There was a vibrant and upbeat feel to the 7th HTA National Plant Show, sponsored by Hortipak, which took place this week (21 and 22 June) at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.
With a packed hall featuring a record number of exhibitors the show really presented the best of plant production. The two day show attracted buyers from across the industry enabling them to catch up with existing suppliers as well as find new ones.
The New Plant Awards, sponsored by the RHS, attracted over 100 entries. Salvia Blue Marvel from Darby Nursery Stock took the title of best in show, as well as the title of Best Herbaceous Perennial. Other category winners were: Best Annual - Petunia Tumbelina Maria from Channel Island Plants UK, Best Houseplant - Begonia Elatior Valentino Pink from Garden Centre Fresh, Best Shrub & Climber - Rose Lovely Parfuma from Rosemasters, Trees & Conifers
– Betula pendula ‘Fastigiata Joes’ EU20141206 from Frank P Matthews.
Visitors also had the chance to vote for their favourite new plant over the course of the show in the Visitor Vote, sponsored by Floramedia. They voted the Best in Show as Clematis Nubia Evipo59 from Darby Nursery Stock, which was voted best in the Shrubs & Climbers category. The other category winners were Best Annual – Nemesia Aroma Yellow Rhubarb & Custard from Channel Island Plants, Best Herbaceous Perennial – Salvia Joy from Darby Nursery Stock, Best Houseplant – Oncidium Claudia Black Eye from Javado UK and Best Tree & Conifer – Acer platanoides ‘Ulmers Sensation’ from Frank P Matthews.
New for 2016 was the Planting the Seed Award for best retail inspiration, as voted for by visitors to the show. Hawkesmill Nurseries was declared winners with Allensmore Nurseries in second place and The Bransford Webb Plant Company and Profitplant UK coming joint third.
The British Protected Ornamentals Association and the Home Grown Users Group presented the Home Grown Retail Award for Promotion and Support of UK Grown Plants and Flowers to Grace Hurrell of Tesco Stores, for the chain's consistent support and promotion of British-grown bedding.
The winner of the Planties photographic competition was James Tully of Parker’s Garden Company for his summer wildflower meadow image, which will feature in HTA News.
New for 2016 the Retail Concept Area, put together by trend watcher and green stylist Romeo Sommers provided ideas and stories about the benefits of plants to create interest and give people another reason to buy.
Over the course of the show a number of seminar sessions were held including:
Neil Bragg from Bulrush Horticulture and Paul Alexander from RHS introduced the audience to the Growing Media Responsible Sourcing Calculator.
Andy McIndoe highlighted the new plant award winners and how to make the most of them.
Michael Perry from Thompson & Morgan talked about how to make gardening more accessible by using the right language.
David Gillam from Abercorn Garden Centre and Chairman of the National Dahlia Society reminded all not to forget the good old favourites of the plant world.
Raoul Curtis-Machin, HTA Head of Horticulture, provided an update on plant health and Xylella Fastidiosa.
GTN’s Greatest Plant Retailing Awards were presented at the show. Gold Award winners included:
Greatest Plant Sales Team
Small centre – Poppies, Oban
Mid-sized centre – Timmermans
Large centre – Scotsdales, Cambridge
Greatest Linked Sales Team
Greatest Pot and Plants Sales Team
Greatest Plant Advice Team
Fron Goch and Cowells
Many thanks to all our sponsors and supporters
Headline Partner – Hortipak
Associate Partner – Gardman
Media Partners – Horticulture Week
New Plant Awards – Royal Horticultural Society, Visitor Vote – Floramedia, Digital Partner – Garden Connect, Benching Partner – Timber Displays, Delegate Bag Partner – Container Centralen, Registration Area Partner – XL Horticulture, Event Partners – Glee, HTA Insurance Services, ICL, Joy of Plants and Striking Places.