MANTS 2014 Recap

While the biggest surprise during Baltimore's Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) was a weather-related fire alarm emptying the crowded convention center, last week's event featured a few noteworthy gardening trends to keep in mind this spring.
Beneficial Insects | Colony Collapse Disorder continues to make headlines, and people across the globe are raising banners on behalf of bees and other six and eight-legged friends. In addition to bags of lady bugs and a variety of sustainable products that won't disrupt your garden's ecosystem, several booths displayed beautifully designed bee hives, similar in size to a bird house. Could hives be the next chic garden accessory?
All Things Edible | The most recent Garden Writers Association survey (October 2013) showed that 54% of gardeners had a vegetable garden and 60% were interested in growing their own food. The industry is eagerly embracing the resurgence in edible gardening, and products making it easier were well represented at the show. Creating raised beds are a snap with cedar kits, and I'm particularly excited for options made of durable, fiber materials like felt. Imagine just unfolding, filling, and planting. 
Edible plant options were also displayed at many booths, ranging from traditional seeds to ornamental peppers. At the Proven Winners ColorChoice booth, sample tastings of the Vitamin Berry® line, which includes Lifeberry® goji berries (spring 2014) and Sugar Mountain™ Blue sweetberry honeysuckle (spring 2015), drew constant attention and a few surprised reactions. Yes, there is an edible honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea), and it is delicious.
White Is the New Black | Trade shows often leave me drooling over the colorful pottery and wondering why my college ceramic projects never turned out quite so well. The palette at MANTS seemed subdued, however. Many vendors were featuring earthy and unglazed options, and as I admired an elegant display of all white pottery, Justin Bradshaw of Pacific Home & Garden shared that neutral finishes have been their top sellers, and when it comes to color, currently white reigns supreme. I am a fan, and if I wasn't flying back to Michigan, I would have talked him out of the whole display.
For writers, it is important to note that this year was the first that MANTS organized a press room. Members of the media can now receive complimentary registration to the annual event. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region, mark your calendars for early January 2015. It is one of the largest horticulture trade shows in the States and definitely worth attending, fire alarms aside.

1 comment:

  1. Well written! Keep up the good work and positive energy!