With a hall brimming full of exhibitors and visitor numbers 8% up the HTA National Plant Show which took place this week (24 and 25 June) has been deemed a success. Sponsored by Hortipak, the show which celebrated its 5th birthday this year, brings together the best from the UK plant supply chain providing plant buyers with an unrivalled opportunity to plan and select stock for the 2015 season.
The first HTA National Plant Show took place in June 2010 following requests from grower and retailer members alike for an affordable, stand-alone plant focussed show at the best time of year for them.
Speaking at the 5th birthday reception HTA Chief Executive Carol Paris comments, ?The quality of plants at this year?s show is truly exceptional providing a fantastic showcase for UK growers. Year on year exhibitors keep raising the bar with regard to their plant displays with many inspiring ideas for visitors to takeaway.?
She adds, ?Since the first show we have stayed true to our roots of a back to basics approach in order to keep exhibitor costs down and the focus to remain on the stars ? the plants. The success of the show is down to the support of both exhibitors, visitors and supporters, particularly Hortipak our long standing headline partner, who have provided a huge investment and immeasurable support from the beginning. We would like to thank them all for their support.?
New plants are a key component of the show and this year was no exception with over 120 entries in the New Plant Awards, sponsored by RHS. With its vibrant bright orange open flowers and sturdy upright stems Trollius ?Dancing Flame? from Darby Nursery Stock and Fairweather?s Nursery won the Best New Plant Award.
The Visitor Vote Award, sponsored by Floramedia, went to Mini Cherry ?Cinderella? from Blackmoor Nurseries. This new variety with compact bushy growth produces medium sized cherries in late July. It is perfect for patio pots with a final height of 1.5 metres.
Lovania Nurseries won the Best Plant Display award for their innovative ideas for alpines. Bransford Webb Plant Company, Channel Island Plants and Pentland Plants were all highly commended.
Over the course of the two days the seminar area, sponsored by Barclaycard, hosted three talks. In the opening seminar horticulturalist and broadcaster Chris Collins spoke about how even the simplest ideas can inspire and engage young people. ?Through planting workshop provide kids with the basics and teach them that plants are alive and need to be looked after like a pet. It is empowering for kids to have the responsibility of taking care of plants.
David Arnold, Project Manager for the Garden Industry Marketing Board (GIMB), shared the findings of recent research into what 30-45 year olds want from their gardens. People are looking for that ?holiday feeling? when relaxing in their outdoor space – sounds including birdsong, children laughing and music all contribute to this feeling, as well as relaxing with a cold drink outside. Why not create a ?that holiday feeling at home? feature in your garden centre as a way of inspiring people he suggested.
Negotiation expert Steve Jones from ReSharpen spoke about some of the crucial deals which need to work for both sides before the customer makes their choice of plant from the display bench. It is important to ensure that you negotiate at the right price with the right person in order to get the best deal for both needs. It is important to collaborate but without compromise he said.
The ?It Starts with a Pot giveaway? proved to be popular with many garden retailers taking advantage of the opportunity to take away free pots, kindly donated by Stewarts Garden, for use in summer holiday and school activities.
New for 2014 the Plant Selfies competition attracted a lot of interest. Exhibitors were invited to submit images from the nursery of plants ? close ups, with people and in action. Visitors to the show voted for their favourites. The winning image came from Sharon Lowndes from Fairweather?s Nursery for her stunning image of Eryngium ?Big Blue?.
For further information and all the result visit www.nationalplantshow.co.uk