South West Growers Show - bringing buyers to growers

The key event for commercial horticulture in the South West is an opportunity for exhibitors to have vital face-to-face time with customers, says Matthew Appleby.

South West Growers Show: aimed at growers and plant buyers ranging from garden centres to local authorities and landscapers - image: SWGS
South West Growers Show: aimed at growers and plant buyers ranging from garden centres to local authorities and landscapers - image: SWGS

Container Centralen’s trolley damage exchange service and the International Plant Propagators’ Society (IPPS) European region annual conference will be key features at this year’s South West Growers Show (SWGS).

The event will take place at the Matford Centre in Exeter, Devon, on 7 October. Now in its 42nd year, the show is aimed at growers and plant buyers ranging from garden centres and retail outlets to local authorities and the landscaping industry.

The SWGS brings together growers and suppliers of specialist horticultural equipment and services, and is a great place to see and source all the latest plant introductions and products.

Ever more important

"As a group of growers this is now our seventh year of running the show and we are really pleased that it continues to grow year on year," says show chairman David Jackson. "From the comments we have received from our exhibitors, we realise that these regional shows are becoming ever more important as a good, cost-effective way to have face-to-face time with the customer, especially here in the South West.

"This year, we are pleased to be welcoming back Container Centralen with the trolley damage exchange service and also members of the IPPS European region who will be beginning their annual conference at the show."

Jackson adds: "The SWGS has established itself as the foremost event in the South West for the commercial horticultural industry. For the visitor, it provides the ideal venue to meet key growers and suppliers as well as sourcing the latest plant introductions and products. For the exhibitor it offers a unique business-to-business environment that results in more than 90 per cent of attendees purchasing or placing orders."

The event’s committee comprises of chairman David Jackson from Jackson & Son, East Devon’s plug and pot plant specialist; Mark Taylor, business development manager of Cornwall-based young plant producer Kernock Park Plants; Adam Powell and Andrew Spilsbury from nursery Talaton Plants; Les Lane of XL Horticulture; and Samantha Wallis and Bill Finch of Somerset-based WeeTree Wholesale Nurseries.

Talks at the event will include ICL on "grow, nurture and protect", with speakers Andrew Wilson and Shaun Kavanagh. Additionally, consultant Philip Davis will speak on growing under LED lighting, which organiser Kirsty Lane says is a big feature of the IPPS conference that will be starting at the show.

IPPS vice-president Tim Lawrance-Owen, resource manager of Walberton Nurseries, says he wants to attract as many young people as possible to the show and the IPPS conference, entitled "A Passion for Horticulture", runs alongside the exhibition.

The conference will begin at the SWGS with Davis’s talk on LEDs at 2pm. This features the AHDB Horticulture Project CP 085 "Securing skills and expertise in crop light responses for UK protected horticulture, with specific reference to exploitation of LED technology". Also featured in the talk is CP125 "Understanding crop and pest responses to LED lighting to maximise horticultural crop quality and reduce the use of plant growth regulators".

Delegates will then have an AGM and meal at the Devon Hotel in Matford. The following day (8 October), delegates will visit Kernock Park Plants in Saltash and hear about production of cutting-raised plugs and liners of patio, bedding, herbaceous perennials and specialist shrubs from Mark Taylor, managing wood-burning boilers for heat from Bruce Harnett and more from Davis on the application of LEDs for protected horticulture.

SWGS exhibitor Kernock Park Plants has been using Philips Horticultural LED Solutions LED toplighting with "dramatically higher propagation success rates for patio plant plugs, as well as seven-to-10 day faster rooting times and 10-14 day faster finishing times for perennials". Philips claims up to 46 per cent energy savings compared to high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting as well as low installation and maintenance costs.

Lighting results compared

Kernock Park Plants supplies 1,500 growers in the UK and Europe with young plugs to grow on for patio plants sold to retail outlets. The nursery has been comparing the results of plants propagated under Philips GreenPower LED toplighting versus conventional HPS lighting.

With LED toplighting it has improved the propagation success rate for many of its crops. One variety almost tripled, going from 34 to 96 per cent. Results also showed faster rooting and Botrytis control was limited to one preventive spray — all using 30 per cent less power compared to HPS lighting.

This year Kernock Park Plants has two new additions the "Wish" series of salvias, including Salvia ‘Love & Wishes’, which picked up the award for best nursery stock introduction at last week’s Four Oaks Trade Show and has been entered into the best newcomer category at the SWGS.

Also among new items are Schizostylis ‘Oregon Sunset’, Gaura Lindheimeri ‘Freeefolk Rosy’, Geranium ‘Tiny Monster’, Heuchera ‘Forever Purple’, Heuchera Little Cutie ‘Frost’, Campanula ‘Iridescent Bells’, Salvia ‘Ember’s Wish’ and Rudbeckia fulgida var. deamii.

After lunch at Kernock Park, delegates will visit Suttons Seeds in Paignton and Whetman Pinks in Dawlish. On 9 October, IPPS delegates will hear young Irish grower Colm O’Driscoll reporting on a tour to southern USA as well as AHDB Horticulture’s Erika Wedgewood on research into Thielaviopsis as part of Project PO 014 "Black root in containerised subjects: chemical and biological options for control".

Kernock Park Plants’ Bruce Harnett will then speak on his Nuffield scholarship, Fleurie Nursery’s Lance Russell will talk about being a YoungHort member in nursery management and Bent Jensen will speak on recent developments in Danish hardy nursery stock growing.

Trolley exchange

Back at the show, Container Centralen will be running its mobile trolley exchange service at this year’s show. Jackson says: "The management team running SWGS has always tried to give exhibitors and you, our visitors, something extra when attending our show. Container Centralen ran a similar exchange at the show in 2013 that was really well received so we were thrilled when they agreed to run a similar service at this year’s show."

The mobile exchange service brings the Container Centralen depot to customers at the show. All customers need to do is bring along damaged bases and shelves — shelves are determined as being both side struts — and Container Centralen will exchange them for fully serviceable replacements.

Container Centralen is also offering customers the opportunity to bring along any good-quality black tagged or blank trolleys to be introduced back into the system with a red tag for a special price of £8.35 per trolley. The offer will be available at the show and for a limited time afterwards. Prior booking is essential for this service.

Delamore regional sales manager Stephen Fones we will be looking to promote a number of positive changes made by the company during 2015 and to tell customers about how they will benefit from these in 2016 and beyond. Firstly, Delamore is now part of the Volmary family.

This opens up a "plethora of opportunities for Delamore’s customers with an almost doubling of the current range of young plants and seed" from ornamental and vegetable plant breeding and trial selection work.   

In addition, Delamore will be taking the opportunity at the show to meet and greet customers from Botany Bay, whose young plant business was bought by Delamore in September.

New products include the "ultimate" Fuchsia ’Pink Fizz’, which has a climbing, bushy habit, is extremely floriferous, flowering from tip to toe and outperforming all other varieties of climbing fuchsia in terms of flower, performance and colour.  It is also hardy — passing trials down to -12°C.

Other ranges that are new for 2016 include Fuchsia Fuchsita, coming as a direct result of Volmary breeding of fuchsia. The Fuchsita range will be marketed in the UK under the Fuchsia Fairy brand.  Delamore will also be re-introducing Geranium Appleblossom.

Key industry theme

Consolidation is a big theme across the nursery industry and this will be reflected at the show by exhibitors including Delamore, William Sinclair Horticulture and Young Plants — all good examples of this ongoing trend. Volmary bought young-plant grower Delamore in July and Delamore has now bought Botany Bay Nurseries’ young plants business too.

Young Plants, part of the Newey Group, bought Brinkman Trees this summer, to add to Eagle Plants, which it bought in the spring. Newey Group now comprises Brinkman, Eagle Plants, EverGreen Events, New Forest Plants, New Place Nurseries, Omni Solutions UK, Roundstone Nurseries, Transflora, Whitehill Seed Co and Young Plants.

On the growing media side, Westland Horticulture bought Sinclair out of administration this July and now has a strong supply chain to the professional grower as well as the amateur market.

Show details

South West Growers Show
When 7 October (9am-4pm)
Where The Matford Centre, Exeter, Devon EX2 8FD
Admission Free for visitors — preregister through the website
Tel 01404 821982

SWGS industry exhibitors and stand numbers

ACT    81
Agralan    69
Albion Plants    8
Ball Colegrave    73
Bord na Móna    55
Bridgwater College    70
Budlake Nursery    4
Certis Europe    57
Chamberlain Nurseries    78
Chapel Cottage Plants    78
Chartered Institute of Horticulture    59a
Compo Expert UK    89
Concordia    51
Countrywide Farmers    57
David Colegrave Foundation    46
Delamore    49
Easitill    93
Fargro    14
FJ Jackson    96
Floramedia    7
Florensis    61
Garden Centre Retail    71
Gedney Bulb    5
H Smith Plastics    26
Hawkesmill Nurseries    35
HL Hutchinson    94
Hortech Solutions    27
Howard Nurseries    72
HTA    20
ICL    60
IML Labels    62
International Plant Propagators’ Society    10
Jelitto Perennial Seeds    64
JFC Monro    66
Jiffy Products UK    43
Kernock Park Plants    59
Koppert UK    97
LBS Horticulture    56
Melcourt Industries    3
Modiform    53
Moles Seeds    50
National Polytunnels    33
Nightpark Nursery    80
Northern Polytunnels    6
Oakgate Nurseries    30
Oakover Nurseries    85
Omex Horticulture    85
Omni Solutions UK    83
Pentland Plants    58
Perennial    11
Petersfield Growing Mediums    87
PG Horticulture    52
PlantWorks UK    41
Polybuild    99
Quinton Edwards    65
Rainbow Plants    101
Roffey Brothers    12
Seiont Nurseries    34
Smith & Jones    98
Talaton Plants    74
Thompson & Morgan    45
Treco    38
Trimplants    86
Tyne Moulds &
Machinery    76
Vitax    37
WeeTree Wholesale Nurseries    54
William Sinclair Horticulture    28
Woodbeare Nurseries    90
Woodland Horticulture    53
XL Horticulture    107
Young Plants    79

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