Kicking off the 2020 gardening season, over 100 exhibitors showcased their new products and stories in front of the garden media at last week’s Garden Press Event, which took place at the Business Design Centre in London on Wednesday 4 March.

Around 300 journalists, bloggers, feature writers and other members of the media attended the busy event, jointly owned by HTA and GIMA, to find out about the latest trends and products for 2020.

Sustainability, concern for the environment, wellbeing and getting young people involved in gardening were key themes that were highlighted throughout the day. A small selection of the stories included:

  • Peat reduction was a theme echoed across growing media exhibitors including Westland, Dalefoot Composts, Evergreen and Bathgate. Bord na Mona, which changed the name of its UK retail arm of the business to The Greener Gardening Company earlier this year, was promoting its Happy Compost brand and planter product.
  • Melcourt also promoted their peat free-range and their new bag for life to reduce single-use plastics. The bag only needs to be purchased once, and customers can return it to be refilled each time they buy their products.
  • Dobbies showcased plants, pots and tools on their eye-catching stand and key messages around their initiatives on peat reduction and protecting wildlife.
  • Increased public awareness of the importance of wellbeing inspired the Farplants Garden Your Way to Wellbeing plant range, available from June 2020, which has been carefully crafted to create plants that give a mood boost.
  • HTA launched a campaign to create a ‘million planting moments’ this Autumn
  • The Melanoma Fund encouraged gardeners to protect their skin through their Watch your back campaign. www.watchyourback.co.uk
  • The launch of HTA’s new elearning app – the Hub,  which gives access to the HTA’s range of E-learning and learning and development resources.
  • National Children’s Gardening Week takes place over May half term (23-31 May).
  • Hygeia promoted their instore refill stations of cold-pressed Nature Safe Wild Atlantic Seaweed and Goulding Tomato Feed. 
  • Grazers promoted their range of products which are based on natural ingredients.
  • British Garden Centres launched its 57 centres across the UK, having increased from 10 just over a year ago. They have purchased  37 centres from Wyevale and a further eight from Hillview in the last 15 months.
  • David Austin Roses launched its 2020 Handbook of Roses and Senior Rosarian and Head Gardener Michael Marriot demonstrated their hand-budding process.
  • Lee Connelly, also known as Skinny Jean Gardener launched his book: 'How to Get Kids Gardening'.
  • Candide discussed their app which is free to use and aims to make gardening information accessible to everyone;  it will be backing Hardy’s Cottage Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower show for their final exhibit.
  • Newby Hall Historic Garden will be hosting the Autumn Harrogate Flower Show for the first time in September 2020 (18-20 Sept).
  • The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh marked its 350th anniversary and will be undertaking a year-long programme of events and activities

Stars of 2020 at the Garden Press Event

The new product awards attracted over 60 entries, raising over £3000 for Greenfingers. The winner, as voted by show visitors was Melcourt with the Melcourt Bag for Life, which can be used and reused by customers buying SylvaGrow peat-free growing media.

The best stand award went to Dobbies.

HTA President Boyd Douglas Davies commented,

 “What a fantastic day! I think I’ve nearly worn my voice out which takes some doing. We’ve talked to so many people it’s been brilliant – talking all day long to all sorts of different consumer magazines, newspapers, bloggers, radio journalists, everybody – we’ve been talking to them all! The whole day has been non-stop.

“I’ve spoken to a few people and everybody’s had a good day. I think a lot of journalists have got a lot of content which is fantastic. I’ve seen people who have been here right from the opening and are still finishing off their last conversations as the show closes.

“Congratulations to Melcourt who won best new product – what a great idea and so of the moment isn’t it. To have a reusable compost bag and be able to go back to the store and get it refilled time after time. Everybody is looking for plastic reduction and this is a great solution. One of our biggest sources of plastic is compost bags so if they can get that to take hold and work it’s a great product.

“Dobbies won the best stand. When you look at their stand you can see that they’ve defined their message well, delivered it and presented it well. They’ve talked and walked the message all day long. They came in, they had an objective and they achieved it I’m sure. They put a lot of effort in so fair play to them – well done Dobbies!

Next year’s event takes place on Wednesday 3rd March 2021.

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