Attending Glee, the leading garden and leisure industry show, was a great opportunity for Nathan Dodd to spot trends and anticipate products that will come onto the market in the near future.
A breakfast briefing with Diarmuid Gavin was one of the high points of Glee 2016 for Nathan James Dodd, when the discussion focussed on how to attract young people into the gardening industry.
A familiar face on television, Diarmuid Gavin is an award winning gardener who passionately wants to increase the attraction gardening as a career. As part of the team that won one of the Glee 'Power Buyers' awards, I was asked to join him for a breakfast briefing.
Diarmuid had given the show's keynote speech, so he's clearly someone worth listening to, and I was keen to discuss what GardenSite has done to attract youngsters together with the resultant mutual benefits.
It was obvious to everyone that social media has a huge role to play in increasing the perception of gardening among school leavers, but not all employers are comfortable with this relatively new strategy.
At GardenSite we have always realised the significance of social media and used apprenticeships to invigorate the business with youthful enthusiasm.
In essence, we can teach an apprentice about gardening but as a business we can also prosper, as the people we take on are very knowledgeable about social media trends, apps and latest technologies.
Employers can learn from people such as Jamie Oliver who staffs one of his restaurants purely with unemployed young people, teaching them culinary skills for better future and concurrently creating a restaurant where I've enjoyed more than one wonderful meal.
As for GardenSite, it's beyond doubt that over the past four years our apprentices and the business have both benefited greatly from the experience.
Engagement with the community is also a winning strategy, we need to inform and educate, and establish horticulture as a part of a school's curriculum.
Mainstream education can learn from Forest Schools where children develop their confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland or natural environment.
For our own part, we invite school children to visit our garden centre. Encouraging these children to engage with gardening at an early age will hopefully sow some seeds of interest that will grow stronger in the future when they are considering careers.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with Diarmuid, a great opportunity to share ideas with someone who is determined to revitalise gardening as an aspirational career that school leavers see as a positive and rewarding career path – something I whole heartedly agree with.
Create a Halloween party in your house or garden with ideas and suggestions from David Coton that will keep your children and neighbours thrilled and spooked on the 31st October.
Looking for some advice on how to decorate your garden for halloween? David Coton has some great ideas to help you create a horror themed garden to scare your neighbours and any trick & treaters who come to your door.
Used originally to frighten away evil spirits, now placed near the front door to deter trick or treaters, carved pumpkins have been part of Halloween for a very long time. Here Martyn Loach explains the process of creating the scariest pumpkin in your street.
To grow the biggest, scariest pumpkin in time for Halloween isn't easy as they take some time to mature and prefer a warm climate. To have the best chance of success Martyn Loach recommends sowing seed indoors during April and then planting out in late May or June.