I spent a knackering three days at Ecobuild last week. Ecobuild is a mega trade fair, now at the ExCel centre in London. It took me three hours just to walk round it last year as a punter, and this year as an exhibitor I was so busy I couldn't even leave my stand to get a coffee. We were part of the Biodiversity Pavilion, where I was mentored by the lovely Blanche Cameron and neighbours with nice folk like Wildflower Turf, one of our suppliers. British Wildflower Plants, another supplier, grew the gorgeous native wildflowers for us. Thanks chaps.
There was a lot of chat about whether the show was still true to its core values, which arguably it isn't, but the thing that struck me was that it still had room for enthusiasts and they weren't marginalised. Sure, these events are all about shifting product, but this was a much more honest and catholic church than the major horticultural shows.
You can't have an arbiter of appropriate trade stands; it's the paying punter who dictates what's on display and, by and large, in the wake of the solar bubble it made for interesting viewing. It felt contemporary and buzzy too, which the horticultural shows certainly don't; I met interesting people and saw some interesting things, and even got to give a couple of talks. I'll be back next year please Blanche.