As GardenSIte's plant specialist I always keenly anticipate the HTA National Plant Show. This is my chance to visit nurseries, find out what's trending in the horticultural world and source new stock, all from under one roof.
Taking place each year at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry, and organised by the Horticultural Trades Association, the National Plant Show features all the new varieties that will be seen in garden centres next year.
Now in its seventh year, this trade show has become a key event for all plant retailers and no wonder since there is everything from seeds to Christmas trees on display from more than 100, mainly British, growers.
Top of my agenda was to see the New Plant Area. I was particularly impressed by Salvia Blue Marvel which won Best In Show. Large beautifully coloured flowers and a long season make this plant a worth winner.
New Roses For GardenSite
Hydrangeas, peonies and succulents proved particulalry popular with visitors, and also impressing everyone was the new range of fragrant roses that will be available soon from GardenSite. I can't wait to start selling them.
Dazzled by dozens of new launches, the show is a great opportunity to visit new growers so that we can increase the number and variety of the plants that GardenSite offers.
I also had the opportunity to catch up with existing suppliers to see what is in the pipeline for next year.
Much to my surprise, Farplants of Arundel, a company GardenSite has worked with for some time, was so pleased with a photograph I had taken of an agapanthus from my garden that they are using it in their 2016 brochure.
Chelsea Silver-Gilt Award
I couldn't leave without touching base with Nursery Fresh Plants who breed the Time To Live rose which has been enormously successful in raising funds for Breast Cancer Now
They told me the great news that this lovely rose had been featured in a Silver-Gilt winning show garden – The Sun Flower Square – at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Everything considered, this was a very successful day and I can now start ordering next year's best sellers, or maybe take up the option as a plant photographer.