I think its fair to say that after taking a bit of a hit when the UK’s housing market started to slump, the gardening industry appears to be fighting back with a bumper crop of new gadgets, garden furniture and designer plants.
For example, as longtime gardeners, at Lazy Susan, we know how much work it can take to keep flowers blooming and keep your space on trend. So when we heard about Hozelock’s Irrigation & Garden Watering System, it is fair to say we were pretty excited to try it out, even if it did cost a small fortune.
After all, it promised to give each zone of the Lazy Susan garden exactly the right amount of water, automatically adjusted depending on the weather.
This fantastic system takes water from the tap to your plants using a simple network of narrow pipes and outlets hidden in the Lazy Susan garden. It can be controlled manually or by a timer and it takes all the work out of watering.
It waters your plants properly all through the season, even if you are away. Trust us when we say, if you’re looking for a simple system to water your container plants when you are away on holiday or a sophisticated system to water your entire garden, you’ll find that an automatic watering system helps you manage your garden much more easily, allowing you to spend more time doing the things you want, rather than the things you have to.
Anyway, I got off track there a little with the introduction to this post, but it was our new Hozelock Watering System that got me thinking about the plethora of gardening ‘gadgets’ that are on the market. The garden sector is really starting to embrace technology.
In the UK we’ve come to expect the inside of our homes to be crammed with cutting-edge technology like 3D HD TVs and Wi-Fi Connectivity, but when it comes to our gardens, most people are still relying on innovations that predate the wheel. However, I’m sure that the summer of 2011 will change all that.
The garden center industry has been quick to cultivate a fresh crop of garden gadgets, designed to keep us Brit’s funneling money into our outdoor plots.
Irrigation and watering system are just the start and savvy gardeners can now find everything from a £250 portable mini-greenhouses to sensors that send a Twitter message to your phone when a plant needs a little water, there are even plant ID tags that, when scanned with your iPhone will bring up a website devoted to that specific plant.
But perhaps the biggest shifts in gardening in recent years has to be the rise of what has been dubbed as Flowers 2.0. It seems we’re not satisfied with what mother nature has given us, plant companies are now increasingly tinkering with their product, hoping to engineer that perfect-every-time bloom.
Among the most hyped additions is the Bloomerang, a lilac that will flower several times a year, and the £30 Blue Mystique, an orchid that gets its unusual hue from a process so closely guarded that the breeder refuses to explain it, citing ‘patent and trademark’ reasons.
These new blooms have been designed to specifically cater to trend-conscious consumers who want their garden as House & Garden photo shoot ready as their living rooms. Basically, we are seeing a big shift in the UK to what can only be described as ‘exterior decorating’.
Garden spending, which usually tracks the UK housing market, dropped during the downturn and as a result it was estimated that garden center sales were down by around 5% in 2010. And that was on the back of two consecutive years of 8% drops.
In an attempt to address this slump, plant sellers are starting to get creative, a trend that Lazy Susan could see in full bloom at last month’s Chelsea Flower Show. For the serious gardener, ignoring the siren call of these new and unusual plants is pretty much impossible.
Of course, having the most up-to-date garden on the street doesn’t come cheap. You can typically expect to pay about 20 percent more for designer brand-name plants on top of the premium that’s already added onto new varieties. That’s if you can even find them as the newest plants can often take years to make it into local garden centre.
The move to bring more gadgets into the garden reflects a wider industry push to help reduce the reliance on the elusive ‘green thumb’ factor. After all, if people are more confident that their gardens will thrive, they’re more likely to invest in them.
After all, anything that can help you become a better gardener and give you that little extra help in achieving the perfect garden has got to be worth the investment.