Looking Inside The New England Grows Show - 2011
February 04, 2011
This year I attended the New England Grows Show in Boston not as a Sales Rep exhibiting product but as part of the Garden Writer's Association which held a meeting during the show. The trade show floor can be exciting as one looks for new, innovative, and appealing items which will sell well at an independent garden center. I found just a few. This year's show had its difficulties with the opening day shrouded in snow and ice. Attendance was dismal on Wednesday and very light on Thursday. That made checking product easier as the aisles were not crowded. Campania Statuary is always interesting and unique. I am not a big gnome fan but these little guys are quite cute and without garish colors, they could fit right into a little garden crevice. The lucky cricket is a bit oversized but then it would need to be in order to be noticed by some of the large outdoor fireplaces gracing the patio of a home with substance. I wouldn't expect to see them anywhere near this colorful tin tree which I know would appeal to the other gardeners of the world. There should be something for everyone at a garden center. There should be prices which keep everyone happy and that means bringing in the caviar with the popcorn. I think the fact that these little critters are carved from real stone keeps them from being too cutsy. They would make a good paperweight, at least the smaller ones would, and who doesn't like a hedgehog, penquin or an owl? Plants were in evidence at the show although much less so than in past years. It used to be easy to bring plants into a show, or at least economical, but with the unions controlling the docks smaller stock which can be rolled in on a cart is shown and not much of it. There was color at the Proven Winners booth and their forced material always looks pristine. The trend is vegetables and these vegetables come with a great tag and an easy carry tray.The tag comes with a recipe. If you buy a pot or two of mint, you can stop at the liquor store on the way home and pick up the ingredients necessary for the mojito recipe. Vertical wall systems were also being displayed in different size units by several vendors in response to the new demand for them. I find them interesting but wonder if they will catch on or are just a fad. It could be a good repeat sale of plants as some decline and have to be replaced. In keeping with the fruit and vegetable theme, there were a few people in interesting apparel. Some of them were even smiling and why not? A smile begets a smile. The most unique item in the plant world was the blue phalaenopsis orchid. It is very blue. It will re-bloom white. I am just not sure. What do you think?