I attended the HTA National Plant Show yesterday at Stoneleigh and was shocked at how little the industry is progressing: all purely about aesthetics and virtually no discussion about sustainability, pollinators or any other wildlife.
I do not mean to be disrespectful to the fantastic plant experts and growers but just moving up from 1 litre to 2 or 3 litre plants does not really constitute innovation or evolving with times. Big pots also assume face-to-face sales when 20% of all consumer purchases are now on-line. This is where the grower/wholesale to garden centre model will come under pressure and a completely different way to support customers will need to evolve.
And I had forgotten just how many growers just do annuals and we continue to reward new plant releases which are equally sterile and fake.
The best bit was the seminar on ''gardeners of the future' by David Arnold (good job, David) based on some new research on how to reach the 30-45 age-group, who apparently lack much understanding and confidence about gardening, viewing it as an activity for old fogies. That makes sense; the good news is they want to use their outdoor space but without much work. I found this very thought provoking and, for my business, its essential to try and persuade people to use their outdoor space to provide food for pollinators.
But overall, the show was very much BAU. Oi! Horticulture! you cant keep doing the same things and then moan that it is not working.