First GCA South Thames Awards presentation evening

Over 80 members of the South Thames division of the Garden Centres Association attended the first regional award ceremony hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley. The evening was presented by Andy Bunt, Chairman of the South Thames division, Roger Crooks and Ian Boardman, who audited the 36 garden centres judged within the region.
Millbrook Garden Centre at Gravesend was not only presented as joint winner (with Knockholt-based Coolings Nurseries) for Best People, but won Best Gardening Retailer and the top award of Best Garden Centre in South Thames. Coolings also won Best Plant Department.  Polhill Garden Centre won the Best Restaurant category and the hosts at Wisley won Best Lifestyle Retailer.
Two Garsons centres were honoured. Garsons Esher won Best Service and Facilities whilst their sister centre at Tichfield gained the Best Specialist Retailer certificate.
Haskins Snowhill Garden Centre and Shoots Garden Centre at Washington in West Sussex were joint holders of the Most Improved Award. Haskins at Ferndown won the Best Display Idea category.  The Auditors Award For Outstanding Achievement was presented to Sherborne based Castle Gardens for their resolve and determination to open and trade following a major fire.
“We congratulate all of the winning garden centres and acknowledge the continuous professionalism and improvements made by so many of the others,” said Andy Bunt. “The benchmark of standards is rising within our region and this was demonstrated by higher scores attributed by Roger Crooks and Ian Boardman during their audits.”