Record number of GCA members awarded Highly Commended certificates

The Garden Centre Association (GCA) has recently (September 2021) revealed that a record number of members have received Highly Commended awards after its annual inspections and these have helped drive standards and profitability.

Staff from Perrywood Garden Centre – Tiptree with their awards and (right) GCA Inspector, Andy Campbell

One-hundred-and-two garden centres were Highly Commended, which is awarded to those that score 75% and above in their annual inspection.

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “Each year standards are getting better and better, and our members have continued to focus on improving their already high standards, despite a very difficult last 18 months. We are absolutely thrilled to see so many of our members receiving this award as a result of their excellent performance in our 2021 inspections.

“Our members tell us how beneficial the annual inspections are for them. The process itself sees an independent inspector visiting each year and as they don’t know when the inspections will be held, it means they are always ‘on their toes’ to ensure everything is running to the highest level at all times. This guarantees that customer service and retail standards are always top notch throughout the important spring, or in this case, summer trading period, as inspections were delayed due to Covid.

“If garden centres are scoring 75% or above, as well as having increased standards, members will also see increased turnover and profitability, which is a huge asset in being part of the GCA. They can also benefit by using these awards to market their centres – in advertising, publicity, social media and on their websites – and this helps generate greater awareness and additional footfall too.

“It is great to see more of our members receiving these awards and this is a clear indication that GCA membership is helping centres to improve year-on-year. Additional benefits between members include the sharing of information, ideas and best practice, as most recently demonstrated in our regional awards.

“Being an award-winning garden centre offers assurance to existing customers and helps to attract new customers too.”

One of the GCA Inspectors for 2021 was Gordon Emslie, who visited centres during the summer.

He said: “This year we saw 102 centres achieve the Highly Commended certificate. This is the highest number of centres achieving this certificate in any one season, which is outstanding. This was purely down to the hard work of centre teams in delivering excellent standards of consistency throughout all the categories.

“The one thing that did stand out was the high-level execution of Covid-19 compliance protocols across all centres, which set an exemplary example to others in the retail industry.”

Perrywood Tiptree in Colchester was one of the Destination Garden Centres (DGC) to receive an award.

Hannah Powell, HR & Communications Director, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the recent GCA Awards.

“It was also wonderful to pick up regional awards we haven’t won before – for Outdoor Living, Garden Care and Environment and Sustainability. We’ve put a lot of effort into encouraging customers to garden more sustainably, particularly in switching to peat-free. We are extremely proud of everything the entire team has achieved over the last 12 months.”

Another centre to earn the accolade was Cowell’s Garden Centre in Woolsington, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Director Martin Cowell said: “After such a difficult 18 months for everyone, it is wonderful to have something to celebrate and receive recognition for the continued hard work and enthusiasm of our fantastic team here at Cowell’s.”

The top 10 scoring centres will receive, in addition, a ‘Centre of Excellence’ Award and these will be announced during the GCA’s annual dinner at the 2022 Annual Conference on January 23 – 26, 2022 at the Mercure Blackburn Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa in Blackburn, Lancashire. Members will be able to book in October 2021 for the event.

The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.

Through sharing information and its inspection programme the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.

For further information, please call 01244 952170. Alternatively, please visit, or

The full list of garden centre association members to receive Highly Commended awards are: 


  • Baytree Nurseries & Garden Centre
  • Brigg Garden Centre
  • Derby Garden Centre
  • East Bridgford Garden Centre
  • Evesham Garden Centre
  • Fairways Garden Centre – Ashbourne
  • Klondyke Group – Byrkley Park Garden Centre
  • Melbicks Garden Centre
  • Notcutts Garden Centre – Wheatcroft
  • Pacific Nurseries
  • Pennells Garden Centre – Grimsby
  • Pennells Garden Centre – Lincoln
  • Percy Thrower’s Gardening Centre
  • Planters at Bretby Ltd
  • Planters Garden Centre – Tamworth
  • St. Peters Garden Centre
  • Stratford Garden Centre
  • The Van Hage Garden Company – Peterborough
  • Webbs of Wychbold
  • Webbs West Hagley

North East:

  • Cowell’s Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Garforth Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Northallerton Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Stokesley Garden Centre
  • Langlands Garden Centre – Shiptonthorpe
  • RHS Harlow Carr Plant Centre & Gift Shop
  • Tong Garden Centre

North Thames:

  • Aylett Nurseries Ltd
  • Perrywood Tiptree
  • Poplars Nursery Garden Centre Ltd
  • Scotsdale Garden Centre
  • Thetford Garden Centre
  • Thurrock Garden Centre

North West:

  • Barton Grange Garden Centre
  • Bellis Brothers Farm Shop & Garden Centre
  • Bents Garden & Home
  • Fairways Garden Centre – Macclesfield
  • Fron Goch Garden Centre
  • Gordale Nurseries Ltd
  • Grosvenor Garden Centre
  • Hayes Garden World
  • Klondyke Group – Brookside Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Burnside Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Daleside Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – High Legh Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Houghton Hall Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Lady Green Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Wilmslow Garden Centre
  • Notcutts Garden Centre – Woodford Park

Northern Ireland:

  • Creative Gardens Bushmills
  • Creative Gardens Donaghadee
  • Creative Gardens Galgorm Castle


  • Dunbar Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Garden Wise (Dumfries)
  • Klondyke Group – Howdens Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Mayfield Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Mortonhall Garden Centre
  • Klondyke Group – Polmont Garden Centre
  • Mains of Drum Garden Centre Ltd
  • Simpsons Garden Centre

South Thames:

  • Blackbrooks Garden Centre
  • Castle Gardens
  • Chessington Garden Centre
  • Coolings Nurseries
  • Garsons Garden Centre – Esher
  • Garsons Garden Centre – Titchfield
  • Haskins Forest Lodge Garden Centre
  • Haskins Garden Centre – Ferndown
  • Haskins Garden Centre – Southampton
  • Haskins Roundstone Garden Centre
  • Haskins Snowhill Garden Centre
  • Henry Street Garden Centre
  • Hillier Garden Centre – Eastbourne
  • Knights Plant & Life – Godstone
  • Paradise Park Garden Centre
  • Polhill Garden Centre – Sevenoaks
  • Ransoms Garden Centre
  • RHS Wisley Plant Centre and Shop
  • Ruxley Manor Garden Centre
  • Squires at Badshot Lea
  • Squires Garden Centre – Hersham
  • Squires Garden Centre – Long Ditton
  • Squires Garden Centre – West Horsley
  • Squires Garden Centre – Woking
  • Stewarts Broomhill
  • Stewarts Christchurch
  • The Millbrook Garden Company – Gravesend
  • The Millbrook Garden Company – Staplehurst
  • Thompson’s Plant & Garden Centre – Chislehurst
  • Thompson’s Plant & Garden Centre – Newchurch
  • Thompson’s Plant & Garden Centre – Welling

Wales & West:

  • Bernaville Nurseries
  • Cadbury Garden Centre
  • Endsleigh Garden Centre
  • Monkton Elm Garden Centre Ltd
  • Pughs Garden Village Radyr
  • Pughs Garden Village Wenvoe
  • Sanders Garden World
  • The Old Railway Line Garden Centre
  • Trelawney Garden Leisure
  • Whitehall Garden Centre – Lacock
  • Whitehall Garden Centre – Whitchurch