Barton Grange and Castle Gardens win top spots in annual competition, commended for their displays and for maximising sales of Christmas ranges.
The Garden Centre Association has revealed the winners of its annual Christmas Display Competition. Barton Grange Garden Centre in Brock, Lancashire, came first in the 'above £3m' category, with Cadbury Garden & Leisure in Congresbury, Somerset at second and Garsons in Esher, Surrey, bagging the third spot.
In the 'below £3m' category, Castle Gardens in Sherbourne, Dorset was awarded first prize, with Stratford Garden Centre in Stratford upon Avon in second place and Sunshine Garden Centre in North London in third.
This year's finals judge Roger Crookes said that overall he saw, "lots of quirky colourful inspiration, fun ideas and theatre, laughing and excited families, one or two jolly centres and lots of happy staff".
He added that the two winners excelled not only in their displays of decorations but were also maximising the sales of other product groups, such as Christmas tableware, plants and gifts.
"Barton Grange had a real sense of an 'internal exhibition' with the Christmas colour themes being linked to different countries - this idea was inspired by the international visitors at the IGCA Congress this September." He added that is was, "a must see well thought through retail experience."
"By contrast, Castle Gardens' very sensory experience revealed a 'heart for the local community' and traditional family values at Christmas. Their alpine village with working trains was obviously very popular and the sensory experience was enhanced by different sound effects in the various themed zones, very clever and great fun!"
Mr Crookes will give a presentation about the Christmas Display finalists at the GCA Winter Conference on January 25-27 at the Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel in Birmingham.
For more Christmas displays, visit our Festive Retail section