Consolidation was a big talking point, with Delamore buying Botany Bay and other moves in the young plant industry to be announced. Thompson & Morgan's sale should be before Christmas, while Jersey Choice's new sundries acquistion Rustic was an exhibitor.
Eagle Plants exhibited for the first time at the show under the Newey Group banner and said it expects a 25 per cent uplift in 2016 thanks to joining the group, while Allensmore and Lovania said they had expansion plans too. Syngenta's plans to sell its seed businesses were another point of discussion.
Sinclair, recently bought by Westland, exhibited and will drop up to half its SKUs in a new catalogue to be released at Glee later in September. Sinclair will also stop using green waste, with Westland's West+ likely to be the preferred peat substitute. Peat harvests have not been good in Scotland, and not the best in Ireland either, but the joint resources of the company could still help it win back lost professional grower customers.
Of the 228 growers and plant traders exhibiting at Four Oaks, 135 are from the continent, reflecting the strength of the UK market and the attractiveness of buying from countries that use the weak euro. Dutch bedding producers have increased their market by 10 per cent in the UK this year.
A record 23 Christmas tree growers showed product, reflecting an increase in supply for this season.
Amenity growers such as Wyevale Nurseries reported 18 per cent gains this season as housebuilding began in earnest post recession. Retail was 9.5 per cent up.
The BPOA announced a study tour to Neame Lea on 14 October.
See more in HW next issue. Four Oaks Trade Show continues on 9 September.