What a privilege it was to be invited to the Garden Press Event in London – our chance to learn about horticultural innovations, review new products and have a good old chinwag with other lovely garden bloggers over cups of tea.
Elaine and I took our brief to look and learn quite seriously, I wish the same could be said about Caroline…
But even Caroline got properly engaged with one of the several new products that offered a shortcut for an inexperienced gardener to create a flower border in a foolproof planting-by-numbers approach.
This idea was taken one step further in what promises to be a very fruitful new partnership by the National Trust with the Blue Diamond group of nurseries (whom Caroline initially thought made cement, until we explained that was Blue Circle – geometry was never her forte.)
On Blue Diamond’s excellent display stand ( which went on to be awarded ’Best Show Stand’) they explained how their four border styles were each based on a herbaceous border from a National Trust Property.
In what appears to be a definite trend, they’ve also launched two new National Trust-inspired selections of bulbs in a biodegradable cardboard container that you just sink into the soil and water.
Excitingly the nursery has also been given access to the National Trust’s collection of heritage plants from which to propagate, and if Elaine hadn’t plonked herself in front of it at just the wrong moment I could have shown you a photo of a clone of Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree.
Ever the practical gardener, Elaine was all over the garden tools range and was delighted when Fiskar gave her a set of pruning implements to trial.
Quite rightly, sustainability was still a hot topic at the event, and Caroline returned from a solo foray to the Hortiwool stand, reporting back that you can use their natural sheeps’ wool pads to warm soil, line a hanging basket, as capillary matting, as a slug deterrent and even as birds’ nesting material. All the while supporting our British sheep farmers – a huge tick in our book!
And actually there was a specific use for wool on another stand that we all three signed up to give a go at home. Wool pots are….made of wool. They allow you to bring on a seed or bulb and when ready, plonk it in the soil outside whereupon the pot will disintegrate..no root disturbance involved. We liked this idea.
There was a fair smattering of gardening celebs cruising around and lovely Sue Kent from Gardeners World knew she had met us before but couldn’t quite recall our brand name so joyously hailed ‘oh look its the naughty sisters! ’ on spotting us – perfectly apt.
Our final task at the event was to cast our votes for the best new product and I think you’ll agree that our choices reflected our general approach to horticulture – and probably to life in general!
All in all it was a fabulous day out with a real buzz about the gardening year ahead for all of us.
Many thanks to the Garden Industries Manufacturer’s Association (GIMA) and the Horticultural Trade Association (HTA) for laying on the event and the Garden Media Guild (GMG) for securing our invitations.
Here are the links to the products we enjoyed at the event:
Henchman ladders (and as you browse their website you can play a ’Where’s Wally?’ game of spotting different Growbag sisters variously up ladders and pushing wheelbarrows 🤣)
That Garden on a Roll shortcut to a perfect border
The exciting collaboration between Blue Diamond (nursery, not cement … ) and the National Trust
The amazing range of Fiskars pruning tools
The multi-functional Hortiwool
Those sweet little Wool Pots
The groundbreaking rapid test for Phytophthora
Elaine’s beloved Burgon and Ball perennial spade
And finally here’s a link to those torpedo-shaped bird feeders from Peckish that tickled Caroline’s fancy!
More NB If you’re not already a subscriber and you’d like a bit more gardening chitchat from the3growbags, please type your email address here and we’ll send you a new post every Saturday morning.