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I am a landscape designer with independent contractors, they installed $300k last year. Plants, mulch, soil amendments, arbors, stone, ponds, outdoor kitchens.

Alas, 3 dear clients within a short amount of time each informed me of 'issues' with the contractor. I no longer use those contractors (they bought from garden center #1). My new contractor, fabulous, uses garden center #2.

Garden center #1 never connected the dots of who generated significant business for them last year.

Hello, garden center #1? Ever heard of B2B marketing? If I had generated those sales for a car dealership can you imagine them not knowing my name & following me into new contractor relationships?

Multiply my story by scores of landscape designers never approached by a garden center. Lots of low hanging fruit.

Garden & Be Well, XO Tara Dillard

Hi Tara

Thanks for your comment.

There are significant opportunities being wasted and your tale backs up what I'm thinking.

Hi Phil,

Sorry, out of touch again, this is getting boring.

The AWB is there to protect workers some 20,000 employees in Nurseries around the UK from ½ wit bosses.

If you believe, which I think you do, that Landscapers should be paid a fair wage, why then are you so anti Nursery workers and support driving down their wages, are they second class to you? I am a Nursery Worker, and have been for 30 years, am I second class to you?

The proportion of plants sold to Landscapers and Designers is far outweighed by Garden Centres, so if the Landscape industry bought lets say, 50% of Plant production, then you could perhaps have a case to argue.

I could go on about costs of production in Nurseries, but I won't bore you with it. Having spent the last week doing so, I am a bit bored of it myself. Enough to say that the main costs of production are plants, pots,soil,water and distribution. But then you have never run a Nursery, have you?

If the Landscape Industry truly appeciated the costs of producing a pot grown plant, they would do the sensible thing and mark up Plants by 2.35.

As long as they do not Plants, Landscaping and Gardens will be viewed by the general public as cheap, add on extras, and Landscapers and Nurseries will suffer and remain a cheap and second rate option.

I believe that the UK Landscape Industry and Nurseries is first class, the envy of the rest of the world, built by hard working, underpaid Nursery Workers and Landscapers.

Raise the standard, don't lower it!!!!

Hi Steve

I don't think you've read or bothered to understand what I've suggested.

If you read it again you'll see that I'm suggesting that more nurseries work closer with landscapers so that they can sell their plants for more and landscapers can sell for more but you both cut out the garden centre and the end client gets a better deal.

Kind regards


Hi Phil,
How can a Nursery sell cheaper, you do not explain?

If the Nursery sold through the Landscaper to their client, that is a grey area, since growing nurseries are exempt from Business Rates as is Agriculture whilst Retail Nurseries selling to the public, first or second hand are not exempt. If growing Nurseries become liable for Business Rates that would be the death knell for most of them, and cost far more than getting rid of the AWB.

We know as we have spent many hours dealing with this very issue.

We have always worked closely with Landscapers & Designers, in our previous business their sales accounted for 80% of our business because we ARE different to others.

Moreover, we visited our Landscaping and Designers clients gardens (at no cost)and suggested plants to use in projects, something no other Nursery does.

We know about working closely, as we have done it, for free!

In the past few weeks, we have visited many Wholesale Nurseries in our new area, and most hate Landscapers and designers as to quote "They are too much hard work". That is NOT our opinion.

The samller nurseries employ family, whilst the bigger employ Eastern Eurpean labour, under the AWB as they cannot get the locals to work for the pittance the AWB protects. No youth coming though in our industry, no passion, no future.

Cheaper is not always best.

You perhaps do not understand Nursery production, and the UK Nursery industry, hence your comments.


Can I just ask that you re-read the original post?

I think you've missed the point.



With 20 years in retail plus now 6 years as a Garden Designer I can see the place for both routes. Customers like garden centres as an experiance, just like shopping generally, and this is essential as an easily accessable shop window to the horticultural world. Many customers come to appreciate their gardens following visits to local, large & small, garden centres.

Where I think there is an exciting and growing opportunity for UK horticulture is, as you indicate Phil, that nurseries market themselves well on-line, maybe to trade, but also to the public. We have a huge wealth of specialists up & down the land who can now access a share of the vast gardening market.

As a Designer I regularly source my plants via many smaller specialists as well as via a local Horticultural therapy project. This has become a selling point to my customers often resulting in me supplying all thier plants to complete their design installation.

While some of my Clients prefer to obtain thier plants themselves and in these cases I try to guide them to the best routes locally available to them. There are some great Garden Centres out there.

I'm not sure it's about cutting out the Garden Centre but us building on the energy they may spark in future customers and then helping them to explore the true breadth of horticultural gems available, at great value, from other routes. This has to be good for the whole industry.

Debbie Carroll, Garden Designer Hampshire

Hi Phil,

I've just read this post. A very good suggestion IMO. We already do buy plants from nurseries rather than Garden Centre's whenever possible.
I can see your point about nurseries selling direct to the end-user of the plants rather than through the expensive middle men (the garden centre). They could increase their prices thereby making their busineesses more viable and able to pay their workers more money. If the average nursery say charged 10% more for their plants, landscapers/ gardeners would still get a bargain compared to garden centre prices. Nursery price £2.00 GC price £8 per plant or whatever.

I don't understand why Steve thinks that and I agree with Tara that both GC & nurseries consistently fail to approach us professionals and generate any type of relationship. We've been trading 5 years and no one has ever approached us about buying their plants. DOH!

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