Discovering new products is one of the big draws for GAN visitors this year, say organisers of the annual trade show.
The event takes place on 11 February, from 10am to 4pm at grower/retailer chain Golden Acres near Bournemouth, Dorset - and there will be 20 first- timers among its 169 exhibitors.
GAN 2009 expects to attract around 1,000 visitors from sectors such as production horticulture, wholesale nursery, retail and landscaping.
New products on show will include worm composters, garden ornaments and ladies' gardening clothing. UK and European exhibitors will include plant growers, seed companies and packing suppliers as well as companies specialising in nursery equipment, ventilation systems, natural stone, garden products and irrigation systems.
GAN group operations director Simon Edwards says: "Preparations have gone extremely well. A month before the event we only had eight stands left to sell. I doubt things were as good as that last year. Confidence is high."
He adds: "It has gone well because of a concerted effort by the team. And because exhibitors who come here understand that when times are tough they need to do more rather than less."
The Southern Growers trade exhibition is moving closer to GAN - from Sandown (160km from GAN's Bournemouth site) to Roundstone Nurseries in Chichester, West Sussex, 77km away. But Edwards explains that because GAN is held in February and Southern Growers is in November there is room for both shows. He adds that trade shows are spread across the calendar but says it would be good if trade show organisers communicated with each other more.
Edwards says that as a retailer and wholesaler he is well placed to comment on prospects for the horticulture trade, believing "we have confidence in the market on both sides". This is reflected by an eight per cent rise in sales at its four centres in 2008 and an increase in bedding plant production by 12 per cent.
This year, Edwards has introduced more information by email for exhibitors and visitors as well as online registration. But GAN will be running without a sponsor after a year-long agreement with Westland came to an end.
HOW TO GET THERE
- Directions from the east
Follow the A31 past Ringwood. Take the slip road signposted A338 to Bournemouth, Christchurch and Bournemouth International Airport.
After four miles (6.4km) exit onto the B3073, signposted Christchurch and Airport. At the end of the slip road, turn right.
At the mini roundabout, take the first exit, continue on this road past the airport parameter, then follow local signs to the GAN car parks.
- Directions from the west
From the A35 follow the A31 east.
At the roundabout at the eastern end of the Wimborne bypass, take the fifth exit, onto the B3073, signposted Longham, West Parley and Airport.
Go straight over the first mini roundabout. At the next one turn left and then immediately take the right-hand lane. Take the second exit, signposted West Parley and Airport.
After half a mile (0.8km), go straight over the traffic lights, then follow local signs to GAN car parks.
AWARD CATEGORIES AND ENTRIES
GAN operations director Simon Edwards and HW deputy editor Matthew Appleby will judge GAN's annual new plant, product/service and retail product awards.
BEST NEW PLANT VARIETY
- Fairweather's Nursery will enter Heucherella 'Tapestry'.
- Lowaters Garden Beauty is to display new Hebe 'Midnight Sky'.
- New Place Nurseries will feature Lophomyrtus 'Black Pearl', bred by Steve Yandall of Rainbows End Nursery.
- Seiont Nurseries is to launch its Cordyline 'Pink Passion' and 9cm liners available to be reserved from August.
- Plant grower The Northern Liner Company will introduce its new Cordyline 'Sunrise', Ophiopogon 'Blackbeard' - from Steve Yandell of Rainbows End Nursery - and Photinia 'Corallina'.
BEST TECHNICAL PRODUCT OR SERVICE
- Fargro will show its Serenade ASO biofungicide, which tackles Botrytis in strawberries.
- Rotterdam-based HortiLink will feature its dedicated and specialist transport service to the horticulture industry and consolidation service.
- Lows of Dundee is to introduce its innovative growing pots for uniform growth, easy harvesting, lower production costs and maintenance.
- Martin Lishman of Bourne, Lincolnshire, will promote its compost tea, said to be a new type of certified organic compost tea product.
- Vallent Products (EU) will display Verticrop, described as "a real solution to the issue of increasing growing costs and diminishing resources".
BEST NEW RETAIL PRODUCT
- Fargro will show flower bags made from biodegradable jute material.
- FSUK is to offer, exclusively for the UK, the Terracotta Duo and Zinc Select collection of pots.
- Ladies' gardening clothes designer GardenGirl will display new trousers, dungarees and insertable knee pads.
- Kirton Farm Nurseries will highlight its new, reusable, wooden marketing trays to hold its eco-friendly coir pot plant ranges.
- Scotts Miracle-Gro will show its all-purpose water-soluble plant food Miracle-Gro Singles sachets.
- Plant support designer Flower Power will launch its large grow-through border support, described as an ornamental alternative for herbaceous borders.