The GCA has its origins in the very roots of the garden centre movement, which surprisingly has only been in existence for 40 years. The term ‘garden centre’ was not coined until the early 1960s – before that, gardeners bought their plants from nurseries or by mail order.
Garden centres as such began to take off after the idea that plants could be sold in containers all the year round – an American development – was pioneered in the UK by a handful of forward-thinking nurserymen. This had the effect not only of spreading demand beyond the traditional planting ‘bottlenecks’ of spring and, in particular, autumn (especially for roses), but also of making plants easy to transport and to handle as a retail commodity.
Stewarts, Russells, Wyevale and Notcutts (who coined the title Plantarea for their first cash and carry retail unit), were among those early “container revolutionaries” who helped to shape the garden centre industry we know today.