I attended the creating landscapes show at Capel Manor College Enfield on the 24th - 25th October 2011 along with a good friend George, we travelled down on the Monday afternoon and stayed at the Marriett hotel in Waltham Abbey and had our evening meal with Phil, Craig, Carol, Gary RK and Steve from T & S plants, the food was excellent along with the hospitality, the service, and friendly atmosphere at the hotel certainly makes me want to stay there again if I am ever in that area (next time I will order my own porterhouse steak instead of having to share it with George ) :)
It took about 3 and a half hours from leaving home to get to the hotel but could of been much much less if George had not decided to save £ 5.30 by not travelling down the toll motorway at Birmingham but instead deciding on my behalf to keep on the M6, we had just got round the first bend to be met with 3 lanes of stationary traffic, I can't post on here what words i used but it certainly had us both laughing for ages
Before I travelled down to the show I was under no misconception on what to expect as I had already looked at the show layout which had been available for months prior to the show and I knew there was not that much to see with products relating to "hard landscaping " which is what i specialise in but that said I have an open mind and always eager to learn plus the main reasons I attended was to give Phil and the others who had organised the show the support it needed and to network with other landscape juice members which is exactly what i did
Going to the show with an open mind means for me if I come away with just one tiny bit of information or knowledge then it was all worthwhile which is exactly what happened X 10 fold, the conversation with Jenny Bloom the well known garden designer based in Hackney, offering a full garden design service in north London whilst sat in the restaurant having a coffee escalated into 8 plus other members from landscape juice joining in at one time or another including Craig Mcgibbon, Paul, Helen (whats your budget) Reeley, Tanya Batkin and other who's names have slipped me by....sorry......and last but not least its always a pleasure to have a conversation with Dave Sewell
I knew what to expect on the the Marshalls stand as I have seen a similar stand at the Birmingham garden show a couple of years ago plus I have met the guys from Marshall's on numerous occasions, that's some double act i must say :)
I don't do any horticultural or soft landscaping other than laying turf (not that hard laying something green side up is it *wink*) the other horticulture and landscaping products on display at the show looked OK to me, most of them being new and nice and shiny and I'm sure are up to the job they got built to do but sadly not something that i will be purchasing either now or in the future but that does not detract from the fact the show was aimed at horticulture and landscaping and it did indeed cover a wide variety of products available
Phil Voice on the Creating Landscapes Stand
Landscape Juice Members
Steve from T & S Plants/Somerstock
What was an eye opener and a pleasant surprise is the quality products displayed on the Stonemarket stand, the top quality walling stone which I actually got a glimpse of last year looks stunning and will certainly have a place in my rear garden when i finally get round to it in the new year (thats a hint to any of the garden designers wishing to do me a complimentary design) by the way I like contemporary design ;)
After a bite to eat and a drink we had a walk round the gardens at the college which are well presented and maintained
Capel Manor Gardens
If I was to pass an adverse comments about the show it would relate to most of the exhibitors who when i walked round first time filming the stands and then walked round again to look at the stands in more detail not a single person on most of the stands engaged in conversation even though there was no other visitors present, I might be a little outspoken every now and then but I certainly don't bite ... honestly
All it would of taken is a "good morning/afternoon" or "hello there how are you today" anything but to not speak at all or to even pass me a flyer or card something tells me there was not enough enthusiasm or maybe they have sold that much of their products this year they don't need to sell anymore and it was just a PR exercise for them all because when i was walking round no one would of known I was not in the market to purchase any of their products.
I don't want anyone to take offence at this comment and its not an attack on any of the exhibitors its just an observation
hopefully someone who exhibited will explain their reasons why and prove me wrong on my assumption........please do as either I have got my marketing and customer approach wrong or you have !!
The people who did speak were the Marshall's guys who I knew anyway and had a laugh with Chris and Trevor (you can't fail not too) the Stonemarket and Natural Stone stand who both had some great top of the range products on display and the guys on the Makita and Duraflex decking stands
Trevor Knight from Marshall's
The icing on the cake for the 2 days away from work was whilst sat eating my breakfast on the Tuesday morning I received a text message off a guy from pavingexpert dot com who lives in Luton who I had never met but had engaged in conversation many times on the pavingexpert forum and by email asking how I was doing and a couple of text messages later he invited us round for a brew on our way home
it's not that often I am down this part of the country so we took him up on his offer and the hospitality given to us by Tony and his family was exceptional and was the perfect end to a great day out
A lot of landscape juice members don't grasp how important networking is, its the bouncing ideas around or comparing what you do with others in the same profession or just a simple chat with another forum member or exhibitor which does lead to other things if you want it too, going to a show with a negative attitude will get you absolutely nowhere and you come away no wiser and with no additional knowledge and feeling like you have wasted your time whilst George and I came home buzzing with excitement still bouncing around the ideas and comments we had seen and heard...but hey ho we are all different :)
I might of missed 2 days of work but listed below is what I came away with
Monday evening in the hotel
Drinks and a meal with Phil, Craig, Carol, Gary, George and Steve = priceless, cheers everyone
Steve T&S Plants
Took great pleasure in watching him dip into his pocket and pay Phil the £10 for the bet we had....he he
Conversation with Gary RK
The use of an ipad and what network to use, I was buying one anyway it just confirmed which one to buy and which network to use...thanks Gary
Confirmed the use of their top quality walling products in my own garden
The female garden designers from landscape juice
The passion and love of what they do was confirmed by meeting and talking face to face as they don't post much on the forum and most dont use chat....thanks to everyone
Dave asked my opinion on the Marshall's register and hopefully soon will be a new member, cheers Dave its always fun talking :)
*sigh* even though my Stihl TS410's are the worse saws I have ever purchased in 25 years I am still reluctant to change to Makita....grrrrrr give it a few more months and i might change my mind
please feel free to voice your own personal opinions of the show and what you feel you gained in either knowledge or experience, good or bad are all open to discussion
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