February can be a cold and damp month which doesn’t exactly make us want to rush outside and start working on the garden. However, Spring is definitely in the air and many roadside verges, parks and gardens are already carpeted with white snowdrops and bright yellow daffodils, not to mention trees that bursting with early Spring buds.
I do look forward to February though because it heralds my annual pilgrimage to the Garden Press Event – where I'm usually lucky enough to preview some of the latest and most innovative garden products to come to the market for the year ahead. This year the show didn’t disappoint and by the end of the day I was laden with new tools, seeds, clothing, pots and ideas ready to try out in my own garden and discover their many benefits for myself. Below are a few of the latest garden offerings for the year ahead:
Fiskars range of tools increases year on year and they are endorsed by the botanist and tv presenter, James Wong. Amongst their new products this year I was particularly taken with their new 'Lightweight Range'. In fact, I couldn’t believe how incredibly lightweight they really are, and that includes the Digging spade – weighing just 1,120 grams – and that's despite being made using durable steel heads and robust aluminium. This is a range of tools that anyone, young or old, could use with ease. I especially liked the white and grey colour which befits the design and is a good contrast with Fiskars’ 'Classic' range which has their distinctive orange and black detailing.
Crocus, the online garden centre, continues to produce their collection of in-house, stylishly designed products. This year I was struck by their lovely plant supports in soft, painted hues. I especially liked the 'mound' and 'bell' shaped plant supports, as well as their range of hand-thrown terracotta pots.
Above left: Crocus mound-shaped plant supports; and Above Right: Terracotta Pots
THE POSH SHED COMPANY
Unveiled for the first time at the Garden Show, was the new 'Posh Allotment Shed' produced by the Posh Shed Company. It's a garden shed that is both practical and attractive. Measuring just 3ft by 6ft, with a height of 4’6, the allotment shed can accommodate a bicycle, tools and garden equipment inside – whilst boasting a fully waterproof and reinforced, load bearing roof that can be planted with anything from herbs, fruit or vegetables to flowers. The contents of the shed are kept dry thanks to the stainless steel, internal edge on the roof – this allows rain water to drain through to guttering at the side. This is a well designed and practical new addition to their product range.
If, like me, you wear jeans in the garden and are forever ruining them (and forever have – excuse the vision! – a wet bottom), Genus performance garden wear has the solution with their range of comfortable yet practical clothing. Created by gardener Sue O’Neil, the range includes adjustable, breathable and damp proof trousers with the added benefit of padding in the knees, deep hand pockets at the hip, a mobile phone zip pocket just below the waist and two stab-resistant pockets on the leg. These last two pockets mean you can carry a pair of secateurs, a sharp knife or trowels without fear of injury – very useful, essential even! Their new gilet is comfortable and stylish with the added benefit of a pocket for audio cables or string and again, stab-through pockets for scissors or secateurs.
Elho have been producing their range of functional and stylish pots and containers, both for in- and out-doors, for the past fifty years. There is just about every imaginable shape and size available and this year they have introduced what they are calling their 'loft urban range' designed for urban dwellers. There are some lovely new, muted, matt colours to choose from which could transform a roof terrace or balcony. The best part of the design – apart from pots such as the bridge pot that literally hangs securely on a balcony rail – is Elho's built-in watering system, so you can rest assured your plants will not dry out, even if you away or forget to water them for a while.
Above: Two of Elho’s newly designed pots in the 'Urban Range'