The HTA Bedding Plants Group has re-named itself the HTA Seasonal Plants Group, in order to better reflect its product range to a younger generation of gardeners.
The decision came about at the HTA's last meeting held at RHS Wisley in July. The HTA said it was important to appeal to younger gardeners in the light of the work it is doing with the RHS this autumn and beyond, to promote seasonal colour to consumers.
The group is wholly supportive of the new initiative to work with the RHS to provide displays of seasonal plants in the four RHS gardens and plant centres in autumn 2012 as well as summer and autumn 2013. Tying in with the HTA Plan it, Plant it this Autumn
PR campaign, the initiative is part of an ongoing and long term relationship to achieve co-ordinated messages across the gardening industry and to consumers.
Regarding the state of trade, growers reported that following a promising start the season had finished very tough for finished plant growers. The cool and wet weather had significantly reduced the uptake of top up orders from retailers as well as made it difficult to bring plants into flower - and as a result there had been a lot of wastage. It was felt that the medium sized growers had been hardest hit as many still had stock on the floor that they were unable to sell to retailers.
The group felt that consumers had not missed 'Impatiens walleriana' (busy lizzies
) with so many alternatives available and had experienced increased demand for Begonia semperflorens in particular. Although it was acknowledged that this was not the best season to judge the overall impact.
The group added: "Sales of 'grow your own' products have also suffered this season and despite concern that those consumers that had invested this year may experience poor results it was felt that this was still an area to continue to focus on. There is a need to make GYO stick and keep up the momentum of enthusiasm for gardening."
Looking ahead to autumn and spring 2012 the group conveyed a cautiously positive view. With some new innovative products coming through from the young plant suppliers that appeared to be in demand and finished plant growers securing reserve orders from retailers on a par with last year.
Chair of the HTA Seasonal Plants Group, Charmay Ball said: "Undoubtedly it has been a tough year for growers not only with the weather but with the underlying economic issues providing additional concern. Consumers will still be looking for seasonal colour in their gardens though and through initiatives such as the one we are developing with the RHS, which potentially will highlight seasonal plants to some 1.4 million gardeners, there are still plenty of opportunities ahead."
"Regarding the change of name to 'Seasonal Plants' we would encourage the whole supply chain to adopt the new terminology that better describes our products and the benefits of them."