Come and grow – the spoga+gafa blog » Articles by: Thomas Wittenburg

News from the chainsaw message-bearer

The message that Dr. Bertram Kandziora, CEO of the Stihl AG & Co. KG, carried at the press briefing on annual results could not have been better: 10.8 per cent growth in 2011 with a record turnover of 2.6bn Euros and excellent prospects for the future development of the company.

“We have been able to strengthen our position in the worldwide market due to our widespread product line and our unique structure of distribution. I am confident that this trend will continue in the current and in the following year,” said Dr. Kandziora. Traditionally, the German market was stable and sound with a share of some 10.6 per cent of the total turnover, but foreign markets significantly contributed to last year’s extraordinary yield. Especially in several regions in Eastern Europe and some Asian and Latin American threshold-countries sales-figures rose above average. This also earmarks the company’s longstanding foreign activities. Their distribution company in Canada celebrated its 30th anniversary last year with further jubilees celebrated in Hungary (20 years) and South Africa (15 years).

For decades, Stihl’s key to success is the quality and reliability of their products. “Last year,” stressed CEO Dr. Kandziora, “our art of engineering reached yet another peak with the development of the first electric fuel injection in a hand-held motor-driven device.” Indeed, the new Stihl angle grinder TS 500i was equipped with this brand new technology. Although its fuel consumption was reduced by 15 per cent, it nonetheless has 20 per cent more power than previous models. This year Stihl will introduce some new chainsaws and sweepers.

After the very promising first quarter of this year and with the company’s policy of careful planning and flexible production capacities the CEO’s forecast may well come true.

More information: stihl.de

 

Garden unique: Join this innovative design contest!

Are you into design? Shapes and colours are your passion? You are creative and you like to give mundane things a distinctive look or an exclusive touch? Then you should participate in this garden unique design contest.

With this innovative contest, garden unique wishes to present new, innovative concepts to the trade fair exhibitors and visitors on the theme of premium outdoor items in 2012. The exhibition area of the design contest is a real magnet for garden unique and underlines the innovative focus of the event. From furniture that can be conveniently moved around and transported, to a sunshade for a picnic with family or friends, down to an outdoor kitchen, seating or shade for the professional and exclusive catering needs of a larger group. Show how your design and the occasion come together to create a unique experience!

garden unique is the its premium area for outdoor furniture and thus a vital part of spoga+gafa, the world’s leading trade fair for the garden industry. spoga+gafa is an annual trade fair that takes place in late summer. This year’s dates are 2 to 4 September 2012.

Participating in the contest is definitely worth the efforts. An expert jury will award three winners, with the first place winning 3.000 Euros – and even the sixteenth place will still be awarded with 250 Euros. Moreover, it will even be possible to admire the jury winners’ work in the form of prototypes.

More information about the contest and how to participate is on: gardenunique.de

The garden is a dangerous place!
Or is it just German angst?

Springtime is gardening time and gardening is fun and relaxing. While digging in the ground, planting flowers and pruning shrubs and trees, one may begin get carried away in thought or even ponder on all the evils of the world that are so far away for the garden. But are they really that far away?

No, they are not, because your garden is full of dangers and accident hazards. A recent study by the Association of German Insurance Companies (GDV) shows that every year more than 100.000 people suffer an accident in their gardens. However, there is no need to worry as long as you follow some safety regulations. Garden accidents mostly happen when working with electrical devices like lawn mowers, hedge trimmers or loppers. More than 34 per cent of all accidents in the garden affect hands and fingers. Whenever electrical devices are being used you must take utmost care and always pull the plug before touching the blades, e.g. when removing small branches or other objects that block the blades. Using a ladder can also be risky if you climb it too carelessly. Before you climb the ladder, make sure that it stands on solid and even ground. The higher you climb the ladder the more important it is, to have another person to secure the ladder whilst you are on it.

Children are exposed to a number of other dangers in your garden. Do you have a pond or a rainwater tank in your garden? Then you ought to make sure that your kids can’t fall into it. Little children can drown in very shallow water and, thus, even your baby’s paddling pool can be a jeopardous toy. Therefore, children should always be supervised whilst playing in the garden. Another source of evil is poisonous plants. Are you really sure that the plants in your garden are harmless in case your child should try to find out how these leaves or inviting berries taste? If you want to be on the safe side, you should contact your local nurseryman and ask his advice.

If you have eliminated all these dangers from your garden, it’s time for a relaxing barbecue. But be careful! Danger lies here too! Never ever use combustive agents like rectified spirits, because that could cause severe burn wounds. And, by all means, keep your kids off the hot grill! Their little fingers are not fireproof!

And? Are you still having fun in your garden? Fine, but are you then just careless or simply not German? Do you think that all these warnings and fears are part of the German angst, or is it justified to warn against these dangers in the garden? Do you know how many people in your country have an accident in the garden or is that figure completely irrelevant to you and your fellow countrymen? Let us know how careless or how cautiously you do the gardening.

Barbecueing – a question of faith

The spring sun is still a bit cold, but that won’t keep the real barbecue fan from his favourite garden activity. The question, however, is not just which type of barbecue to use, i.e. charcoal, gas or electric, but also what to put on the grillage. Yet another problem to be solved – or maybe not?

The latest up-coming trend in Germany is veggie barbecueing. The thought of tofu on the grillage alone may turn the grill master’s stomach. Nevertheless, the VEBU (the German Vegetarian Association) is convinced that in the near future there will be more and more veggies stood by the barbecue armed with grill tongs. VEBU-manager Sebastian Zösch concludes: “The success of the vegetarian trade fair VeggieWorld in Wiesbaden shows that there is a rising interest in meatless products.” Although Germany is veggie-wise not yet as en vogue as the USA or Austria, vegetarians are on the march in bratwurst-land. “No matter whether the vegetarian products are made from tofu, soy, lupin flour or vegetables, people are curious about veggie barbecueing and they appreciate the wide product range,” adds Sebastian Zösch.

The grill manufacturers don’t really care what finally sizzles on their barbecues, because their barbies do it all well, be it meat, fish or even meatless titbits. But how about you? Do you care about what is on your grillage? What is your preferred food at a grill party? Have you ever tried meatless chicken, veggie burgers or skewers consisting of courgette, pepper and tofu? Let us know what you think about the German veggie trend and tell us, what type of barbecue you prefer, i.e. charcoal, gas or electric. We are curious to learn about the barbecue habits in your country.

Further Information: vebu.de

Crisis? What crisis?

The economies in our united Europe are still pretty different from each other. While some markets bloom, others are close to wilting. This, of course, has its effects on the garden and leisure industry, too.

“Way to go!” they may say in Germany and The Netherlands. Their GDP (gross domestic product) is growing and their groovy home markets are a good place to knock down. The spending behaviour is very promising for the leisure and garden industry, especially now with the beginning BBQ-season. Almost every night TV ads for barbecues and bangers are on the box and DIY-superstores sell a chunk of barbecues, charcoal and garden furniture.

This, however, is different in Spain. Although the Spanish economy is not nearly as sick as the one in Greece, they are in dire straits. Youth unemployment only recently reached its peak by almost 50 per cent and Spanish retailers eat their heart out for a speedy recovery of the home market. The situation in Italy is almost the same, but, furthermore, the Italians had to overcome yet another government crisis. Could it get any worse? Yes, it could, if you look at Portugal. Their GDP has fallen very steeply and thus the home market almost vanished. But according to Murphy’s Law, if one thing goes wrong, there will be soon another problem. And so it did in Portugal. The government increased VAT on plants from six to 23 per cent, payable within 45 days – although the government itself takes 200 days to settle its bills. Those nurseries that did not go bust as a result of the enormous VAT-rise had to fire 50 per cent of their work-force.

Hope dies last could be the motto for the nurserymen in the UK. The British currency is not joined to the Euro and thus they don’t have to pay their contributions to the rescue of the Greece economy, as the Euro-countries must do. However, the Sterling is bound by the exchange rate. If the Euro rate moves over €1.25 against the Pound the UK-market would become that more appealing to overseas competition. That is what the UK horticulture hopes for and it looks like they don’t have to hope until the cows come home.

The European garden and leisure market is astir. Some companies might go to the wall, as they already did in Portugal, but those who survive the crisis will be stronger than before. Even if the production level went down, this would make life better for those that remain. How do you see the future in your country? Rosy? Obscure? Dark? And what do you do to survive the crisis?