Last thursday I emerged from my winter hibernation long enough to visit the Garden Press Event at the Barbican. It was as much to get out and see people and prove I was still alive after the winter gloom as anything else, although I have been a little jealous of those attending the event in the past when it was held at the RHS London Halls. No such delightful venue this year - the Barbican has all the charm of a multi-storey car park
Despite the sterility of the venue those attending or displaying were full of good cheer and surrounded by the latest glossy products from the garden industry, it at last felt like the garden year was off to a start.
I wandered around with the Bedsock for a while before he scurried off to investigate the joys of the nearby Spitalfields area (or more accurately to treat himself to a nice lunch at a St. John's Bread and Wine Restaurant). Then I met Michelle (Veg-Plotting) for a chat and catch-up on gardening goings-on. Lunch-wise the Bedsock got by far the better deal - although mine was free, it was a slightly weird chicken in cream sauce, reminiscent of what I would imagine school-dinners to have been had anyone ever forced me to eat one. Even more reminiscent of school was the very, very, slight tinge of Jeyes Cleaning fluid wafting in the air. Jeyes had kindly sponsored the event but perhaps their stand wasn't best placed right next to the eating area. I didn't let this stop me accepting a freebie bottle of Jeyes to join the rest of the goodies in my stash bag though.
And this is where I come to the main point of the event - YOU GET GOODIES!! Yes, lots of freebies from all sorts of stands. Who knew? Everyone but me apparently! The Bedsock and I had been slightly surprised and pleased when the Thomson and Morgan man had said "Help yourself to seed packets" - so surprised that we had failed to take full advantage and just picked out some radish seeds! Over lunch my companions had explained the set-up to me, so I joined the grab-a-goody-gang with gusto!
Here is my haul!
The best of these are are the Backdoor Shoes at the front of the table. I don't, in general, use my blog to promote stuff but I'm quite happy to write about these because they are FAB! The Backdoor shoe people had sent attendees an email prior to the event publicising these shoes and when I showed the Bedsock he immediately said I MUST buy myself some as he was "fed up with you leaving those nasty old sandals by the back door and watching you tread the back of your shoes down when you've just slipped them on to chase the cats around.. blah.. blah...cont. p. 94". Whilst I tuned the Bedsock's telling off out, the idea of dedicated Backdoor shoes was actually very sensible and I resolved to look out for them. You can imagine how pleased I was when the nice lady gave me a free pair and I could chose my own pattern. I went for these with the vegetable design on them.
|Spook and my Backdoor shoes|
They are waterproof, washable and "made from rubber so they will not crack or perish." Not that I read the blurb - they looked useful and pretty and will stop me treading on slugs or cat vom in my bare feet when I need to quickly rush out and save some poor frog from my evil cat's paws! Now all I need is Frontdoor shoes for when I put the bin bags out.
Next on my list of goodies was a mini-hose reel from Hozelock. I confess I had heard they were giving them away so hung around the stand looking needy and burbling on about wanting one to run from the waterbutt I plan for my greenhouse (what a shame Gabriel Ash isn't giving away their fabulous waterbutts to match my greenhouse!). Anyway I think this could well be very useful to me.
The nice man on the Bubba stand gave us some flashy insulated travel mugs from their range - the Bedsock uses these all the time to keep his coffee warm when driving on his long commute to work.
I couldn't resist the Big Cheese goody bag although we don't have rodents (yet) there were various moth repellent bits in it which will be useful. And what's not to want about a Big Cheese hat?
The jolly chatty man on the stand promoting the "Stratford upon-Avon Home and Garden Show 18th-20th July 2014" deserves a mention as he said they like bloggers! Also he said that this show was promoting quality and uniqueness amongst its exhibitors so you won't have to walk past miles of garden tat to find the nice things you want. It's at Alscot Park.
Suttons seeds have produced what they call a 'windowsill allotment' of different microgreens all packaged up ready to sow with trays and growing mats. Although not for the more serious veg grower, these were very attractively packaged and would make a great little kit for kids to start growing - or indeed anyone without a garden or short on space. They had various packs, I chose Rainbow Bright and Twinkle Tendrils cos I liked the names.
I ended up with two bags of Gorrilla glue goodies as the Bedsock had been given one too. I've already thought of a use for one of the glues to fix some wooden stops onto my knicker-drawer as I'm scared Hebe (cat) will pull the drawer right out on top of herself when she drags it open with her claws. (see vid for demonstration of this trick).
I got various different slug and snail barriers to try. If any of them prove particularly effective I will let you all know. I was pleased to see that they were mostly suitable for organic gardening and pet safe. I was intrigued by the sales pitch from Grazers of 'Have you seen a Spanish slug?'. They had a container with three slugs and two plants in it - one of which had been sprayed with Grazers G2 Formula and was uneaten, and one without which had been grazed by the evil Spanish slugs. "The smell of this puts the slugs off" said the salesman proudly. "WHAT!!! you mean it doesn't KILL them?!" Shrieked the outraged Bedsock from behind me before I quickly grabbed a sample and ushered him away.
There was stuff they didn't give away though. I did suggest to Whichford pots that they give me the beautiful, expensive new pot from their range but they weren't going for it. But they did give me a sweet little mini-pot with a chocolate in it - and that was nearly as good! I didn't manage to secure a pair of some of the fab wellingtons on display around the show or the elegant gauntlet gardening gloves.
I was well pleased with all the bits and pieces I had and even more pleased when the Bedsock collected me and my goodies and took me for an extremely enjoyable meal at our favourite restaurant Bocca di Lupo.