The 27th edition of this internationally important trade fair opens its doors in Angers, France from 21st – 23rd February. Around 16,000 visitors are expected over the three days of the show which highlights the products of the 630 exhibitors, mostly French plant nurseries. Fourteen other countries are represented however, including eight from Britain under the COMMERCIAL HORTICULTURAL ASSOCIATION banner.
I shall be attending under my three hats: as a gardener designer and by default, plant buyer, I am interested in new trends and techniques and in discovering plant varieties long before they are offered in the UK; as a freelance journalist I am unofficially flying the flag for British horticulture and the Garden Media Guild while as an educator with the Garden Design Academy I hope to develop more contacts with the European horticultural industry. It could be a busy day!
I’m a sucker for new and innovative products and the section at the show featuring some of the best is called Innovert. Twenty-nine plants (and 19 horticultural accessories) will attract a great deal of attention; there are new Actinidia, Alstroemeria, Begonia, Buddleia, Calibrachoa, Clematis, Corydalis, Cyclamen, Dianthus, Gardenia, Hydrangea paniculata, Ligustrum, Limonium, Mandevilla, Petunia, Physocarpus, Primula, Quercus, Rhododendron and Rose, in addition to a red Potato and a lawn grass described as “self-repairing”. Pots, chemicals, tools and presentation systems make up the remaining new products, which also includes a fascinating green wall system from Belgium.
I shall be there on the first day and hope to meet a few other British horticulturists who have ventured out to see what is happening beyond the Channel.