Above: Warren Haskins, Chairman of Haskins Group
Internationally renowned for their innovative and inventive approach to garden retailing, the Haskins family have been associated with horticulture since 1882, when Harry Haskins opened a plant nursery in Poole, Dorset. Today, Harry Haskins’ great grandson, Warren Haskins, is Chairman of the Haskins Group and is very much involved in developing the business.
Warren took over the nursery business at the age of 20 following the death of his father. At that time the company was turning over £17,000 per year and employed 7 staff. It was not long before he opened a small retail shop which was the start of the garden centre business of today. From these small beginnings the newly founded business developed and expanded to cater for the increased demand and grew into one of the largest and most popular garden centres in the south of England.
In 1994 the business relocated to a new 10-acre site at Longham, Ferndown, providing a wonderful new environment for an extended range of plants and garden accessories. The new centre also included a 260-seater restaurant, one of the largest privately owned restaurants in the south. In 2008, the centre was updated with an extensive refit of the retail area, revamp of the site’s landscaping and branding, and a redevelopment of the restaurant, doubling its seating capacity to accommodate over 400 customers.
The business’ first expansion occurred in 1991, with the acquisition of the old Swan Garden Centre at West End, Southampton. This site was later redeveloped in 1996, reopening with a new garden centre which emulated the enormous success of the new Ferndown centre.
Haskins Garden Centres then acquired Roundstone Garden Centre in 2000, a large centre in Angmering, near Littlehampton in West Sussex. It has since undergone an extensive redevelopment programme, including a 500-seater restaurant.
In 2003, the business continued to expand with the acquisition of Snowhill Garden Centre, located in Copthorne, West Sussex. This centre traded successfully for 13 years before the whole site was completely redeveloped, culminating with a new flag-ship garden centre reopening in early 2020.
2020 also saw the acquisition of their Farnham site, incorporating Forest Lodge Garden Centre, Garden Style and their first visitor attraction, Birdworld. Development of these businesses is already underway.
The Haskins Group now operates five of the largest destination garden centres in the south of England and Birdworld, one of the largest bird parks in the UK. They also have ambitious plans to expand further over the next few years.