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A year on from the Beast, the IHNSA Trolley Fair at Uniplumo was blooming

The IHNSA Trolley Fair at Uniplumo had over 30 exhibitors and 150 trolleys attend on the day. Photo: Peter Stears.
The IHNSA Trolley Fair at Uniplumo had over 30 exhibitors and 150 trolleys attend on the day. Photo: Peter Stears.

Supported by Bord Bia and the Irish Farmers' Association, the IHNSA Trolley Fair at Uniplumo offered the trade the chance to meet over 30 exhibitors, view over 150 trolleys, and attend three presentations from leading experts.

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Horticulture

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13 March 2019 | 0

On March 5, nurseries, exhibitors, and garden centre buyers came together for the first Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Association (IHNSA) Trolley Fair of 2019 which took place at the Uniplumo facility, located at Wyestown, Co Dublin.

“This was Uniplumo’s first time hosting the trolley fair and it was a great privilege to welcome our industry peers and retail clients to our nursery.”, said Tom Summerville, general manager of Uniplumo.

Uniplumo’s facility is an impressive six-acre modern glasshouse which was fully recommissioned and upgraded in 2017. “We have an additional five acres of glasshouse production on our former HQ site in Swords. Our investment in the Wyestown facility will allow us to consolidate our efforts and operate a single-site format, which is something we will complete in the short term.”, said Summerville.

The sun shone through the expansive foyer where the trolley fair’s exhibitors had established themselves for the day. The weather was pleasant, but brisk enough to act as a painful reminder of how just one year ago, Storm Emma and the Beast from the East caused havoc for the nursery sector, and brought disaster for some. On March 5 however, there was business to be done, and the relentless nursery sector was hard at work.

Supported by Bord Bia and the Irish Farmers’ Association, the trolley fair also offered the trade attendees three presentations covering amenity consumer promotions and GroMór’s plans for 2019, presented by Michal Slawski of Bord Bia; new plant health regulations – what you should know, presented by Fiona McKenna from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Plant Health Division; and the Bord Bia “Value of the Garden Market Study 2018”, presented by Linda Walsh of IPSOS MRBI.

The presentations

The first presentation of the day – amenity consumer promotions and GroMór’s plans for 2019, presented by Michal Slawski of Bord Bia – provided an interesting insight into GroMór’s plans for developing marketing material with nurseries in 2019.

Nurseries will be receiving GroMór marketing material and will be encouraged to record videos displaying certain plants. GroMór will then add their own intro and outro to the video and will publish it online.

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Quality marked plants will also be a key feature for GroMór and their promotion of nurseries in 2019. Quality marked plants will be promoted in particular on RTÉ’s Super Garden programme – the tv show which will see five garden designers compete to showcase their designed garden at Bloom 2019. The show will have a dedicated plant budget and will utilise the opportunity to promote plants from nurseries with the quality mark.

There will also be a plants village at Bloom 2019 with a heavy emphasis on quality marked plants.

For more information on amenity horticulture quality assurance programmes click here.

Fiona McKenna from DAFM Plant Health Division provided important information for the trade regarding new regulations for plant health.

New plant health regulations will take effect from December 14, 2019. All plant operators will have to register with DAFM and in particular, any nursery now exporting to the UK should register with DAFM as an exporter if they haven’t already.  Due to Brexit, time is now of the essence, DAFM require a minimum of 14 days notice and the UK require a pre-notification period of three days. If you haven’t already, now is the time to register.

All plants for planting will require a plant passport under the new regulations and each registered operator will have to have a “competent person” on-site or available to them.

The “competent person” will have to understand the plant passport format and rules, recognise the major plant diseases and pests, understand where to access information from, and have quarantine arrangements for the event of an outbreak.

For more information visit the Plant Health Division’s website.

The fairs

The IHNSA Trolley Fairs bring together key players within the amenity horticulture trade in Ireland. Providing for the opportunity to establish new business opportunities, or maintain existing ones is what makes the fairs an important date in the trade calendar. It was reassuring to see an industry pick itself up and continue to do business just one year on from the detrimental beginning to the 2018 season.

“The horticulture industry in Ireland is a vibrant one that is filled with immensely passionate growers and garden retailers from across Ireland. The IHNSA Trolley Fair presents a wonderful opportunity to catch up with the industry and discuss the many challenges and opportunities we face.

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“It was very encouraging to see the latest positive growth figures as presented in the IPSOS MRBI / Bord Bia Amenity Sector report on the day. Speaking with nurseries and retailers from across the country, I couldn’t help but sense the positive outlook held by almost all. We can all be positive as we look to creating growth through innovation, partnership, and focus on an industry fast approaching the €1bn market valuation.”, said Summerville.

The second IHNSA Trolley Fair of 2019, supported by Bord Bia and the Irish Farmers’ Association, will take place at the National Show Centre, Stockhole Lane, Cloghran, Swords, Co Dublin, on Tuesday, April 2, from 10am to 4pm. Check out the venue and use this link to book your tickets. All photos courtesy of Peter Stears.

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