Michael’s End Of Year Review

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Hi everyone,

As our year draws to a close, I thought it would be a good idea to have a look back at all the plant geekiness I’ve been up to this year! It’s been (another) busy one, which included my new beginnings with QVC! It’s really nice being part of The Q family, and we have some super cool plans for bringing in new gardening products and changing things up a little bit in 2019..!

Weird and wacky plants

I’m a plantsman through and through, and I get so excited when I meet new, different and unusual plants. This year, I brought all that together with a new presentation called The Weird & Wacky Plant Show! I’ve been invited to 14 different locations around the world to share my love of weird plants, from the world’s largest flower to the unluckiest plant in the world, from the oldest tree in existence, to vegetarian insect eating plants…

The audience also got to try some miracle fruit – a mind-bending little red berry that can change sour flavours into pure sweetness! Chew a berry then suck a lemon and it tastes of sweet candy!

It was lots of fun, and I’m so happy to have offered a few Weird and wacky plants on QVC too. If you have a little peek on the website right now, you can find the Suttons Paradis Apple tree which has apples that have a sparkling taste like prosecco.

 

The Chelsea Flower Show

This is the day that us horticulturists get our glad rags on, and go indulge in flowers and plants! I have been visiting every year since I was 18, I am so lucky for that! Even though I enjoy the gardens outside, my main interest is in the Floral Marquee, where I go sniffing out new plants and fresh ideas!

This year, I was particularly excited about the new ‘Runaway Bride’ Hydrangea from Thompson & Morgan, a cascading confetti-flowered plant in bridal white. It has proved a customer favourite already, with customers snapping it up the moment it came to air on QVC back in May. Sold out in around a minute!

I also found inspiration this year in the garden built by Seedlip Drinks, with a fascinating range of plants from the pea family. The Lupins were looking pretty pukka! The Eco City garden also had some ace Lupins, in citrus colours. As they are in many years, Lupins really were the star of the show, this is due to the ease of timing, but also their form and stature.

 

That long, hot summer

We just have to mention the boiling hot summer we had, surely?! Whether you loved it or hated it, it was ultimately better than rain each day, I’d say! Even with such warm temperatures to navigate, the summer really helped me learn more about plants and which ones cope best with such conditions. A visit to some trial fields uncovered one very good performer, Calibrachoa. These are those ‘mini petunias’ you may have seen around, with every colour in the rainbow! They will forgive you if you don’t water them every week… and so will Osteospermums. Get those on your shopping list for 2019!

I guess this summer taught us to be more water-wise, using reservoirs and saucers when watering plants, watering during the cooler times of day. Check out my tips here on the Mr Plant Geek website!

Deciding the trends for 2019

I’ve also been into QVC headquarters a few times to meet with the buyers, as we worked through the trends for 2019. We think we’ve got it just right, with ranges of plants for some of the key looks. For those of you that love spending time outdoors, we’ve got the plants and products for you… or perhaps you like a dream-like, relaxing feel in your borders, we’ve got that covered too! We also have some of the coolest new houseplant trends, some flavoursome fruit and veg, plus a few flower show exclusives! The houseplants are already online too, go browse right now!

 

The best tools for the job

I’ve also been helping my Dad out with making his gardening more efficient…! You know how Dads can be, they don’t like to change… but there are so many ways he could be ‘gardening smarter’! I recommended the Grumpy Gardener Wonder Shovel to him, and it was a godsend, making digging easier on his hard soil. ‘Papa Perry’ has also been testing out the O’Keefe’s Hand Cream …again, he initially refused to use it, but soon realised it was benefiting his hands after gardening, and didn’t have a ‘girly’ smell either!

I also urged my Dad to try a few new plants, and he’s had some great results! The Sunflower ‘Sunbelievable’ covered a lot of ground for Papa Perry, which is fab, as he usually grows smaller plants that leave a lot of bare soil, which leaves him with more weeding to do. The ground covering habit of the Sunflower put a stop to all that!

Jewellery in the garden

With gardening, there is something for everyone, and we all have different likes and dislikes. It’s all about adding a touch of personality to your outdoor space, and I really delved into that back in August, when I tested out a range of ‘garden jewellery’. We also launched the rather fabulous metal lily garden stakes from Primus as a Today’s Special Value (TSV)! Parrots and flamingos were also the must-have items of the summer, see some of the other jewellery choices here.

We also looked into your garden lighting options, and another TSV saw the arrival of these fabulous pull cord lights. I spent a day in my friend’s house and garden finding 49 uses for them too, have a little look here.

A couple are a bit crazy, but so what… I had never realised the decorative and convenient properties of such a product! Here’s the link to buy.

It really was a busy year, and that’s not even half of it! I am feeling super ready for 2019, and we will be starting things off on January 5th with some early bird offers. Join us for some of the best value gardening, most interesting plants, and slickest, handiest tools! See you there!

Michael x

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