Growbag Blog

The3Growbags at the Garden Press Event


I always have to keep a very tight rein on Elaine and Caroline at the Garden Press Event. Despite their advancing age, they have a habit of trying to flirt with the stallholders instead of paying attention to the new products the Horticulture Trades Association (HTA) and Garden Industry Manufacturer’s Association (GIMA) have been kind enough to invite us to review.

Garden Press Event
Oh do behave! Elaine did eventually cease her flouncing and had a great chat about Anthony Hann’s very successful Garden on a Roll product

Luckily, Elaine was easily distracted by two new clematis introductions from Guernsey – just imagine – a Group Two clematis but that you prune like a Group Three one – she was made up!!

Garden Press Event
A clematis revolution! C. ‘Guernsey Flute ‘ from Raymond Evison can be hard pruned each February but then repeat flowers from early summer.

And there were plenty of other fabulous innovations to get excited about this year. In a romantic back story, Guy Grieve from Atlantic Garden swapped a career in hand-diving scallops in the Hebrides to found a company producing a soil-conditioning compost based on storm-blown seaweed. Disrupting the market by packing the compost in paper rather than the ubiquitous plastic sacks and donating a percentage of the profit to the Scottish Beach-Clean charity, we heartily applauded this progressive project.

Garden Press Event
Guy Grieve of Atlantic Garden on the left with our great friend and garden podcaster Joff Elphick on the right

Another disrupter was a range of new bird feeders that tackled the growing problem of disease transfer, especially amongst our finches, with conventional feeders. Redesigned from scratch, the ‘Finches Friend’ feeders keep the seed dry and fresh, and ensure the birds feed in a hygienic manner that minimises the spread of germs. The links to all these great new products are at the end of the blog.

Garden Press Event
They may be a bit pricier than your average feeder but worth it surely to protect the health of your garden birds

We were also pleased to see a development in last year’s overall winning product,Wool Pots (which we now stock in our shop). In addition to the useful small pots, the team had a prototype larger size, designed to be used when despatching bigger plants by post. The shrub or rose could be tapped out of its black plastic pot and into a wool pot for posting in a cardboard box. The drawstring top prevents any soil spillage in transit, you can just pop the whole thing in its planting hole when it arrives. Crucially, this allows the plastic pot to be re-used at the nursery instead of giving you the problem of recycling it, and the nursery having to buy a new single-use plastic pot – genius!

Garden Press Event
Tom from Wool Pots explains how their prototype will work to reduce troublesome black plastic in the horticultural industry.

We were given a warm welcome (and an orchid plant each 🌺) at the Gardeners World Live stand with a reminder that their main event at Birmingham NEC June 13-16 , will be preceded by an event in Beaulieu in the New Forest at the beginning of May, 3-5 .

Garden Press Event
The Gardeners World Live stand – we’ve already put the New Forest event in the diary

As the day drifted to a close, Elaine wafted happily around the Burgon & Ball’s new children’s range of properly well-made tools, (not toys) and which they plan to support by on-line resources on gardening projects for children.

Garden Press Event
What a great idea to have these children’s garden tools backed up with online project plans- good work Burgon & Ball !

I got some great advice about growing pomegranates in my polytunnel from vegetable gardening guru Lucy Hutchings of ‘She Grows Veg’, and went away with the kind gift of Russian Black tomato seeds from her recently set-up heritage seed company.

Garden Press Event
One of my gardening heroes Lucy Hutchings (on the left) – her Instagram feed on vegetable growing is thrilling! Pictured here with her business partner in their new heirloom seed company, Kate Cotterill.

Caroline had a good chat with the folk from Roots Plants who provide a one-stop shop for plant purchases from a range of different specialist UK nurseries. What she didn’t tell us was that if she had been able to give the Latin names of any of the seed packets pinned to the back of their stand she could have won that packet. Naturally she came back empty-handed ….

Garden Press Event
Nope – she couldn’t do a single one ….

With thanks to both the HTA and GIMA for putting up with us again and to the Garden Media Guild for facilitating our tickets – we had the most marvellous day! Here are the links to the products that we’re rooting for (see what I did there!) this year.

(If you were lucky enough to attend this event as well we’d love to hear which new products you got excited about -let us know in the comments at the end)

Garden on a Roll. We first came across Garden on a Roll at last year’s Garden Press Event and its designer Anthony Henn, when he could a word in edgeways, reported that the kits with their paper planting templates and boxes of the right plants had really taken off.

The Guernsey Clematis Nursery. There were actually two new clematis from Raymond Evison’s Guernsey Clematis Nursery, Guernsey ‘Flute’ and ‘Lindsay’. They will be launched at Chelsea Flower Show in May.

The Atlantic Garden. This is the inspiring story behind Guy Grieve and his Atlantic Garden seaweed compost

Joff Elphick. And this is our friend Joff’s podcast website where you can listen to his latest podcast recorded at the Garden Press Event itself!

Finches Friend . You’ll find the Finches Friend bird feeders on their website, where there is also a live feed to WildlifeKate’s feeding station where you can see the feeders in action.

Wool Pots. The Wool Pots story is on their website with, we hope, many more tales to come in the future.

Gardener’s World Live. The details and tickets for the Gardeners World Live main event at the NEC and their smaller spring event at Beaulieu are here.

Burgon & Ball. These are Burgon & Ball’s high quality children’s tools

She Grows Veg. Take a look at the wonderfully characterful vegetables you can grow from the newly launched She Grows Veg heirloom seed company

Roots Plants. Finally, here is the story behind mail order company Roots Plants where plants are despatched directly to you from a range of established UK nurseries.

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By the3growbags

We're three sisters who love gardening, plants and even the science of horticulture but we're not all experts. We'd love everyone even remotely interested in their gardens to be part of our blogsite.

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