The best gardening and furniture shows in 2012

Twenty years ago, the majority of furniture companies were using large exhibitions to present their new products. Oh how times have changed… Today, the web outperforms any exhibition in terms of both timing and in data quality.  In the good old days, a glossy catalogue simply handed out was OK, but today you can download everything from installation videos, 3D CAD files or read reviews and testimonials all from the comfort of your home. So why is it, that there are still exhibitions? And more importantly why should you go there? Well there are some significant advantages, for not just the exhibitors but you (and me), the visitors. And its not just garden furniture shows. Lazy Susan is an avid visitor to many a gardening and furniture shows. They are the perfect source of inspiration and in our field it is essential we stay on trend. So, with that in mind, here is our run down of the must see shows and exhibitions for the next 12 months… Not sure we’ll get the chance to visit them all, but hopefully we’ll see you all at as many of them as we can.

The best gardening and furniture shows in 2012

Chelsea Fringe Show (May 22 – 26)

Relatively small but oh-so-smart, the Chelsea Flower Show has now spawned its own Chelsea Fringe… A brand new London-wide festival of flowers, gardens and gardening timed to coincide with the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show. A host of events are planned for the first Fringe, including horticultural ‘happenings’, pop-up gardens and installations which will spring up in unlikely parts of the city, floral boats plying the Thames, lorries loaded with secret gardens which will park up on street corners and then open up to reveal jungles within, and galleries and museums festooned with plant-themed artworks and initiatives. Community gardening projects, allotments and public parks will be able to showcase and celebrate what they do all year round, for the Chelsea Fringe aims to get away from the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ ethos of traditional shows. There will be plant-themed talks, concerts and – it is hoped – even a modern outdoor ‘pleasure garden’ with restaurant, bar and music. Shops and corporate HQs are also getting in on the act, helping to make late May and early June a truly floral moment in London’s seasonal life. There is no limit to what could be achieved! The steering committee of the Chelsea Fringe is now actively seeking sponsorship and funding for the establishment of a hub office and the development of this website, so that we will be able to guide and support all those who are looking to take part. The Royal Horticultural Society, organisers of Chelsea Flower Show, has accepted the principle of a fully independent Chelsea Fringe and is fully supportive of it. and

Singapore Garden Festival (July 7 – 15)

A biennial blockbuster majoring on spectacular orchids and top international designers. The third presentation of the Singapore Garden Festival came to a successful close on 22 July after an eight-day run. The show played host to over 300,000 visitors, charming them with dazzling show garden and floral displays. Award-winning garden & floral designers from 17 countries transformed Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre into a veritable feast for the eyes. The Festival is the only garden show in the world to bring together award-winning gardening luminaries from all around the globe under one roof. This year’s Festival showcased 31 masterpieces with countries such as Canada and Grenada making their debut appearance in Singapore. Over 250,000 tropical and temperate plants and 65,000 cut flowers were used for the show. To catch a glimpse of the exquisite displays, check their stunning videos on YouTube.

Floriade (September 15 – October 14)

Held every 10 years in Venlo, Holland. An improving mix of environmental message and traditional commercial horticulture you must go and experience the aromas wafting from the garden beds and beyond, from Saturday 15 September to Sunday 14 October. Floriade 2012 will provide the backdrop for spectacular entertainment, horticultural delights and a smorgasbord of activities for the whole family. Be intrigued by the garden bed designs; captivated by the artistic entertainment; fascinated with the engaging exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops; enjoy family time with fun kids’ activities and enchanted by the beautiful ambience of Floriade NightFest. This year a range of new and exciting events and activities will make Floriade the perfect springtime escape. Let Floriade 2012 program stimulate your senses with exciting demonstrations, activities, displays and events. Admire the endless possibilities of floral design and see the stunning display of creativity and colour when fashion and flowers come together. Be inspired by the garden presentations and the infinite possibilities for transforming your backyard. Families love time out and reconnecting with each other in Matilda’s Farmyard, great kids’ programs, gnome painting and amazing creatures at the Riveting Reptile exhibitions. Bring the family along to be enchanted by the magic of Floriade NightFest with spectacular lighting and enthralling entertainment for five spectacular nights.

Philadelphia International Flower Show (March 4 – 11)

Lazy Susan has been to a few furniture shows, but never a Gardening expo outside of Europe. If we did get the chance, this would be the one… This year’s theme is Hawaii, the scale is vast and outstanding horticulturists flock here from all over the United States. Against a backdrop of colorful leis, table orchids and hula dancers, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society kicked off the 2012 flower show this morning: “Hawaii: Islands of Aloha” opens to the public March 4 and runs till March 11 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Market Streets. This is a show like you’ve never seen before,” said PHS President Drew Becher, who outlined new features of the 183-year-old event, officially known as the Philadelphia International Flower Show, before an enthusiastic crowd on the 33d floor of the Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Center City. On entering the show, visitors will immediately experience motion graphics designed to simulate the ocean floor with waves crashing overhead. There will be a 25-foot (real) waterfall, thousands of orchids and other tropical plants, and four showcase exhibits depicting Hawaii cowboy culture, a destination beach wedding, “the hula as inspiration,” a fancy surfers’ retreat and a “rocky garden of the gods,” according to Sam Lemheney, the show’s designer. Dancers, musicians, and crafts people will be coming from Hawaii, although the hula dancers and musicians at today’s kickoff were from the Aloha Style dance troupe in Narberth. One of the dancers, Kimi Artita, a water resources engineer from Bryn Mawr, was born and raised in Hawaii. PHS has rejiggered the show’s floor plan for the first time since the event moved from the Civic Center in West Philadelphia to the Convention Center in 1996. This is expected to improve the flow of foot traffic, a perennial problem at the show. PHS has redesigned the Marketplace, grouping vendors by theme and reorienting the aisles to mirror the rest of the show. There also will be a new – free – flower show app; a 100-seat restaurant in the middle of the convention center; a 40-vendor Hawaii Village with native crafts and products, and a reality show-style floral design competition. Several new sponsors have signed on, Becher said, including Bank of America, U.S. Trust, Einstein Health Care Network, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Organic Gardening Magazine, and SugarHouse Casino. In 2011, PNC Bank ended a 20-year run as the show’s presenting sponsor, which was its main corporate support. It contributed more than $7 million during that time, a sum Becher has said he would make up with many smaller sponsorships. The casino’s role is bound to cause a buzz. It’s hosting a new “man cave,” a room where men (and women) can hang out and enjoy big-screen TVs, wide seats, viritual golf and games, and a bar. The Flower Show has been in existence since 1829, making it the oldest in the nation. It traditionally raises about $1 million for PHS’ greening programs, including City Harvest, this year’s primary beneficiary. Last year, attendance his 265,000, the highest total since 2002. Also in 2011, a study by KPMG, the audit and tax firm, estimated the show’s economic impact on the Philadelphia region at $61 million.

Landesgartenschau Nagold (April 27 – October 7)

Its fair to say that the Germans take gardening pretty seriously and this event is a must-see for anyone interested in new ideas about environmental design. I’m afraid this is the show we know the least about, but it has been highly recomended to us and Lazy Susan is planning to attend this year. Running from 27 April to 7 October 2012 the National Garden Show offers a wealth of horticultural and artistic attractions, all surrounded by more than 3,000 different events.

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (July 3 – 8)

What more can we say… The world famous RHS flower show, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is held in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. Probably the most prestigious gardening event in the world is organised by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). In the gorgeous grounds of Hampton Court Palace in London, the famous flower show will offer gardening advice and products in addition to wonderful show gardens. Expect organic food, healthy living and children’s gardening games at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in London: The perfect day out for all the family. Visitors to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show ’12 in London can also unwind and listen to music in one of the many dining areas. Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in London will feature a variety of show gardens, each with a special theme. Hampton Court Palace Flower Show ’12 in London will include an edible garden with everything you need to know about home-grown, a Festival of Roses, English Poet’s Gardens and a Swinging Sixties Fashion Floristry. Lazy Susan would recommend that anybody with even a small interest in gardening must visit Hampton Court Palace Flower Show at least once and learn about the best in gardening practices and healthy outdoor living.

Ideal Home Show (March 16 – April 1)

Having visited as a consumer and exhibited, we know what a fantastic all round show this truly is. For over 103 years the Ideal Home Show has been bringing ideas and inspiration to generations of British home owners and the show is back for 2012 at Earls Court London, with more features, more expert advice and more fun for all the family. From 16 March to 1 April 2012 this multi-award winning show will be bringing together more than 600 quality exhibitors from all over the UK to offer a unique shopping experience for all areas of the home, including ideal Interiors, ideal Home Improvements, ideal Gardens, ideal Gadgets, ideal Food, ideal Housewares, ideal Shopping and ideal Woman. Whether you are looking for inspiration for a home project, redecoration solutions or just a fantastic day out the Ideal Home Show 2012 has everything you need for you and your home all under one roof.

etc Garden, Homes & Lifestyle Show (March 10 – 11)

Go and indulge your interest for the finer things in life at etc Gardens, Homes & Lifestyle Show 2012. Take in the free live demonstrations and presentations offering practical tips and advice too. With the emphasis on quality and style, the exhibition will showcase a broad selection of lifestyle products and options, all conveniently arranged into themed areas. From stylish kitchens and striking interiors, to high quality garden furniture and the latest green products, there is something that is bound to capture your imagination attention. etc Gardens, Homes & Lifestyle Show is the place to be seen in 2012!

Interiors UK 2013 (Jan 22 – 25)

The UK’s largest trade interiors exhibition, Interiors UK is a unique opportunity for retailers, interior designers, architects and contractors to compare an array of inspiring products from more than 600 exhibitors, including big brands, international trend-setters, leading interiors manufacturers and suppliers and the stars of tomorrow. Covering furniture, lighting, flooring, soft furnishings and accessories from high-end to volume and traditional to modern for both the contract and home; Interiors UK 2012 will meet all your sourcing needs. Whether you are a retailer, contractor, interior designer or architect, they want their visitors to be inspired, invigorated and educated by their visit and to find the latest ideas and inspiration to enhance your business in the coming year. With over 600 exhibitors and over 26,000 visitors in 2012, Interiors UK is the definitive business interiors event for people passionate about design and sourcing great product. With an enviable reputation for over 25 years, the show celebrates all that is great about the industry:

  • The most important platform for product launches and new business
  • The largest gathering of UK independent retailers, with top buyers from multiples and over 6,500 contract buyers
  • An unparalleled networking and business opportunity for leading national and international buyers
  • The perfect sourcing platform for retailers, contract buyers, interior designers, property developers and architects
  • New products, trends, innovations and the ideas that drive business growth

The National Homebuilding & Renovation Show (March 29 – 1 April)

If your dreaming of a self-build or planning major home improvements? well, stop dreaming and start creating with The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show. The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show is the UK’s biggest, dedicated self-build & renovation event. This year it will be packed to the rafters with free expert advice, countless inspirational ideas and thousands of cutting edge and essential products – all to help you make the most of your home, your budget and your plans. In 2012 the show is 21 years old.  This means it will be even BIGGER, even BETTER and even more interactive. The show runs from the 29 March – 1 April 2012 and you will find:
  • Over 450 specialist companies – meet local & national specialists to get the best products at the best prices
  • Feature areas – from incredible inspiration in Inspiration on Demand  to practical demonstrations such as the Carpenter Oak Traditional Skills Showcase, find your dream and learn how to create it
  • Eco Home theatre – discover which sustainable energies are right for you and your home in these unmissable talks. Plus hear from Grant Shapps, Minister for Housing, talk at the show!
  • Construction Systems Showcase – explore and understand which construction systems are the best for you, in these life size Timber Frame, SIPSs and Oak Frame features
  • Four dedicated seminar and masterclass theatres – to tell you everything you need to know – and were perhaps afraid to ask!
  • Unbeatable expert advice: get free one to one consultations with impartial experts on any aspect of your project in The Advice Centre, The Planning Clinic and when you ‘Ask the Architects’.
  • The Eco Home Show – discover how to improve energy efficiency in your home to keep your heating – and your budget – where it should be!

Home 2013 (Jan 13 – 15)

There is no place like Home as they say… And at Home, the homewares and interior accessories trade event that the UK has been waiting for, launched alongside Top Drawer earlier this year, they drew in an impressive cumulative 14,000 visitors. Home, takes place in Earls Court Two, London, and they aim to present the definitive collection of new home and interiors products from the world’s leading brands, all curated in a beautifully designed environment.The high quality, directional content at Home created the perfect atmosphere which buzzed with activity, confirming that this new event is now firmly positioned on the European interiors calendar. Key retailers, interior designers, hotels, bars and property developers were attracted to the most exciting new trade event in 2012, placing lucrative orders and commissions with the exhibitors. Leading international retailers such as Mitsukoshi & Takashimaya from Japan, Lane Crawford of Hong Kong, Amazon USA, La Rinascente of Italy, and Beymen of Turkey were all in attendance, further strengthening Home’s position on the global scene. The UK’s leading retailers also fill the aisles to snap up the latest products, spot trends, unearth emerging talent and discover forward-thinking design from over 180 lauded UK and international brands. The Home visitor list read as a who’s-who of retail including John Lewis, Harrods, Utility, Selfridges, Divertimenti, Kitchen Kapers, Lakeland, Steamer Trading, Fortnum & Mason, Avoca, Heals, Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, Laura Ashley, Amazon and Liberty. Key upcoming trends were in evidence at Home which saw a strong contingent of Scandinavian exhibitors showcasing the best of Nordic design; our homegrown talents flying the flag for innovative British design including beautiful painterly textiles and a range from our new generation of ceramicists. Elsewhere, there was much evidence that mid-century modern and retro was to be an important trend for yet another buying season; while there remained a sense of nostalgia about much of the merchandise shown at Home with familiar everyday homeware items being reinvented for a modern generation. Work is already underway for an even bigger, more exciting Home 2013. There is no doubt that London now has itself an innovative, exciting new trade show: one that has firmly earned itself a place on the European trade show calendar.

The Manchester Furniture Show (July 15 – 18)

The countdown to the 2012 Manchester Furniture Show has begun! Renowned as the industry’s ‘friendliest’ and longest established trade show, exhibitor bookings are well underway with many industry favourites returning for another year. With so much for retailers to see and timing that is perfect for orders placed to hit shop floors in time for the crucial Autumn/Winter trading months, can you afford not to be a part of this annual event! The Manchester Furniture Show is looking forward to another successful year at Manchester Central Convention Complex, with well over half the exhibition space already booked by leading furniture companies. The show, which has a three year tenancy with Manchester Central, will take place between 15th-18th July 2012. This year’s event is set to be bigger and better than ever, showcasing some of the industry’s leading businesses all under one roof, giving buyers the opportunity to spend quality time with many different suppliers without spending days away from their stores. The show is welcoming back many well-known exhibitors including Willis & Gambier, Morris Group, Corndell Furniture, Buoyant Upholstery, BM Furniture, TCH Furniture, Kettle Interiors, Seconique, Value Mark, Vogue Beds, Wimex and TCS. Laraine Janes, Director at The Manchester Furniture Show, says: “We look forward to welcoming back lots of our regular exhibitors this year, plus plenty of new faces as well. We’re continuing to see a strong demand for space and we are excited about another successful year at Manchester Central. “We are already in discussions with the venue about 2014 and beyond, and look forward to working with the event managers to continue to take the show from strength to strength.” Paula Lorimer, Sales Director and Deputy CEO of Manchester Central, said: “We are delighted to have a long term deal in place with The Manchester Furniture Show, an event that has continued to prosper at the venue, even during a tough economic climate. “The organisers always pull out all the stops to deliver not only a great show for visitors, but also exhibitors. Manchester Central has had the privilege of hosting The Manchester Furniture Show for over 15 years and we are looking forward to working with the organisers well into the future.”

The Summer Outdoor Living Exhibition from LOFA (July 16 – 18)

Bit of a clash with the above, but we’ll figure away around that… The trade show for LOFA members is called SOLEX, and it is trade show specifically designed for all buyers of garden furniture and barbecues. It is not open to the public and, unless absolutely necessary, is only for adults. The original announcement was made at a press launch to Trade Press at the Goring Hotel on Monday 2nd July 2007 and the first SOLEX show took place on July 6th to July 8th 2008 and acclaimed a success by the industry. The fifth SOLEX show promises to be even better building on the first three successful shows with more exhibition space in a brand new hall, new exciting developments and more exhibitors but retaining the relaxed but business-like atmosphere. SOLEX is taking place at the Telford International Centre and will occupy the whole of the International Centre is open for three days – Monday 16th July, 2012 9am to 5:30pm, Tuesday 6th July 9am to 5:30pm and Wednesday 18th July 9am to 5pm and this year the organizers are expecting about 3000 visitors over the 3 days. If you are interested, then registration couldn’t be simpler; it can be done online – just click on the register now links or click on the register/logo icon in the top menu and follow the easy to enter details. You will be given an unique registration number (URN) and you will receive automatically a badge for entry two weeks before the show, or just bring your URN to the show and you will be registered at the show. They will notify you of any developments on the show as and when they occur.

Spring Fair International ( February 3 – 7 2013)

At the Spring Fair you will See 3,000 UK and international suppliers, including the biggest and best of British design. Spring Fair is Europe’s largest gift & home accessories show. Visitors will have the opportunity to:

  • Source from over 300,000 new product launches across the show
  • Purchase design-led products from British and international brands
  • Discover the latest trends and compare products from thousands of suppliers

In recent years the Spring Fair has been transformed to help you shop the show more easily. This year we’ve also introduced three new halls of product. The new show layout has been designed to make a more concentrated offer of product in each sector. An increased emphasis has been placed on your comfort, including more seating, free water points and wide boulevards to help you navigate the show more easily. Take a look at the floorplan on their website to see which sectors have changed halls and note where your favourite suppliers will be found. The Spring Fair 2012 offered an inspirational selection of new and returning feature areas designed to help guide your buying decisions. Feature areas are interactive zones around the show, giving you access to exclusively edited product selections, live demonstrations, catwalks and displays.

The ARC Show (February 29 – March 1)

The ARC Show brings together the entire spectrum of lighting disciplines for two days of sourcing, networking and celebrating, whether you are involved in lighting projects within the public and local authority sectors, or the creation of world leading retail environments. The ARC Show is organised in partnership with the leading industry publication, Mondo*arc, and attracts support from a multitude of specialist titles and associations. Entry is free provided you register online before the event, otherwise an onsite fee is required. And for the first time the ARC show will also incorporate Design PRIMA, the only design-led, commercial environment exhibition linking manufacturers and suppliers, with architects, Interior designers, facilities managers and retailers. Design Prima showcases the latest designs in office furniture, lighting, flooring, textiles, architectural fixtures and fittings and surfaces available both in the UK and internationally. Hundreds of new products and designs will go on show at this year’s ARC Show, London’s most respected and established lighting show, dedicated to the global architectural, retail and commercial lighting industry. Lazy Susan is really looking forward to seeing the The ARC Show Innovation Centre later this week. It is being billed as a “beautifully built area dedicated to only the best in ground breaking design and technology, the ARC Innovation Awards Centre will be your source for recommended industry excellence”. Winners and featuring designs will be chosen by a host of acclaimed names including; Kevin Theobald – Lighting Designer and IALD President Elect, James Dilley – associate director of Jestico & Whiles and David Morgan – Product Designer. Truly great lighting products have always been about the perfect combination of technology and design. With this need higher now more than ever, see names furthering anticipated technological innovation.

100% Design (September 19 – 22 at Earls Court)

Looking for the latest design-led products for residential, commercial or retail applications? In search of inspiration? Dreaming of a one-stop-shop for industry professionals and design lovers? As a trade show, 100% Design is visited predominantly by interior designers, architects, retailers and property developers wishing to meet contemporary interior design manufacturers (exhibitors). The show is also open to students (Saturday and Sunday) and the general public (Sunday only). With a new director and new owners, 100% Design is getting a new format this year. Visitors will have more reason than ever to stick around with four design shows in one – and a Michelin starred chef on hand. 100% Design is the UK’s foremost interiors event for the contract, hospitality and residential markets. As the heart of the show, it attracts architects, interior designers and industry insiders with its array of new and innovative furniture, lighting, textiles and interior fixtures and fittings. 100% Design is the place to come to seek out original, new designs from an exciting mix of emerging and established talent. 100% Design is a high-profile event with a global reach. In 2010 over 1,300 members of the press visited from the UK, Europe, and places as far-flung as US, China, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa. Over 400 articles about the show were generated in the UK alone, half of which were preview pieces that came out before the event. The overall PR reach exceeded 72.5 million in 2010 for a campaign value of over £4.25 million.

Glee (September 17 – 19 at NEC Birmingham)

Glee is a show that’s designed to make your business grow. Go and discover the latest trends, new products on the market and a wealth of innovative and inspirational ideas for the year ahead. Glee provides a platform for the industry’s buyers and sellers to meet, network with each other, share product ideas, the latest innovations and future plans to drive the industry forward. Glee 2011 attracted 11,149 (ABC audited) visitors over the 3 show days and over 670 exhibitors, maintaining a high penetration into the UK garden centre market and an exceptional calibre of attendee. If you are interested in being part of next year’s show, contact a member of the team today and understand how we can help you target the right people. Glee 2011 facts:

  • 70% market penetration into the UK garden centre market
  • 31% of visitors had buying power of up to £1million
  • 70% of visitors have direct buying power

Designed to provide you with the products, ideas and guidance you need to help your business grow, at Glee 2012 we are committed to being your show with your business growth at the heart. New for 2012 are – Guided Tours, Workshops, a 7 Trend Tunnel, Shop Window and a Buyers Guide.

The Edible Garden Show 2012 (March 16 – 18 at Stonleigh Park, Coventry)

If we go, this will be a bit of a new one for us, but we really like the sound of this show…  The Edible Garden Show re busy planning for another fantastic show. The event is home to celebrity gardeners, chefs, experts and a fantastic range of exhibitors offering our favourite gardening products along with new and exciting products to the market, all available to buy whether you are a seasoned expert or just getting started. For three fantastic days at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire come along and see, try and buy the latest products, get tips and advice from our resident experts, watch some of our great demonstrations, get involved in potting and planting or just relax and enjoy the show. From Experts Theatre, Cookery Theatre and our Potting Shed to our Small Holding Marquee, if you are interested in growing or rearing your own this is the show for you. Everything you need – seeds, compost and machinery through to chickens, sheds, polytunnels and greenhouses. Wormeries, tools, bee hives, plants and so much more. All this and fabulous inspiration from some of the best British food producers who will inspire with their great produce. From your kitchen garden or allotment to plate we will inspire you with our demos on how to get the best from you produce or get you started…

About Lazy Susan

About Lazy Susan

Lazy Susan is a small family business that specialise exclusively in wicker, rattan and metal garden furniture, specifically cast aluminium. Visit to find out more and view our complete product range.

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