A chrysanthemum revival and striped apples!

Day 3 at IPM Essen 2023

Okay, confession time. I didn’t have the hotel breakfast. To be honest, I couldn’t see any seats that were free. But this meant I could return to Backer Peter and have my favourite sandwich. Although today, there wasn’t as much filling. I wanted to complain, but my mouth was still very happy.

I had a large coffee, with milk, and they always (as in for the last two days) put a little cake on the side. It’s tasteless, like a piece of bread, but also delicious at the same time.

Anyway, I was then onto the show, suitably fuelled up.

I stopped first at DOPA, where Martin Lekkerkerk has been doing wonders with paper pulp. He has managed to manufacture it into outdoor patio containers that last almost two years. He also pointed out the difference between commercially compostable items and home compostable items. He says many consumers are fooled into thinking something is compostable, but it only can be done so commercially, which takes heat as well as time.

I also had a quick little meet up with the YPHA, who are now up to 400 members. They are doing amazing things for young people in the UK who are interested in a horti career. We had a chat and a gossip, and we basked in the glow from the evening before, when the UK triumphed at the Grower of the Year awards. Here’s Elliot Barden from Majestic Trees, who scooped Young Grower of the Year!

Heike from the IPM team soon grabbed me, and took me to Hall 1A, where all the floristry magic happens. This was great, because it’s somewhere that I would usually feel a little bit out of my depth.

I was invited to a front seat at the young florists competition, where the winner will get to compete in the “eurofleurs” competition in Slovenia in the summer.

They have one hour to prep, and then 15 minutes to make up the displays. They also have to do this on a rotating stage, so the audience can see the developments!

I’ll pop back to see who won the end of the contest, after that they go through another couple of heats.

I had a good chat with floristry expert Manfred Hochmann, who told me about the website Just Chris, designed to build up the market up for chrysanthemums again. It seems that they could be due a revival, just like dahlias!

He also said that roses are experiencing a few difficulties, and have been much less popular last few years. They are only purchased as a symbol purchase, and now used less in contemporary designs, and not all last long enough for bouquet work.

There are also a lot more flowers to compete, namely garden flowers, and the cottage garden look.

I was also surprised, and enthralled, to see hydrangea petals, being used in the water of a vase. I’m going to try that one at home!

Next, I was thrown into the workshop with Blooms company, and had a great time making up a picture frame with one of my favourite plants, Craspedia.

Later on, I discovered (get the pun) the Discovery centre, with lots of different trend showcases have been made up by Romeo Summers and Floramedia. They are showing Garden Centre buyers how they could display plants to inspire customers in different ways.

Floramedia have a great new trends book, where they have predicted the trends for this year. One of my favourites was the one named Weltschmerz, which translates as an “indulgent melancholy”… lots of deep purples and sexy tones for this one!

A few other things to know were the cranberries on the Polish displays. I noticed they had been tied up in plaits, and I wondered why I could never buy such long stemmed cranberry plants in the UK. In Japan, we always used them in the workshops, and actually tied them into bows and all sorts of things!

I don’t have any real pictures of them, but I scoured the catalogues and found this amazing Cercis:

And “black” strawberries! Plus, a striped apple:

During the day, I had 101 conversations as usual. One of the most exciting was with a previous fruit plant contact. He actually gave me a bit of a tease, and told me about a very special berry plant he has developed, and it’s trailing so can be grown in a hanging basket. I can’t tell you what it is, but maybe soon I will…. And all of a sudden, this became a gossip and spoiler newsletter! Enjoy!