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Greenworld – Spring 2016

5

www.greenworldmag.com.au

News

Briefings

More bad news for bees

A new study has shown that neonicotinoids

may damage bee fertility. The study carried

out at the University of Bern has pinpointed

thiamethoxam and clothianidin, two

neonicotinoid insecticides, which may have a

contraceptive effect on male honeybees.

Flowers for younger buyers

A UK company is targeting young urban

dwellers as potential new consumers for

flowers and plants. A new brand called Kado

(a Japanese word meaning ‘the way of flowers’)

is being used along with neutral colours and

simple graphics to attract this niche market. The

brand is carried by supermarket Waitrose with

marketing on social media.

Search on for top indoor plants

Rhipsalis has been named the UK’s Favourite

Office Plant of the Year. Runner up was firesticks

(

Euphorbia tirucalli

), while the hard-to-kill

Zanzibar gem (

Zamioculcas zamiifolia

) came in

at number three. Other nominees were pachira

(

Pachira aquatica

), staghorn fern (

Platycerium

bifurcatum

) and peperomia. The award is run

by efig (the European Federation of Interior

Landscape Groups) to promote the uses and

benefits of interior plants.

Miniscapes winners

Congratulations to

the winners of our

recent

Miniscapes

book competition!

Among all the

creative ideas

for miniature

gardens, was our

favourite from

Di Northausen

from Kyabram, Victoria who said that if she

were creating a miniscape, she would include

Peperomia prostrata

, selaginella, golden and

handmade mushrooms/air dried clay figurines

that I like to make and paint.” Di receives a signed

copy of Clea Cregan’s

Miniscapes

. Congratulations

too to Vivian Scarpari from Upwey, Victoria;

Kylie Bretherton from Stawell, Victoria; Kristyn

Blackley from Picton, New South Wales; and

Camille Visser from Yerrinbool, New South

Wales on their entries. Each has also won a

copy of

Miniscapes

. For more information on

Miniscapes

by Clea Cregan, visit our website at

www.greenworldmag.com.au

.

Final bids for HTH and Masters are on the table

Bunnings may have a new rival in the $48 billion

Australian home improvement market, if Home

Timber & Hardware (HTH), which is owned by

Woolworths, and Mitre 10 (owned by Metcash)

merge to become a $2.2 billion wholesaler. The

merger would see approximately 650 stores

operating under the Mitre 10, Home Timber &

Hardware, True Value Hardware and Thrifty Link

banners. Many have garden departments.

The merger would result in the Australian

hardware industry having just one full-service

hardware wholesaler, which would lead to reduced

competition in this segment.

Woolworths’ other troubled home improvement

chain, Masters, is expected to be sold separately

from HTH, with the Blackstone Group, a

consortium backed by property group Charter

Hall and other bidders in the process of

negotiating a deal.

Final bids for Masters and HTH were placed in

mid July, with sources reporting that there may be

six active bidders, some for HTH alone, some for

Masters alone and two other firms bidding for both

HTH and Masters. The bids for both businesses

may pose difficulties for Metcash, as Woolworths

may prefer a single, uncomplicated deal. Anchorage

Capital Partners is also rumoured to be a likely

candidate and has been linked to Metcash.

Industry divided

Much of the industry remains divided on

Metcash’s bid to acquire HTH for an estimated

$200 million. While some retailers support the

acquisition, arguing that Metcash offers plenty of

logistics and purchasing expertise as well as on-

going support to independent retailers, opposing

retailers disagreed with the merger, claiming

they did not want to be in business with their

competitor. Some retailers felt that a breakaway

group may be formed if the merger went ahead.

Metcash also own the grocery chain IGA.

The ACCC has approved, albeit with conditions,

Metcash’s purchase of HTH. With that in place,

a final decision by Woolworths and its adviser,

Citigroup, is expected soon.

Christine Bannister

Garden centre congress heads to Canada

The 2017 International Garden Centres

Association congress will be based in Niagara

Falls in Canada in 2017. The congress will run

from September 17−22 with

a program of discussions

and tours, some of which

are new to the congress and

will be debuting in Canada.

Julia Ricottone from the

Canadian Nursery Landscape

Association says September in

Canada is a time of year when

garden centres are moving

into autumn and Halloween-

themed displays, weather is

getting cooler and leaves are

starting to colour. To see how

the congress is shaping up

over the months ahead, Julia

suggests watching the group’s website (www.

igcacanada2017.ca

) and clicking ‘like’ on the

group’s Facebook for updates and highlights.

Niagara Falls in Canada is the base for the 2017 IGCA congress.

Changes are afoot in Australia’s hardware stores with the sale of theWoolworths’ owned Masters and a proposed merger between HTH

and Mitre 10.