South West Regional Growers show - PREVIEW

New plants and products for the ornamentals sector will be on show to a range of top buyers, says Jez Abbott.

Hallmark hopes to reach new customers at the South West Regional Growers show - photo: Hallmark
Hallmark hopes to reach new customers at the South West Regional Growers show - photo: Hallmark


When: 1 October
Times: 9am to 4pm
Where: The Matford Centre, Exeter, Devon
Free tickets: Register online at
Stand bookings: Call Kate Fielding on 01788 892043 or email kate.

The South West Regional Growers (SWRG) Show is the leading trade event for ornamental horticulture in the region. Run by HW publisher Haymarket on behalf of the NFU and in conjunction with Garden Retail and HW, the event is held at Exeter every year.

SWRG brings together commercial growers and plant buyers from garden centres, retail outlets, landscapers and local authorities. The show gives an opportunity to meet the best regional growers - and those from farther afield.

New plants and products will be showcased, with growers and suppliers on hand to answer questions face to face. More than 30 new exhibitors will augment dozens of long-standing horticulture businesses at the show.

The event also gives an opportunity to network and features seminars on how to increase sales, chaired by NFU horticulture board chairman Richard Hirst.

Tickets are free and refreshments are also available.

Exhibitor Views

- Brian Fearn, managing director, Abbey Brook Cactus Nursery, Matlock, Derbyshire

"This is our first South West Regional Growers Show. There's a lot of business in the West Country, and we hope the show will enable us to generate some of our own. We will use the event to show our Christmas bowls - arrangements of cacti in ceramic containers. We are launching 15 new arrangements and hope to tap into Christmas sales in garden centres. On show will be arrangements ranging from 3in (9cm)-diameter pots with five cacti, to large arrangements in rectangular pots. Plants on show include Echinocactus grusonii Golden Barrel, with a life of 250 years, of which we sold 10,000 on the first day of the millennium."

- Mark Coulman, director, Hallmark Plants, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire

"We will be showing our range of Italian specimen plants and topiary, which are targeted at wholesalers, garden centres and cash and carries.

"Our presence at the show comes on the back of increased efforts to expand our customer base. Having exhibited at the past two Glee shows, we felt it was important to spread our wings. If we can net a handful of wholesale customers in the region we will be happy. Our stand will include Aucuba shrubs, palms and olives. There's quite a big market in the south-western region but we barely touch it. We hope the show will nudge us more in that direction."

- Tim Riley, managing director, Riley Growers, Newent, Gloucestershire

"We will show irrigation kit and computer-based environmental-control systems.

"After an absence of three or four years, irrigation suppliers seem a little thinner on the ground, so we thought it would be a good time to revisit. We have a few grower and garden-centre customers in the region but want more.

"We chose the South West Regional Growers Show in preference to Four Oaks, where you can get lost in the crowd. This show is more close-knit and intimate and you can almost guarantee everybody who goes will find you: it's a relatively small event and most people walk around a couple of times at least."

- Richard Leedham, manager, Hill View Nurseries, Evesham, Worcestershire

"The full range of planters - one, three, 7.5, 15 and 25 litres - will be on show as well as a new half-barrel wooden patio planter, which seems popular with the chains.

"We last exhibited at the show five or six years ago and are pleased to be back. The smaller shows make a lot of sense in terms of cost.

"Why spend a lot on one large event when you can do five smaller shows for half the cost and spread yourself over a wider area? Container plants such as conifers will form the bulk of our stand at this year's show."


Chairman Richard Hirst

- 10-10:30am Creative, Practical and Profitable Plant Displays to Help Maximise Your Sales by Graham Clarke

- 11-11:30am Garden Retail Trends - What's Selling Well? by Andrew Whelan

- 12-12:30pm How the Smaller Garden Retail Business Can Punch Above Their Weight by Leslie Kossoff.

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