As we look back on a very successful #PeatFreeApril, I’m delighted to report that more customers than ever seem to have taken on the peat-free challenge – with some great results along the way!

Spurred on by promotional offers and campaign messages within our garden centres and the media, our customers’ shifting buying habits have seen our overall peat-free percentage increase to around 75% by volume. This feels like a huge step in the right direction and something that can be replicated in other centres across the UK.

We’ve also expanded our peat-free offering to 28 compost and soil improving products, including a refill bag with Sylvagrow compost, to help ensure that customers have as wide a choice as possible when choosing to adapt their gardening practices for the benefit of the environment. These products are now flying off the shelves, so are clearly working well for gardeners throughout Dorset and Somerset!

In order to improve our knowledge and understanding of these peat-free products, we’ve also undertaken a trial with some of our regular customers. We’ve been peat-free in our own nursery for some time now, but there’s nothing like testing out products with professional and amateur gardeners in real gardens and we’ve been very happy with early reports!

Feedback has included the need for close attention with watering and the need for feeding to happen earlier, but plant growth has been good and healthy across the board, so I’m confident that these trials will produce some fantastic tips and advice as we continue to support gardeners making the transition to peat-free.

So while there’s a long way to go and some challenges to overcome in the manufacture of sufficient quantities of sustainable peat-free growing media, I’m hugely encouraged by the progress made here and by the attitude of our customers. Gardening should be a force for good, not only for our mental and physical health, but also for the environment around us.