Cultural highlights of Cologne during spoga+gafa

From 2nd to 4th September the garden fair spoga+gafa in Cologne is presenting trends, new products and innovations from the green sector. But besides all this the City of Cologne is also attracting visitors with a colourfully-structured leisure and culture programme. Here are several tips for going out to suit every taste.

Circus artists at the Cirque Bouffon

On 2nd September the Cirque Bouffon is presenting its new “Solvo” programme at the Schokoladenmuseum. According to the philosophy of the “Nouveau Cirque”, an overall work of art consisting of imaginative costumes, circus artists, theatrical elements, music and dance is being presented. In this connection the organizer is promising that the artists ensemble and music especially composed for the event will take the audience to a kaleidoscope of colours, shapes and sounds.

From the Bible through to Eau de Cologne up to pop art

Up to the end of September 2012, the Noah’s Ark, Europe’s first swimming Bible theme park, will also be moored in the Rheinauhafen next to the Schokoladenmuseum. On four floors, the 70-metre long wooden reconstruction of the biblical ship is presenting a partially interactively structured exhibition from the Old and New Testaments. On  2nd September the “Farina” Fragrance Museum is inviting you to a historic guided costume tour: an actor will be introducing visitors to the secrets and history of the world-famous Eau de Cologne, enriched by anecdotes from the Rococo period. In connection with spoga+gafa, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, with works from Stefan Lochner through to Rembrandt up to Renoir and van Gogh, is showing a retrospective of the so-called “Sonderbundausstellung”. The Museum Ludwig, famous for its outstanding Picasso and Pop Art presentation, is also showing an exhibition on Claes Oldenburg, one of the great names in American Pop Art.

Lady Gaga and Coldplay at the close of the fair

On  4th September no less than two pop concerts of superlative class will be on the agenda: with her “The Born This Way Ball” tour, Lady Gaga will be rocking the LANXESS arena not far from the exhibition halls. On the same evening British band Coldplay will be performing at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne.

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A planted royal crown for the jubilee of the Queen

To commemorate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, The Royal Parks has installed a magnificent floral crown in St James’s Park at the end of May.

The Royal Parks are enjoyed by many for the diversity and quality of their horticultural displays and plant collections. This display reflects The Royal Parks’ commitment to horticultural excellence and will be enjoyed by visitors celebrating the Jubilee in St James’s Park.

It took five weeks to construct the floral crown which is 4 meters tall and 2.5 meters wide. Weighing approximately five tonnes, the crown will sparkle with the brilliant blooms of 13,500 plants in the colours of the coronation crown’s sapphires, tourmalines, amethysts, topazes, citrines and gold. The display even features a planted red cushion.

This planted crown is supported by a steel framework that took four weeks to construct. The 13,500 Kernock Park plants were grown in Cornwall and took a week to put in place. The crown will be carefully looked after by skilled gardeners working for The Royal Parks.

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Plant yourself a chair!

The increase of urban farming, whereby green spaces are opening up into shared gardens for new agricultural experiments, was the main starting point for Werner Aisslinger´s latest work.

The Berlin and Singapore based designer and architect believes that giving everyone the possibility of becoming a producer of agricultural products will be the future in regard to quality and sustainability. With this, he thought to invert the creation and development of furniture from globalized serial manufacturing to local production conserving resources. That is how ‘chair farm’ was conceived. It is Aisslinger´s vision of how this idea could be realized within an agricultural lab. The project itself is a kit which offers the ability to plant and naturally grow chairs. This initial prototype consists of a perforated steel corset which serves as a mould to give the vegetation support.

The ‘chair farm’ greenhouse and laboratory was shown at ventura lambrate as part of the ‘instant stories’ exhibition during milan design week 2012.

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Trends from Brooklyn NYC Garden Centre “Sprout Home”

Interview with gardener Ben Sinclair from “Sprout Home” in Brooklyn NYC. Talking about local gardening- and urban gardening trends and innovations of the Big Apple for spring 2012.

Outstanding and coming up at the point of sale this year spring: wooden containers, in house seeding, backyard garden or roof top eco systems with bat boxes and bat guano from “Dr. Earth”, fungus like “Grow Your Own Mushroom Garden” from Oakland based award winning company “Back To The Roots” and mason bee kits from “Crown bees”.

A View on the Garden Season 2012 – Trade and industry are optimistic

Weather conditions play a significant role in the success of the garden supply business. Trade and industry are optimistic about the 2012 gardening season, as the trend towards ‘outdoor-living’ continues. According to experts in the sector, the demand for high-quality products is still strong.

The Association of German Sporting Goods Manufacturers (BSI) can look back on a successful 2011. Many BSI member companies report sales increases in the high single-digit region. More and more, consumers are prepared to pay a higher price for better quality and products that are manufactured in a sustainable manner. Because of strong pre-orders for the current year and the very positive start to the present season, the BSI and its member companies have high expectations for spoga+gafa 2012 and the 2013 buying season.

The German Garden Industry Association (IVG) reported that there were some clear winners in 2011 – in particular in relation to grill related merchandise. However, the greenery, outdoor, garden furniture and ceramics and decorations product ranges also performed well. Powered garden equipment manufacturers also reported satisfactory growth. The IVG believes that the trend toward using the garden as a place to relax, pursue leisure activities and express oneself creatively will continue undiminished. The cultivation of fruit and vegetables is also enjoying a comeback.

According to the Barbecue Industry Association (BIAG) the trend towards outdoor living and the barbecue culture are having a complementary effect on each other. Barbecuing is developing into a cultural phenomenon and is becoming a year round-activity. Customers want to have fun ‘outdoors’, and are ready to pay more money for high quality or more individualised equipment

The BHB – Retailers’ Association for Building, Home Improvement and Gardening – is reporting an exceptionally good start to 2012. In 2011, the gardening segment of building and DIY stores posted gross turnover of around 4.1 billion Euros – two per cent more than the figure for the previous year.

The German Garden Centre Association (VDG) reports that most garden centres ended 2011 with a healthy increase in turnover. Especially stores offering a large variety of merchandise or an inviting catering area where customers could linger were able to benefit according to the VDG. Furthermore, garden centres run by owner-operators benefited from their expert know-how. The VDG noted that demand for brand-name products and regional products was particularly high in 2011. This year has also started very well for garden centres.