A UK commercial grower that sponsored the Garden Centre Association's (GCA) Ruxley Rose Award – presented at the body' annual conference last week – has revealed what makes a winning plant area.

The Wyevale Nurseries' sponsored Best Overall Plant Area Ruxley Rose Award went to Cowell's Garden Centre in the Destination Garden Centre (DGC) Category and Squires Garden Centre, Hersham in the Garden Centre (GC) Category.

Andy Johnson, Managing Director of Wyevale Nurseries in Hereford, says: "As a keen GCA Associate Member and a key supplier to garden centers nationwide, we were delighted to sponsor this prestigious award, which highlights not just garden centers with top quality, interesting plants, but those who take the trouble to display them well, to use good signage and information, to support and train staff, who are passionate about plants, and offer engaging and excellent customer care to those that need their advice and assistance."

"We'd like to congratulate Cowell's, Squires, and Hersham on their overall win and also applaud the runners-up in both categories for their hard work and commitment to outdoor plants, too."

The second and third-place winners in the Destination Garden Centre Category were Perrywood Garden Centre, Tiptree, and Aylett Nurseries, and in the Garden Centre Category, Perrywood Garden Centre, Sudbury, and Squires Garden Centre, Woking.

After the first judging took place last spring, the top 10 highest scorers from across the country then received a second visit from GCA Inspector Alyson Haywood in the autumn to determine the winners of the overall Ruxley Rose competition in both categories, as announced at January's conference.

She explains: "The Ruxley Rose competition focuses on determining which garden centers nationally have the best plant areas. What makes the best plant area? They are vibrant, colorful places with comprehensive ranges of plants, which offer first-class quality and are beautifully and innovatively presented with cameo displays. They also provide great service to their customers from engaged and knowledgeable staff."

"In addition to this, it is important that the best are also immaculately clean and tidy, with no weeds or plant debris, and provide information and inspiration for all customers, from novices to more experienced ones."

"Cowell's demonstrated a great range of authority, superb plant quality, excellent presentation, and inspiration, all in addition to first-class retail execution. Squires at Hersham offered a comprehensive outdoor plant range, outstanding quality, it was immaculately clean and tidy, with great presentation, and creative cameo displays to inspire customers. Both centers provided simple helpful plant information for all visitors too."

Cowell's Garden Centre and Squires Garden Centre, Hersham, were presented with their awards on January 29 at the GCA's 2024 annual conference in the Cotswolds.

GCA CEO Peter Burks adds: "Plants are the key product group for all serious garden centers, which is why we judge our top 10 centers in each turnover band every year to get a true reflection of the best before amalgamating the scores to announce our overall, national Ruxley Rose winners."

"We are extremely grateful that a nursery such as Wyevale Nurseries, with such a great name and reputation in our industry, sponsors this award, which is undoubtedly the most coveted amongst our member garden centers."

"Wyevale Nurseries is highly respected by our members and is well-known for having very high standards in propagation, innovation, plant care, and biosecurity. They're the perfect pairing for this award."

For more information:
Wyevale Nurseries