On Thursday 11 November 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 the prestigious 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 the evening'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.”
GIMA AWARDS 2021 – THE WINNERS
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.”
GIMA AWARDS 2021 - PRODUCT AWARDS
Winner: Richard Jackson Garden - Plantsmith houseplant care product range
Finalists: Evergreen Garden Care - Miracle-Gro Peat Free, SBM Life Science Ltd - Provanto® Smart Bug Killer, Sipcam Home & Garden - Ecofective Plant Disease Defence RTU and Refill, REMIN (Scotland) Ltd - 10kg bag REMIN volcanic rock dust
About the winner: Traditionally, houseplant care products are packaged and sold like traditional garden care products. They’re functional but not aesthetic, you’d hide them under the kitchen sink for example. Plantsmith is a new range of professionally formulated products, designed to look as good as they perform.
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
Finalists: GARDENA – AquaBloom, Woodlodge - Honey & Wild Plant Support Collection, Capi Europe – Rain Barrel Row NL – olive green
About the winner: It's a unique all-in-one ‘plug and play’ solution for any urban gardener wanting to grow climbing fruit, vegetables and flowers in a small space.
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
Finalists: GARDENA – Leaf Collector, Burgon & Ball - Sophie Conran for Burgon & Ball garden tool additions, Westland Horticulture – The Capability Trowel
About the winner: The HSA 26 is part of the STIHL AS Cordless System for garden maintenance. The trimmer attachments are easy to swap over in seconds and, with a battery run time of up to 110 minutes, this lightweight and manoeuvrable tool is equally good at trimming topiary or lawn edges.
What the judges said: “Great flexible tool, lightweight and helps keep everything trim and tidy.”
Winner: Fallen Fruits – MGO Firebowl
Finalists: Zest 4 Leisure – Burghley Arbour, Zest 4 Leisure – Chepstow Arbour, Tramontina – Beer Barrel Grill
About the winner: With its light grey colour and contemporary design and dual use, firebowl/BBQ is a change from the traditional metal or terracotta garden heating options. Made from magnesium oxide, it is fire resistant, strong, resistant to mould and mildew, and can easily withstand the outdoor elements.
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
Finalists: Farplants Ltd – Skimmia Perosa, DLF Seeds Ltd – Tuffgrass (Johnsons Lawn Seed), Mr Fothergill's Seeds – Johnsons Seeds Microgreens Range
About the winner: Aimed at novice gardeners and those looking for an economic and efficient way to fill flower beds and borders with long season colour. The seed is diluted with natural buckwheat husks to aid broadcast sowing. Grow beautiful flowers in three easy steps: Scatter, Rake, Awake!
What the judges said: “They've got everything right with this range; seed selection, packaging, name, easy to use, it really stood out.”
Winner: Onduline Building Products Ltd – ONDULINE EASYLINE DIY roof sheets
Finalists: Vitavia Greenhouses – Janssens Urban Greenhouse, Deco-Pak – Glasglo, Woodlodge – Honey & Wild Songbird Garden Arch
About the winner: With people spending more time in their gardens, introducing ONDULINE EASYLINE roofing sheets into the retail offering is creating a prime new opportunity to attract value-conscious customers who are keen to upgrade their existing garden buildings sustainably, rather than face the expense of a brand-new shed.
What the judges said: “A versatile product, ideal for small projects.”
Garden Clothing & Gifts
Winner: Richard Jackson Garden – Plantsmith Gift Boxes
Finalists: Smart Garden Products – Bees Collection, Burgon & Ball – RHS Gifts for Gardeners ‘British Meadow’ gardening gift collection, Woodlodge – Honey & Wild Bee Spiral Mobile
About the winner: You can buy beautifully packaged scented candles and beauty kits, but gardening gift kits have always tended to be practical and not particularly attractive. Plantsmith wants to change that with our houseplant care gift boxes. Designed to appeal as a gift for all houseplant lovers, especially the more style-conscious gardeners.
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
Finalists: Smart Garden – Wild Wings Feeding Station, Capi Europe - Design Butterfly Hotel, Westland Horticulture – Peckish Natural Balance Bird Food Range
About the winners: These are fantastic products for a few reasons: They are ethically produced – both in the sense of materials used – natural and recycled – and the fact that these products support woman in very poor parts of Bangladesh. These social enterprises transform local communities, pioneer upcycling, empower women, champion refugee rights and practice organic farming.
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
Finalist: Smart Garden Products – Mega SpiraLight, The Solar Centre – Salcombe Solar Wall Light, Smart Garden Products – Forli Flaming Lantern
About the winner: This light delivers everything a security light does but in a contemporary, stylish-looking light fitting.
What the judges said: “Super stylish, minimalist design and excellent quality.”
Decorative Pots & Planters
Winner: Woodlodge – Bee Kind Honeycomb and Bumbee Pots
Finalist: Woodlodge – Bee Wall Teapot, Burgon & Ball - Burgon & Ball Malibu indoor plant pots, Woodlodge – Kensington Redstone range
About the winner: As concern escalates over pollinator decline and gardeners seek to make wildlife-friendly havens, Honeycomb and Bumbee were added to the Bee Kind range to draw attention to the plight of much-loved but endangered insects. Highly giftable, the range is the perfect container for any nature lover.
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!”
GIMA AWARDS 2021 – MARKETING AWARDS
Best Point of Sale Material
Winner: Wildlife World – Cotswold Granaries FSDU
Finalists: Elho – Sustainability Vertical Banner, Elho – Green Basics 200L Rainbarrel POS, Westland Horticulture – Westland Specialist Feeds & Compost DQP
About the winner: The Cotswold Granaries FSDU is a completely custom design, cut out of OSB using Wildlife World’s in-house CNC machine. The laser-engraved header, logo and shelf stripes offer a unique design, whilst cutting the environmental impact of printing! The unit is also made from 100% FSC and PEFC Timber.
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
Finalists: Sipcam Home & Garden – Ecofective Refills and Recycled Bottles, Westland Horticulture - Natural Balance range, Vitax Ltd - Vitax Organic Feeds, Hozelock – Superhoze Packaging
About the winner: No other wild animal food company has produced products in fully 100% home compostable packaging, even down to the re-sealable zip. It's a top quality, nutritionally dense range of feeds that will attract and sustain wildlife in the consumer’s garden.
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
Finalists: Stihl - TV ad and supporting campaign, Westland Horticulture – Peckish Digital Bird Food Campaign, Westland Horticulture – Specialist Feeds Digital Campaign
About the winner: We have not seen a mental health campaign like this in the garden care space before. We were not seeking to promote a specific product with the campaign, but instead to work to encourage open dialogue about mental health and educate about the health benefits of gardening.
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.”