Last week I travelled up to London to go to the Garden press event, which was being held at the Barbican. As the name suggests, the Garden Press Event is a chance for gardening brands to showcase their wares to “the key names in the garden & home press and media”, which includes bloggers 🙂
Daniel excited about the wonderfully enticing Lubera stand
I spent quite a lot of time hanging around the Lubera stand, because I am going to be doing some work with them this year. I’m going to be blogging for their website, and recording some podcasts with them. It’s very exciting because I love what Lubera do. Their range of edible plants is very exciting, and their ethos is to breed new varieties for gardeners, which means we get plants that are easy to grow, productive and tasty, rather than ones that deliver commercial benefits such as long shelf lives and transportability. Markus (the boss) is an absolute mine of information about fruit breeding and fruit growing and has lots of interesting stories about the history of fruit. We’re going to be telling some of those stories together this year 😀
Lubera is a Swiss company, and in their native tongue their tagline is “lustvoll gärtnern”, which translates as lustful gardening. For the UK they’ve gone with a slightly more sedate tagline – “fruitful gardening” – but just looking through their catalogue fills me with plant lust! As did a glass of RedLove apple juice. It’s naturally red, because the RedLove varieties (of which there are 6, I have learned) are red-fleshed apples. They’re also very sweet.
Other visitors to the stand were particularly attracted to the new range of Citrus plants Lubera are launching this year (more than 60 varieties, which will be hitting the website any time now!) and the Salmonberries. Salmonberries (Rubus spectabilis) are native to North America, and the reason they’re called Salmonberries (Markus tells me) is not the colour of the berries, but because they were ripe at the height of the salmon season. They’re raspberries, but with lovely pink rose-like flowers. The variety ‘Olympic Double’ has extraordinarily pretty flowers – it’s a real edimental – and it went home with several garden bloggers (including me!).
So, which other stands caught my eye?
Maxicrop have extended their range of organic fertilisers with seaweed. The original was apparently very popular “with keen gardeners” – like me then! It’s a good source of micronutrients, although it’s technically not a fertiliser as such because it doesn’t contain the macronutrients (NPK). They’ve solved that problem and brought out a range of fertilisers with added seaweedy goodness, including one designed for people who’d like to keep their lawns chemical-free, so they’re safe for the kids to play on. I came home with the the tomato feed version, which is good for all fruiting vegetables and can also encourage ornamentals to flower. The Maxicrop man was nice enough to test whether the bottle had a good seal on it before I left; I think it’s thick, brown and stinky!
BackDoorShoes had been very organised and emailed show visitors ahead of time to offer them a pair of shoes to review. So we could choose the right size and pattern and just pick them up on the day. I love mine! And I’ve worn them out for a quick trip to the shed. They’re perfect as ‘outdoor slippers’, to save your indoor slippers (or socks!) from being ruined in the garden. The outside is wipe clean and the inner soles can go in the washing machine if they get stinky.
The ladies from Stewarts were one of the first so welcome this slightly-overwhelmed blogger to their stand. They’ve added some lovely bright colours to their range of practical, plastic plant pots this year. I’m struggling to find them on the website, but they said they would send me some, so I will take a photo when they arrive. I tend to use plastic pots as a preference because they’re lighter and easy to move around, and more forgiving of my slapdash watering regime than terracotta.
And Elho also had some great pots on their stand. Again, I’m struggling to find them on the website at the moment, but there was one that is designed to be used as a doorstop. The idea came from one of their customers, and her name is inscribed on the bottom! They also have some great propagators in their Grow Your Own range – really stylish ones, designed to mix and match and fit together. And we all came away with a plastic Elho trug bag, which was the perfect thing to carry everything home. Mine is purple, which is new this year apparently. I am sure it will feature in photos in the garden this summer.
I’ve already mentioned the garden bloggers meet-up we had at the show, which was wonderful chance to put faces to online names. Garden bloggers are such lovely people 🙂
Other garden bloggers will have found different stand interesting – I stayed away from garden machinery (since I use it very little) and the garden chemicals companies, for example. There was certainly something for everyone, with Charles Dowding taking a stand to explain his permaculture/No Dig methods!
All in all it was a lovely day, despite the fact that I had a terrible cold and had lost my voice, and I needed to spend a day in bed to recover! I’m already looking forward to next year.