The UK is a partner country at the IPM Essen show in Essen, Germany, later this month. The International Horticultural Forum at the event is designed as a means of encouraging and developing greater trade between the German and UK horticulture industries.
IPM attracted 1,604 exhibitors from 49 countries in 2015, with some 56,500 trade visitors attending the ornamentals show. This year, the forum will feature speakers from the HTA, David Austin Roses, Guernsey Clematis, AHDB, Horticulture Week and PG Horticulture along with a selection of representatives from the German market.
During the IPM opening ceremony, RHS director-general Sue Biggs will deliver a welcoming address on the importance of the UK being the partner country.
IPM Essen and German trade body INDEGA has selected the UK as the event's partner country and the Commercial Horticulture Association is organising the UK contingent at the show. The forum, taking place at 2pm on 28 January, will be staged as an open podium discussion during which listeners will, after brief statements made by the speakers, be able to ask questions and play their own part.
The aim of the forum is an exchange of information between German and English players in the horticultural sector on: which crops, plants and how much of each are produced in England, in which regions; the structures, associations and organisations in English horticulture; and difficulties firms could face in the import/export of plants, technology and services from and to Germany and England, such as phytosanitary questions.
The show will feature 20 countries with exhibitor booths. China, France, the UK, India and Taiwan have expanded their booths. Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, the Netherlands, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Spain, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Turkey, Hungary and the USA will also be represented. Guatemala is a new participant this year, exhibiting cut flowers, potted plants and perennials.
UK exhibitors are seeking to tap into the export market. Global exports of flowers and ornamental plants from the EU have tended to increase over the past 10 years, although slight decreases were registered in 2014 (0.8 per cent) and 2015 (2.9 per cent).
In 2014, export value was EUR1.91bn. Russia (21.3 per cent) and Switzerland (20.7 per cent) had the strongest demand by far for flowers and ornamental plants from the EU, followed by the USA (10.2 per cent), Norway (8.8 per cent) and China (4.8 per cent). UK plant exports fell to £56m in 2014 from £61m in 2013.
On the evening of 28 January, ornamental growers from Canada, China, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, the UK and the USA will be the finalists in the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) International Grower of the Year Awards 2016. The shortlist comprises:
- Arcadia Chrysanten, Netherlands.
- Costa Farms, USA.
- Dashun International Flower, China.
- Dutchmaster Nurseries, Canada.
- Flash Tarim Urunleri (Flash Flowers), Turkey.
- Florensis, Germany/Netherlands.
- Kunming Hongzhihua Gardening Co, China.
- Majestic Trees, UK.
- Shanghai Yuanyi Seedling Co, China.
Bronze, silver and gold will be awarded, where applicable, in each of the award categories - finished plants and trees, young plants and cut flowers. Each of the category winners will be judged for the final and most prestigious award, the Gold Rose, awarding them the global status of AIPH International Grower of the Year.
The finalists in the young plants category for 2016 are Florensis, Kunming Hongzhihua Gardening, China and Shanghai Yuanyi Seedling, China. Florensis produces more than 900 million young plants from seed and cuttings each year.
Kunming Hongzhihua Gardening Co produces and sells cuttings and cut flowers of chrysanthemum, mainly exported to Japan. In 2014, the export volume was 140 million pieces, accounting for more than 90 per cent of China's total export volume of these products and 42 per cent of the total import volume of Japan. Shanghai Yuanyi Seedling Co is a horticultural enterprise that initially worked with plug seedling production in China.
Plant varieties launching
IPM is known for plant launches. Some stand-out new varieties on show will include:
- Fitzgerald Nurseries: Carex oshimensis 'Everbrite'
- a unique green and white variegated foliage plant.
- PanAmerican Seed: Kabloom Calibrachoa, the world's first seed calibrachoa.
- Kohout's: Virginia Dwarf Pine Pinus virginiana 'Tyler'.
- Varinova: Outsider Cyclamen, which looks like botanical cyclamen with small flowers and small silver-coloured leaves.
- De Douglas Boomkwekerijproducten: Blue Spruce 'Super Blue Seedling'
- originally a Canadian protected species, grown from seed.
UK exhibitiors look ahead
Guernsey Clematis Nursery sales manager Lindsey Reid says: "It's always a problem getting plants ready for January but this year has been easier than usual. Exports have been quite buoyant, especially to North America. The economy is encouraging people to start buying plants again. Last year was really good for us exporting into Europe. We had an increase in sales."
Whetman Pinks co-owner Ed Marley says a new range will be on display at Essen. "We launched Cocktail Pinks in summer 2015 and they will be in garden centres for the first time in May/June," he adds.
"It's also our 80th anniversary this year so we're doing a lot of publicity around that including through social media, as we're keen to attract the younger generation to the pinks. We have a new logo/brand called Pinks by Whetman to appeal to the younger generation."
He says exports have been "pretty strong" and he hopes to meet European and UK customers at IPM. Whetman uses US licensees. The expanded Whetman stand will also feature Marley's other business, Plant Marketing International. Reid and Marley will take part in the International Horticultural Forum.
Harkness Roses owner Philip Harkness explains: "Our main plan for the show is to get ourselves a little bit better known on the European mainland because there are lots of new faces and you need to keep being recognised.
"The are two main difficulties with European trade. The exchange rate doesn't help - it has made the UK significantly more expensive in the last couple of years - and European horticulture is in a fairly competitive state. If anything, there's still over-production in Europe."
When 26-29 January
Where Messe Essen, Norbertstrasse 2, 45131 Essen, Germany
Tel +49 (0) 201 3101 430
UK and Ireland exhibitors at IPM in 2016
Caledonian Tree Company
David Austin Roses
Guernsey Clematis Company
Plant Marketing International
Proven Winners Europe
Thompson & Morgan
Tina Parkes Florists
Tyne Moulds & Machinery
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