The two young delegates sponsored by the Garden Centre Association (GCA) Trust to attend the 58th International Garden Centre Association (IGCA) Congress near Niagara Falls in Canada have reported back this month.
Zoe Willis (pictured right) from Perrywood Garden Centre and Liz Dowling (pictured left) from Millbrook Garden Company were both selected by the GCA Trust for the Dick Allen Scholarship Award Scheme.
Zoe explained: “The week had a packed-full itinerary including many visits to Canadian garden centres, a visit to Toronto botanical gardens and a night hosted by Sheridan nurseries, a harbour tour overlooking the Toronto skyline, various trips to Niagara Falls, an evening at the Hockey Hall of Fame and as much networking as you could possibly pack in! It was an unforgettable experience and my brain is completely full of inspiration. I am beyond excited.”
This year’s IGCA was attended by 20 countries and Britain had the largest number of delegates.
Liz Dowling, who is based at Crowborough, said: “We visited some fabulous, and some not so fabulous garden centres, but there was something to learn from each of them and the people on the congress were brilliant. It was great to share experiences and learn from them – what a privilege to spend time talking to the owners of some of the best garden centres in the world. And all this while staying on the edge of the amazing Niagara Falls – I really couldn’t have had a better week!”
The Trust is now inviting donations to fund delegates to future congresses, including one to the Czech Republic in September 2018.
Trust chairman Sue Allen said: “If anyone wishes to make a donation to ensure the future of this exciting and successful initiative, they should contact GCA chief executive Iain Wylie on 01244 952170 or visit www.gca.org.uk for more details.”