...of the Garden Centre Association


Promoting; “better standards, better business'


GCA provides support and benefits to the UK’s most progressive garden centres and their key suppliers.


We set standards of garden centre retailing to improve member turnover, motivate their staff and increase members profit margin.


We open channels of communication and interchange of ideas with peers to save members time, money and gain new ideas.


All approved garden centres are proud to be GCA members, demonstrating to their customers, staff, community and suppliers that they are a leading garden centre in the UK and worldwide, through the GCA affiliation to the International Garden Centre Association.



How to become a Garden Centre Member

The Garden Centre Association (GCA) requires all members to meet standards that represent the very best in garden centre retailing.

Applicants need to own or operate one or more garden centres which have been trading for at least 12 months. Each garden centre will be subjected to a standards inspection by a GCA inspector and every relevant department and area of the centre will be inspected.


A full member is either an individual garden centre or the nominated centre (parent centre) for a chain of garden centres.


If a garden centre business has multiple centre's then 25% of those centre's (minimum of 5 if over 24+ centres) need to be GCA members. Those not classed as the parent centre will be subsidiary members.


An Associate member is a supplier to the garden centre industry. To find out more and become an Associate member please contact the GCA office by email:




There are many advantages and unique benefits of GCA membership

GCA members take a great deal of pride in shaping the member benefits of the GCA. The active involvement of members ensures that the GCA offers real, bottom-line savings to every member.


- click here for the full GCA membership benefit list in printable format

- For a copy of the GCA full member application form please contact the GCA office

- For the current GCA full membership fees please contact the GCA office


  • The GCA Annual Inspection

GCA members say that the unique GCA annual inspection, constructive feedback session and report is one of the most useful and cost effective benefits of GCA Membership.  Many members recoup their annual membership fee on just this one comprehensive member benefit!




For new members, who are hungry to develop and improve their centre, the GCA inspection is a natural progression for their business.  It enables garden centre owners and managers to check themselves against the industry standard.


At the end of the evaluation, the inspector will give feedback on the standards being achieved on the day, the manager and department heads have the opportunity to discuss the inspector’s observations.  A report with photographs is provided after each inspection.



The GCA annual inspection is a fantastic motivational and management tool.  The exercise is to provide constructive suggestions for improvements to help raise standards further, highlight good practice where found, make appropriate suggestions on ways to increase sales, profits and help motivate teams to strive that bit harder.



  • GCA National and Area Awards & Recognition

The GCA inspection results generate many unique annual awards, including Destination Garden Centre of the Year and Garden Centre of the Year, Garden Centres of Excellence, Area Winners, Highly Commended and the Most Improved Garden Centre to name just a few.


We also have an annual Best Christmas display’s award competition that sharpens members focus for this growing crucial trading period.


The results of all our Awards are widely promoted in national and regional media outlets to further stimulate awareness and business for the GCA Award winners each year.


  • GCA Exchange

GCA Exchange, via googlegroups is an online forum that has been running successfully now for many years and has proven to be indispensable to full GCA members.

It is a communication process that is simple, quick, easy and good fun. It also offers huge strength and support for all GCA members and is a wonderful way of sharing all of the ups and downs in our industry,

You can ask any question, safe in the knowledge that GCA exchange members keep discussion matters confidential.  It is a completely free service and saves members money and time in sourcing answers to their business needs.


  • Barometer of Trade

Each month Garden Centre members submit their sales figures across 13 categories via the GCA Website.  The unique Barometer of Trade (BoT) reports are then produced online and used by participating members to gauge how well their garden centre is performing in comparison with fellow member centres.  Members testify that BoT reports can be used to prepare for redevelopment, category improvements, spot trends and improve their business.  The continued success of BoT demonstrates that members would not be without this service.


  • GCA Grow

GCA GROW is a unique garden centre focussed e-learning initiative that increases members employee’s product knowledge and their customer service skills, using the convenience and easy accessibility of the internet, whilst cutting the cost and making it easier to train more people over time.  It's not hard to see a healthy return on investment from e-learning, staff already using the system have been really enthusiastic about the project. New training modules are being developed  by garden centres for garden centre staff.


  • GCA Winter Conference

Our members represent the cutting edge of retailers and suppliers within the horticultural industry.  As a member you would soon recognise the value of the GCA for its Annual Inspection, its online forums, its trading comparisons and when you attend the Annual Conference.

The GCA Annual Conference addresses the key business issues, challenges and opportunities that garden centre retailers are facing.  Each year the Conference programme will provide you with inspiration, hard facts, and business critical information that will help you grow your business. Those who are ‘regulars’ know what a huge benefit this meeting of minds is for them and their businesses.

  • GCA e-news

Each month we circulate an electronically a newsletter to all members, comprising the key decision makers in the UK garden centre sector.

Each new Associate member benefits from a prominent New Member’s Profile in this publication. The Profile is published free of charge. All copy and photographs must be submitted by the member. Full members may also take advantage of this benefit.

Members also benefit from free publication of their press releases in GCA e-news and on our website.


  • GCA Greenlink

‘GCA Greenlink’ is the online forum for sharing and discussing environmental issues that have an impact on your businesses bottom-line.


  • GCA Discounted card payment processing

We have negotiated heavily discounted business tariffs for GCA Members accepting credit and debit cards face to face, by phone or internet.  A Streamline business advisor will talk to you direct about how you can switch and start saving money.


  • Area Group Meetings

Area group meetings are organised on a regular basis by each GCA area chairperson and you can be assured of a warm welcome.  These meetings give you the opportunity to express your opinions and to discuss the future of your association at a local level. Potential members are also invited to come along.

  • Insurance package

Bluefin Group is an Associate member of the GCA and can provide full members with a unique insurance package offering wide and cost effective cover.


  • International Garden Centre Association

Membership of the GCA also gives you automatic membership of the IGCA.  Each year a member country hosts an International Congress, which includes tours of garden centres and places of interest.  It is a great opportunity to see how our industry is progressing worldwide and to meet garden centre owners from every part of the globe.


  • GCA Trust Scholarship

The GCA Trust has set up a scholarship which enables up to two students at any one time, to attend horticultural college for full or part time study for either a Diploma in Horticulture or BSc in Horticulture. The generous scholarship helps to cover the cost of tuition fees and accommodation. Members are encouraged to nominate a member of their own staff (if applicable) in an effort to promote horticultural training.


  • The Dick Allen Scholarship Fund

The Dick Allen Scholarship Fund was founded by Sue Allen in memory of her husband Dick Allen following his sudden and untimely death in 1997. The charity was set up to provide scholarships and support to students/young people in retail horticulture.


  • Garden Forum Newsletter

As many of you know The Garden Forum provides the industry with up to date news ‘as it happens’ and is a valuable communication resource for the garden centre industry.  As part of your membership we offer free registration for all GCA Full members.  You can register as many individuals from your company as you wish.


  • Horticulture Week

We have secured a discounted rate for members subscribing to Horticulture Week.


And we offer members:


*  A listing on the GCA website with a consumer search capability with links to your website

*  Exclusive offers on products and services from some of our 170 Associate members and business partners 

*  Members’ only area on the website which is password protected. All membership information is available for you to access and download from this section.


When you join the GCA you will become part of more than just another trade association. You will be a member of a group of garden centres who believe there is more to be achieved by co-operation and working together than an individual centre can achieve by operating alone.


Contact the GCA office for further information