The Garden Press Event 2014, at The Barbican Exhibition centre in London, brings together leading manufacturers who take the opportunity to launch, to the press, new products for the coming season. The Greenfingers charity started by Richard Jackson, is closely associated with the event which will have it’s tenth birthday next year.
One of the many new products that caught my eye yesterday was the British-made, compact Hozelock Pico Reel (see below, photo courtesy Hozelock). It’s been designed especially for small gardens, balconies and roof terraces and, although it appears to closely resemble a toy, it’s as robust as a normal, full size hose reel would be.
‘Hozelock’ have also introduced a ‘wonder weeder’, which eliminates the need to bend down and spray weeds with a weed gun. You just pour the weed killer into the top of the long-handled wand, place the end over the weed and press. No mess and the spray is aimed directly at the weed – very effective. www.hozelock.co.uk
Above: Meadow pattern Backdoor Shoes
‘Backdoor Shoes’ who I've written about before and love, have collaborated with 'Meadow in my Garden’s seed mixes to produce a lovely, meadow patterned and lightweight garden shoe. Their range of shoes continues to expand and this year also sees them collaborating with the RHS. www.backdoorshoes.co.uk
Above: Wearing my new Backdoor Shoes!
Above: Floral seeds by A Meadow in my Garden
‘Meadow in my Garden’ have introduced a new seed mix especially for floral planters such as tubs and window boxes so that anyone can encourage pollinating insects and enjoy their own mini meadow. Their range of mixes also includes a meadow seed mix for shady areas and under trees. I am looking forward to sowing my own meadow seeds under my favourite tree this year to see how they fare while wearing my meadow patterned backdoor shoes! www.meadowinmygarden.co.uk
There are a few companies that have been around a long time in this industry and there is none more familiar than the Finnish company Fiskars. ‘Fiskars’ was established in c.1649, and this year is celebrating 365 years of continous production. We all recognize the orange handled scissors and the company were the first to introduce plastic scissor handles in c.1967 and they have sold to date, over one billion pairs of these iconic implements.
Above: Fiskar's 'Cuts+More' scissors
I was very impressed with their new, multi-purpose gadget ‘Cuts+More’. A ‘multi’ versatile tool in one – as well as functioning as a normal pair of scissors it cuts twine, wire and rope on different parts of the blade. It can also prune, pierce holes in cardboard, has a bottle opener and has a take-apart knife for cutting cardboard, polythene or sheeting. The equivalent of a Swiss army knife for gardeners!
Fiskars extendable range of tools now also includes a lopper and hedge shear (below) that is both lightweight and easy to use. Clever extension buttons mean incremental extensions are available from 665mm to 915mm on the loppers and 675mm to 925mm on the hedge shears, for great flexibility. www.fiskars.co.uk
Now, we all need to look after ourselves when outside and one of the many problems of working in the winter – sometimes even with gloves on is – is the issue of cracked fingers. I tried a sample of ‘O’Keefe’s Working Hands Cream’ and it immediately improved the sore areas at the end of my fingers. I am keeping a pot in my pocket at all times from now on.
Well known for it’s Horticultural products, ‘Harrod Horticultural’ were showcasing – amongst other things – their new range of netting clips and frame saver clips which help to both keep the netting on and prevent storm-force winds blowing it off (very topical). There are lockable pegs to secure netting at the base and I thought the best feature of all was a zip that you can add to a cage if you decide to cut the netting. www.harrodhorticultural.com
The HTA stand was focusing on the association’s ‘It starts with a pot’ campaign. Garden Centres around the UK will have display areas throughout the year to highlight how easy it is for beginner gardeners to start-out by planting-up a single pot either for outdoors or indoors. www.the-hta.org
QVC is one of the biggest retailers of gardening products, particularly well known for the familiar face of Richard Jackson, who this coming April will be celebrating 16 years of offering gardening advice on the channel. QVC aims to bring customers the best selection of branded goods as well as plants and sundries.
Last year QVC sold, in just 10 minutes alone, over 400 Dicksonia Tree Logs retailing at £90 each as well as over 17,000 packs of ten geraniums in a single day! Impressive statistics.
I was also very excited to be given, to try at home, the new ‘Brother’ Handheld labeller GLH 105 which is aimed specifically at the home gardening market. It is very easy to use and you can even tap in names and print labels holding the device with one hand. Brother, who are well known for their quality printers, have been making these label printers for many years and this updated version produces clear, printed, fade-resistant, chemical and scuff-resistant labels. www.brother.co.uk
In total there were over 88 stands at the one day Garden & Home Press Event and other exhibitors included ‘i-fix’ a patio and driveway repair kit for the consumer, produced by the leading brand Instarmac. www.instarmac.co.uk and the Posh Shed Company, with it’s new bin store www.poshshedcomany.co.uk
Thomson and Morgan, Town and Country, Spear and Jackson, Guardman, Bosch Lawn and Garden, Bradstone, Griffin Greenhouses, Briars Jeyes, to name but a few were all exhibiting at what is proving to be a worth while event for the gardening industry – giving the media a taste of new, innovative products for the year ahead. It would be good to see a few more plant introductions at this event in the future and please, can it be hosted at another venue next year… but overall a very enjoyable day.