On Thursday November 11 the great and good of the garden retail industry came together to celebrate the 40th annual GIMA Awards at a glittering black-tie event, held at Celtic Manor Resort. Celebrating the innovation, dedication and passion that goes into everything – from product development, to marketing campaigns and point of sale – the evening saw 17 award winners revealed and was accompanied by a much-needed night of merriment to mark the return of the awards after a two-year hiatus.
This year the GIMA Awards winners were selected by a panel of industry experts, made up of Alexa Blackmore, The Gardens Group; Andy Bunker, Alton Garden Centre; Matthew Bent, Bents Garden & Home; Trevor Pfeiffer, Garden Trade News; Victoria Redshaw, Scarlet Opus; Phillippa Stubbs, British Garden Centres; and Stuart Whalley, Rosebourne. With so many incredible entries, the judging day was one of hot debate and discussion but, together, the judges were able to decide on a list of highly deserving winners, as revealed at tonight’s ceremony.
GIMA Director, Vicky Nuttall, commented on tonight’s event. “I would like to be the first to extend my congratulations to all of the winners and to all those that joined us to welcome the return of the GIMA Awards. It’s been so good to be back and, even more so, to see that the industry has continued to grow and develop, even when faced with incredible adversity. The entries to this year’s awards were of the highest calibre and demonstrate the perseverance and enthusiasm that continues to make garden retail one of the most exciting sectors to be part of.
“Our thanks also extend to our judges for lending us their expert eye and skilled opinion, as well as all of our sponsors; without whom the awards would be not be possible.”
The big award of the night – the GIMA Sword of Excellence – was, this year, awarded to the team at Elho for its Green Basics Veggie Wall 80cm. This all-in-one system, with frame and netting included, offers urban gardeners an instant growing solution and drew praise from the judges for its ease of use and ‘plug and play’ capabilities. The judges also said: “Such a great product, perfect for new gardeners with smaller outdoor space; and made from recycled plastics. It really ticks all the boxes.”
The 2021 GCA Supplier of the Year Award was a hotly contested award but it was Meadow View Stone who walked away with the coveted title. The judges offered some key reasons why Meadow View deserves this leading accolade, including: “Some of best communication and supply in some of the hardest times, keeping me informed and the full range supplied on time”, and “Consistent service throughout a challenging year. Very impressive support and supply”,
This year, the Gardenex Export Achievement Award was awarded to Wildlife World. The judges’ comments included: “A worthy winner of this year’s Export Achievement Award, showing great initiative and success. When developing a new sales channel in the USA, Wildlife World remarketed its bird care products for the American market, created vibrant and eye-catching instore displays and is now successfully trading with over 50 Wild Birds Unlimited stores, achieving a significant increase in sales in the USA.”
The GIMA Awards newest award – Sustainability – was also a hard-fought category, with Phoenox Textiles, Hygeia, Primeur and West Country Soil Improvement all enjoying finalist status. However, it was Dalefoot Compost who the judges selected as 2021 winner, describing it as, “a company that has sustainability and the environment at the very heart of what it does. As well as delivering a great peat-free product, its peatland restoration work makes Dalefoot a worthy winner of this inaugural Sustainability Award.”
Garden Care Winner: Richard Jackson Garden – Plantsmith houseplant care product range – what the judges said: “Great looking and well executed product that will sell well in all houseplant departments.”
Growing, Planting Equipment and Sundries winner: Elho – Green Basics Veggie Wall 80cm what the judges said: “Great all-in-one growing solution boosted by the use of recycled plastic.”
Garden Tools, Machinery and Implements winner: Stihl – STIHL HSA 26 – what the judges said: “Great flexible tool, lightweight and helps keep everything trim and tidy.”
Outdoor Leisure winner: Fallen Fruits – MGO Firebowl – what the judges said: “Modern and functional. Suitable for all gardens, balconies and patios.”
Plants, Seeds and Bulbs winner: Mr Fothergill’s Seeds – RHS Flower Mixes – what the judges said: “They’ve got everything right with this range; seed selection, packaging, name, easy to use, it really stood out.”
Garden Landscaping winner: Onduline Building Products Ltd – ONDULINE EASYLINE DIY roof sheets – What the judges said: “A versatile product, ideal for small projects.”
Garden Clothing & Gifts winner: Richard Jackson Garden – Plantsmith Gift Boxes – What the judges said: “The ideal gift for any houseplant lover.”
Pet Care, Aquatics and Wild Bird Care Products winner: Wildlife World – Artisan Bird Nesters – what the judges said: “Important social and environmental values embedded into good-looking, well made, practical products.”
Garden Lighting, Water Features & Ornamentation winner: The Solar Centre – Kingsbridge Solar Wall Light -what the judges said: “Super stylish, minimalist design and excellent quality.”
Decorative Pots & Planters winner: Woodlodge – Bee Kind Honeycomb and Bumbee Pots – what the judges said: “The Bee Kind range has been one of this year’s best sellers and, at the same time, has supported the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which is fabulous!”
Best Point of Sale Material winner: Wildlife World – Cotswold Granaries FSDU – what the judges said: “An attractive piece of point of sale that’s natural, rustic, simple and not over-engineered.”
Best Sustainable Consumer Product Packaging winner: Wildlife World – Cotswold Granaries Wild Animal Food – what the judges said: “Attractive and well executed packaging with clear sustainable credentials. Everything, even the resealable zips are fully compostable!”
Best Marketing Communication & Social Media Award winner: Evergreen Garden Care – Miracle-Gro Mental Health Awareness Campaign – what the judges said: “A well-executed campaign, which really brought the connection between gardening, mindfulness and wellbeing to the fore, as well as encouraging an open dialogue about mental health.”