Orchid vending machines & Sempervivums on sticks!

Day 2 at IPM Essen 2023


Good morning, and it’s on to day two of IPM Essen. Obviously, I’m feeling quite proud of myself because I’ve already had a sneak peek. But, today everything will be different, as it will be slick, polished and all ready to go, not a forklift in site.

I actually, shock horror, forgot to set my alarm. That never happens to me! Fortunately, I’m not a long sleeper, so I was naturally awake when I needed to be. However, the breakfast hall today was absolutely packed, a stark contrast to yesterday. I searched for a table briefly, before deciding exactly what I should do. I knew a café that could keep me really happy, near the showground.

I set off on my 48 minute walk without a scarf today. Some of you might worry about that, but I get so hot very quickly, and the worst thing is to arrive and know that your shirt is already a little bit damp from sweat. I do like to stay well ironed as well, so as I walk, I’m almost doing it soldier-like, to avoid creases. I don’t know, that’s my thing, I like to be well presented with nicely pressed clothing at all times!

I arrived at my wonderful bakery, and was yearning for the cheese topped roll, stuffed with ham, cheese, sauerkraut and mayonnaise. This is a sandwich I often think about when I’m at home alone - it’s really that special.

And it was just as expected.

I continued on to the show. I was meeting the film crew this morning, filming my highlights from around the halls, and we had a great time. I won’t spoil them here, but I will direct you to the IPM Essen social media - that’s great, you’ll see everything that will make you salivate!

I felt like a strange type of (quite awkward) celebrity, as the cameras followed me to get the walking shots. Big shout out to Pia and the crew though. Super slick team!

As I rushed through the halls, I happened to notice a very nice new type of tabletop terrarium, with a super swish LED light. Isn’t it cool??

After lunch, I was let loose once more.

The first thing I noticed was a rather cool vending machine. Now, I’m used to using vending machines to get myself yet another bag of chips. But this time, I could help myself to an orchid! From Tops Group, this is an amazing invention.

A few plant highlights as I rushed around the halls. Firstly, how about Sempervivums on sticks??

I’ve seen this done with Echeveria quite often, as they will grow out of the soil. I’m not too sure if Semps will last quite as long. The compassionate person in me also feels a little bit cruel… I’ll pass you a tissue, I finally found my heart!

There is a real Marmite plant to come next, and that’s the Spider Azalea. It’s modern, contemporary, and nothing like the traditional type… shocking, some might say!

I’m a big fan of the Pick n Joy series of windowsill vegetables. When I met the innovators last summer, they actually told me that the costings worked out very similar to if you bought the vegetables in the supermarket, in a punnet or such. You get more crops, and over a longer period, with these windowsill varieties. I might need a sticky fly trap nearby to catch any white flies though.

I’ve written about alternative fuels on my website in times gone by, and it was very interesting to see the new ways they are promoting Miscanthus! Apparently, they have an amazing carbon capture ability, and can also be used to improve soil and purify water. A plant we might see more of in the near future, I’d say!

As part of the new concept store area, where garden centre add-on purchases can be found, I discovered a lovely range of bath bombs, and a liquor that tasted like liquid croissant! Aside from that, I was utterly transfixed by a new product called Blossombs! Like a traditional Seedball, but coloured with natural pigments, which make them look super cool, and really elevated them to gifting status!

Also, in this area, there was a very, very interesting water dispenser. Let me tell you all about this, because it really is mind blowing. The decanter is using crystals to cleanse the water. And the shape of the decanter also plays a part. This was by the company Living Designs.

So many cool containers at the show too. I was particularly taken with EcoPot. The company are manufacturing from recycled materials, but are pledging to never produce them in trending colours. This is super inspiring, and their hope is that their containers will be used over a lifetime, and not just get binned when the trend changes again.

Another amazing invention was the Globee planter, which can be displayed in 3 different ways: freestanding on the table, attached to the wall, or as a nifty indoor hanging container!

I also marvelled at the Easy Care houseplant range, where each plant is given a rating out of five, which really helps the consumer to judge whether they’ll be able to grow it successfully or not. This seemed a really useful way to market indoor plants, and one that would keep customers coming back.

I also saw lots of great containers for kids, such as these lovely emoji planters.

It was almost time for my mid afternoon snack, I’ve gotten into very quickly whilst in Germany. But, on my way there, I saw my Chinese friend Orson, and dribbled at his Lycoris breeding! Look it up - it’s like a sexier Nerine… if that’s possible!

Ah well, I’m just about to get thrown out of the press room… so, until tomorrow, enjoy!