During the early months of the year, companies are keen to tell the press about all the new plants, products and themes they are planning for the coming season with an eye on all the publicity they can get. This makes it an exciting time for us, as both journalists and trained horticulturists, because we get to write about things that would interest us anyway.
This week, it was the turn of the Garden Press Event, an annual trade show where gardening writers and bloggers gather to chat to exhibitors and find out what’s new. Held for the first time at the Business Design Centre in London, during the heaviest snow of the winter so far, the turnout was good and the displays exceptional.
There were several outstanding plants, including: three beautiful new roses from David Austin Roses, to be launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (we’ll feature those next week), Rosmarinus ‘Blue Cascade’ from Garden Beauty which smells wonderful, flowers profusely and will spill over a tall pot or retaining wall (available now by mail order), and Daphne ‘Perfume Princess’ from Wyevale Nurseries. Bred from D. odora and D. bholua, the two most fragrant winter Daphnes, the scent of this plant could be detected metres away.
Pots and containers for houseplants featured strongly, reflecting the recent increase in sales of cacti, succulents and foliage plants for indoors. Burgon & Ball have introduced attractive new ranges of both standing and hanging containers to allow you to use all the space available. The range includes the glossy finish most people prefer for indoors plus a selection of terracotta pots with texturing to make them look much older than they are. If a traditional theme is what you’re looking for then these are cleverly designed to look as if you’ve just retrieved them from a Victorian greenhouse.
Charity support features strongly this year and trade suppliers Woodlodge have a choice of pots to raise money for garden charity Greenfingers (who build gardens in children’s hospices around the country) and Marie Curie. The Marie Curie range features the daffodil symbol and Woodlodge will give 75p from each pot sold to the charity. In fact, they will donate a minimum of £20,000 regardless of pots sold, but there is no upper limit. Apta are supporting the Royal British Legion and Poppy Scotland with pots featuring the poppy symbol on the side or shaped entirely like the poppy. Vitax, makers of fertilisers and other garden products, are supporting ABF The Soldier’s Charity (formerly the Army Benevolent Fund) and 20p will be donated from every marked pack of their excellent general fertiliser Vitax Q4.
Container specialists Stewart have several new lines for this spring, including stone-effect planters and a new range of lightweight pots that are ideal for use where weight is an issue, such as a balcony or roof garden. Their parent company Keter have introduced new patio furniture including a barbecue table and storage seat.
For anyone who wants to keep plants but forgets to water them, Lechuza have a wide range of self-watering containers. Each has a water reservoir in the base and an easy-to-see indicator on the pot to tell you when the level is dropping and you need to add more. This keeps the plant growing well, regardless of your ability to remember!
New kids on the block (in the UK) PTMD are introducing beautiful Italian ceramic pots in strictly limited numbers. More expensive than the average container, these are classy and classic with lasting appeal and only a limited number of each line will be produced, so there is guaranteed exclusivity. An ideal gift for a wedding, anniversary or “big” birthday.
Quirky introductions include the LitheAudio all-in-one Bluetooth Garden Speaker, designed to look like a rock and Coffee Logs for your wood burner, made from compressed coffee waste.
For the younger gardener, Burgon & Ball have created two adorable waterproof kneeling pads called Buzz (the bee) and Dotty (the ladybird).
All-in-all, it was an impressive new collection - and this is without having space to mention all the new mowers, pruners, secateurs and other machinery that make gardening easier.
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