Cultivating Retail, hosted by the HTA and GIMA and sponsored by Evergreen Garden Care, took place on 13 November at the East Midlands Conference Centre in Nottingham. This new event, chaired by Channel 4 news presenter Cathy Newman, brought together growers, retailers and suppliers to look at the issues and opportunities that lie ahead for the garden industry.

The morning included speakers such as consumer behaviourist Ken Hughes discussing how personalisation is more important than ever, and how you now need to be targeting an ‘Instant Generation’. Will Seymour talked about how people now wish-list for pleasure as well as for purchases, and Trewin Restorick has showed the many ways in which environmental charity Hubbub, has made recycling a fun activity that the public want to take part in. Paul Pegg from Reynolds Catering Supplies provided supply chain insight from the food service industry showing how collaboration is the key to success.

The programme included two panel sessions covering the topics of plastics in horticulture, and also supply-chain issues. Both of these panels provided insight into what the industry was doing to tackle both of these issues, from both the retailer and supplier perspectives. With the day being concluded with expert sessions from Claire Harper and Alan Roper, Managing Director of Blue Diamond Group, giving their experience of retail and how to ‘delight the customer’, it was an educational and insightful day for all.

Cathy Newman summarised the proceedings and highlighted how agility was the watch word of the day with businesses always needing to be prepared for the next changes – whatever they may be.

The day was then topped off with a dinner where Adam Taylor, HTA President, discussed the recent presentation of the HTA Pearson Memorial Medal to Baroness Fookes. Greenfingers Chairman, John Ashley, then provided an update on Greenfingers activity and launched The Big Greenfingers Garden Raffle – a new initiative supported by National Garden Gift Vouchers.

GIMA President Richard Pyrah introduced the after-dinner speaker, record breaking cyclist James Golding, who gave a compelling, honest and uplifting talk of this life experiences and motivations. James finished his talk declaring how he was going to win the Race Across America in 2020.

View the full write up of the event, including all of the other speakers from the day, at