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Garden centre

Monday, October 19, 2009

A garden centre is a retail firm that sells plants and products related to gardens as its primary business. It is open to the public, with facilities to care for and display plants.

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[edit] UK

Part of a large garden centre near Bristol, England
A garden centre in the UK sells plants, compost, fertilizers, tools and landscaping products such as statues, furniture and garden ornaments. Some also sell pet related products and small pets such as guinea pigs, rabbits, fish and mice.
The UK has a mix of small businesses and national or regional chains. Garden centre chains in the UK include Capital Gardens, Dobbies, The Garden Store, Hillier, Notcutts, Squires and Wyevale. The DIY chains B&Q and Homebase also have garden centres. In recent years Garden centres have evolved to become a leisure destination with play centres for children, restaurants and other activities designed to improve the shopping experience and time spent at the Centre. This is partly a reachion to the DIY chains bringing down prices and the increasing threat from online Garden centres such as Crocus, Garden Oasis, Greenfingers and PickaPlant, although companies such as Capital Gardens, Dobbies, Riverside and Wyevale have responded by developing and marketing their own online operations. Some open air attractions (eg, National Trust properties, the RHS Garden, Wisley, Westonbirt Arboretum) also run small garden centres as additional sources of revenue or to discourage the unofficial taking of plant cuttings.
The centres usually obtain their plant supplies from nurseries or from specialist wholesalers.
The peak business seasons in the UK are spring (March to June) and autumn (September and October).
A garden centre offers more products and services than the traditional nursery which mainly retails plants. Garden centres offer not only garden supplies but also leisure buildings, garden furniture, products for pets and fish keeping, and giftware and home products.
The oldest garden centre in the UK is 'Plant and Harvest' in West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. A walled garden, built as the kitchen gardens for the Dashwood Estate, it has been selling plants since 1775.
In 2007, the retailer, Tesco, has attempted to move into the garden centre market through acquisition[1] [2]. There has been a marked trend in recent years towards online garden centres which offer the full ordering and delivery service. An example of one of these websites would be www.internetgardener.co.uk[1] which has been around since 2006

[edit] United States

Items found in US garden centers (US spelling), often called nurseries, are annual and perennial flowers, trees & 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.
Many US garden centres 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 centres have a large Christmas shop 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.
Both of the largest home improvement stores in the US--Lowe's and The Home Depot-- refer to their gardening departments as garden centres.
Greenhouses are commonly part of a garden centre. 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 centres employ horticulturists who can diagnose problems and make recommendations to gardeners. This is almost always provided as a free service in the store.
Most garden centres are independently owned. There are some regional chains, but there is no national US garden centre chain.
Many garden centres 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 centre members.
The trade associations of independent garden centres in the US is the Garden Centers of America and the American Nursery & Landscape Association .

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