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No Business Like Show Business

No Business Like Show Business
Posted on 05/10/10 | Posted by The Fat Gardener

For the last few weeks I have been spending much of my time in the car. No, I haven't been forced by the economic downturn to become a minicab driver, rather as September is the most popular month for trade shows I have been driving up and down the motorways in search of new and exciting garden products.

The IOG Saltex exhibition takes place at Windsor Racecourse and is a 'must' for all power tool fans. All the big garden power tools manufacturers attend including John Deere, Toro, Hayter, Mountfield, Echo, Honda, Stihl and Husqvarna, as well as hand tool manufacturers like Bulldog Tools. Not only are the garden tools on display, but many are available for demonstration (or to play with!). The show is great, but if you are going to attend this one make sure you have your walking boots (especially fat gardeners).

Unlike the IOG show which is aimed at grounds men, GLEE at the NEC Birmingham is for the trade only. The show is divided into 3 main halls including Hall 5 which is mainly devoted to gardening tools, accessories and equipment. Those attending include: Bulldog Tools (again!), Fiskars, Town & Country, Haws, Nutscene, Briers Gloves, Kärcher, Spear & Jackson, Flymo and Burgon & Ball. Although there are many reputable manufacturers at the show, I was often disappointed to see how many poor quality Chinese products were available. It is nice to see the latest products and innovations for the coming season on display, but I would like to see a lot less shoddy, luminous plastic and a few more garden tools and accessories built to last. This is the show where the powerful in the industry mix, where the garden media rub shoulders with the buyers and owners of big garden centres and diy superstores (plus a few unimportant bloggers!).

The APF exhibition at Cannock Chase is aimed at workers from the forestry, arboriculture and woodland industries. Although it is attended by 20,000 visitors and 250 exhibitors this show is very difficult to find - it is literally in the middle of a forest. The show has a mix of static and demonstration stands and brands include Silky Saws, ARS, Makita, Niwaki, Timberking, Stumpbusters, Husqvarna and Stihl. It is a well run show, but it is open air and covers acres of land, so walking boots and waterproofs are a must. Silky Saws have a great stand with all their models on display and knock down prices on T shirts, caps and beanies and Stihl run displays and chainsaw competitions on a large stage.

All the shows are worth a visit, particularly if (like me) you love garden tools! It is not always easy to get tickets, but online booking has made this much easier and remember always wear comfortable shoes!

You can visit the IOG Saltex website here:
You can visit the GLEE website here:
You can visit the APF website here:

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