Garden Centers of America

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Garden Centers of America (GCA) was incorporated in March 1973 as a nonprofit organization of independent garden centers across North America for the purpose of improving conditions in the retail garden center industry.

GCA provides a medium through which independent garden centers may consider their mutual problems and interests, exchange ideas and assist each other in bringing the independent garden center industry to a higher level of efficiency.

GCA Summer Tour-goers bring back retailing inspirations from touring indie garden centers in San Francisco, CA.

Regular members are limited to independent retail firms to whose primary purpose is to sell live plants to the public. Active members must have a definite location of business with appropriate facilities to properly care for and display plants.

GCA puts on a summer tour of garden centers in different regions of the United States each year in June. Recent history has taken the tour to Portland, OR; Milwaukee, WI; San Francisco, CA; central Ohio and Detroit, MI.

GCA's commitment is to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of the locally-owned independent garden center. GCA is the primary forum for information, education and training that promotes the exchange of ideas between member firms.

In October 2016, GCA had 144 active member firms and 22 associate members with a sincere interest in improving the business of retailing in garden centers.


Every year, GCA hosts the Best Garden Center Bathroom Awards recognizing independent garden centers with the best store restroom designs. A panel judges the entries based on the bathroom's creativity and comfort to the customer's overall shopping experience. The best entries are selected and given one of these honors: Gold Award, Silver Award and Merit Award. The winners are unveiled at the Independent Garden Center Show (IGC Show) in Chicago, Illinois, every year.

  • 2016: (Gold) Fiddleheads Garden Center, Dalton, GA; (Gold) Larson's Garden Center, Burlington, CT; (Silver) Lammscapes/Lamm Gardens, Jackson, WI; (Silver) Van Atta's Greenhouse & Flower Shop, Haslett, MI; (Merit) Backbone Valley Nursery, Marble Falls, TX; (Merit) Dutch Mill Greenhouse, Marysville, OH; (Merit) Water Flow Productions, Purvis, MS[1]
  • 2015: (Gold) Altum's Horticultural Center & Landscape, Zionsville, IN; (Silver) Clay Garden and Gift, Santa Rosa Beach, FL; (Silver) Ebert's Greenhouse Village, Ixonia, WI; (Silver) Larson's Garden Center, Burlington, CT; (Merit) Cedar Brook Garden Center, New Prague, MN; (Merit) Fairfield Farms Nurseries, Oxford, FL; (Merit) Lammscapes/Lamm Gardens, Jackson, WI[2]
  • 2014: (Gold) The Garden Mart, Mukwonago, WI; (Silver) Cornell Farm, Portland, OR; (Silver) Flamingo Road Nursery, Davie, FL; (Silver) Lammscapes/Lamm Gardens, Jackson, WI; (Silver) Linton's Enchanted Gardens, Elkhart, IN; (Merit) Cedar River Garden Center, Palo, IA; (Merit) The Green Thumbers, Davenport, IA; (Merit) Tagawa Gardens, Centennial, CO[3]
  • 2013: (Gold) New Era Nursery, Hillsboro, WI; (Silver) Oakland Nursery, Delaware, OH; (Merit) Brent & Becky's Bulbs, Gloucester, VA; (Merit) Lammscapes/Lamm Gardens, Jackson, WI[4]
  • 2012: (Gold) Baker's Acres Greenhouse, Alexandria, OH; (Silver) Oakland Nursery, Delaware, OH; (Merit) Cedar Rim Nursery, Langley, BC, Canada; (Merit) Lammscapes/Lamm Gardens, Jackson, WI; (Merit) The Garden Place, Norway, MI; (Merit) Plants for All Seasons, Spring, TX; (Merit) GoodSeed Farm, Peebles, OH[5]
  • 2011: (Top Honors) Barton Grange Garden Centre, Preston, UK; (Gold) Sheridan Nurseries, Ontario, Canada; (Silver) Al's Garden Center, Silverwood, OR; (Silver) Chalet, Chicago, IL; (Silver) Linder's, St. Paul, MN; (Merit) The Barn Nursery, Chattanooga, TN; (Merit) Beaver Bark, Richland, WA; (Merit) Plantland Nursery, Veradale, WA[6]


From 1973 until 2002, GCA contracted with the American Association of Nurserymen (AAN) (later the American Nursery & Landscape Association, ANLA) to manage the affairs of the corporation. One part of that agreement required that potential members of GCA would be required to first be a member of the AAN.

In February 2002, the Board of ANLA voted to terminate the relationship since they were unable to come to an agreement with GCA on the future direction of that relationship.

In 2002, GCA contracted with Clayton W. Hannon (the retired Executive Director of the Oregon Association of Nurserymen, now the Oregon Association of Nurseries) to manage GCA on an interim basis.

In April 2005, management was moved to the Association Services Group (ASG) in LaGrange, Georgia.

GCA endorsed the Independent Garden Center Show and helped with its educational program. In April 2012, GCA ended its contract with ASG, unable to meet the financial obligations of its management contract, and signed an exclusive agreement with IGC Show founders to carry on GCA programs and activities under the IGC banner led by Jeff and Cheryl Morey, whose independent garden center dedicated entities include the IGC Show.

Strengthened by the independent vision and reach of the IGC banner, Garden Centers of America, LLC, operates independently as a separate entity under the GCA name. The GCA board will act as the group's Leadership Council, providing valuable insights to make GCA even more relevant to its membership through expanded programs and offerings sponsored by IGC.


  1. ^ "Garden Centers of America - 2016 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  2. ^ "Garden Centers of America - 2015 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  3. ^ "Garden Centers of America - 2014 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  4. ^ "Garden Centers of America - 2013 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  5. ^ "Garden Centers of America - 2012 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 
  6. ^ "Garden Centers of America - 2011 Award Winners". Retrieved 2016-10-11. 

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