Green products and those aimed at making it easier for gardeners to grow their own vegetables were in evidence, alongside the traditional selection of new garden tools, gift lines, barbecues and furniture.
Judges selected winners from 312 new products this year, with a noticeable increase in those boasting “green” credentials.
Judge Steve Bradley said the industry continued to search for new ways to maintain high standards while doing everything possible to help the environment.
The green award was shared by Kindergarten Plants’ starter plants, which are packaged in compostable packaging to eliminate the need for plastic pots and peat-based composts, and Haxnicks’ Ecogreen Giant Micromesh Growing Tunnel, a cloche that allows water to reach the soil, reducing the need to spray for pests.
Among the successful products were Humax Horticulture’s organic fruit and vegetable bags, designed to make it easy for gardeners with limited space or experience to grow plants. The packs contain everything needed to grow the plants.
Judge Caroline Owen, of Scotsdale Garden Centre, said the product won because it “encourages growing your own fruit and vegetables — an expanding market and key to core garden centre business. It obviously meets a consumer need and breaks down barriers by getting younger people gardening.”
It was joint winner with John Woods Nurseries, formerly Notcutts Nurseries, for its Cercis canadensis ‘Lavender Twist’, which impressed judges for its flexibility in the garden. John Woods also won the best nursery stand award.
Following the green theme, EKOFibre’s Growbags were also commended for offering a peat-free alternative, along with Bosmere’s reusable shopping bag that can also help promote the retailer.
Winner of the garden machinery section was Toro for its Multicycler auto-drive system, which offers a quick lever conversion to mulching. Judge Keith Christian said the 48cm petrol mower offered good value for money for those with medium-sized or larger gardens.
There were joint winners in the leisure section, with Suntime’s “extremely comfortable” Transcontinental Glider Single and the BarbeSkew Company’s hands-free barbecue taking the title.
The product judged to have the best export potential was Johnsons Seeds’ World Kitchen range of seeds, designed to reach the grow-your-own market.
A GPS dog-tracking system and a retractable ball thrower were joint winners of the pet award.
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