As winter draws in and Christmas beckons, indoor plants, floral and foliage decorations assume greater significance. David Coton suggests how you can transform your home with the colourful interest of seasonal plants.
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.
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.
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.
There's no doubt that television provides gardeners with inspiration, tips and good ideas, that's why we're all looking forward to new programmes and the return of old favourites during 2019.
The InternetRetailing Growth 2000 Report was published last week and the great news for GardenSite and our customers is that we are now listed as one of the UK's top 1000 retail websites.
Although snow has arrived at the garden centre, we will be receiving new stock during February in readiness for spring which hopefully is just around the corner, and David Coton suggests the jobs you should be tackling in the garden this month.
Wood burners and open fires that require a good supply of dry, well seasoned wood, have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past few years. Log stores have therefore become increasingly essential and David Coton explains the differences between the many that are now available.