Gardening is a very serious matter in Britain

Gardening is supposed to be fun. Yes, but in Britain it is also something that must be carried out with utmost seriousness. Decent gardening requires proper planning and sound knowledge of plants and, of course, gardening tools.

Especially British middle-aged women become restless when spring is near. They spent the whole winter planning the design and plants for the new garden season. For them a plant is not just a plant, it rather is a growing member of the family. Generally speaking, the British seem to treat their gardens as if they were their children. Every change and development of the plant is thoroughly noted and, like the weather, is a popular topic for small talk with neighbours and friends. Pests and other unwanted creatures in the garden are seen as a personal assault and must be fought without compromise. However, synthetic chemicals must not be used, but only natural products such as organic fertilisers, pesticides and composting. For the British gardeners their gardens are a part of their identity. Therefore, garden tools are a popular present for birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other personal occasions. British gardeners prefer the designed and artistic garden and so, lots of beautiful flowers, often roses, zest the gardens. Nowadays the kitchen garden becomes increasingly popular in Britain. However, even in this type of garden, beauty is a must. The vegetables grown have to be attractive or at least raised in fancy pots or containers. Ideally, the grown herbs and vegetables taste good, but it almost seems that stylish appearance is even more important. The average British gardener invests 82 Euros (108 $) per year in his garden.

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UK garden centres successful with GYO

According to the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Garden Retail Monitor, 2011 was a successful year for garden centres in the UK as overall sales were up six per cent compared with the previous year. This must be largely attributed to the highly popular Grow Your Own (GYO) programme, which grew by 34 per cent.

Top sellers in the GYO sales were tomatoes and herbs with 20 to 25 per cent. Strawberries, apples, lettuce, potatoes, peppers, onions, raspberries and carrots complete the top ten GYO crops. 

HTA also found out that using social media is a suitable tool for raising the turnover of a garden centre. However, owners have to designate someone to run social media and allocate sufficient time to do it, because social media cannot be run successfully just as a sideline. Furthermore, social media channels should be linked from the garden centre’s website. It is also important to closely watch the competitors’ activities in region and sector and to develop ideas to boost sales on special occasions. If it is all done diligently, social media may well contribute to stimulating the sales figures.

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Garden at a stretch
New: Garden isles prefabricated

The Gartenio company from Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) demonstrates what the future of horticulture could possibly look like: The Gartenio-Pearls! With these patent pending pearls, they bring pre-installed garden worlds on the market.

Within a couple of hours, the Gartenio-Pearls can be installed in every garden or roof garden. The choice of garden isles ranges from paved and planted seating areas over a kitchen garden to a little island including a canopied beach chair and even a small beach.

The Gartenio-Pearls fit into almost any garden, as they are available in S, M and L, i.e. from 2.25 x 2.25 metres to 4.5 x 4.5 metres). It took a long time and was a fiddly job until the innovative concept could be realised. The results are wooden boxes with a special mounting, which allows an uncomplicated and safe transport. The garden worlds are being built into these boxes and then forwarded to the client. There they are conveyed to their final destination in the garden by wheel loader or mobile crane. Usually, this does not take any longer than two hours.

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Free Apps are short-lived

It seems as if modern (commercial) life without Apps is simply impossible. But is it worth to invest all the effort and the money for just one or two days of use? Could it possibly be that traditional marketing activities are therefore still favoured by many marketing managers?

The German trade magazine handelsjournal reports that German trading companies spent some 2.2bn Euros on marketing activities in 2011, which equals roughly 3.5 % of the total turnover. The biggest share in the marketing budgets (62 %) was allotted to flyers, catalogues and advertisements, which reflects an increase by 4 % as compared to the previous year. Especially flyers have become very popular, because they are an excellent tool for drawing the potential customers’ attention to bargains or seasonal special offers. More popular than flyers was just online-marketing with an increase in expenditures of 113 %. However, that does not yet seem to be the end of the line. A further rise by 10 %  is expected for 2012, mainly due to increased social media marketing activities. So far, for merely one per cent of the trading companies mobile marketing, e. g. Apps or smart phone compatible websites, is of any strategic marketing relevance. However, three out of four traders are planning to do mobile marketing, too, as it is seen as a reliable tool for customer retention and a strong bridge between the customer and the point of sale. A recent study carried out by the US media analyst Pinch Media reveals though that only 5 % of all free Apps will still be used one month after download. After three months the rate goes further down to almost nil. Pinch Media have surveyed over 30m free APPs and were very surprised that as many as 80 % of all iPhone users stop using a free App on the day following its download.

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