I have to confess to a little secret. I get an insiders view of the garden industry every year at GLEE. It’s a hot bed of new ideas, the latest gardening trends and all that’s coming up fast in gardening for the season ahead.
Not only did it showcase hundreds of new gardening products that will likely be on sale at a garden centre near you next season, but there were also some excellent talks and seminars and an inspirational display area, the Retail Lab offering retailers some food for thought on presenting products for sale.
There were hundreds of exhibitors at this autumn show at the NEC, Birmingham; many are household names, the big players in terms of garden tools, garden care and general horticulture. But there’s also a useful Innovation Zone, this year it was a bit thin on the ground, but like the rest of the show it was quality over quantity. Check out Five New Garden Innovations from #Glee17 here.
Here are some of the growing trends for the seasons ahead.
With more and more of us renting our homes, the conundrum is how can you have a lovely garden when you rent, if you then have to move. Of course we know the answer, we can garden in pots and containers and use tricks and ideas to transform our plot using accessories that can be packed up and transported if and when we have to move. But it’s not just the generation-rent that need on-trend accessories for their plots. Gardens are getting smaller and many homeowners are transforming the immediate area outside their home, creating social dining spaces, garden kitchens and productive growing areas to produce fresh ingredients for the kitchen. At #Glee17 there were plenty of space saving ideas for the urban gardener, including this little timber and polycarb Grow House from Crest.
Chemical Free Gardening
The trend for using products that have a kinder impact on the environment was palpable at #Glee17. Several companies specialise in natural fertilisers and eco friendly pest control but the biggest news was from Neudorff – which launched the very first ‘off the shelf’ nematode based pest control for lawn pests such as Chafer Grubs and Leather Jackets and the dreaded vine weevil too. With a long shelf life and the wrigglers (nematodes) in a kind of suspended animation in a gel (cryptobiosis – apparently the same technique used to preserve Walt Disney after his death), you can buy the ball-shaped packs at the garden centre and use them when needed in your garden. It’s a huge step forward for biological control bringing it to the attention of homeowners and people with gardens so that they can catch up with the more clued-up gardeners that already use them with great success.
It’s been around a while now, but I was quite surprised how many different rusted garden features and accessories there were at the show this year. There was everything from rusted firepits and rusted plant supports to a rusted metal, corten steel fire pit and even a set of garden stairs from The Pot Company (www.thepotco.co.uk). The rich orange oxidised look blends so well with the garden greenery and has an urban industrial look that suits a variety of garden styles. And dare I say it, but if your garden arches and furniture is starting to rust at the edges, you can combine new rusted accessories that create a shabby chic look and make your aging garden components look more in keeping with your garden style.
If you hadn’t realised that houseplants were on trend, where have you been? It seems that the über fashionable millennials with little or no gardens have turned to the humble houseplant to bring some life into their homes. And wow, does this really mean that plants and gardening are trendy? Well at #Glee17 the gloves were off in the trendy garden stakes, and to be honest I think it was won hands down by Javado, exhibiting plants and terrariums I could only have dreamt of as a plant loving teenager. And in fact many of them I would give house room to now. From little tanks of carnivorous plants, a window on swamp world for kids, to glass jars with all manner of fascinating botanicals. Come on – they even made Sanseviera (aka Mother In Law’s tongue) look trendy and amazing. I was totally blown away and impressed. www.javadoplant.com
And the innovation didn’t end there; for the hipsters wanting houseplants and succulents galore there was a really exciting crop of great little pots and planters to show them off. It seemed everyone that would, could or did make pots was in on the act and wow are there some great designs coming through. Burgon & Ball had some lovely contemporary style hanging pots and some really fab textured designs to complement some of the succulents and cacti being grown. But I have to admit it was the fabulous range of Capi Europe Pots, inspired by nature from Cadix that really caught my eye. I love the botanical texture added to these really organically shaped planters. They would work in any style of home and garden, they are lightweight, elegant and just beautiful. Look out for them next season and I’m sure you will love them as much as I do.