South West Growers Show Preview - bigger show promises broader interest

Show organiser reports increase in stand sales and visitor registrations as well as business interest from outside region.

A range of plants, equipment and services will be on display at this  year's South West Grower's Show - image: HW
A range of plants, equipment and services will be on display at this year's South West Grower's Show - image: HW

Following a successful show in 2011, this year's South West Growers Show will be even bigger, with stand sales and visitor registrations up.

A range of plants, equipment and services will be on show for those attending, including growers and plant buyers from local authorities, garden centres, retail outlets and the landscaping industry.

Event organiser Kirsty Lane says exhibitor bookings are up, with some companies attending for the first time and others returning after a period away. It is also beginning to attract businesses from outside the South West.

"We are up on last year and we have lots of new exhibitors from other regions such as Norfolk and Surrey, so we are branching out a bit. It's looking like a busy show."

Although 90 per cent of visitors turn up on the day, it is already looking positive for this year. "We have had good responses to our email alerts and some have preregistered," says Lane. "There are about 150, which is up on last year's show"

She adds: "With the message of doom and gloom in the industry at the moment after what we called the summer, it's a good thing that everyone is thinking about getting ahead next year."

One exhibitor attending for the first time is Norfolk-based Howard Nurseries, which will be showcasing its range of perennial plants.

"We visited last year and saw so many of our customers," says nursery representative Catherine Howard. "Also, the start of flights from Norwich to Exeter was a big part of the decision."

Seiont Nurseries nursery manager Neil Alcock says he attends every year. "It's an important show for us. There are a lot of our customers there, mainly small to medium-sized grower-retailers. There is a similar climate there to what we have in North Wales." Seiont will be promoting its wide range of varieties, including new hydrangeas and heucheras.

New this year is a focus on education in horticulture and encouraging more people into the industry. For the first time, the show will include two hour-long workshops run by the Horticultural Development Company and presented by ADAS professionals for ornamental plant growers, focusing on the recognition and control of seasonal pests and diseases with an emphasis on integrated crop management.

The show is also working with local colleges this year and will be opened by Bicton College principal David Henley. It will support two individuals for the International Plant Propagators Society "Six Pack" initiative and one of these will have the opportunity to travel to the USA to visit the society's North America region.

Bicton College will also be exhibiting at the show, at the Matford Centre in Exeter on 3 October, to promote its courses and apprenticeships.

Horticultural Development Company Crop-protection workshops

This year's show will see two Horticultural Development Company crop-protection workshops for ornamental plant growers at 11am and 2pm.

The events will be one-hour long and will be registered for BASIS continued professional development points.

Topics covered will include:

- Timely and correct recognition of seasonal pests and diseases, featuring the use of fresh sample material and aids to crop monitoring (11am).

- Guidance on how to monitor crops, cultural control measures and nursery hygiene (11am).

- The use of biological control agents and integrated pest management (2pm).

- Guidance on best practice in the use and application of pesticides (2pm).

Show details

When: 3 October

Where: Matford Centre, Exeter, Devon EX2 8FD


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