Peter Seabrook is a gardening writer and broadcaster.
The Four Oaks Trade Show is a must on my calendar.
July saw the usual cross-country tour of trial grounds and offered the opportunity to catch up with all the latest novelties due to be introduced next season, get re-acquainted with established lines and meet up with a good cross section of the trade. The notable thing for me was the shrinking number of fellow scribes and broadcasters attending these events.
It is easy for senior management in large organisations to take politically correct positions -- for example, deciding on a policy of no-pesticide horticulture -- while for staff at the sharp end having to cultivate plants it is a quite different matter.
The HTA National Plant Show has become a must-attend event for anyone in the plant producing and selling worlds.
The HTA National Plant Show has become a must-attend event for anyone in the plant producing and selling worlds. The quality of plant material, range of standard lines and extensive showing of novelties this year (21-22 June) were quite remarkable.
A press briefing earlier this year outlined ambitious RHS plans. The investment of £160m was announced to include dramatic changes to the Wisley Garden entrance, a new building for the science department, the unique "Y-front" shaped building on the hilltop site to include a large restaurant, plus a new fruit and vegetable garden.
What price loyalty? When it comes to insurance companies, road rescue organisations, energy suppliers and the like newcomers often get a better deal than long-serving customers who trustingly pay on receipt of invoice. Loyal members of staff certainly deserve special treatment and having worked for this publication and its predecessor titles for more than 50 years I would say that, would I not?
We hear much about the lack of young people entering our industry yet when I get out and about the number of enthusiastic youngsters is really encouraging.
There are many things I do not understand in the current world of gardening. Why, for example, do we have tender seedlings of peppers and tomatoes offered for sale under unheated polythene-roofed structures in March and yet no hardy vegetable seedlings? When the vegetable seedlings do arrive, why kale to crop in the winter and no autumn-sown cauliflowers that would crop in June?
There are many things I do not understand in the current world of gardening.
A recurrent theme through the Garden Centre Association Conference presentation on "A Lifetime Experience in Retailing" by John W Herbert was the value of staff. They are our greatest asset and most ignored, we were told.
Trade conferences have been of great value to me over the years, providing good opportunities to network and learn about innovations in horticultural production and sales. But their cost in cash and time in recent years does not look good value when the programmes of speakers are studied.
The response to the last opinion on co-operation (HW, 27 November 2015) has been very encouraging. We need to find ways where everyone benefits and I wonder whether growing living label plants in good specimen sizes is the answer.
Glendale Horticulture England, West Midlands
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