Broadcaster and presenter Tom Heap will be the after-dinner speaker at the HTA Garden Futures dinner which takes place on 4 October at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire. Tom, who is the BBC Rural Affairs correspondent, is well known for presenting programmes including BBC Radio 4’s Costing the Earth, Panorama and BBC Countryfile. He will enlighten delegates with tales from his journalistic and broadcasting career.

The dinner, which also sees the presentation of the HTA Pearson Memorial Medal and the GTN Greatest Awards, follows the HTA Garden Futures Conference. The theme for this year’s conference is Garden Retail – the great escape – reflecting the role of both gardens and garden centres as an escape and focuses on the benefits, positive role and unique opportunities that this provides for the industry.

Hosted by journalist and broadcaster Cathy Newman, topics covered include the wider retail environment, changing demographics, use of technology, and the health benefits of gardening, along with an interview with Nicholas Marshall, CEO of Dobbies Garden Centres. The programme includes two panel sessions as follows:-

New for 2017 the Retail Lab @ Glee feature provided ideas and inspiration for bringing the themes of community, family, re-wilding and wellbeing to life instore. This panel session looks at how businesses might make use of the ideas on the shop floor and in their communications and asks how they would like the initiative to develop in the future.  Panellists include Paula Parker from PP8 Marketing (chair), Boyd Douglas-Davies from Hillview Garden Centres, Kate Ebbens from Cadix, Helen MacDonald from Merryhatton Garden Centre and Adrian Davey from Hozelock.

With Xylella presenting a huge threat to the industry this panel session looks at the latest information, the five-point plan and the preventative actions that businesses are taking. Chaired by Adam Wigglesworth (Aylett Nurseries and HTA Immediate Past President) the panel includes Colin Dale (Notcutts Garden Centres), Andy Smith (Klondyke Group), Jonathan Whitmore (Johnsons of Whixley), Dan Munro (APHA), Boyd Douglas-Davies (Hillview Garden Centres) and Raoul Curtis-Machin (HTA Head of Horticulture).

For the full programme please visit www.hta.org.uk/gardenfutures

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