Parks and gardens leaders and their professional teams will converge on Woburn Abbey & Gardens on 28th June for two great co-located events - the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2017 reception and presentation and the inaugural Parks & Gardens Live launched earlier this year by Horticulture Week.
Curated by HW technical editor Sally Drury, Parks & Gardens Live offers parks and gardens practitioners the opportunity to learn about the latest products and kit specifically aimed at the sector through a product showcase and live kit demonstrations hosted by Drury, recipient of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture's prestigious President's Award.
Drury, who has been testing machinery for HW for 17 years, will also be leading a product showcase tour of the kit highlights at the show. At the same time, attendees will benefit from inspirational workshops led by leading figures in the field, expert advice on technical issues, skills and careers via the Horticulture Week Advice Hub and head gardener-led tours of the Woburn Abbey gardens estate - all in one fantastic action-packed day, supported by the Professional Gardeners' Guild and UK Lawn Care Association.
"I'm really excited about the machines and products on display," says Drury. "This is an opportunity to get up close to innovative kit that can save time and money, and tackle operations in a safe and comfortable manner - and to top it all we have great speakers to inform and inspire."
Kit demonstration highlights include a chance to see award-winning products in operation - such as the radio-controlled slope mower Spider ILD02 and the Ubiqutek Touch Pro professional hand-weeder, which uses electricides to boil weeds.
Meanwhile, workshop highlights include an inspirational presentation by Britain's leading gardens consultant Alan Sargent, who will explain to practitioners of all levels how to build a progressive career structure - whether for themselves as individuals or for the members within their teams.
"Gardening is a science without boundaries," he says. "I will be showing that the career of a gardener is also without boundaries. All you need is a passion to succeed and a willingness to allow your career path to lead you onwards and upwards."
With pesticide use very much in the spotlight, Amenity Forum chairman John Moverley will provide an overview of current rules for their use in an amenity context with advice for practitioners on the dos and don'ts, an update on integrated pest management and his thoughts on potential developments post-Brexit.
Exhibitor British Sugar Topsoil, which supplies Woburn, will bring three of its best-selling products to Parks & Gardens Live - HortLoam, Landscape 20 and Sports & Turf, which will be on show for the first time at the event.
National topsoil manager Andy Spetch says Parks & Gardens Live will be "great for people to learn about the products and kit, get a look round the garden and get some ideas".
HortLoam, a British Standard (BS3882:2015) topsoil, is ideal as a planting growing media, says Spetch, who adds that visitors to Parks & Gardens Live can see for themselves the effect of the product because it has been used in the Woburn gardens, with 12 tonnes delivered in March to coincide with the planting season.
Showcase exhibitor Danarm Machinery, another proud supplier to Woburn, will be showing its LM5360HXA-pro wheeled pedestrian mower, a professional-use machine with a Honda engine.
"They're used by contractors, local authorities, large parks and gardens and have a two-year commercial warranty," says managing director Karen Blanch. "Our machines are the type that can be used by National Trust and English Heritage. They give a very good finish. Although they are robust machines, they give a very good cut."
The Danarm TM3100 and TM3200 hedge trimmers will also be on display, as will the firm's largest brushcutter, the VF500 - and lightweight models the 27CC and 21CC.
Czech firm Dvorak Machine Division, which is bringing the Spider 2 (ILD02) remote-controlled slope mower, says it can handle gradients of up to 55 degs with its integrated winch. The 123cm-wide mower is operated using a console and is very manoeuvrable, says Spider UK rep Peter Driver, and can achieve a close cut around trees and other obstacles in the right hands.
"It's a very clever piece of kit," adds Driver. "If the operators are used to gaming, they will be able to operate it very quickly. I really think people will be surprised."
At the show people can see it moving in its correct environment. "The Spider mower is already used in prestigious places because of what it can do. It's used in castles for mowing the sides of moats, for example. It can go very close to the water's edge near a river - it can be sent in there without any fear of the operator falling in or getting injured."
Parks & Gardens Live education partner is Capel Manor College, which will be talking with visitors about its new apprenticeship courses developed to fit in with the apprenticeship levy that came into force this month. Foundation degrees for horticulture professionals wishing to extend their skills to a higher level will also be on the menu at a seminar to be given by the college's David Boyer.
Other companies showcasing kit include Reesink Turfcare, UK distributor of Toro turf-care machinery. It will be bringing the popular Toro LT-F3000 triple-flail mower and Groundsmaster 360 Quad-Steer. The LT-F3000 cuts longer, wetter and coarser grass in one sweep, so is ideal for maintaining areas that are cut as little as four times per season.
The Groundsmaster 360 Quad-Steer, meanwhile, copes with a variety of mowing tasks and can travel extended distances between jobs.
Tracmaster will be bringing its BCS Hydrostatic Commander - a multipurpose pedestrian machine with hydrostatic drive - a flail mower and the CAMON LS42 lawn scarifier. NAP Brands will be promoting Stanley power and hand tools.
With interest in how to establish wild flower meadows continuing to grow, we are delighted to report that Green-tech will be on hand to talk to visitors about its John Chambers wild flower seed range.
Also exhibiting will be Pro Sprayers, which supplies a range of manual sprayers, and Blade Machinery, which will show Bannerman Engineering lawn care equipment and the Ecolawn Applicator self-propelled top dresser.
Overton, meanwhile, will showcase its Mean Green electric commercial mowers powered by lithium-ion batteries (see Kit Review, p36).
Advice hub and head gardener-led tour
As well as learning from suppliers about the latest kit and consumables for professional gardening and parks staff - and from inspirational mentors in the sector - attendees will be able to access the very best advice on everything from sourcing kit to tackling recruitment issues via the Horticulture Week Advice Hub staffed throughout the day by Sally Drury, master gardener Alan Sargent and other members of the showcase team.
In addition, professionals attending the event will be able to compare and share experiences with the gardening team at Woburn Abbey during head gardener-led tours of the gardens and parklands. The event will also feature examples of some award-winning work highlighted in an exhibition featuring best practice from across the parks and gardens sector.
To book tickets to Parks & Gardens Live, go to www.custodianawards.com/pg.
Parks & Gardens Live 2017 is co-located with the presentation of the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2017. Tickets can be purchased for Parks & Gardens Live only or for the HW Custodian Awards with access to Parks & Gardens Live included.
For further event details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To exhibit in the product showcase, email email@example.com.
10am Doors open to Parks & Gardens Live
10.30am Alan Sargent workshop
11.15am Spider demonstration
11.45am Head gardener-led tour of Woburn Gardens & Parkland
11.45am Sally's product showcase
12.30pm Capel Manor College workshop
1pm John Moverley workshop
4.15pm Head gardener led-tour of Woburn Gardens & Parkland
4.15pm Sally's product showcase
5pm Parks & Gardens Live ends
HW Custodian Awards 2017
Parks & Gardens Live is co-located with the presentation of the 2017 Horticulture Week Custodian Awards, taking place from 2.30 to 4.30pm at Woburn Abbey's Sculpture Gallery.
The awards, celebrating the very best in parks, gardens, grounds and tree care and management, will be attended by leading figures from the parks and gardens world.
Judges this year were Professional Gardeners' Guild chairman Tony Arnold, former City of London director of open spaces Sue Ireland, master gardener Alan Sargent, Merton arboriculture manager Dave Lofthouse and Horticulture Week technical editor Sally Drury.
Hedges Direct is an award sponsor and Perennial is the charity partner.
- Tickets to the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards include free access to Parks & Gardens Live. For more details, go to www.custodianawards.com.