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The season is upon us, and the months of preparation, purchasing and, let's face it, prayers, are about to come to a head in a golden window of sales opportunity. In honour of this key calendar period, DIY Week has given over all but the first eight pages of the March 25 issue to the garden sector, with views, tips, profiles and launches from some of the leaders in the field.

And, the combination of the official start of spring and some surprisingly good weather over the past two weekends (the result of all those prayers no doubt) conspired to kick it off with a bang.

I, like many others, spent the weekend making the most of the sunshine, working in the garden (somebody else's unfortunately). And, if my brief visit to the local garden centre, Haskins Snowhill, on Saturday was anything to go by, we're in for a bumper year.

It seemed from the car park, when I arrived late morning, that the whole county had woken up and decided en masse that it was time to tidy up outside. It was as if a switch in the public consciousness had been thrown overnight and the combined effect of the daffodils in bloom and the sun in the sky served to herd the general population towards the nearest garden outlet - my grandmother included, who decided, from her 93 years of experience, this was the day she absolutely had to get seed potatoes laid out for chitting.

Of course the weather was a huge factor, we all know that sunshine equals sales, but there seemed to me to be something larger at work. Shoots Garden Centres md Piers Mummery summed it up in a lovely phrase in his comments about the market on page 14 of the Garden Issue of DIY Week. He described garden products as 'happy purchases', and that, it seems to me, is key.

Being outside makes us feel good; achieving things makes us feel good; retail therapy (in the right measure) makes us feel good and gardening ticks all of these boxes. It's mostly lower-ticket purchases, which give a relatively immediate result in the garden and, which we can justify to ourselves as either an enjoyable hobby, a long-term saving, in the case of GYO, or a maintenance investment in the value of our property.

And it's this feelgood factor, the seratonin-led sales, that may well make the difference in the coming weeks and months... well, that and the weather!
View User Profile for Will Parsons Blog entries from Will Parsons, former editor of DIY Week and

Posted by Will Parsons | 23 March 2011 | 08:47 | More from: Will Parsons' blog


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