Last week, Garden Centre Retail braved the snowy conditions to visit the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, to take in the latest products and innovations for the garden sector.
A first at its new home having moved from the Barbican Centre, the Garden Press Event offered journalists, bloggers and garden writers the chance to get their hands on some of the newest products from the biggest suppliers to the market. This move coincided with a new ownership of the show, with the HTA and GIMA becoming partners and buying out Guy Burtenshaw and Sue O’Neill, whose last involvement in the show came this year.
All exhibitors were eligible to put products forward for the New Product Awards – raising an amazing £2,650 for Greenfingers. The winner of the new product award was Bio-Bean for their Coffee Logs product made from coffee grounds with the runner up being Willow Wand.
The accolade for the Best Stand Award went to hedging plant specialists Hopes Grove Nurseries for their innovative display of products including a gin hedgerow featuring all the berries that can be used to flavour the spirit.
Grange Fencing celebrated its 150th anniversary at the show. Grange marketing manager, Mark Morris said, “We’re extremely proud of our heritage, with Grange growing to become an expert in the fencing arena. This year’s Garden Press Event provided us with a great excuse to celebrate how far we’ve come and show off some of our fantastic products.”
The company took the opportunity to show off a new feature on its website – an augmented reality-style concept which means customers can upload an image of their garden and start strategically placing Grange’s items on it to get a feel of what the reality will look like. This links to a ‘wish-list’ which can be taken into a garden centre stockist, codes can be scanned, and products can be purchased providing they are in stock.
A debutant at the show this year was Creative Products, showcasing a whole range of products as well as its in-store POS video systems and racking. Mark Hall, Managing Director at Creative Products, commented, “As our first time attending Garden Press Event, it was fantastic to meet and make new connections with so many gardening journalists and media. We were thrilled to see such enthusiasm for our new garden product range, particularly our clever Badger Paw Gardening Gloves.”
A product that was catching the eye of visitors was a super-cooling neck towel, designed to be wetted and placed around gardeners exposed areas such as the neck to give a quick cooling feeling of relief. Using super rapid condensation technology, the water added to the towel doesn’t need to be cold, the towel does the work.
Front and centre at the show was a great display from garden tool manufacturer Fiskars, showcasing a 6-metre telescopic tree-pruner that is a market first alongside the rest of its Powergear X range.
Wyevale Nurseries in Hereford launched Daphne odora x bholua ‘Perfume Princess’, Dianella tasmanica Wyeena and Phormium ‘Blondie’, which won a Silver Award in the Shrubs and Climbers Category at the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) National Plant Show last year, at the event in London.
Adam Dunnett, Sales and Marketing Director at Wyevale Nurseries, said: “We were delighted to officially unveil three of our new plants to journalists who attended the show. There seemed to be great interest in the plants and we were on hand to chat to people about them in depth and explain their key features. We also spoke to attendees about our plans for the coming year as well as hot topics like Biosecurity.
Daphne odora x bholua ‘Perfume Princess’ is available now and it is thought to be the most scented shrub in the world.
Gardena, the watering-product manufacturer exhibited a range of products designed with small city-centre garden spaces in mind, with space-saving planters that can have a hose plugged into it, and a range of new hoses and hose trolleys.
Spear and Jackson took the opportunity to show off their new products, such as a kneeling pad, designed to benefit the end user. Following extensive testing, these products have been shown to increase the time a gardener can spend in the garden without feeling any fatigue.
Charity partnerships were also high on the agenda for the exhibitors. Woodlodge, the manufacturer of garden planters announced they were donating £20,000 to the Marie Curie charity, with add-ons for each pot sold.
Considering the weather conditions that the exhibitors, organisers and visitors had to endure, the first show under new direction and at a new venue showed a positive glimpse into the future of the show, and it remains the first choice for the press to attend to see the latest product innovations.