A much reduced but more focused Glee show in Birmingham this month saw the garden centre industry retrench after a poor season.
Some 536 companies exhibited at the trade show, against 650 claimed for 2011. The two-hall format meant a more focused show and Glee director Nick Davison said the event had a "good buzz considering the season was so tough". He added: "The industry is moving positively forward for 2013."
Garden writer Peter Seabrook said the show was "much smaller and there were fewer people but there was good business being done". He added: "People I spoke to were positive and I heard good reports of orders being taken."
Darby Nursery Stock said garden centres had been taking stock and money over the past few weeks, while those that had an embargo on buying were missing out.
Extending the season and weatherproofing garden centres was a big theme to emerge at Glee after record rainfall levels this summer led to depressed sales.
Retailers including Homebase, B&Q, Waitrose and Dobbies attended. Garden Centre Group, Blue Diamond, Klondyke, Squire's, Hillier, Golden Acres Nurseries, Garden & Leisure and many more were also at the show.
Top launches were sow and grow seed, compost and fertiliser mixes from Scotts and Westland, with straight fertiliser ranges from Scotts and Vital Earth also new.
Wild bird care (Gardman, Westland, Pet Brands/Alan Titchmarsh), kitchenware (Fiskars), artificial turf (Tiger, AT Industrie, Neolay, Perfectly Green), gloves and boots (Town & Country, Briers) and indoor pots (Schuerich, Elho, Ebertsankey) were also prominent.
Glee debate - Poor harvest fuels fears over peat supply
Peat-based growing media is likely to be in short supply in 2013 after the worst harvest in decades, according to exhibitors and delegates at Glee.
Garden writer Peter Seabrook said: "Peat harvests are so low in some European countries there could be serious shortages for commercial growers, never mind the garden market."
Scotts general manager Martin Breddy added : "It would have been damaging to the industry's credibility of peat use had it started going back up again, but that would have happened if we'd had a good harvest because peat is cheap and of good quality."
Vital Earth managing director Steve Harper said: "Dilution rates going forward will rise because peat isn't available. Prices could be 20-30p a bag up wholesale, but our peat-free prices are the same as 2012, which will make the decision between peat and peat-free easier for consumers."
Bord na Mona is believed to have harvested 35 per cent of its usual peat total. Another compost company said it only had enough peat to last until the end of March.