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HortiTrends Weekly Comment and News Digest - April 15th

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Its been a busy week or so for us here at HortiTrends. Starting with the GLDA Seminar (See Report) which included inspiring talks from some of Ireland's and Europe's leading design influencers. Attendance was good but not as high as has been expected, which is a pity as the day overall, was a great learning and networking opportunity. You begin to realise the amount of work that a few committed members put in to the organisation for the advantage of the many. Without these people putting their time and energy into it, these events will just not happen in the future and we will then have more than the weather to lament. Invest in your own future by investing in the future of your trade association. You need them and they need you. You can also see photos of the day HERE.

One of the Irish Designers Jane McCorkell presenting at the above seminar was also busy imparting knowledge to current and potentially new students at the recent ITB Horticulture Open Day which based on turnout was a big success. We were there on the day and were impressed with the both the lecture and workshop facilities. There are ongoing moves by ITB Horticulture to capitalise on increasing numbers of applicants for its horticulture related courses, with plans for a further major infrastructure investment well underway, that will greatly improve facilities while also affirming ITB's long-term commitment to providing students with top quality horticulture facilities in a general 3rd level educational campus setting.

Also looking forward to impressing potential new students will be Kildalton College Open Day. It was great to see their current batch of students manning the College Nursery stand at the recent IHNSA Trolley Fair last week. The students were in agreement, that no amount of classroom learning makes up for this type of on-the-job experience, which they gained from dealing with the attending plant buyers. The Trolley Fair was as well attended as you can expect, given that it was a half decent day weather wise. Garden centres are already under pressure to move existing stock and that resulted in some of the regulars staying away. For the buyers attending and nurseries exhibiting it was a still worthwhile day to meet existing customers and try to win a few new ones. From our talks with garden centre owners on the day, buying plants is a bit like finding somewhere that you like the coffee. If the quality and price are right you are less likely to shop around. That said the the Fairs keeps the nurseries on their toes as they know that the plant buyers are always benchmarking their current suppliers against the competition. The GCAI also had a side meeting at the fair which was open to members and non-members. They are trying to ascertain what services its current and potential new members now want. Anne McKenna presented findings from a recent survey and based on feedback she will be coming back with a number of new or enhanced initiatives. The elephant in the room was of course the weather but there was also a sense that the sector will get through this further obstacle. The weather was the next topic on the agenda but thankfully to an overrun was cancelled. 'What doesn't kill you makes you Stronger' might have been the theme of Kieran Dunnes presentation at the talk on the working's, including advantages and disadvantages of the Kildare Growers Group. A great insight as to how the group, as he say's"Punches above it's Weight". The secret is to stay united. He also hinted that there may be opportunities for other interested parties to join the group in the future.

'Its Garden Time' marketing campaign had a big outing in the Irish Independent last week in the form of an insert but the weather said 'No its Not'. This also included various other print and radio adverts. It was interesting to hear that only recently, Westland renegotiated its major UK advertising campaign to coincide with a hoped for 'better period of weather'. Will we see in the future, some garden related adverts being sold to the highest or lowest bidder based on the hours of sun of mean temperature for that day or week? That's an idea, but don't tell Google.

Don't mention the weather! 

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          Joseph ( Editor at HortiTrends)