From the greening of horticulture to diversity in writers, 2020 looks bright
Every year, the Garden Press Event takes place at the end of February/beginning of March, so members of the gardening press can meet up and horticultural companies can show off their latest wares.
Held at the Business Design Centre in London, it’s a date in the calendar I always look forward to, even if my back and arms don’t, as a lot of things come home to trial.
That’s the point – writers get to test new products and then we publicise them, so gardeners can make informed choices.
It occurred to me yesterday how much has changed in the last six years since I started to go. The biggest, and most heartening development, is how the vast majority of horticultural companies are putting real effort into producing greener, organic, more eco-friendly products. This is now the norm, not the exception.
Recycling’s the name of the game
Black plastic pots were hard to find (you can’t recycle them), packaging was recyclable and mostly brown paper. Huge amounts of paper were wasted in catalogues and press releases. While these still do exist, most companies send information by email or on a USB memory stick.
Another swing has been in the diversity of the members of the press themselves. Six years ago, I was still a print journalist with a new website done in my spare time. I felt I didn’t belong among the ‘great and the good’ of TV and the national press.
Now, my website/blog/copywriting is how I earn a living, with my newspaper columns falling victim to the contraction of print journalism.
Instead of regional gardening columns, readers are now fed a generic column, which offers the same advice to people from Portsmouth to Scotland. As we all know, real-life gardening’s not the same even in towns just 20 miles apart!
Bloggers: filling the vacuum left by regional newspapers
That’s where the dedicated army of bloggers come in to fill the vacuum – whether they are writers who garden or gardeners who write really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you can get accurate, LOCAL information from a range of garden lovers that’s relevant to you.
Bloggers work extremely hard often with very little reward. It’s a real labour of love and it can be quite isolating when you’re working on your own. That’s another reason why the Garden Press Event is so vital to get information out there to gardeners.
Of course, the national glossy magazines still have a major role to play (who doesn’t love opening the new issue of their favourite) but it’s very much a complementary one with bloggers and social media influencers.
Watch out for my posts over the next few weeks about new plants, products and trials and let’s give our UK horticultural industry the backing to be greener and to succeed in these troubled times.