New Trend: Insect-Hotels Shelter the Bugs in Your Garden

More and more people who own gardens discover that it is not only important to care for their plants and to feed the birds, but that insects are vital to a healthy environment as well. This awareness has created a new trend: So called insect-hotels are becoming popular in German home gardens.

The small wooden boxes which are supposed to be hung somewhere outside attract several species of beneficial insects, like ladybugs, bees and beetles. There are different “rooms” for them, each with a specialized habitat, for example fir cones for ladybugs or sawdust for beetles living in wood. These bugs can hibernate safely in the hotel, they can reproduce and they can nest there. This has lots of advantages for the garden because these small animals pollinate plants and get rid of garden pests like aphids.

There are already several producers of insect-hotels in Germany, and since the demand is growing, new companies specialize in these tiny homes, like Luxusinsektenhotels. They offer different insect-hotels carefully designed looking like a country home or a luxury hotel. They can be ordered ready-made or as construction kit.

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Flower Shows and Garden Exhibitions in 2013

2013 is going to be a great year for garden exhibitions and flower shows all over the world. Whether you want to check out the recent trends in gardening and horticulture, meet new people, learn about seeding and cultivating plants in one of the many seminars or just want to be simply amazed by the most beautiful flowers, you’ll find plenty of opportunities.

Especially in spring there is a wide choice of exhibitions small ones and large ones in the USA, like the Washington Home and Garden Show, which is the largest garden show on the east coast. Or you come over to Germany, for example to the Internationale Gartenschau (IGS, International Garden Show) in Hamburg. It will be in the district of Wilhelmsburg, on Europe’s largest river island from April 26th to October 13th. This year’s motto is “Around the World in Eighty Gardens”.

Whichever garden shows you decide to visit, you can be sure to learn a lot about what customers in the green sector want and what their current preferences are.

There is a huge listing of flower and garden shows in the USA, Great Britain and other parts of the world over at:

Several Outdoor Products Decorated with the „Interior Innovation Award 2013“ at the imm Cologne

Big success for several producers of outdoor products: Ten furniture pieces and furnishings for balconies and gardens were granted the „Interior Innovation Award 2013” at the “Internationale Möbelmesse” (international furnishing trade fair – imm) in Cologne. This is one of the most prestigious design-prizes of the furnishing industry worldwide. The award was introduced by the trade fair in 2002 and is organized by the German Design Council.

The awards in the category “outdoor” were given to Cane-line for the lounge-sofa “Conic”, Extremis for their picnic-table “Marina”, Gloster for the chair “Dansk”, Morso for the outdoor-fireplace “Forno”, Müller Möbelwerkstätten for the sunshade-tent “Mikasi” and the sunlounger “Solaris”, Radius for the mailbox “Letterman II”, Roset for the armchair “Fifty”, Scheurich for their cachepot “Stylepot” and Viteo for their lounge-chair “Slim Collection Lounge”.

There were also two garden products that won the „Interior Innovation Award“: The lounge-chair “Source” from Gloster and the cachepot “Wave Globe” from Scheurich. A speaker of Scheurich said: “We are really proud of this award because it stands for innovative achievements!”

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A Gardening Expert’s Critical Views on Gardening Trends

Marie Ianotti is a passionate gardener who has been writing about her profession in newspapers and magazines for years. In 2011 she published her first book The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables – The 100 Easiest-to-Grow, Tastiest Vegetables for Your Garden at Timber Press. She also used to be the owner of Yore Vegetables, a heirloom seedling nursery. Ianotti can be considered an expert on the topics of gardening and growing plants yourself.

In her article “What the Well-Designed Garden Will Be Wearing – Up and Coming Garden Trends” for she reflects critically on trends in gardening as they are presented to us every season by researchers and media.

She specifies nine trends for gardeners  and separates them in three categories:

Social gardening

Gardeners are being encouraged to grow their gardens for the greater good not for themselves and to buy and plant locally. The problem with this is that people who decide to start gardening have their own reasons and these are mainly for their own personal preferences. And there is nothing wrong with that.Buying locally is a positive trend because it is beneficial for the local society and the local markets because it helps the regional economy and therefore the community. 

Ecological gardening

Following Ianotti gardening  should benefit nature, not harming it: ensuring that the bees and birds can prosper   should be self-evident, the same goes for not wasting water and not using chemicals. 

Optical improvements

How you design your own garden should always be your own decision and should not be dictated by so called trendsetters. Trends like “curvaceous gardens are in; square gardens are out” cannot be universal, everybody has his own preferences and not every location for a garden can be made looking like the cover of a garden design magazine. Some ideas are great, like mood lighting for the dark hours but one has to watch out for ecological consequences like the attraction of insects.

The essence of Ianotti is that every single garden and its gardener are individual and trends cannot easily be followed when working in the nature. The message to marketers and producers of gardening equipment is that it is unpromising to try and create artificial trends. It is important for the individual gardener that he finds specific products for his specific needs instead of a range of merchandise that he isn’t actually looking for when visiting a garden center or a home improvement store.

Further Information: What the Well-Designed Garden Will Be Wearing: Up and Coming Garden Trends by

New Products to Protect Garden Ponds from Predators

Koi fish from Japan are becoming increasingly popular in home garden ponds. While such things like building an appropriate living environment and keeping the ideal water temperature are important, many buyers of ornamental fish often forget that there are predators like herons and cats who may harm their animals. Especially herons have very good eyes and can spot the colourful and precious Koi carps easily with fatal consequences.

There are several products which promise to repel the unwanted beastly visitors. Classic repellants are replicas of herons, plastic figures to be placed at the bank of the pond. Herons hunt alone and are disturbed by fellow birds. Outside Living Industries are one of the companies which produce such sculptures under the brand name Ubbink. In Germany they can be found under the name “Reiherschreck”.

The British company Netfloat specialises in netlike mats made from hard plastic to be put over the water surface. The mats are supposed to float rather invisible on the water. With these mats birds and cats cannot get their prey.

There are several other methods of keeping predators away from the fish. The ScareCrow is one example of repelling animals with water. This product is made by the Canadian company Contech Inc. specialised in products for the protection of pets and plants. The ScareCrow is a sprinkler activated by motion controls. If something gets close to the pond a strong water stream shoots over the water surface. This should be especially annoying for cats.  Several ScarCrows can shoot at once – useful for larger ponds.

A new form of repellant is now being presented by the company Velda from the Netherlands. The Heron Stop Reflector is a ball-shaped device that has a reflecting surface and a large eye on it. It can be put on the water surface. Velda claims that the flashing sight of the reflecting eye scares herons and pigeons away. A similar product from the same company is the Heron Stop Spinner. This product looks like an eye as well but it is flat. It is connected to a string and can be hung over the water on the edge of the pool. Both products are announced for this spring.

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