Today saw the 10th Anniversary of the Garden Press Event, supporting over 100 key companies showcasing new products and latest plant introductions, for the coming season to the gardening press and media...
Every year, I always look forward to this show, not only to meeting fellow journalists (and to discussing the state of the industry) but also to be one of the first to see new, innovative designs coming from many British Companies. Several stands caught my eye this year. The first was Whichford Pottery, one of the last, traditional potteries still operating in the UK today. The family-run company – who incidentally made the famous Poppies at the Tower for the installation 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' – employ over 25 local people and export over a third of their pots to Japan. Made from the finest frost-proof clay, their pots are made entirely by hand. Find out more at: www.whichfordpottery.com
Above: Jim Keeling, founder and potter on the Whichford Pottery stand
Next, I stopped at the Claire Austin stand to look at her newly released book about Perennials (below).
The book features over 800 of Claire’s favourite perennials, beautifully photographed by Claire herself on her nursery in Mid Wales. Claire’s passion for plants is evident in the glossy pages and her artistic eye for capturing not only clear close ups of flowers but little vignettes and views of planted borders with wonderful views is coupled with practical advice. This book will be a great addition for anybody who loves plants and will no doubt become a gardening classic. Find out more at: www.claireaustin-hardyplants.co.uk
Above: Photo of Claire Austin
A new online company called 'Really Useful Stuff' provides a selection of products to help disabled and elderly people enjoy being outside and to help them "put the pleasure back into gardening". From One handed-grass shear (arm cuffs which attach to a variety of tools to extend and give leverage and grip to the Hopper), to a hands-free aid that fits around your waist (plus practical pockets that can hold a hot drink, phone and tools) to many more items for independent living. Find out more at: www.reallyusefulstuff.co
Supplying many Chelsea gardens and with a solid online presence, Crocus displayed many of their lovely in-house designed garden products. New products include a folding butterfly cloche, weathered wood and mesh cloches, and grey pine folding nordeco chair to name but a few. As well as products, new plants have been added to their long list of available varieties such as a wonderfully deep wine red hydrangea ‘Wim’s Red.’ Find out more at: www.crocus.co.uk
'Garden on a roll' (who won the Glee New Product Award in 2014 with their gift box), have introduced the Urban Herb Box. The wooden herb box is treated and can be left outside or placed on a window sill indoors. It provides an instant herb garden and contains a number of premium herb plants,plus a box with lid – which becomes a tray – compost and instructions. Really, a mini 'garden on a roll'. More at: www.gardenonaroll.com
Fixing and securing fence posts in the ground is not the easiest of jobs and not usually for the DIY gardener. However, a new way to anchor timber fence posts has been designed by Steady Post. British made 'Steady Post Fence Fins' (above) are simple and strong and won the GIMA’s Innovation Seed Corn Fund award last year. Find out more about this excellent fencing solution at: www.steadypost.co.uk
Fiskars have introduced in association with their new brand ambassador, James Wong, the Xact Digging Tools. This lightweight but sturdy range of long handled tools, takes the strain out of heavy digging. Special composite Fibercomp in the angled shafts is combined with hardy boron steel to reduce strain yet provide great handling. Coupled with a soft grip push pull handle and coming in two sizes to suit different heights, this versatile range optimizes lightness without compromising on durability. www.fiskars.co.uk
Work wear is always an issue especially for us ladies but Genus Performance Garden wear for men and women, has been designed by gardeners for gardeners. The trousers are stylish yet practical and are made from a lightweight stretch, quick drying fabric. They have padded knees for impact and water resistance and have a damp proof seat panels and stab proof pockets for secateurs. More at: www.genus.gs
Many more stands at the event had new products on display from Hozelock to Homebase showcasing their Chelsea garden for 2015. Stands also varied from Capel Manor College to the HTA and the RHS with details of all the planned activities and shows for the year. Moreover, the event has raised over £10,000 for the Greenfingers Charity!