Seabrook on...Product showcase and valuable networking at Four Oaks

The Four Oaks Trade Show is a must on my calendar.

Four Oaks Trade Show serves a dual role: it presents an impressive range and number of companies exhibiting their wares and equally, if not more importantly, it is a great meeting place. I had difficulty moving more than a few yards down each avenue without bumping into other visitors to exchange greetings and information.

Where else can you meet and speak to the managing director of a major garden goods and compost manufacturer; learn that PAC has bought into a 25ha propagation unit in Kenya employing 800 staff and securing its cuttings supply for the future; see Rob Chapman of Victorian Violas, who is now supplying wholesale to garden centres (what a great line for independents wanting to offer something different and special); and hear that more than 70,000 three-litre Gerbera Garvinea ‘Sweet Series’ will go into Aldi in a week’s time?

While visitor numbers on the first day looked to me to be down, it is inevitable when nurseries, manufacturers and retailers are merging into fewer and larger operators. Beekenkamp, for example, adding a new nursery of more than 12 acres of glass to its current 80-plus acres, now employing a dianthus breeder and introducing a new range of compact dahlias. 

There are always new plants and products to see. I had been to numerous trials this summer, including Ball Colegrave at West Adderbury, yet missed Coreopsis Up Tick Series — ‘Up Tick Gold & Bronze’ looks a real winner. 

Breeders Seeds is planning to introduce UK-grown sweet pea seeds and is busy rogueing and reselecting mother stocks — long overdue, if my experience is any guide — of popular Spencer cultivars.

I have long felt that it is time we used Spanish tunnels in the UK to grow cut sweet peas and harvest seeds. A bit of overhead protection guarantees crops regardless of weather and gives a superb large-seeded sample. 

Among the sundries suppliers the Fargro anti-reflection treatment, which gives a three-to-four per cent light gain and similar increase in cucumber, pepper and tomato crops, is an interesting development. The first redesign of mole traps for 100 years (EasySet Mole Trap — could be the answer to my current problem mole.

German-made cutting hand tools from Berger were new to me and its lightweight Topiary Shear 2510 with tension adjuster, self-sharpening, sap groove and shock-absorbing buffer is a good example of its well-designed kit.

Peter Seabrook is a gardening writer and broadcaster

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next



This huge but slightly odd genus offers multiple choices for the rock garden or alpine house, says Miranda Kimberley.

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Horticulture education update - staying on course

Raised levels of investment in horticulture education and increased student take-up is welcome news for the industry, says Rachel Anderson.

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Tree planting guide - three basic rules

Choosing the right plant, correct planting procedure and best aftercare are the three basic rules for sucessful tree planting, Sally Drury explains.

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Opinion... Unbeatable delight of quality plants

Viewing top-quality plants, both growing and on sale, always gives me pleasure.

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Editorial ... More analysis and insight from bumper HW issue

Welcome to this bumper 72-page July edition of Horticulture Week magazine, packed with exclusive analysis, insight and expert advice on the biggest issues impacting all sectors of the UK horticulture industry right now.

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

Edwards: Will a weak pound and tariffs on imported stock be good for UK nursery production?

At the time of writing - a few days after the general election - sterling has weakened and we still have no idea of what Brexit means.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles