GroSouth - Extended show agenda

A study day will precede the main show opening this year, Matthew Appleby reports.

GroSouth: big categories are equipment, growing media, fertilisers, pots and trays - image: HW
GroSouth: big categories are equipment, growing media, fertilisers, pots and trays - image: HW

GroSouth now sees itself as a two-day event rather than the traditional one-day show, with an opening study day themed around biomass and new energy sources before the show itself on 11 November at Roundstone Nurseries.

At 10.30am on the study day, delegates will meet at Chichester Park Hotel ahead of tours to Hill Brothers Nursery, which is heated by a woodchip biomass boiler. After lunch at Manor Nursery Garden Centre, delegates will visit Fresh Acres Nurseries, which has a 995kW woodchip biomass boiler.

Speakers for the afternoon session are Jon Swain from FEC on options for electricity and heat supply, Ron Crank of Coast to Capital on financing new energies, Swain again on the returns of renewable energy and then Ben Cross of Crossland Nurseries, John Hall of West Sussex Growers Association and Barry Frost of Toddington Nurseries discussing alternative energies.

Grower Talks editor Chris Beytes is after dinner speaker, on trends in America.

Day two is the traditional show, with new exhibitors such as biomass suppliers including Forest Heat Energy. There are 163 stands booked and, falling on Remembrance Day, the event will have a poppy theme. There will be 110 exhibitors, with equipment and machinery, growing media, fertiliser and pots and trays being the biggest categories. Organiser Sarah Jane Milbourn says part of the focus on a two-day event is to ensure that the right people are at the show for the exhibitors.

Young plant, plug and cuttings suppliers will all feature, with Young Plants, Delamore, Earley, Gasa, Florensis, Ball Colegrave, Eagle, Kernock Park Plants and Seiont, recently bought by Lovania, whose sister company LS Systems will also be at the event. Finished plant growers such as Blue Ribbon, Bridge Nursery, Chapel Cottage, Howard, Jackdaws Field and New Place will also be exhibiting.

Nick Reese, owner of West Sussex nursery Jackdaws Field, says 9cm production has always been its business but its customer base is changing. "The demand from wholesalers and retailers for plants to grow on is declining, so we are adapting our range to meet the needs of online, specialist and plant fair retailers. There are gardeners who still want the unusual and, as garden centres become more uniform and restricted in the range offered, these buyers are looking elsewhere for what they require."

Representatives of the Animal & Plant Health Agency will talk to visitors about plant pest and disease problems. The seminar programme for 11 November includes Jill England and Chloe Whiteside from AHDB Horticulture providing an overview of the Bedding & Pot Plant Centre trials programme for 2015-16, including preliminary results of completed trials.

Andrew Wilson from ICL will talk on growing media advancements, nurturing crops and protecting against vine weevil. Kieran Daly from Fargro will then look at containers and planters as well as increasing demands from retailers and growers for added-value products, followed by Beytes on trends in America.

Tours of Roundstone Newlands (10am and 1pm), Hill Brothers (11.30am) and Roundstone Batchmere (2pm) are available. Fargro’s David Hide has organised speed presentations, mentoring sessions, business introductions and a tour of Roundstone’s production facilities in West Sussex — plus there will be a goody bag for students who want to attend the show.

Show details - GroSouth

When: 11 November
Where: Roundstone Nurseries, Pagham Road, Lagness, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 1LL
Tel: 01243 755949

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