Garden centres are reaping the rewards of the economic recovery and good gardening conditions, latest figures suggest.

Warm weather saw sales of garden furniture and barbecues soar by 23 per cent in May, compared to the same month in 2013.

The statistics, from the Garden Centre Association, found that sales of landscaping products were up by 11 per cent, pets and aquatics rose by nearly eight per cent, gifts by seven per cent and catering by five per cent.

GCA chairman Will Armitage said: “Our member garden centres had a good May, busier than expected, with the weather playing a vital part in their success.”

Industry group the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) said that garden retail sales were 21 per cent ahead at the end of May, compared with 2013.

And the HTA said garden centre March sales were up by a “whopping” 77 per cent on the cold spring of 2013.

Chief executive of the HTA, Carol Paris, said: “Many businesses are breathing a huge sigh of relief after better sales this spring.”