The two-day programme kicked off with Torsten Nilsson of Nelson Seed Development presenting Optigrow, a new priming technique to vitalise seed, which can also benefit companies packaging seed for consumers.
Tv gardener David Domoney’s keynote presentation demonstrated how the seed packet industry can show consumers that sowing seed is fun, easy and exciting and how seed can be put into the hands of people that have never sown before.
Seed technology continued to be the theme with a visit to the vegetable and herbs trials and seed processing facilities of Hild Samen, a breeder specialising in certified organic production as well as standard crops. Presentations included the selection of seeds for the home gardening market, the latest breeding techniques including a breakthrough in coloured carrots and the company's quality control programme.
Johannes Welsch of the German Garden Trade Association (IVG) outlined the megatrends in society which will affect the gardening business including longevity, a longing for sustainability and an increased connectivity thanks to digital innovations.
Marketing was the key message of the visit to Selecta one, the company involved in breeding, producing and marketing vegetatively propagated ornamental plants. The delegation received a global overview of the company including an insight into their purple and white spotted Petunia NightSky and the packaging, promotion and positioning strategy of Pink Kisses, the company´s carnation.
Harm Custers of Takii, chair of Fleuroselect’s Home Garden Association, and conference moderator David Arnold presented the results of the successful '2016, Year of the Cosmos and Tomato' campaign. This second edition of a three-year initiative aimed at increasing the sales of existing varieties by offering additional marketing tools such as logos, lifestyle images and banners to the industry. The Royal Horticultural Society's Wisley garden and Jardin des Plantes in Paris both ran an extensive Cosmos Trial of more than 60 varieties submitted by Fleuroselect members.
The RHS is due to announce AGM and people's choice winners later this month.