Garden Retail

SPOGA+GAFA Conference 2018, Richmond, U.K.

Michael Warren reports on the annual Spoga+Gafa press conference, held this year in London. (May 15th)

After a welcome from U.K. Representative Nick Fielder, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH, Katherina C. Hamma addressed the meeting.

She mentioned that H.M. The Queen has revealed her passion for trees and that the U.K.’s greatest export was the best selling English Gardens. She then informed us of their plans for the 2018 Spoga+Gafa show in Cologne this September.

Green Lungs of the Show!

This will be the largest show ever with 2,100 exhibitors from 60 countries filling the Koelmesse hall. The Green message for the industry includes Halls 1-10 devoted to plastic which to U.K. ears might not appear ‘green’.

However the green lungs of the show appear to be corridors devoted to plants and landscaping, a welcome part of the show. Furniture features strongly with outdoor kitchen living on the increase so this area claims to be the largest BBQ show in the world.

The Great Vine

Following the Conference, we enjoyed a whistle stop guided tour of the grounds of Hampton Court Palace with historic mention of Cardinal Wolsey, King Henry the Eighth and William & Mary. This made for a fascinating story regarding their influence on the landscape. Home to the Great Vine, the largest in the world, it produces 270 Kg (600 lb) annually of the black variety ‘Boskoop’.

Tour of Retail Outlets

The following day saw the attendees out on a tour of three retail outlets, namely Squires Garden Centre, one of 15 in the group, smart and very well stocked in all aspects. Next up was Petersham Nurseries, down a secluded drive with unusual and quirky items for the home/outside living areas.

Finally Chessington Garden Centre, a large retail outlet, well balanced with plants and hardware for indoor and outdoor living. It has grown over the years with large indoor areas added as demand and lifestyle has grown.

Spoga+Gafa 2018 will be held from September 2nd - 4th in Cologne.