GLEE is the garden retail industry's annual show, David Coton took the opportunity to visit this year's event at the NEC in Birmingham to catch up with the news, visit current and potential suppliers and evaluate new products we can offer on GardenSIte in the coming year.
Finding out what the latest gardening trends are, and what they are likely to be, is vital to our business. So I was keen to see any new products coming onto the market and sourcing new stock for our customers on GardenSite.
Over 500 brands are represented in five of the exhibition halls, with exhibitors ranging from national chains to independent garden centres and every aspect of the business is covered from landscaping to clothing.
Eco-Friendly Churnet Valley
I was particularly interested in meeting up with Churnet Valley, a new supplier to GardenSite who are a family business producing high quality wooden furniture. Their flair for practical yet delightfully designed products is matched by a commitment to only using friendly materials including FSC timber.
All their pieces are made by hand by experienced carpenters and we'll initially be offering their arbours, furniture sets and swing seats, After meeting with Nathan Oddy, the UK Account Manager, I am positive that they will all prove to be natural, sustainable and very desirable.
Kelkay's Outdoor Furniture Range
There are new developments at Kelkay, who are one of our major suppliers of landscaping materials. They have now launched a selection of timber outdoor furniture and decorative structures branded Woodshaw, after acquiring the specialist manufacturers Anchorfast.
So in addition to an entire range of paving, aggregates, GardenSite can offer their garden features including arbours, planters, seating and gazebos, all hand crafted and British made from the same company.
New Arbours From Zest4Leisure
We already have a successful relationship with Zest4Leisure, a young, innovative, company that manufacture an exciting variety of timber structures, furniture, and many other outdoor leisure products.
They have used this year's event to showcase what's new for the 2019 season, this includes their Noah's Arbour which has already received much praise and the Maisy Set which was nominated for a prize in the best Outdoor Entertaining category.
Also new is the Christina dining arbour and folding chair set, consisting of two generously sized benches, single seats, both with angled back rests, side and coffee tables, the set is ergonomically designed and enhanced by luxuriously deep cushions.
Reflecting Zest's emphasis on innovation, I saw exactly how simple these products are to assemble by referring to a new video guide. These new animated instructions are part of their customer focussed approach and are supplied alongside traditional written instructions.
Dinova Garden Art
Another new product range to catch my eye was from Dinova Garden Art. Previously known as DiVinci, these are excellent quality hand crafted ornaments made from resin blended with crushed marble that gives the impression of finest alabaster.
There's a wide selection of ornaments including statues, planters and bird baths. Particularly impressive is their oriental collection that features a classic Eastern Pagoda that's definitely influenced by contemporary style and has such a superbly defined appearance.
Suppliers such as Hozelock and re-launched Bermuda were visited to view their range of pumps and associated aquatic products, as well as Store More whose high quality DuraMax metal sheds have proved popular over many years.
Last but not least, I visited the VitaVia stand who manufacture high quality but very affordable greenhouses in Suffolk. They were celebrating their tenth anniversary at Glee and their comprehensive range of sizes and styles have certainly proved best sellers over the last decade.
On display was the fantastic new Freya 8ft x 8ft greenhouse, a hybrid between a pent and freestanding structure, light streams in from all angles to maximize your growing space. It's available with a smart grey or silver aluminium frame that's anodized and guaranteed to keep its sparkle.
This was certainly a well spent day at Glee, such a huge range of products on display was truly inspiring, and I think we have every reason to believe that next year GardenSite will be offering some exciting new products as well as others that have proved so popular over recent years.