Glee 2016: Garden décor & gifts market trends

Hum zen botanics -smlA thriving part of garden retailing, garden décor and gifts has witness significant growth in recent years. In 2015 alone, over 50% of Glee’s attendees visited with a primary interest in sourcing decorative accessories, gifts and homeware products. This year is set to be no different as Glee’s dedicated Home, Gift & Clothing sector represents one of the strongest areas of growth at the show in 2016, with growth of 70% year-on-year. Here, Glee looks at some of the latest trends in garden décor and gifts, and how Glee exhibitors will be showcasing these trends come September’s show. 

There is an abundance of key outdoor design trends and predictions for 2016, as more consumers embrace a love for their own outdoor space. It’s not just about which type of decking or pagoda to choose from, but rather what colours and materials will compliment them to make them homelier? Living space, both external and internal, is becoming more of a leisurely retreat from the daily grind and we’re looking to feather our nests as much in the garden as the living room; ‘outdoor’ is the new indoor.

In the container market, anything in copper and brass will be surely sought after, thanks to their scientific properties to fend off garden pests.

The ‘next big thing’ is tipped to be fully upholstered exterior sofas. But not just any old upholstered sofas of course; hydro-draining cushions need to play their part, especially with the unpredictable but often soggy UK climate. This will save the rather tedious and irksome task of having to store all exterior cushions every time it rains.

Another one to watch is exterior rugs – this is to create the feeling of rooms within a garden space and give softness to any space. Customers will also find inspiration in the insertion of a panel of timber decking within a stone terrace so that the deck will look like an in-set rug to which a dining table or a seating arrangement can be placed onto.

Forecast to appear at the top of the list of must-haves is re-cycled timber cladding, as it will be available in a wide range of types and colours; plus, the introduction of fascia natural stone panels in varying designs and colours to suit many different garden schemes.

There have also been revealing insights in a recent online survey1 about how consumers buy pots for plants, providing a snapshot into customers’ buying criteria. ‘New and unusual designs’ was the quality that 67% of respondents said they look for when buying flower pots, scoring higher than anything else. The quality of the product came a very close second at 66%, followed by price in third place at 51%. This reinforces the need to continually refresh and develop product ranges to connect with consumers and stand out in this market sector.


Begonias, Petunias and Japanese Acers were popular among those who had a particular plant in mind, or already owned the plant, so a matching pot in the correct size with a complementary design is important.  43% said they look for pots in colours and styles that match the plant, and/or the other pots they already have, and 33% focus on the size. As well as colour and design, a significant number of people look for durable, frost-free pots with good drainage and not too heavy.

Online search statistics show that researching and buying plant pots online is on the increase. In the same survey, 26% of respondents said they bought planters online, and this isn’t just a younger generation – the majority of participants were aged between 45-64. The survey results also showed that most of us buy our plant pots in garden centres, but a substantial 64% also pick up plant pots elsewhere, from supermarkets, online, in high street shops and at markets, a reflection of how diverse the market now is.


Seedball: Cultivating entrepreneurship

As scientists at the University of Aberdeen, Ana Attlee and Emily Lambert met as students researching, respectively, conservation and systems biology. After taking part in Environment YES (Youth Enterprise Scheme) in 2010, they gained new skills, insights and the confidence to begin

developing a new business. In 2012 Seedball was launched, a wildflower gardening product that

helps to improve habitats for pollinators, with all profits from sales invested in social enterprise Project Maya. Seedball also has environmental benefits; ingredients are natural and peat-free, with tins manufactured locally using renewable energy. It is now stocked by over 150 retailers in Britain and across mainland Europe, including Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland; online sales are also thriving.

Florelle: Perennial inspiration  

There are no two ways about it: to create a beautiful garden takes time not every consumer has. Luckily, Florelle Import Company has come up with a collection of nature inspired artificial flowers, plants and trees that look realistic and means spending less time pruning, sowing and watering to provide a colourful, resplendent garden all year round, regardless of the climate. Florelle will be attending this year’s show on stand D11, Hall 19.


Abacus showcases BBC Springwatch & Countryfile ranges

In line with the increase in greetings cards sales in garden centres over the past couple of years, Abacus Cards will be showcasing its bespoke card retailing solution for garden centres at Glee 2016 for the first time.  Having supplied garden centres for many years, the greeting card publisher has a sound understanding of the industry’s specific card retailing needs and has devised Blueprint as a retailing solution specifically for garden centre customers.  Providing a real alternative to the brokerage route, the Blueprint concept offers tailor-made display stands, independent planning, regular first-class merchandising as well as an opportunity to incorporate designs from other publishers.

In addition, the company will also be promoting its exclusive greeting card ranges inspired by the BBC TV programmes Countryfile and Springwatch.  Perfect for the garden centre target customer, these two photographic ranges celebrate British wildlife and countryside; and can be displayed together on a full face, 56 pocket spinner that comes complete with a Countryfile / Springwatch branded header.

Gorgeous gardening giftware from Burgon & Ball

Burgon and Ball Creaturewares range

Gifting presents a huge opportunity for the garden sector. Gardening is an artistic, creative hobby that offers lots of scope to work with beautiful designs. What’s more, gardeners will always welcome a gardening gift, either of a practical nature, or perhaps an item with a gardening motif which can be used even when time and weather doesn’t allow for actually getting out into the garden – it’s the next best thing!

This year’s Glee Burgon & Ball will be launching several ranges of gorgeous giftware, including a whole new collection of our classic RHS Gifts for gardeners. The new range features beautiful birds set amidst elegant greenery, and takes inspiration once again from the RHS Lindley Library of historic botanic art. We also have a Creatures Takeover, as the bright and colourful animal characters from our popular Creaturewares range pop up in all sorts of places… there’s something there for everyone.

Visitors to stand 19C26-E27 at this year’s show will also be able to see new additions to the popular ‘Creaturewares’ gift range, ideally timed for the Christmas 2016 gifting season.

Trend focus with Hum Flowerpots

Revealing insights have just been provided by an online survey about how we buy pots for plants. Carried out by Hum, a new British flowerpot manufacturer, the survey results give a snapshot of consumers’ views.

‘New and unusual designs’ was the quality that 68% of respondents rated higher than anything else when buying flower pots. The quality of the product came a very close second at 66.2%, followed by price in third place at 51%. This reinforces the need to continually refresh and develop product ranges to connect with consumers and stand out in this sector.

43% said they look for pots in colours and styles that match the plant, and/or the other pots they already have, and 33% focus on the size. As well as colour and design, a significant number of people look for durable, frost-free pots with good drainage and not too heavy.

“The survey proved very revealing and it exposed some interesting trends,” says Lara Kelly of Hum Partnership. “Probably most striking was the interest in non-traditional designs and colours. We also included some open questions which gave us insights into what motivates and inspires consumers as well as how they select a planter.  All this helps us to understand our customers, refine our product development and marketing strategy and give our retail partners the products and market support they need.” she added. The survey was designed and carried out with the help of Nick Niziolomski of The Results Business Academy.

Hum Partnership has developed a high quality plastic planter which comes in a range of bold, colourful patterns and is fade-resistant and frost free. Hum Flowerpots are made in the UK and stocked by garden, home and gift retailers in the UK and Europe. See the website at, and see them at Glee 2016 at the NEC, Birmingham (stand 20F36).

Find out more

Glee is the UK’s leading garden retail show, focusing on building year-round profits for buyers and suppliers within the core gardening, outdoor living and landscaping product categories.  To keep up-to-date on the latest Glee news visit  To enquire about exhibiting at Glee 2016 call 020 3033 2160.

1 Source: Hum Flowerpots / The Results Business Academy


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