Big concerns among those attending were pressure on active ingredients in pesticides and herbicides, "me too" products, consolidation leading to fewer suppliers and retailers, a weaker peat harvest, increased imports due to the euro and an oversupply of Christmas trees. Diversification was big, with companies such as Gardman launching gift ranges. Firepits, Christmas products and plastic planters and baskets were all popular.
In the biggest markets Glee covers, chemicals and fertiliser sellers had to react to pressure on active ingredients from legislative processes and non-governmental organisations. This meant Scotts dropped metaldehyde, Bayer dropped the neonicotinoid thiacloprid and most companies in the sector looked hard at glyphosate, vowing to defend its use. Retailers said they have fewer options to recommend to customers.
In the seed markets, Mr Fothergill's had a large stand and Westland set aside part of its stand for Unwins Seeds. Thompson & Morgan, Suttons Seeds and Kings Seeds were not exhibiting. Taylors Bulbs said its sales were up six per cent this year.
Among the biggest launches was Gro-ables Seed Pods from Scotts, which hopes to sell one million units in the first year. Westland launched Gro-Sure Sow Smart mini seed plugs.
In growing media, Westland exhibited its new acquisition, Sinclair, with its range cut to integrate into Westland's offer. Bord na Mona launched an integrated Growise range while Melcourt showed its RHS-endorsed Passionate Gardeners range. In bird care, Scotts relaunched Chapelwood, bought last year from Solus, and said it hopes to get back to 10 per cent of the market. Gardman said it has taken a big share of the market from Chapelwood over the past year. In gloves and boots, Town & Country relaunched, while Briers expanded its range. In decorative items, Kelkay and Deco Pak were prominent. Kelkay had an RHS range of grits on show. Miniature World from Vivid Arts won a Glee award. Baksaver Barrows won best tool and best overall product.
This year Glee prizes went to a range of exhibitors. Hozelock won best garden care accessory for Cloud Controller. Best plant was Raspberry 'Ruby Beauty' from Wyevale Nurseries and best garden care product was Melcourt's Sylvagrow Compost.
Fallen Fruits outdoor pouffe, Spear & Jackson's Occasions Gift Range and Loktop 2 Port Mealworm Feeder from Petface were among the other winners at the show.
Glee launches: selection of new products released at trade show
Westland Gro-Sure Sow Smart Tomato 1
Melcourt Passionate Gardeners 2
RHS-endorsed Muck Boots 3
Kelkay RHS grits and gravels
Scotts Gro-ables Seed Pods