Innovative Wellitops hit the spot

A creative brainbox billed as a "serial inventor of garden products" stole the show at garden industry trade show Glee with a clip-on Wellington boot cover to keep creepy crawlies out of footwear.

Peter Manning's spring-loaded Wellitop not only blocks out debris and spiders but means wellies can be hung up on a peg to stop cluttering the floor.

It was the only one of six prototypes unveiled at Glee to woo all three judges - buyers from major retailers - at a "Garden Angels" event at the NEC in Birmingham.

Manning, who runs 4Leaves Innovation, said: "The £6.99 Wellitop stops rain, leaves and rodents getting in the boot. Boots can also be carried and hung up in the shed."

He also hit a winning note with the judges with Raincan, a lidded watering can that catches rain and has notches inside that double as a ladder for frogs to escape.

All four judges, International Garden Centre Association president Sue Allen, Gardman chairman Paris Natar and buyers Lloyd Taylor of Wilkinsons and Steve Guy of B&Q, said they would seriously consider selling the products.

Guy said: "They are the type of mass-market products we go for and the prices are right. Their innovation and environmental aspects are really good selling points."

Other products to go before the Garden Angels included vacuum-packed straw logs, a barbecue for small patios, slate house names and numbers and a growbag support rack.

Garden Angels host George Bullivant added: "The trouble many entrepreneurs with new products have is getting in front of buyers. They need to look at their own businesses. This means looking at point of sale, pricing of the product and their route to market through distributors or agents."

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