By now, if you are a regular reader of this column, you will know just how much I love gardening and the gardening industry as a whole. Therefore, I have to reply to the issues raised on that ridiculous TV programme that aired last week on “the trouble with garden centres”. I have to admit it spoiled my mood.

The programme suggested that garden centres were responsible for the disappearance of the world’s peat bogs. This simply isn’t true! Garden centre sales contribute to less than 3% of Europe’s peat use and we are continually looking at peat alternatives, and most garden centres already sell peat free alternatives!

It then went on to say that garden centres are a huge contributor to single use plastic products with our black non -recyclable plant pots and that, in short, garden centres do not care about the environment … what a lot of “compost” that statement is!

This year, at Caulders, as with the majority of all other garden centres in Scotland, 50% of bedding plants sold were in kerbside recyclable boxes made from recycled drink bottles. We aim to have 100% of our bedding plants in these boxes next year – but just like slowing an oil tanker, this takes time.

Other things that most garden centres do are to recycle all cardboard packaging and aluminum cans, not forgetting that we recycle rainwater for watering our plants!

Wherever possible we work by a “less miles, more smiles” policy and try to buy as many Scottish grown plants as possible.

Of course, garden centres care for the environment, it’s in our nature!


This is a spectacular new variety of azelea known as ‘Bloom Champion’ and is now available in the UK for the first time. It is a compact semi-evergreen azelea, but unlike others, it has two flowering seasons. Normally azeleas flower in the spring, but this one also flowers again in the late summer and autumn – an abundantly flowering plant that is indeed ‘bloom champion’ in my books! It is winter hardy and does fabulously well in planted containers for your patio – it really will bring cheer to your garden!