Guide to Glee 2017

A vast array of new garden products will be displayed at this year's show. Matthew Appleby previews what visitors can expect to see.

Glee: trade show - image: GLEE
Glee: trade show - image: GLEE

The three biggest market suppliers at the annual Glee trade show held at the NEC in Birmingham (11-13 September) have become four in the last year or two, with the expansion of Smart Garden. Westland, Scotts, Gardman and now Smart have the highest turnovers supplying garden centres at the show.

Smart Garden Products (stand 18L20-M21) began as Smart Solar and will be introducing 50 new solar lights among 350 launches at this year’s show. The company, which is spending £18m on a new warehouse in Peterborough, plans to grow to £100m sales from its current £40m, which has expanded from £10m in 2013. Sales grew by 50 per cent in 2016 and 35 per cent in 2017.

The Super Bright range has several new additions, including a 1,000 lumen security light, Super Bright string lights and Cosmos decorative lights.

There will be new decorative designs in Smart Garden’s glass-petalled Solar Flower and Solar Silhouette ranges. The Elvedon range of hand-painted fairy houses will also have additions.

Smart will also be promoting GroZone Max, which it says "reinvented the humble patio greenhouse", and has six new designs for 2018 including the entry-level Tomato GroZone and Pro-Tunnel GroZone Max.

Smart Garden managing director Jonathan Stobart says: "With GroZone, gone are the days of cheap, poorly made patio greenhouses that offer little consumer confidence or brand loyalty."

Westland (19G20-H21) will be showcasing its new campaign focusing on the fun of gardening, under the banner "we are gardening", as well as a host of new products. These will include a tomato food and a lawn-care product, Crest Garden, a new hydroponics range as part of its joint venture with Desch Plantpak, new FloPro watering (right) and Kent & Stowe tools.

Unwins will have an expanded Emma Bridgewater campaign and a vegetable seed range linked to Marcus Wareing’s Michelin-starred Berkeley Hotel Knightsbridge restaurant.

New Gro-Sure Smart Patch is "guaranteed to repair any patch in any lawn" with AquaGel-coated seed for guaranteed germination results, water-retaining granules, premium seed-sowing granules and salt and ammonia neutraliser to tackle dog urine stains. Also new is Westland Big Tom Superfood extra-strength formulation with a root-growth booster, biostimulants and seaweed.

Westland says: "Research told us that when it comes to watering, everyone knows they have to do it, but over half of all consumers are over- or under-watering. So we have launched Westland Orchid Water — a dual-purpose product with an easy dose cap. It is a blend of purified water and essential nutrients." New Seramis moisture-retaining clay granules are offered across the entire indoor compost range.

Westland’s Plantpak has a new range of two intelligent hydroponic kits to grow herbs, plants and flowers all year round, with smart electronic control including power and water shortage reminders and self-watering chambers for automatic watering and irrigation.

In Westland’s Crest Garden brand, Kent & Stowe tools have new point-of-sale (POS) material and Flopro has a new range of solar irrigation solutions for eco-smart watering.

Scotts Miracle-Gro (18M20-P21) will unveil lawn-care range EverGreen Premium Plus and its new Origins "good natured" gardening range made from naturally occurring ingredients. The additions will "cater for existing customer demographics with easy-to-use gardening solutions and tap into new customers with the emerging clean-living trend". The stand will also showcase products from Scotts Miracle-Gro’s existing portfolio and "bring to life gardening in small urban spaces, demonstrating the possibilities for plots of any size or location".

Tildenet Gardenware (19G30-H31) has grown its presence at Glee year-on-year with Bosmere, Haxnicks and Mainframe brands adding to the Tildenet portfolio. A new trade website allows customers to order directly 24/7, instant handheld ordering via a nationwide team of sales agents is being rolled out and warehouse facilities are continuing to be expanded.

The 2017 stand will showcase a full brand refresh for Haxnicks with new retail packaging and display materials. New products to look out for on the stand will include a simple self-watering system for pots and SpeedWeed, an ergonomically designed hand tool to complement the popular Speedhoe as part of the Haxnicks range.

Gardman’s (19F30-G31) solar lighting launch is the ‘Stargazer Collection’ that features a holographic, 3D effect with a day time metallic look and night time shooting star effect.

Cole & Bright Professional new lights have a lumen output of up to 900 lumens, Gardman’s brightest light.

The Butterfield Collection to EdenBloom is a range of realistic flower border stakes and a range of decorative solar lighting, including glass flower stake lights and The Willowdale Solar Light Collection of fairy solar lights.

There is also a range of realistic, maintenance-free artificial trees, hanging baskets and floral trellis. New for 2018 is Moulton Mill Lightweight; a selection of smaller, lightweight, stainless steel tools.º
Grow It has a range of new aluminium greenhouses. There is also a premium range of plant support products launched under the Blacksmith brand.

Natalie Porter: opportunity to meet customers - image: HW

Atrium highlights - growers

The show will have new grower content in the NEC atrium this year. Hillier Nurseries (NB43) and Farplants will both be displaying, along with Porters Horticultural (NB8-9), Wyevale Nurseries (NB21-24), Lowaters Nursery (NB70/99), New Leaf Plants (NB17/19), Viking Nursery (NB76/93), Chamberlain Nurseries (NB29/104), Channel Island Plants (NB33-34/67-68), Chapel Cottage Plants (NB30/103), Chessum Plants (NB69/100) and Darby Nursery Stock (NB25-26/107-108).

Hillier managing director Chris Francis says: "We are in the atrium with a couple of benches of plants. Given all of the plant-security issues it seems a good idea to get a couple of our new sales managers in a place where all the key people in the UK garden centre industry will be, to show what a good proposition a UK-grown quality range of plants is. Adam Dorber and Peter Henshaw will both be at the show."

Southport-based bedding grower Porters will be exhibiting autumn carry packs, bedding, 9cm minicyclamen, semi-hardy 13cm cyclamen, "Laser Synchro" mixed autumn containers, primroses, hedera, xanths and 15cm brassica.

Porters’ Natalie Porter says: "I’d say that Glee offers a valuable opportunity to catch up with a lot of our existing customers, as well as meeting new prospects and showing off the quality and range of products that we offer, and all in one place. To visit the same number of buyers individually would represent several thousand miles of travelling."

Paul Jackson of Channel Island Plants says he will exhibit sundevilles, grandaisies, new surfinia colours, such as trailing red and blue ocean, and new products from Breier through Cohen.

He is pleased that he will have more company in the atrium, but he questions how many would take stands if exhibiting was not free. But he says people are trying to work harder, committing to help bring plants back to the show, and it is nice to support that aim. The calibre of visitors to the show is high and if more of them went through the plant atrium he could do good business there, he notes.

Craigmarloch Nurseries (NB75/94-96) sales manager Dougie Moore says: "We will be exhibiting some of our own-grown stock, which includes heathers in a range of different sizes and carry packs, strawberries in 9cm and carry packs, and also showcasing our basket plants for 2018 sales."

He adds: "We found a number of suppliers expressing an interest after the HTA show this year, mainly because of the good season most areas of the UK have had. There is a feel-good factor within the industry at the moment. Our main reason for exhibiting is to promote our Scottish-grown heathers to the English market as Kingfisher Nurseries, who were one of the main suppliers of heathers to the UK trade, finished trading at the end of June. We are hoping to offer our products and fill the gap which they have left."

Farplants: festive containers can be reused and encourage replacement purchases - image: Farplants

Green heart of Glee

Farplants will be showcasing its 2017 Christmas range in "The Green Heart of Glee" zone. As well as its festive best-sellers, it has new themes and formats inspired by this years’ trends.

Added value manager Andy Harding says: "Our new themes perfectly embody this year’s trends, from sparkle lights and stunning zinc to a touch of rustic charm, the new materials and styling will ensure all Christmas shoppers are spoilt for choice."

As well an extended range of wreaths, the Farplants stand will feature containers for festive arrangements in the home that can be reused in the New Year, encouraging replacement plant purchases come the spring.

Other growers set to feature at this year’s show include Hawkesmill Nurseries (NB18/20), Golden Grove Nursery (NB50-51), Kilworth Conifers (NB32/101), Gardeners Kitchen (NB4/13), James McIntyre & Sons (NB31/102) and John Richards Nurseries (NB37/64).

Plastic cover pot

Javado (20J36-K37, NB35-36/65-66/71-72/97-98) will be exhibiting the Plantbutler plastic cover pot and Water Wick. This easy-care watering system for houseplants won an HTA National Plant Show award in June. The company has seen houseplant sales double at many of its retail customers.

Profitplant (NB85-86) and Javado jointly won the HTA National Plant Show indoor plant prize earlier this year with Gloxinia Sonata Pink Spot, grown by Ten Have.

Belgian growers’ association VLAM (20H30) will be exhibiting with Dataflor, Oprins, Decock, Deforche, Het Wilgenbroek, Van Poecke and De waele-wilwoodii among others.

Bulbs growers

HS Hommers, De Ree (17R10-T11), Kieft & Sons (20K01), Kapiteyn (18J50-K51) and Taylors Bulbs (19G02) will also be displaying at Glee, as will Henningsen UK (20H54) and Pines & Needles (20H30) Christmas trees.

Garden sundries

Garden sundries such as compost chemicals and fertilisers are traditionally at the core of the show. SBM Life Science (18N51), formerly Bayer, responsible for Baby Bio, Phostrogen, Provado and Toprose, will be bringing its new business strategy — "new time, new way" — to life at Glee with the launch of new brands and new products.

SBM Life Science head Darren Brown explains: "Our new strategy reflects the very different approach we are now taking in the market. Encompassing changes and trends in the garden-care sector, we are investing to provide gardeners with effective and trusted solutions that are well balanced and ‘in tune with nature’.

"We are excited about our first visit to Glee as SBM Life Science and the opportunity it presents for unveiling our great new brands and the results of the investment we have made in our existing market-leading brands — Baby Bio, Phostrogen, Toprose and Provado."

Predicting regulatory changes and recognising growing trends, SBM Life Science will be tapping into its European natural solutions to unveil a new brand at Glee. It will also be releasing a new weedkiller brand. SBM Life Science will add to its Toprose brand with the introduction of new rose-care products and is also adding to its Baby Bio orchid care range.

Neudorff (20R20-S21) will be returning to Glee with a new range of pest-control products that can also be used for organic gardening. The range will include products for tackling grubs, leatherjackets and vine weevils. The company will also launch an additional slug and snail control product.

Neudorff sales director Jude Beharall says: "We are extremely pleased to be expanding our range further for 2018. The new additions to the pest-control range will give retailers the opportunity to offer an even wider selection of natural products to their customers.

"Our wide range of products has proved to be viable natural alternatives for tackling weeds and pests and providing nutrients to plants, vegetables and lawns. The range is ideal for consumers looking to garden in harmony with nature rather than against it."

Marketing support

Vitax (19 E10/F11) will be showcasing more than just new products at this year’s Glee following further investment in its POS materials and marketing support for customers. Marketing director Daniel Wilkinson says: "Vitax has always used Glee to launch new products, but customers want and need much more support to drive gardeners into centres as competition from online retailers increases.

"Late last year, Vitax launched Garden World — — its first consumer-facing website aimed at enthusiastic, amateur gardeners." Garden World ambassador Andy McIndoe will be on hand to talk to customers about the website, its benefits, marketing and future projects.

MO Bacter: organic-based, slow-release lawn fertiliser that will also destroy moss - image: DJ Turfcare


DJ Turfcare (19AO3) will be officially launching its RHS-endorsed range of chemical-free lawn fertiliser products made up of MO Bacter, Bio-Lime and Recovery. Created by Belgian lawn-care expert Viano and distributed by DJ Turfcare in the UK, it is the first lawn-care range of this type to receive endorsement from the RHS.

DJ Turfcare managing director David Jenkins says: "We are incredibly excited to be launching this RHS-endorsed range to the market and feel that Glee is the perfect place to showcase it fully. We have worked hard with our partners, Viano, to create products that deliver time and time again, and to receive recognition from the RHS has made the hard work even more worthwhile.

"But more importantly, we believe that receiving the RHS endorsement will also be of significant benefit to retailers. The RHS is a highly regarded and recognisable body, and will offer consumers peace of mind and confidence when buying products that are endorsed by them, ultimately boosting sales."

MO Bacter is an organic-based, slow-release fertiliser for lawns that destroys moss as a secondary action. The second product in the range is Bio-Lime, which combats the acidic and sour conditions that can be an ideal environment for moss to thrive, by "sweetening" the soil to raise its pH.

The final product on offer, Recovery, has been created for those moments when lawns need sprucing up. An organic fertiliser, containing a number of effective ingredients including Humifirst, a unique ingredient that creates biological activity and acts as a plant-growth stimulant, Recovery is perfect for use before laying turf or seeding, or as an autumn lawn feed.

MossOff Lawn Care Concentrate from Vivagreen (18H52) is a biocide-free way of controlling moss in lawns. The unique technology is chemical-free and completely safe to children and pets as well as plant life and even fish and ponds. The concentrate dilutes easily and is simply applied using a garden sprayer or watering can fitted with a fine rose. A large five-litre pack has an RRP of £24.99 and the two-litre pack is £12.99.

Vivagreen has produced a POS leaflet to help explain to consumers exactly why its product is endorsed by garden designer Diarmuid Gavin, who will be attending the show. MossOff was invented by Russell and Garrett Walsh.

Garden clothing

In the clothing sector, Town & Country (18M10-N11) will exhibit under the EP Barrus (19C50-D51) brand for the first time after being bought out this summer.

Garden glove, footwear and tool manufacturer Briers (19H10) will launch a host of new designs, including a licensed giftware range for garden centres. The range of Julie Dodsworth garden gloves, footwear, tools and gifts will accompany the launch of a new Signature range and Pantone range of garden giftware including gloves and boots, storage tins, tools, watering cans and umbrellas.

Chief executive Jackie Eades says: "As well as showcasing new designs, we’ll also be presenting a fresh promotional programme that will feature new glove styles and offer an attractive sales opportunity for retailers. Best-selling favourites, such as the Kids range, will also be extended for Glee, and displayed in full alongside our unrivalled branded garden clothing and giftware offering."

Burgon & Ball

Burgon & Ball (19C26-E27) will launch more than 70 innovative new products at the show. They include a range of indoor plant pots available in a choice of colours, finishes and sizes.

The range includes unique hanging pots with a contemporary feel. There are also glazed pots in a range of colours and styles, with textured designs and an artisan appearance.

The terracotta pots have a weathered effect. Also in the range are cactus vases.

It will also be the first Glee outing for the Brie Harrison for Burgon & Ball collection, a new range of gifts for home and garden. Her botanical designs feature Swiss cheese plants, cacti and hanging plants. The collection of gardening gifts includes a secateurs and holster gift set; a trowel, snips and plant label gift set; a kneeler; gardening gloves; and twine in a tin. There is also an indoor watering can, peg bag, pencil case, drinks tray, storage tin and an umbrella.

In terms of tools, there will be a new idea for weeding on show that aims to take the backache out of tackling weeds in lawns.

Autumn 2017 also sees a relaunch of the Enamelwares collection, with new colours, materials and design, and introducing natural elements with Forest Stewardship Council beech lids and leather handles. The Sophie Conran collection has new bird-care products among the garden tools and accessories offer.

Cards and gifts

Quotable (19C67) is a New York-based card and gift company that will be exhibiting at Glee for the first time this year.

Garland/Worth Gardening: new product line-up includes grow pot towers - image: Garland/Worth Gardening

Garland/Worth Gardening (18H10-K11) will be launching some 70 new products, at Glee, bringing
the number of new product introductions by the company to more than 250 over the past three years. The latest items, serving both the garden and DIY markets, include grow pot towers, hanging basket liners and a lawn rake as well as paint brushes and pest-control products.

The self-watering grow pot tower boasts an 11-litre planting capacity.

It stands 1.5m high and has an aluminium tube top frame with four plastic rings that fit securely into the main base pot. The planter pots are available in either green, red or anthracite colours and have a
four-litre water reservoir.

The hanging basket liners consist of one capillary matting liner that will line up to a 16in basket and two universal liners each with a capillary disc that will line up to an 18in basket, while the leaf and garden rake has a 58cm-wide polypropylene head and is fitted with a sturdy wooden handle.

Garland/Worth Gardening’s new range of six paint brushes along with three paint rollers and trays has been designed for use in general garden painting, staining and colouring. Included in the range is a novel and practical Wash ‘A’ Way tool for quick cleaning of brushes or rollers.

A new range consisting of 10 pest-control products includes pre-baited mouse and rat traps, a humane mouse trap, three indoor pest repellers, three outdoor pest and animal repellers as well as a solar panel kit for outdoor repellers.

Additions to the twine and tie range include 40m and 80m rolls of flexible ties in both brown and green colours as well as two new cushioned soft ties available in 3mm and 5mm thicknesses. A spiral tree guard has also been added to the garden basics range.

Three rolls of plastic bags are also available, comprising a green bag for garden waste, a blue sack for rubble and a general-purpose black bin bag. Six new garden covers for hanging chairs and casual dining sets have been added to the company’s PVC- backed polyester range. The covers are available in black or green. Single chair size is 107cm wide and 180cm high, while the double size is 161cm wide, 170cm high and 125cm deep. The two new casual dining set covers are in black only. One is 250sq cm, 71cm high and the other is 300sq cm, 71 cm high.

A long handled simple-to-use litter picker also features among the new products, along with some 22 new garden basics, comprising plant rings, seed sowers, hook-and-loop tie, greenhouse fittings, "little drippas" for the tops of water bottles, screws and nails.

Garland/Worth Gardening operations director Tony Dedman says: "The UK garden market has proved over and over how resilient it can be and, no matter how business or weather conditions change, it remains strong. New and innovative products combined with popular traditional items are the lifeblood of the industry and Garland/Worth Gardening’s approach is to ensure that the retail trade is kept abreast of all new developments and in a position to offer a wide variety of quality products to its customers."

Seedball: wild flower product created with plant conservation charity Plantlife - image: Seedball


In seeds, packet seed specialist Thompson & Morgan (20N02-Q03) will be returning to Glee, as well as Westland’s Unwins brand. DLF Seeds (Johnsons Lawn Seed) (18H26-K27) will be launching a
new lawn seed product, marketed as a lawn thickener.

Garden Retail Award-winning Seedball (20U34) has a new mix of British wild flower seeds, created in collaboration with the wild plant conservation charity Plantlife. It includes wild flowers such as meadow buttercup, ox-eye daisy, red clover, self-heal and yarrow.

Sale proceeds will be donated to Plantlife to help fund habitat restoration at its newest reserve, Greena Moor in Cornwall. Each tin has 20 seed balls, with 30 seeds per ball, and the RRP is £5.99


Wilkinson Sword (19C50-D51) will be unveiling a premium range of eight cutting tools at Glee. The Elite Cutting Collection is designed for gardeners looking to upgrade old tools. They have Japanese SK3 steel blades, dual-cast housing with integrated shock-absorption system and lightweight extruded aluminium handles with plush contoured handles.

The Elite Bypass Loppers feature plush soft grips and are available in a telescopic option with the handles extending from 67cm to 100cm, as do the Elite Hedge Shears, with a telescopic version with a 220mm cutting blade length and handles extending from 80cm to 113cm.

Completing the collection are four pruners. Each has a cutting capacity of 22mm, with the same non-stick Japanese SK3 Steel Blades as found on the loppers and shears, with precision-ground leading edges. The strong and light dual-forged aluminium bodies make working with them easy and sustainable for longer, complemented by the shock-absorption rubber bump stops.

Each pruner is created with its own benefits to suit a range of tasks. The Elite Adjustable Bypass Pruner has an adjustable handle opening to suit all hand sizes. The Elite Straight Head Bypass Pruner benefits from a traditional straight head design, perfect for trimming young growth.

The Elite Angled Head Bypass Pruner is designed to provide better accessibility and increased comfort when tackling hard-to-reach areas. The Elite Anvil Pruner is perfect for attacking dense, hard and dead wood, with its sap groove reducing residue build-up on the cutting blade, keeping it cutting for longer. RRPs are £29.99-£69.99.

Hozelock UK (20Q10-S11) marketing manager Carol Wright says there will be complementary range additions to 2017’s Superhoze launch and more innovation in the garden watering and aquatics range.


Kelkay (19A10-C11, 19A20-C21) will be showing merchandising solutions and new range extensions across its aggregates, paving and water features. Continuing the trend for natural paving, the company has developed a new heart-shaped stepping stone in its sandstone range, the Warmheart Sandstone Stepping Stone (RRP £5.99).

Sales director Richard Pyrah says: "We’ve seen huge growth in the sales of moulded concrete stepping stones in a range of designs over the past couple of seasons and retailers frequently report these in their top-selling landscape lines."

He adds: "With the recent trend for natural paving, it was a logical progression for us to develop stepping stones in quarried materials too, and we have been amazed at the response to the launch last year of our Random Stepping Stones in several sandstone colours."

Kelkay has sourced the new handmade heart-shaped stepping stones in sunset red sandstone for next season. They will be available in pallet quantities and slot seamlessly into the company’s unique and flexible natural stone merchandising system. Kelkay plans to unveil this and more than 50 other new products at Glee.

Deco-Pak (20Q32-R33) will be launching improved packaging and POS, while also releasing new decorative birdhouses and feeders including a garden shed birdhouse, London Underground birdhouse, Mini Cooper birdhouse, wine bottle feeder and 10 Downing Street bird feeder, as well as several new growing media lines being added to the Chelsea Garden Range. There will also be some new pebbles and cobbles to further bolster retailers’ landscaping ranges.

The company’s lightweight moisture-control pellets (Lytag) will welcome a reintroduction of the product in new packaging and a new name. Deco-Pak director Rod Slater says: "As well as releasing new products, this year we’re focusing more on displays, which we believe is the heart and soul of a successful Deco-Pak range in the garden centre. An evolution of our retail theatre concept, at Glee 2017 we will be introducing garden vignettes — a different take on Deco-Pak’s Rainbow Sandstone Cobbles."

Pots and containers

In pots, Stewart Garden (18K14-L15), recently bought by Keter Group, will be promoting its Varese planters including the low bowl planter and the extended Versailles decorative pot range. In December last year, Stewart Garden unveiled its first shop-in-shop branded installation in a retail outlet, at Webbs of Wychbold, to engage with consumers at retail shop floor level.

Stewart Garden managing director Andy Burns says: "At the show, we’ll be announcing the winner of this year’s Stewart Garden schools campaign and launching the 2018 campaign with a celebrity guest, details of which are to follow."

Hum Flowerpots (20M42) will be launching its eye-catching patterned Hum Pots, available in three sizes. Previously only supplied in one size, the Hum Pots now come in small, medium and large.

Dutch planter company Elho’s (19G10) mantra for Glee will be "give room to nature". While first-time exhibitor Ecoegg (17S59) will show a range of cleaning, laundry and household products under its "live clever" banner.

Peacock Garden Supports (20G63) will also be exhibiting at Glee, its mission to make plant supports an important category for garden centres. 

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