The Polish paradise

After decades of austerities, the Polish have an accumulated demand for luxury, real treats and a lofty life style. This can also be seen in their gardens, at least in those of the affluent Poles – and there are increasingly more of them.

The Polish gross domestic product amounted to 334bn Euros in 2010 and the current economic growth rate is at 3.9 per cent. In the wake of the country’s twenty years of dramatic progress first successes have become apparent. Gardening is now very in vogue in Poland – and it is a very serious matter. The favourite garden trend in Poland is the designed and artistic garden. Polish gardeners invest a lot of time, money and effort in their gardens, but for them the garden is anything but a private affair. They invite their friends, relatives and neighbours to their gardens to admire and praise how beautifully they have laid it out. Thus, for very many Polish gardeners the garden is a tool to impress others by demonstrating the state of economic well-being. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that garden bloggers’ favourite topics are how to organise a decent garden party and what furniture to use. Creating a highly fashionable garden with impressing water and light effects is another important topic amongst Polish garden bloggers. However, what might be impressing in spring and summer can easily become a severe source of frustration in winter. Cleaning and rinsing of ponds and fountains may then turn out to be a problem. Smart and prosperous Poles have a winter garden from which they and their guests can admire the winter landscape in the beautiful garden warm and cosy.

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Harmony, health and recreation in the Chinese garden

Modern China is a huge land of profound changes. Especially the big cities seem to change their face almost overnight. It is no wonder that the Chinese are looking for their own small private islands of harmony and peace.

The Confucian concept of harmony is omnipresent in Chinese gardens. For them the garden is a place to relax with friends, drink tea and practice Tai Chi. Therefore, the Chinese favour the social garden trend, but also kitchen gardening is very popular. According to the Chinese garden philosophy, the garden is not just a place for the soul, but also for the stomach. It is so important for them to grow their own herbs and vegetables that they even grow it indoors or on the balcony, if there is not enough space for it in the garden. As they want to do it properly, Chinese gardeners – above all women – spent almost a fortune on organic gardening books. More than ever before people in China are not only exposed to traditional Chinese influences, but also to those from western cultures. More than anywhere else, this can be seen in the shape of their gardens. Following the western workout trend, the garden has also become a mixture of an outdoor gym and a sort of playground. Those, who do not have a garden of their own, like to do their exercises in community gardens. It has all to do with harmony and health for body and mind. Therefore, it is also very important that the shape of a garden pleases the eyes. Decorations with sculptures or beautiful stones are almost a must. Lawns are considered a luxury, for space is scarce in China. Thus, gardening tools are low-tech. In most cases simple shovels, hand shears and scissors suffice the needs of the average Chinese gardener.

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Gardening is a very serious matter in Britain

Gardening is supposed to be fun. Yes, but in Britain it is also something that must be carried out with utmost seriousness. Decent gardening requires proper planning and sound knowledge of plants and, of course, gardening tools.

Especially British middle-aged women become restless when spring is near. They spent the whole winter planning the design and plants for the new garden season. For them a plant is not just a plant, it rather is a growing member of the family. Generally speaking, the British seem to treat their gardens as if they were their children. Every change and development of the plant is thoroughly noted and, like the weather, is a popular topic for small talk with neighbours and friends. Pests and other unwanted creatures in the garden are seen as a personal assault and must be fought without compromise. However, synthetic chemicals must not be used, but only natural products such as organic fertilisers, pesticides and composting. For the British gardeners their gardens are a part of their identity. Therefore, garden tools are a popular present for birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other personal occasions. British gardeners prefer the designed and artistic garden and so, lots of beautiful flowers, often roses, zest the gardens. Nowadays the kitchen garden becomes increasingly popular in Britain. However, even in this type of garden, beauty is a must. The vegetables grown have to be attractive or at least raised in fancy pots or containers. Ideally, the grown herbs and vegetables taste good, but it almost seems that stylish appearance is even more important. The average British gardener invests 82 Euros (108 $) per year in his garden.

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Garden at a stretch
New: Garden isles prefabricated

The Gartenio company from Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) demonstrates what the future of horticulture could possibly look like: The Gartenio-Pearls! With these patent pending pearls, they bring pre-installed garden worlds on the market.

Within a couple of hours, the Gartenio-Pearls can be installed in every garden or roof garden. The choice of garden isles ranges from paved and planted seating areas over a kitchen garden to a little island including a canopied beach chair and even a small beach.

The Gartenio-Pearls fit into almost any garden, as they are available in S, M and L, i.e. from 2.25 x 2.25 metres to 4.5 x 4.5 metres). It took a long time and was a fiddly job until the innovative concept could be realised. The results are wooden boxes with a special mounting, which allows an uncomplicated and safe transport. The garden worlds are being built into these boxes and then forwarded to the client. There they are conveyed to their final destination in the garden by wheel loader or mobile crane. Usually, this does not take any longer than two hours.

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Free Apps are short-lived

It seems as if modern (commercial) life without Apps is simply impossible. But is it worth to invest all the effort and the money for just one or two days of use? Could it possibly be that traditional marketing activities are therefore still favoured by many marketing managers?

The German trade magazine handelsjournal reports that German trading companies spent some 2.2bn Euros on marketing activities in 2011, which equals roughly 3.5 % of the total turnover. The biggest share in the marketing budgets (62 %) was allotted to flyers, catalogues and advertisements, which reflects an increase by 4 % as compared to the previous year. Especially flyers have become very popular, because they are an excellent tool for drawing the potential customers’ attention to bargains or seasonal special offers. More popular than flyers was just online-marketing with an increase in expenditures of 113 %. However, that does not yet seem to be the end of the line. A further rise by 10 %  is expected for 2012, mainly due to increased social media marketing activities. So far, for merely one per cent of the trading companies mobile marketing, e. g. Apps or smart phone compatible websites, is of any strategic marketing relevance. However, three out of four traders are planning to do mobile marketing, too, as it is seen as a reliable tool for customer retention and a strong bridge between the customer and the point of sale. A recent study carried out by the US media analyst Pinch Media reveals though that only 5 % of all free Apps will still be used one month after download. After three months the rate goes further down to almost nil. Pinch Media have surveyed over 30m free APPs and were very surprised that as many as 80 % of all iPhone users stop using a free App on the day following its download.

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