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Garden Centre Group partners with Forestry Commission

A new partner has been appointed for the shop and plant centre at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum.

The Garden Centre Group has been running the retail outlets at Westonbirt Arboretum since 3 April.

Simon Toomer, Arboretum Director commented:

“We chose The Garden Centre Group because they bring with them a wealth of experience and knowledge from working with similar organisations. We believe they will bring fresh ideas to retail at Westonbirt Arboretum.

The Forestry Commission and The Garden Centre Group are working together to ensure a smooth changeover for the retail outlets. New stock and a refreshed look and feel will be ready to welcome visitors.

Nicholas Marshall, Chief Executive of The Garden Centre Group, said:

“We are delighted to be running the Westonbirt plant centre and gift shop. We are working closely with the Forestry Commission to ensure a smooth handover.

“We are passionate about plants and gardening and we shall be offering a superb and expanded range of top quality British grown plants and gardening products.”

The Garden Centre Group has 128 garden centres nationwide including Bridgemere Nursery and Garden World in Cheshire, Blooms Garden Centres nationwide, Heighley Gate Nursery & Garden Centre in Northumberland, Old Barn Nursery & Garden Centre in West Sussex, Sanders Garden World in Somerset, Woodlands Nursery & Garden Centre in Leicestershire, World’s End Garden Centre in Buckinghamshire and Wyevale Garden Centres.

The new partnership at the arboretum is part of a wider review of how the Forestry Commission operates retail nationally.


1) Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is managed by the Forestry Commission and is renowned worldwide for its tree and shrub collection. Home to the National Japanese Maple Collection, the arboretum covers 243 hectares (600 acres) and contains 16,000 specimens. Visitor numbers are over 350,000 a year, with a membership of 28,000. Westonbirt Arboretum was established in the 1850s by wealthy landowner Robert Holford, and later developed by his son George Holford. Unlike many arboretums, Westonbirt is laid out according to aesthetic appeal rather than scientific or geographical criteria. Visit

2) The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands. For more visit

3) The Garden Centre Group’s largest garden centre is Bridgemere Nursery & Garden World in Cheshire (the largest garden centre in the UK) whilst their smallest is at Carmarthen in Wales. More than 90 per cent of their plant stock is British-grown, and much of this stock is grown in their own nurseries. The Group employs more than 5000 staff and runs its own Gardening Club, with more than 2 million members.

Source : The Forestry Commission

09 April 2012
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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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