This week saw the garden industry gather in London to showcase to the gardening media their newest, coolest products, gadgets, plants and inventions! With over 100 exhibitors, there was plenty to see, chat about and play with.
The garden industry has been quite hard on itself in recent years to step up to the plate to minimise and eventually eradicate the use of plastic in products, produce more recyclable products, grow more food and halt the use of soil containing peat – all at the same time as saving water, saving wildlife and generally, saving the plant!
The call has not gone unheard and the industry has stepped up with a banquet of new products which tick all the right boxes as well as being innovative! The Gardening Press Event is such an exciting day as the gardening industry feeds their best new offerings to the hungry garden media.
Here’s my pick of the Top 20 Coolest New Things in the Gardening Industry, from the hundreds of fabulous things on display:
1. iTip Handles – I loved this product! They are ergonomic handles designed to fit onto your wheelbarrow, although they can also be fitted to sack barrows and wheelchairs. The handles are designed to rotate easily when you get to that bit of mid-tipping a full wheelbarrow load, lessening the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. No longer will you need to throw a laden wheelbarrow in the air and quickly catch it again when tipping: these handles allow you to tip the load without changing hand position. iTip Handles are made in the UK, come in 12 colours and retail for £25. I cannot wait to try out my new pink handles which I’ll fit onto my pink wheelbarrow!
2. BucketBarrow – There may be a wheelbarrow theme going on here but the BucketBarrow was also a favourite product! It is so ridiculously simple that one wonders why no one else has thought of it! BucketBarrow has an interlocking bucket system of four identical buckets and a multi-purpose scoop. It allows you to separate different materials and tools in your wheelbarrow instead of the usual random mess of everything chucked in and left to roam around your wheelbarrow! It also means that the wheelbarrow is easier to empty out as you can lift out and empty one bucket as a time. Now all I need is to get this lovely Australian company to make one in pink and I’m laughing! The UK Distributor is Mower Magic and the domestic size retails at £145.
3. HydroVeg Kit – This was another product which had the wow factor: an easy, clean, soil-less and productive way of growing vegetables! Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in water without soil as minerals and nutrients are added to the water. The HydroVeg Kit is easy to build so is suitable for schools: it needs little ground space as it is vertical so it would work in smaller gardens or even on balconies and it needs no digging or weeding so is perfect for anyone with mobility challenges. This feels like a way that you can have the gardening of the future right now in your own back garden from £355.
4. Acqua Garden – In a similar vein, Acqua Garden is a smart, self-watering, soil-less system of growing veg, salads and herbs indoors or outdoors. Plants are grown in organic coconut coir so issues associated with growing in soil, like pests and diseases are said to be avoided and it apparently uses 90% less water than conventional growing. It is a modular system which takes up little space and retails for £385. It is so elegantly designed I would be happy to have it indoors – looking good and being productive!
5. Plantsurge – Another impressive new product on display was Plantsurge, a device that you attach to your regular garden hose to mimic the effects of thunderstorm rainwater. Why would you want to do that? You probably didn’t know that thundershowers are more beneficial to plants than an equivalent amount of water from the regular hose because electric currents create a magnetising effect on rainwater from thunderclouds. This Plantsurge device uses magnetic technology to energise your garden tap water and plant trials have showed that plants watered using Plantsurge produce more foliage, more abundant flowers and stronger, healthier looking plants. At just £29.95, this is well worth a try and I cannot wait to attach mine to my garden hose to see what difference it makes!
6. Dalefoot Lakeland Gold Compost – Made from sustainably harvested bracken and being organic and vegan-friendly, this compost promises to be a clay-busting, soil conditioning mulch which is packed with slow-release nutrients and at £10.99 a bag, I cannot wait to try out on my heavy clay soil! The company also produce a range of wool based composts for all your peat-free compost needs. Most importantly though, Dalefoot Composts as a company, work tirelessly to restore damaged peat bog and to date, have restored over 32,700 hectares of peatland in Dartmoor, the Lake District and the Cairngorms.
7. NemaKnights – claiming to be the next generation of organic slug control, NemaKnights is a granular nematodes product which can be applied directly to the soil around plants which need the greatest defences in the war against slugs! It will take away the fiddly need for mixing with water and diluting nematodes and is safe to use in your vegetable garden right up until the day of harvest. The other plus is that it does not need to be refrigerated like traditional nematode formulas so potentially once it hits garden centre shelves, you could pick it up straight away for around £18.99 and use it that day. Slugs be ware, my NemaKnights and I are coming for you!
8. Root Pouch – these nifty fabric planting containers are made from recycled plastic water bottles and natural fibres. The claim is that they produce improved, healthy root systems by not binding the roots of the plant in a plastic pot. They come in a range of sizes and colours and I’m going to trial one on a balcony to see how it compares with a plant being grown on in a truadional pot. The fact that the Root Pouch use on average 400 metric tons of recycled, plastic water bottles a year, keeps that number of bottles out of landfill or out of the oceans.
9. WaterMe Pot – how cool is this pot, the eyes move around so it can let you know when it needs a drink! Wouldn’t this be a great way to get kids used to taking care of a plant? There are even easy spouts at the side for the water. How much fun is this, made by Darlac.
10. Thompson & Morgan had a great stand of more than just seeds on display although I do still like their children’s range. I couldn’t leave a gardening event without checking out some new plants and with lots of new plants on display, I was particularly drawn firstly to Thompson & Morgan new Petunia Sweetunia Trio and the claim that they are self-cleaning flowers with no need for dead-heading. I’d love to try these out as Petunias are a Summer bedding plant which need almost daily deadheading so this plant could be a great time saver. Lomandra White Sands was another attractive, evergreen perennial on display at Thompson & Morgan‘s stand which claims to be both heat and drought tolerant. It was great to see the variegated foliage up close and I hope to try this one this year in my garden. There’s a new tomato in town in the form of Rubylicious which is a world exclusive from Thompson & Morgan’s own breeding and it claims to be tasty, prolific and blight resistant so I’m certainly going to try and grow this one!
There was so much more on display at the Gardening Press Event like recycled pots, self-watering tomato systems, composting solutions and recyclable compost bags and it was a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the latest developments in the horticulture industry. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you can see more products which caught my eye and I’ll look forward to updating you on the ones I get to try out in my own garden!