The trade show season for 2018 is gearing up and promises to be a lucrative time for garden centre traders, with sales to make and people to meet. Here, we look at a selection of the big trade shows and highlight the speakers and exhibitors which we think are must-sees. We at Garden Trade Specialist also look forward to meeting you at some of the shows!

Trade Shows

Solex, July 10 -13, NEC Birmingham

See the latest trends and innovations in outdoor living at this year's SOLEX exhibition. Organisers promise that Solex will be bigger, better and more enticing than ever before, adding, “Visit us to see the latest designs in garden furniture, barbecues, outdoor lighting, parasols, gazebos and outdoor play equipment."

Watch out for: The Alfresco Chef, offering ovens and grills from brands including Traeger, who make this pork-tastic pink pig grill. Not to be outdone, Outback International have made a patio heater called the Flame Tower which is an impressive way to heat and light the garden. And Barlow Tyrie is a family business that has been making outdoor furniture since 1920, and their designs combine contemporary design with excellent workmanship. 

Autumn Fair, September 2 to 5, NEC Birmingham

Perfectly timed for short orders and Christmas, Autumn Fair is the ideal place for retailers and buyers to find new brands and the latest products from thousands of suppliers. The event will give you “loads of fresh inspiration” for the season ahead.

Watch out for: Addison Ross, a British company specialising in luxury photo frames, clocks and home fragrance. The designs are fresh and sleek, which customers are bound to appreciate. GetRetro sells products related to science-fiction, fantasy, cult genres, and classic TV and movie brands for those hard-to-buy-for people. 

Trade Shows

Spoga + Gafa, September 2 to 4, Cologne, Germany

spoga+gafa is billed as the number one event worldwide among the garden fairs. With out-of-the-box thinking on a global scale, the focus here is on the state of affairs in the worldwide trade, the big names in industry and exciting newcomers. Organisers say, “Over 2,000 exhibitors from all over the world begin their success stories, set trends and trigger off the decisive developments of the coming months at spoga+gafa. The trade fair is the place-to-be and a clear must-attend event for all those, who want to celebrate success in the garden industry.”

Watch out for: Networking opportunities through the platform Matchmaking365 – gain valuable business contacts as a trade visitor, benefit from precise information, attractive offers and schedule your meetings for the trade fair from your desk or via the mobile app. Bestway Inflatables & Material Corp, producer of the sought-after Lay-Z-Spa and above-ground pools, will be exhibiting.  

Four Oaks, Sep 4 and 5, Macclesfield, Cheshire 

Four Oaks – the commercial horticultural show now in its 48th year – takes place on a 23-acre nursery site. Event planners say, “The last decade has brought a steady growth to the nursery sector, specifically specimen plants and mature stock from across Europe. Massive displays of plant material form the heart of the show, with associated supplies and services from production to point-of-sale. Over 40% of participating companies will be from overseas.” 

Watch out for: The Christmas Cabin – sorry for using the “C” word but as we all know, preparations begin early in the trade. This retailer offers everything you need for your Christmas tree displays, from water-holding stands to pallets used for transporting bulk supplies straight from the field. Zest 4 Leisure uses FSC-certified timber for its garden furniture, fencing and outdoor living products and its gazebos really are something to cherish.

Trade Shows

Glee, September 10 to 12, NEC Birmingham

Glee showcases the freshest and most exciting brands, amazing new products and inspiring garden retail insights. With sections including landscaping and garden decoration, outdoor entertainment and home, gift and clothing, Glee has it covered. Bring your comfy shoes because you will be walking for miles to fit everything in!

Watch out for: Neat Ideas, who offer innovative products such as the Aqua Globes pictured, as well as clever, high-tech in-store media promotion. Yorkshire Flowerpots are manufacturers of a British-made, guaranteed frost-proof range of planters and their solid designs offer customers longevity.

The Landscape Show, September 18 to 19, Battersea Park, London

“From country homes to city apartments, from urban lofts and public spaces to luxury hotels... the indoor-outdoor phenomenon affects all types of living spaces,” say show planners. From weatherproof rugs to outdoor kitchens, this trade event is dedicated to garden designers, landscape architects and contractors and features high-end projects to drool over.

Watch out for: Speakers including Sarah Morgan from the Society of Garden Designers, and Peter Heath – architect and town planner from Atkins Global. And don’t forget visitors are learning along the way. Expand your knowledge by attending the free CPD-accredited seminar sessions.

PATS, September 23 to 24, Telford

This pet trade event showcases thousands of products and over 300 brands and companies all under one roof. Running since 2009, the event has grown to attract over 4,000 retailers.

Watch out for: Different Dog, bringing the first home-cooked frozen dog food to the UK retail market for the pooch with the picky palate. And since 1976 Kong have been making toys which boast quality, durability, safety, and value and are recommended by veterinarians, trainers and behaviourists worldwide. Their teeth-cleaning models are a must for canines.

Trade shows