association comment Let’s get growing

GIMA members develop a new generation of greenhouses and outdoor buildings to target the nation’s shrinking gardens

recognition of a significant lifestyle trend – city and apartment living, combined with consumers’ desire to grow healthy home-grown food.” All three new products have been entered into the 2019 GIMA Awards. Forest Garden is also aware that gardens are becoming more compact and is targeting consumers who are keen to cultivate plants in areas where space is at a premium. Forest’s new Victorian Walkaround Greenhouse, which measures just 126 x 96cm, features four large doors, so gardeners can access the benches from outside – as well as using the compact structure as a conventional greenhouse. A Forest spokesman said: “It is the most innovative product on the market. Keen gardeners restricted with space will benefit from its design.” The pressure-treated, self-assembly structure, which can be painted post-purchase, comes with a 15-year guarantee. It’s aimed at owners of city, town and courtyard gardens.

Gloomy British summer weather can drive sales of greenhouses and outdoor buildings, as consumers look to enjoy their gardens whatever the weather. Here, we focus on how GIMA members are innovating to adapt traditional structures to perform in ever smaller gardens.

Urban Series of apartment and courtyard growing spaces. The range comprises the Balcony, Vertical and City Greenhouse, all designed to maximise opportunities where lack of space presents challenges. Juliana marketing manager, Pete Monahan, said: “All Juliana products are based on principles of Danish design – simplicity, aesthetics and functionality. With the Urban Series we have applied traditional values to the

Also new for 2019 from Forest are timber summerhouses. The new Oakley and Arlington corner summerhouses are available in two sizes (7x7ft and 8x8ft) and feature full-length acrylic windows and glazed double doors. Forest will use the structures to appeal to consumers who are seeking buildings for relaxation in contemporary and traditional gardens, as well as the market for outdoor home offices. According to Zest 4 Leisure, 95% of the UK public are concerned about the environment and sustainability, which was the theme of an HTA event in April that focused on issues such as responsible sourcing. The company creates its extensive range of garden products using FSC®- certified (FSC®C114990) timber, with its best-selling lines including the Lily Relax Range and Miami Swing. A Zest 4 Leisure spokeswoman says: “Retailers can make use of free Zest 4 Leisure POS and media support packages for garden centre groups, independent stores and online retailers. Customers can easily access assembly instruction videos online.”

The National Plant Show

TheHorticultural Trade Association talks of a rise in sales in garden categories and the commitment to the environment at the national plant show.

According to the HTA garden retail sales to the end of May show an increase of 13% compared with May 2018 and are 27% ahead for the year to date. In April, sales of plant and garden ranges continued to fare well, experiencing significant growth on last year. The warmer and later Easter period was no doubt a factor encouraging consumers into their gardens. It is good news for the majority of garden

product categories with most seeing a rise in sales in the month of April 2019 vs 2018. Bedding plants saw the highest increase at +22%, while

the houseplant trend also remains strong with an increase of 21% as the message around health and wellbeing continues to spread. On the back of a positive season there was a buoyant atmosphere at this year’s HTA National Plant Show, sponsored by Hortipak, which took place on 18-19 June at Stoneleigh Park. The show saw increased numbers of

exhibitors and visitors alike, in what was its 10th year. This year supplier exhibitors moved to Hall 1 adjacent to the nursery hall providing visitors with the opportunity to see and buy all they need to grow and sell plants under one roof. The New Plant Awards were once again a real focal point of interest -attracting in excess of 100 entries. It was noticeable to see a real uptake in the number of entries in the houseplant category. The winning plant from the judged award was Agapanthus ‘AMB001’ ‘Fireworks’ from Fairweather’s Nursery with the Visitor Vote overall winner going to Clematis Elodi from The Bransford Webbs Plant

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Company and The Guernsey Clematis Nursery. When discussing the winner, the judges commented: “The agapanthus has the ‘wow factor’. It has a romantic, naturalistic look and looks exceptional even when in tight bud. It is a good commercial plant and looks to be a good improvement on its predecessor, ‘Twister’, because it is more robust and fills the pot quicker, therefore better value for money. It is exciting to have a fantastic plant that looks great in the container and in the border.” Many of the growers were exhibiting plants in non-black recyclable pots showing how far this industry initiative has moved in just one year. Sustainability was very much a theme with many stands demonstrating and highlighting their commitment to the environment and the seminar programme too reflecting this important topic. Growers reported that there had been strong demand for UK grown plants partly related to Brexit and biosecurity concerns.

GCU July 2019

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