Hand Sanitiser Stations help welcome pupils back to school

Our hand sanitiser stations have been popular with schools welcoming back pupils post lockdown.Hand sanitiser station in production The team have been busy this week producing boards in a range of variations, to suit each school’s needs.

As the country tries to adapt to a new normal, hand washing and hand sanitising are hugely important in helping to control the virus. Schools have had to make several changes to their settings to make staff, pupils and their families feel safe.

Hand sanitising at school

Providing hand sanitising facilities at the entrances to the school is one way that hygiene can be maintained. It is not always practical to have hand washing facilities and hand sanitising is the next best alternative.

The hand sanitising stations we have been producing for schools this week has been varied.

Some schools have opted for multiple, single dispenser stations – which can then be positioned at strategic locations throughout the building.

Single dispenser sanitiser stations_multiple boards for schools

 

Others have gone for a double-sided, 4 dispenser board to help pupils maintain distance and keep the flow of children entering the school moving steadily.

Double sided hand sanitiser station at school entrance

Another school have opted for a 6 dispenser sanitiser station at the entrance, having multiple dispensers will reduce the need for refilling throughout the day and again help to keep the line moving on the way into school.

Hand sanitiser station_6 dispensers_school entrance

The clear messaging of the artwork is easily understandable for children. The artwork has also included the school logo, helping to reinforce the message that hygiene is very much part of the school’s ethos post lockdown.

Our hand sanitiser stations are freestanding and portable. They can be positioned indoors or out. They also include universal, bulk-fill dispensers. The dispensers can be used with any alcohol gel so you will not be restricted to the product that you refill with.

Get in touch

If you would like a chat with the team about introducing hand sanitiser stations to your school, office, store entrance, then give us a call.

Our lead time is currently 10-14 days. If you have a tight deadline (perhaps due to the ever-changing guidelines!), then let us know and we can do our best to meet your timings.

Email the team: office@connectedshopping.com

Give us a call: 01284 848330

Future Beauty Labs entertain guests with branded table tennis

Earlier this year, before the Coronavirus hit, we worked with Future Beauty Labs to provide branded table tennis for their corporate event.

Future Beauty Labs were hosting an event at Edition Hotel, London, a luxury, boutique hotel on the edge of Soho. They were entertaining some key clients and stakeholders. They were looking to provide entertainment that allowed the guests to socialise, with a bit of light-hearted competition, surrounded by Future Beauty Labs’ tanning products – Tan Luxe; Isle of Paradise and Tanologist.

We produced a branded table tennis table, in Future Beauty Labs pastel pink branding and replicated the company logo as it appeared on their website.

The table looked great! but don’t just take our word for it, here’s what the client had to say and photos of the ping pong table in-situ, ready for action!

“We absolutely love it, it’s just exactly what we were looking for so thank you so much for your help!”
Zoe Quinn, Influencer Executive, Future Beauty Labs.

Branded table tennis

Branded table tennis_Future Beauty Labs_Edition Hotel

 


Future Beauty Labs branded table tennis

Get in touch

If you are planning an event later in the year, then why not consider adding table tennis to the guest entertainment.

Competitive socialising was set to rise massively in popularity this year. We anticipate the appetite for experiences to be bigger than ever once the current restrictions are lifted.

Photo Cutouts produce a range of customisable large format print options and event entertainment. We aim to create fun and engaging photo opportunities. Get in touch and our design team will work with you to come up with the best solutions for your next event.

Email: office@connectedshopping.com

Tel: 01284 848330

 

Photo Cutouts for summer festivals

At Photo Cutouts we are busy in preparation for the busy summer festival season. Line-ups have been announced, 2020 event calendars all planned in.

Photo Cutout boards are hugely popular with planners of summer events – after all, our love for the funny photo board does originate from our traditional, British seaside heritage.

But our board designs can cater for a whole range of themes, not just seaside.

Bespoke, branded photo cutouts have been used by event planners of local council and BID summer events, right up to larger music festivals.

Why Photo Cutouts for engagement at festivals?

Fun for all ages

They make a fun photo opportunity for adults and children alike. Head holes can be positioned at different heights. Boards can be sized to accommodate one or two faces holes, right up to 4 or 5 face holes. Great for group or family shots.

Mead Farm Oinkfest photo cutout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No technology required!

Photo cutout boards are a low-tech engagement tool for festival-goers. No electricity is needed for set-up, no power cords, just attach on the steel feet with a nut and bolt either side. All that’s needed from the festival-goer is a bit of life in their smartphone to take some snaps.

Making memories

A branded photo cutout board makes a great takeaway photo opportunity at summer events. People are drawn to them as they begin to picture the perfect pose for the board design. Often creating hilarious results.

Carex UK - Cussons #rollercoasterface photo cutout board
Carex & Alton Towers #rollercoasterface photo board

Social sharing

Funny photo board snaps are often shared across social media. Visitors will extend your event marketing across the social channels as they post photos to friends and family. Why not run a photo competition at your summer event and encourage people to share photos in your photo cutout using a particular hashtag? Increase engagement and reward visitors at the same time!

Rohan_BestInShow photo cutout board
#RohanBestInShow photo competition

Weatherproof

Unlike cardboard variants, our photo cutout boards are made from a waterproof, industrial PVC. A must-have for an outdoor event during our Great British Summer! They won’t blow over in mild-moderate wind – you could even weight the feet with sandbags if there’s a windy forecast on your event date.

As they are waterproof, the board can even double-up as a wet sponge board for festival-goers to cool off.

Wet-sponge-face in the hole board

Lightweight and portable

The boards are lightweight enough to be transported to different locations at your event. You could place the cutout at the initial entrance for visitors on arrival and then move to another high footfall location later.

Use year after year

Due to the durable material and the flat-packed storage, photo cutout boards can be used time and time again. The quality print is not easily damaged, we have hire stock that looks just as good now as it did the day it was printed. If you host a yearly summer event, then have one thing ticked off your “visitor engagement” list, year after year.

Some examples of festival photo cutouts

Photo Cutouts for Events and Festivals on YouTube

 

Check out our Events and Festivals video on YouTube to see the range of bespoke photo cutouts that we have made so far.

 

 

 

Madness band_Photo Cutout board

 

Madness – this board was actually used at an internal event but is a good example of how we can recreate iconic band images, face-in-the-hole style, should you have a big act headlining this year.

 

 

 

Halifax BID_Food and Drink Festival photo cutout

 

 

 

Halifax BID has purchased a number of photo cutout boards for different events across their calendar. Here is the creative used for their Food and Drink Festival photo cutout. They also have boards for Easter, Halloween and for Yorkshire Day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Camp Bestival Big Fish Little Fish Photo Cutout board

 

 

Camp Bestival is one of the top family-friendly music festivals of the summer events calendar. So a family-focussed photo cutout made a great engagement tool. In a similar style to The Beatles Yellow Submarine, the design linked to music at the time as engaging a younger audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunderland-Council_Roker Pier photo cutout board

 

 

Sunderland Council chose to personalise our stock Thin Tim and Big Bertha photo cutout with the Roker Pier logo. This is a good, cost-effective option when looking to add logos and stick to a particular theme.

 

 

 

 

 

Festival theme photo board

 

 

Campervans are synonymous with music festivals, so our design team have incorporated a VW Campervan into the East Anglian Festival Network photo cutout. The van can be in your brand colours and customised with relevant hashtags and logos for your event.

 

 

Get in touch

If you are looking for fun, engaging photo opportunity at your summer event, then get in touch. Our team would be happy to talk through the range of designs, sizes and personalisation options.

Email: office@connectedshopping.com

Tel: 01284 848330

 

Photo Cutouts book related photo boards are a hit!

It was National Reading Day this week and World Book Day is creeping up in March, what better time to revisit some of the book-themed Photo Cutout boards that we have produced for authors, publishers, events and reading initiatives.

At Photo Cutouts we have had the pleasure of working on several projects from the publishing sector on custom made photo boards for various book-themed events.

Here are a few examples:

Ulverscroft launch of Jina Bacarr’s audiobook at #FutureBook19Ulverscroft #FutureBook19 photo board

 

The FutureBook Live conference is The Bookseller’s annual conference which addresses the digital content revolution in the world of publishing.

The 2019 event on 25th November saw speakers from Pearson, Hachette, Waterstones, Bonnier, Springer Nature, Faber, Booker, the BBC, Penguin Random House, Blackwell, and Lonely Planet come together to review today’s audiobook and podcast markets.

Ulverscroft Publishing embraced the conference to promote the launch of Jina Bacarr’s audiobook Christmas Once Again, Photo Cutouts created a face-in-the-hole style photo opportunity for delegates to get into the book cover. The book cover design was positioned within a smartphone frame to reflect the audio.

As the author was unable to attend the event herself, the photo board acted as a great, engaging marketing prop in her absence.

Ulverscroft_#FutureBook19

Magic Light Productions, David Walliams T-riffic Takeover

Magic Light Productions specialise in bringing imagination to life with theatre shows and events.

Back in 2018, they ran a David Walliams book-themed tour of schools in Denbighshire, North-East Wales. Their T’riffic Takeover days saw schools filled with actors dressed as characters from Walliams’ fictional world for a day.

Their Photo Cutout board was the centrepiece for photo opportunities during the T’riffic Takeovers. We did a mashup of characters from David Walliams books and added hashtags and the Magic Light Productions insignia.

Magic Light Productions_David Walliams book-themed photo board

 

Peter James photo board entertains guests at book signing

When bestselling novelist Peter James launched his Roy Grace novel, Need You Dead, in Brighton, his publicist commissioned this cops and robber’s themed photo board. The board was used as a photo opportunity for fans at a book signing as they waited for his autograph.

Being by the seaside, a fun face-in-the-hole board was a fitting tribute to the location and the cops and robbers theme lent itself perfectly to the crime genre of the novel.

Peter-James_book signing

Event’s company, Sharky and George, Paddington book-themed photo cutout board

Sharky and George run and host private parties and events. One of their many talents is children’s parties.

One young client of theirs was a great lover of Michael Bond’s, Paddington books, so a Paddington book-themed party was the perfect way to make the party special.

Children love face-in-the-hole boards, they enjoy posing as the characters and having their photo taken. A photo cutout board for a book-themed event aimed at children is a winning combination and whilst we cannot share photos taken at the event, here are some of our big kids enjoying the photo board before packaging.

Paddington Cutout - Sharky and George Party Planners

 

 

Get in touch

If you have a book-themed event planned then get in touch. Our team would be happy to discuss your design and your requirements to come up with the best solution. We do offer face-in-the-hole boards in a variety of formats, as well as photo walls, selfie frames & other props, so give us a call and we can talk you through.
Tel no: 01284 848330
Email: office@connectedshopping.com

Charitable ideas for #GivingTuesday

If you haven’t already heard, amidst the hype of Black Friday, it’s #GivingTuesday on 3rd December. A one-day global movement that celebrates and encourages giving. There is no better time for such a day in our opinion, coming just after those well-known shopping days of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to get into the real spirit of Christmas and give to causes close to your heart.

We’ve collated some of our favourite charitable ideas to give you some food for thought in the run-up #GivingTuesday.

Donate with a huge charity cheque this #GivingTuesday

Boost the profile of your charity by donating with MEGA cheque. Using a giant presentation cheque creates a great photo opportunity for both the giver and the charity.

Photo Cutouts Maxi Cheque was used last week on This Morning and in the words of Holly Willoughby “it’s a whopper!”

Giant cheque_ThisMorning

Giant cheques could also make the perfect gift for an avid fundraiser.

We have all come across those amazingly devoted charity fundraisers who are always challenging themselves to some sort of activity in aid of a good cause. If you have one in your circle, why not gift them a reusable personalised big cheque this Christmas? A giant cheque will create a great photo opportunity, extra exposure for your fundraiser’s cause and a huge unexpected gift to unwrap on the big day.

Big cheque_Steps to Hope.jpg

Here’s a truly inspirational 3-year-old, Casey, the youngest fundraiser we’ve seen so far, presenting Steps To Hope with the money she and her family raised for the cause.

 

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Choose Love and Help Refugeeschoose love

Choose Love helps to fund projects for refugees in Europe by both selling real products for refugees and selling powerful slogan t-shirts via Asos.

The Choose Love clothing collection is a take on the iconic Choose Life slogan of the 80s. There are lots of variations and products and make a perfect gift for any fashionistas in the family.

 

 

giant_jigsawDonate a giant jigsaw

Design & donate a giant jigsaw to your local hospital’s Children’s Ward for those who are too unwell to make it home for Christmas. Our giant jigsaws are fully waterproof and wipe-clean, so easy to keep those germs at bay in a medical setting. For businesses, you can include your logo and boost your corporate social responsibility profile while benefitting those in need.

 

 

Give a Christmas present to a child with Salvation Army Christmas Present Appeal

Until mid-December, many Salvation Army churches and centres across the UK will be running a Christmas Present Appeal.

Support your local Christmas Present Appeal by finding your nearest appeal and donating new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children who might not otherwise receive a Christmas present.

The gifts will then be wrapped and distributed to those in need.

Find your nearest Salvation Army HERE.

 

Take part in Christmas Jumper Day

Wear your festive woollies to work on Friday 13th December and donate £2 to one of the world’s biggest children’s charities, Save the Children. The charity offers support globally to children in need.

We have made promotional cutouts for Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day. The cutouts are used as a tool to promote the launch of the campaign.Christmas Jumper Day

 

Here’s a blast from the past… Our Shelley and Martin sporting their festive sweaters for Save The Children – we’ll be recreating this beauty of a picture again this year! A fun, and easy to execute, idea for a great cause.

Register with Save the Children and receive a free fundraising pack HERE.

 

Photo Cutouts Charity Toolkit

At Photo Cutouts, we have worked with many a charity over the years. As we specialise in large format print, there are a number of products that we produce that make the perfect PR toolkit.

Take a look at our Charity Toolkit for #GivingTuesday inspiration and get in touch to discuss any ideas that you might have.

01284 848330

office@connectedshopping.com

Charities We Have Worked With

Event theme ideas for any budget

You’ve decided to host an event or party, now where do you start? Having a theme can help you to give your event planning some focus. An event theme can steer what entertainment you chose, what colour scheme to go with, the design for your invitations and how you decorate your venue.

Themes are endless and it can be exceptionally difficult to decide on one. Our advice would be to keep in mind what would appeal to the guests you are hoping to attend and to remember your budget – some themes are easier to achieve for less money than others.

We have shortlisted some of our favourite themes to give you food for thought…

Circus themeCircus theme_Trinity Park_Ipswich

Roll up, roll up… Create a stunning backdrop to an event venue with a circus theme. If you are looking for an opportunity to add a touch of the unusual to your event or venue P.T Barnum style, then circus theme is the way to go. Opening doors to a range of fun, visual entertainment for guests. Circus theme is suitable for adults and children alike and excellent for any time of year.

Seaside theme

Seaside theme events

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside… And don’t we all! Seaside themed events are great for guests to take a break from the mundane and have fun. Although typically associated with summer events, why not spread a bit of sunshine, a hint of nostalgia and cheer up those dreary winter months? Saucy postcard photo opportunities, giant deckchairs, crazy golf course, candy floss cart, the possibilities are endless and all very achievable whatever your budget.

Funfair theme

If you can’t settle on one theme, the funfair theme can encompass elements of circus and seaside. Dress your venue with candy stripes or a circus tent, add hook-a-duck, a coconut shy or tin-can alley and budget depending, hire a merry-go-round!

Festival themeFestival themed events

With so many genres of festival out there, this theme is fantastic for all budgets. Depending on what feel you are going for you can go hippy, grungy, trendy, or family-friendly, either way, the aim will be to offer a real experience – with live acts, performers, street-food and photo opportunities. The festival theme lends itself to those on a tighter budget. The DIY feel of a festival allows for a field as your venue, haystacks for seating & tipi tents for cover.

Dinosaur theme

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre #HVDinos

The Jurassic period will spark the imagination of little guests at any family-focussed event. Depending on your budget you can go BIG with a colossal dinosaur structure or smaller with a dinosaur egg-trail. Homemade volcanos or dry-ice and jungle-style plants can be used to dress your venue. Everyone is bound to have a roaring good time (sorry… couldn’t help myself)

Mods & Rockers theme

This is a brilliant theme for any indecisive event planners! The colour scheme is already chosen, the music picked, and the dress code all sorted, even 60s style finger food is easily achievable. Swinging 60’s style parties may not work for a kids birthday party but bound to be a lot of fun for anyone old enough to appreciate it.

Sports theme Sports theme events

Base entertainment around sports such as Beat the Goalie, crazy golf, table tennis or Footpool. If guests will be seated, tables could be themed for a particular sport or you could choose your colour scheme based on different sports teams. Works for indoor and outdoor events and easily tailored to suit the age range of your guests.

About Photo Cutouts

Photo Cutouts face-in-hole board can bring that something extra to a party, corporate event, wedding, family fun day, school fête, charity event, store promotion, product promotion… anywhere fun and engagement are required.

We have off-the-shelf designs that can be customised with logos and hashtags, or our brilliant design team can custom design a board to suit your requirements. People love to put their face in the hole and have their picture taken, so a photo cutout board is a great icebreaker and helps to make your event memorable.

Circus theme photo boards Seaside themeFestival theme photo board
Dinosaur theme photo boardsSports theme photo boardsMods and Rockers theme photo boards

Get in touch

Give our team a call today to discuss your branding requirements for your next peak season!

www.photocutouts.co.uk

office@connectedshopping.com

01284 848330

 

Santa’s Been! Photo Cutouts unwrap NEW Christmas designs

Photo Cutouts have been busy working away in our workshop on some new themed photo boards for Christmas. We are pleased to reveal that our new face-in-the-hole board designs are now ready to book for hire or to buy.

New Christmas Designs

Santa’s Workshop – a large 1.5m wide, 3 face hole photo board, perfect for families or groups of friends to create a fun photo opportunity.

Large Santas Workshop Christmas photo board

Selfie with Elfie – a 1m wide, 1 face hole photo board with an eye-catching design. Great for engaging with people and making events memorable.

Christmas Selfie-with-Elfie photo board

Christmas Wreath Selfie Board – a large handheld festive photo board. Ideal for passing around at Christmas events or parties.

Handheld selfie board_ Christmas Wreath Design

High-quality

All of our Photo Cutouts Boards are made from an industrial PVC with a high-quality vinyl print so they withstand a lot of use. The quality is miles apart from cardboard versions, they are even waterproof. As the boards are mounted onto a sturdy steel frame they are suitable for use at outdoor events such as Christmas Markets, skating rinks, to entertain families queuing for Santa’s Grotto or in a retail environment to attract the Christmas shoppers.

Face in hole board Christmas elves

Customise

As with all our photo board designs, we have the option to customise with your logo and encourage adding social media handles for photos (and your branding!) to be shared across social media. Customising is an option whether looking to hire or buy just get in touch with our design team to discuss your requirements.

Natural Christmas Tree Company Branded Christmas Photo Board

 

Photo Competition

Photo Boards lend themselves perfectly to Christmas competitions. Several companies we have worked with previously have used branded photo cutout boards as a competition mechanism. Encourage people to share photo’s in your face-in-the-hole board across social media to win a prize and select your favourite photo. To tempt customers to share their photos on social media, Klondyke & Strikes ran a ‘Show us your best festive face’ competition last year, with a prize for the best snow globe photo. Check out the hashtag #KlondykeSnowglobe on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Christmas #KlondykeSnowglobe_Instagram

Inspiration

For inspiration on how you could use Photo Cutout boards as part of your Christmas marketing campaign or seasonal event, take a look at some previous blog posts featuring boards from….

Klondyke and Strikes Garden Centres

Odin Events Nutcracker Trails

Natural Christmas Tree Company

National Trust Hardwick Hall

Get in touch

Give our team a call today to discuss your branding requirements for your next peak season!

www.photocutouts.co.uk

office@connectedshopping.com

01284 848330

Innovative new design for Hempstead Valley Dinos #HVDinos

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre has been having a roarsome time this Summer with their dinosaur-themed activities. The shopping centre management team came to Photo Cutouts with the challenge of making several dino-themed photo opportunities for their retail entertainment during the school holidays.

Our fabulous designers came up with 2 dinosaur-themed photo cutout boards and, a Photo Cutouts first, a double-sided photo wall.

#HVDinos Face-in-the-hole board

The face-in-the-hole boards had 2 head holes at a suitable height for children to have their photographs taken. Children really seem to engage with the photo cutout boards and completely get the concept of posing to be part of the scene.

#HVDinos retail entertainment Photo Cutout board

Double-sided photo wall

For the photo wall, our innovative team put together 2 designs. These were printed and mounted back to back on 2 panels of sturdy PVC foamex. The double-sized photo wall provided a mammoth 3m x 2m backdrop for shoppers to pose for a photo opportunity.

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre retail entertainment #HVDinos_PhotoWall

Photo Cutouts have made photo walls in the past however a double-sided version is certainly a first. The team adapted our usual design for a 2-panel board of this size so that fixings were concealed within the board. This gave a blank canvas on both sides for 2 great designs and 2 great photo opportunities.

Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre retail entertainment #HVDinos_PhotoWall

Hashtags for social sharing

The peep boards and the photo wall both included the shopping centre logo, social media handles and the hashtag #HVDinos to encourage visitors to share their photos. Photos were shared across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the dinos have proved to be a roaring success in increasing footfall to the shopping centre.

Mark Rumfitt, Centre Manager of Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre said:

“We’ve turned the clock back by more than 400 million years with this new dinosaur trail and are bringing something that’s fun, exciting and educational to Hempstead Valley. In the first few days of the arrival of our dinosaurs, we have seen a huge influx of families spending time together and enjoying this new event.”

Hempstead Valley Dinos are at the shopping centre until 18th August – be quick to catch them before extinction (last pun I promise!)

Retail Entertainment

Photo Cutouts have worked with a number of retail spaces in the past as shopping centres, local councils and BIDs, look to combine retail and entertainment. We are experts in creating custom made, branded photo boards. If you are interested in adding our products to your next shoppertainment project, then please get in touch.

Call us: 01284 848330

Email: office@connectedshopping.com

Photo Cutout Boards at Countryfile Live

BBC Countryfile Live returned this year to showcase the best of the British countryside. The event runs across 2 weekends in August, the first at Blenheim Palace and the second at Castle Howard. Visitors are treated to presentations from the shows’ presentations, theatre productions and food demonstrations, all surrounded by stands and food outlets from a range of exhibitors.

Photo Cutouts have proudly supplied bespoke face-in-the-hole boards to some of the exhibitors at this year’s Countryfile Live event, including Rohan Clothing and London School of Tropical Medicine for their Bug Off campaign.

Countryfile Live Exhibitors

A great engagement tool…

The exhibitors were looking for a great visual engagement tool to attract people to visit their exhibition stand.

Photo Cutout boards are perfect for trade stands. An interactive marketing prop with an eye-catching design which includes the company logo, creates a great photo opportunity and makes the stand memorable for visitors.

Countryfile Live_Rohan stand

Encourage social sharing with a competition

Rohan chose to use their board as part of a competition mechanism. The design called for people to snap and share their photos on social media using the hashtag #RohanBestinShow. This is a great way to encourage visitors to share their branded photographs across the web and become advocates for the company, brand or cause. The theme of ‘Best in Show’ was in line with the agricultural nature of the Countryfile Live event and generated some humorous photos of dogs in the face holes (which we always love to see!)

Rohan_BestInShow

You can view posts from the Rohan Best in Show photo competition on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, searching for the hashtag #RohanBestinShow

Photo Cutouts offer marketing props for exhibitions stands

Visit our Exhibitions page to see how Photo Cutouts can help increase footfall to your exhibition or trade stand.

If you are exhibiting at a similar show and are looking for a great portable engagement tool to attract people to your stand, then please get in touch and we would be happy to work with you on a great design.

Website: photocutouts.co.uk

Mail to: office@connectedshopping.com

Tel no: 01284 848330

The never-ending delights of British garden centres

It is now early July, and that mad garden centre dash and rush appears to be over. Perhaps you are like my family and have bought nearly every new, fun, exciting plant possible, and you have also sunflowers-garden-centresfinally found a spot for everything somewhere in the garden. (As the great Carol Klein recently said on BBC Gardener’s World Live, “Don’t worry, you’ll always find space.”) Now it is time for a well-deserved rest on your laurels, under the laurel tree, and a break from garden centre visits. Except-t that this is not quite how it should be.

Dear readers, you know by now that I am one to poke and prod, and I enjoy telling you how best to live your life based on my extensive life experiences. I recently spoke with a friend (and an avid gardener) who lives in Calgary in the province of Alberta in Canada. After our conversation, I realised how lucky we are with our garden centres. You are possibly puzzled by this statement –allow me to explain.

First, I was informed that Calgary (a rather large city) and the surrounding area do not have the number of garden centres as we do in the UK, nor do they have such a variety. Second, garden centres are selling off their plants and not receiving much new stock (except for maybe some autumn plants for containers). Apparently, going to one of the few garden centres in Calgary is currently a dismal event for some gardeners. How sad is that? I will answer that it is sad indeed.

homemade cakesAfter our conversation, I sat by my laurel hedge to ponder things over. I thought of how, in cold, dismal January, I can go to a garden centre and I can see (and buy!) pansies, hellebores, and primroses. There is inevitably a café or restaurant where one can enjoy a light lunch (oftentimes made with seasonal produce) or an afternoon tea. If one does do not have time for lunch, many garden centres carry an assortment of delightful edible treats such as lovely biscuits, jams and jellies, crackers, chutneys, cheeses…the list could go on. Should one not feel food inclined, then there are gifts and cards to peruse. (I recently bought a set of two small cups and a little melamine tray with a William Morris design, which made a wonderful gift for a friend to enjoy coffee for two. My Canadian friend loves all the cards with pictures by local artists; she buys so many when she visits that her husband had to give her a rather stern talking to.) If none of these strike your fancy, then how about taking the children/grandchildren to pick out a bug or insect house? And, finally, amidst all these choices, remember that garden centres still do sell plants, and the choice is spectacular.

 

Now, while a gin and tonic and a bit of a rest is certainly in order, do still find a bit of time to visit some garden centres…it is not too late to perhaps plant one more pot.

If I may be so bold as to offer one more recommendation, here is one for some summer reading: The Gardener’s Year by Karel Čapek. I am a long-time fan of this Czech author, who wrote plays, novels, short stories, and essays. The Gardener’s Year is an amusing 12-month chronicle of gardeners and their garden follies and glories; it is also a thoughtful account of human nature. One of

my favourite parts is at the end of the chapter “Preparations”, and you shall have to read the book since I will not divulge more here. Josef Čapek, the author’s brother, provided the charming illustrations.

Millbrook garden centre use photo cutouts
Millbrook engage customers with a Photo Cutout board

As for all you garden centres, whom I have praised so highly (and well-deservedly so), here at Photo Cutouts we think one of our custom-made photo cutout boards could be a great marketing prop, adding even more interactive fun to your business. Check out these 5 Ways Garden Centres Use Photo Cutouts for inspiration.

Get in touch:

https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/
Tel: 08450 570 321
Email: office@connectedshopping.com
Online form: https://www.photocutouts.co.uk/contact.htm

Disclaimer: Aside from the rather appalling choice of garden centres and what is available, Calgary is a lovely city and a wonderful place to visit. And, to be fair, the growing season is rather different and much shorter than ours.

From The Garden Centre Association, here is a list of their top 10 garden centres for 2019:
https://gca.org.uk/annual-awards/

This is an article from 2016 with some intriguing recommendations:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardens-to-visit/the-uk-s-best-garden-centres-and-nurseries/