As the countdown to Glee – the International Festival of Garden, Leisure and Pet – ticks into weeks, it’s been a busy time for the show’s organising team. Here’s an update on how the latest developments for the exhibition are taking shape:
Glee’s interactive merchandising masterclass, Talent Store, has confirmed the inaugural 12 on-site merchandisers who will be showcasing new and innovative ways to display outdoor and houseplants within the retail environment.
The lucky dozen was selected from 24 garden centre staff members who took part in the recent Talent Store ‘bootcamp’ where they learned top tips from some of the very best, including Talent Store mentor Debbie Flowerday, Trend Bible’s Home & Interiors Trend Editor Wendy Lowe and Michael Perry (aka Mr Plant Geek).
Working in groups, the candidates were tasked to come up with a pop-up store concept and design based on houseplants or outdoor plants. Their designs were submitted and carefully considered by the panel, with 12 finalists selected. They are:
Outdoor plants: Freya Markwood – Perrywood Garden Centre, Sudbury; Louisa Power – Ongar Garden Centre – British Garden Centres; Amber Dowsett – Perrywood Garden Centre, Tiptree; Katherine Davies – Pugh’s Garden Village, Wenvoe; Nathan Evans – Bents Garden & Home, Warrington; and Damian Walker – Harrogate Garden Centre – British Garden Centres.
Houseplants: Clare Forster – Braintree Garden Centre – British Garden Centres; Hazel Woodward – Millbrook Garden Centre, Kent; Alison Smith – Chessington Garden Centre, Surrey; Clare Baker – Bents Garden & Home, Warrington; Matthew Bone – Thurrock Garden Centre, Essex; and Wendy Jones – Pugh’s Garden Village, Wenvoe.
Peter Burks, chief executive at the Garden Centre Association, which represents more than 200 garden centres nationwide and is sponsoring the Talent Store, said: “Congratulations to everyone who took part in the Glee Talent Store and to those who have been selected to have their designs showcased at Glee. It’s a fantastic achievement, as Glee is one of the most important trading events in the gardening industry calendar.”
Education has always been a key aspect of Glee’s overall offering, with ‘The Stage’ being the place to learn more about key trends and topics affecting garden retail. With a three-day agenda, there is a lot to learn, from issues surrounding sustainability and ethical consumers to future proofing the industry.
Look out for Glee’s first ever ambassador, Michael Perry (aka Mr Plant Geek), who will discuss horticultural trends and reveal some of his favourite tips and tricks for a greener thumb. Madeleine Ritchie, visual trend researcher at TrendBible, will share key social and cultural shifts which will underpin householder behaviours for outdoor living. And Garden Trade News managing director Trevor Pfeiffer will announce the winners of this year’s New Product Showcase, Buyers Power List and the all-new Talent Store. More speaker announcements will be made over the coming weeks.
March saw a strong influx of brands join the Glee exhibitor list, with home, gift and clothing brands coming out in force as the buzz builds around Glee’s new Home, Gift & Clothing Village. Some brands making their debut, as well as making their return following a profitable 2022 event, include Rainbow Designs, Andersons Wholesale, Open 24 Seven, Lodi, Hemmo & Co, Mr Bug, Sofasoy Candle Co., JR Pet Products, Magma London, Hornby Hobbies, and Winning Moves.
Glee’s horticultural hub – Green Heart – is back, and this year the area is set to experience even more prominence as the Talent Store will be located alongside it, within the atrium area of the NEC. Meanwhile Glee’s dedicated outdoor entertaining demonstration area – Fire, Grill & Chill – will be relocated to the front of the NEC near the Hall 6-8 and Hall 20 entrances, directly adjacent to Green Heart. This means even more traffic will pass by Green Heart, bringing with it new buyers. To date, Bransford Webbs, MMP, Craigmarloch Nurseries, Lovania Nurseries and New Leaf Plants have confirmed their spaces within Green Heart.
To keep up to date on the latest Glee news, visit www.gleebirmingham.com
To enquire about exhibiting at Glee 2023, which takes place from June 27 to June 29, call 0203 3545 9752.