Event organiser Sarah-Jane Milbourn says around 140 exhibitors and 700 visitors are expected at Roundstone Nurseries on 12 November. This represents an increase of 14 per cent in stand space. The first-time exhibitors at this year's show will include Lovania and Whetman Pinks. Local biomass company Sun & Air is also exhibiting. Floramedia is a new sponsor, joining Fargro and Young Plants.
Lovania business development and marketing head Rick McKeever says positive reports of the show's influence in the south led to the Lancashire-based alpines company deciding to exhibit. Lovania will launch a new website at the show that will give customers a better platform to buy plants from the nursery, he adds.
Worthing-based Sun & Air representative Maria Young says the company recently installed biomass heating at two nurseries, including Plants for Presents in Lewes, and is hoping to attract business from other growers. Cheaper fuel bills, income from the Renewable Heat Incentive and not having to rely on oil supplies are the advantages that biomass offers, she points out.
West Kington Nurseries manager Mark Jackson is another first-timer at this year's show. He will enter the exhibition in good heart after sales were 30 per cent above target during a warm September and they also fared well in October. The company grows liners, herbaceous perennials, grasses, alpines, edibles and bulbs.
"We've heard very good things about GroSouth - that it's well-attended particularly," says Jackson. "We used to show at Woking but that is now no longer on so we thought we'd give GroSouth a go."
Milbourn says the 2014 spring and summer seasons were back to more "normal" weather patterns, meaning garden centres reported strong sales of garden plants and sundries, showing the horticulture industry is "alive and well".
GroSouth continues to expand not just by growing numbers of exhibitors and visitors but by also providing the industry in the south with a number of activities run in conjunction with the show. Look out for the International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS)/Horticultural Development Company (HDC) "Innovation in Plant Production" study day held the day before the main event, alongside nursery tours of Newlands. There will also be a tour of Hill Brothers' new production facility as well as a series of seminars (see details below).
The IPPS study day on 11 November also involves trips to Vitacress, Hills and Batchmere as well as talks from Stockbridge's Phil Davies on LEDs, XL's Les Lane on plastics, Mardenkro's Paul van Gils on coatings and Bill Basford on spray applications.
On 12 November, running alongside the show, the Grow Careers Passport provides the best production horticulture students with a tailor-made visit to GroSouth. The passport has been designed for students seeking a career in production horticulture and it offers speed presentations from industry experts, mentoring sessions, business introductions and a tour of Roundstone's production facilities.
Fargro's David Hide is the organiser. He says final-year students from Hadlow, Brinsbury and Sparsholt Colleges plus an apprentice will attend.
Seminars, workshops and tours
9.30am Vine Weevil Control Strategies Presented by Dr Josh Burnstone from Fargro.
10am Nursery Tour Roundstone Nurseries, Newlands, propagation and "EasyGrow".
10.30am MOPS (Managing Ornamental Plants Sustainably) Includes a preview of the new HDC Pot & Bedding Plant Centre. Presented by Erika Wedgwood, Gemma Hough and Chloe Whiteside.
11.30am Question-and-Answer Session: Practical Tips for Successful Pest Control Presented by integrated pest management specialist Neil Helyer.
11.30am Nursery Tour Hill Brothers - featuring new 9.6m poly-ventilation house.
12.30pm Coir: The Future? Presented by Arjan Van Leest from Jiffy.
1pm Nursery Tour Roundstone Nurseries, Batchmere, propagation and poinsettia.
1.30pm Vine Weevil Control Strategies Presented by Dr Josh Burnstone from Fargro.
2.30pm Question-and-Answer Session: Practical Tips for Successful Pest Control Presented by integrated pest management specialist Neil Helyer.
Event GroSouth Horticultural Exhibition 2014
When 12 November
Where Roundstone Nurseries, Pagham Road, Lagness, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 1LL
Tel 01243 755949.