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.
In order to promote and enhance biodiversity and conservation of our wildlife, there's a selection of habitats and boxes you can purchase that are specifically designed to attract various small animals and insects to your garden. Here we look at some of the products available which also make unusual and very engaging gifts.
With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.
As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.