natural world.”

Healing Houseplants The nation’s burgeoning interest in physical wellbeing and mindfulness is seeing people create interiors that mimic green, calming jungles. Sales of big, leafy houseplants are mounting at Wyevale Garden Centres, as are sales of trailing houseplants. Such plants ae often juxtaposed against clean-lined, mid-century modern furniture and white walls. Health-conscious gardeners are

also increasingly interested in the medicinal qualities of the plants they buy, with sales of soothing aloe vera and health-giving herbs also on the rise. Google searches for ‘air-purifying plants’ and ‘aloe vera’ were up 550% YOY in 2017, with searches for air-cleansing ‘snake plants’ up 700%. Wyevale houseplants buyer Ciara Sheridan says: “Today’s gardeners are bringing the outdoors in and creating natural, clean, green, jungle-like atmospheres in their homes, directly influenced by the wellbeing trend. They are buying many more large houseplants than they did in the past to help them create this calming look and feel in the home.” Forest Garden’s Nicola Simpson

offers: “Plants and associated products are key in designing and accessorising this space. They bring beauty, structure and colour to

the home and garden and can be important in providing the feeling of peace and serenity.”

The past year has seen exciting and unprecedented growth in gardening and, with a new introduction into the many different types of gardeners we have in Britain and what their gardening goal is, retailers can work on appealing to everyone and helping to encourage hesitant first-timers, who are eager to learn.

Simple things like putting a bee sign on the different plant varieties that help wildlife to thrive, will immediately target the eco- gardeners, and make the information easy and accessible. With research showing the undeniable fact that gardening is great, not only for your physical wellbeing, but for general happiness – here’s hoping even more consumers will take up their trowels and forks.

27 APRIL 2018 DIY WEEK 23

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