Hillier Garden Centre Newbury, winners of Garden Centre of the Year 2018.

The annual Hillier Garden Centre Awards, held on Sunday 25th November 2018, were an opportunity to once again reflect on the successes and challenges for the industry as well as celebrate leading suppliers and Hillier people who have excelled in another record-breaking year for the company.

In a year characterised by extreme cold and hot spells, it was no surprise that the weather was high on the agenda at the annual Hillier Awards. Welcoming guests to the event at the Botley Park Hotel, Chris Francis, Director of Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres, said: “I stood here last year following an ideal year of weather announcing a record turnover year in our garden centre sales thinking, how are we going to match that. I shouldn’t have worried because yet again the teams have delivered another record year for our garden centre business.”

Francis noted how remarkable this achievement was in face of such adverse conditions: “The year started with a wet autumn, moved onto the ‘Beast from the East’ and then almost overnight moved to record high temperatures and drought for the rest of the year. Thank you to everyone for the efforts you put in to achieve this tremendous result in challenging conditions.”

A Season of Makeovers

The last trading year for Hillier has been distinguished by inspirational gardens as much as by financial success. Francis shared: “Once again – and during our busiest trading month – we headed to RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018. The Hillier team came together to deliver an outstanding exhibit and help us bring home our 73rd consecutive gold medal.

“Not satisfied with one monumental event, we then threw ourselves another huge challenge and all got involved in a DIY SOS style charity project alongside our charity partner, Wessex Cancer Trust. With a huge team effort from Sarah Eberle, MJT Landscapes, many suppliers and volunteers from our Gardening Club we transformed the garden of one of the families supported by Wessex Cancer Trust. Thank you everyone for helping make a real difference.”