Nominated for Unique Youngstar Design Contest at spoga+gafa 2013: Hochbeet by Thinking Hands

15 design projects by young talents are nominated for the unique youngstar award 2013. The theme of this year’s competition is “outdoor living”.

The nominated projects will be exhibited at the international garden trade fair spoga+gafa in Cologne, from September 8th to 10th. Between now and spoga+gafa we will introduce  the nominees in the garden unique category of this blog.


  • By: Thinking Hands, Saskia Drebes, Cosima Geyer, Sandra Spoo, Simon Frambach, Tim Mackerodt
  • Material: Steel tube, hemp cloth
  • Size: 100 x 100 x 100 cm 

„Hochbeet“ is the German word for a heightened flower bed. The design piece by the Thinking Hands group is independent of the ground below and can be used in urban living areas. Backyards without green areas and open wasteland can be used for the cultivation of home-grown vegetables. The raised plantation area ensures a comfortable working posture while weeds and pests cannot reach the cultivated plants. The modular system and the fast set-up enable a step-by-step expansion: From the hobby gardener with one plot to a raised garden for self-sufficiency. With a medium plant depth of 30 cm, the raised flower bed is particularly suitable for plants with shallow and medium-length roots such as lettuce or strawberries. The ‘Hochbeet’ transforms dreary backyards into lush islands and a meeting place for families, friends and neighbours.

The winners of the competition will be announced in Hall 10.2 of the koelnmesse in Cologne on September 8th 2013 at 5 p.m. during the unique hour event. There will be three prizes awarded by a jury and an audience award which will be determined by online vote at

Fiskars Group Rewarded for Outstanding Design

The Fiskars group won three of the coveted red dot design awards in the category „product design garden 2013”. The winners are the MyFirst Fiskars Kids Tools, the Fiskars SmartFit Bypass Pruning Shears and the flowerpot Helsinki by Ebertsankey.

The red dot design award is one of the most prestigious design competitions of the world and is reserved for exceptionally innovative high quality products. This year more than 1.800 companies from 54 countries have turned in their products to be judged by a jury of 37 renowned design experts.

MyFirst Fiskars consists of eight different garden tools especially made for kids. The developers observed children playing and designed the tools accordingly to their needs. They are supposed to stimulate the fantasy and creativity of children because they have a very distinctive look and feel compared to other garden tools for kids.

The Fiskars SmartFit Bypass Pruning Shears can be used by right handed as well as left handed gardeners no matter how large or small their hands are. The cutting capacity can be adjusted from 12 mm to 24 mm. The handles are made of fibre-glass reinforced synthetic material and are covered with the anti-slip coating SoftGrip.

The flowerpot Helsinki is characterized by its minimalist Scandinavian design. Its clear and innovative form and the natural look convinced the jury. Kostja Ebmeyer, Business Unit Director Container Gardening at Fiskars, commented on this: “We are glad to win such an esteemed award. We worked hard to offer innovative designs with a functional focus to our customers and the red dot award is a great appreciation of this work.”

Further Information:

Ultimate Plant Clips Help Plants Growing Upwards

It is a challenge for gardeners to keep plants with heavy flowers and fruit straight and prevent them from collapsing under their own weight. Sometimes it is also difficult to keep climbing plants growing upwards. Usually garden twine or tape is used to fix tomatoes, roses or vines but this can be a tedious job.

Global Garden Friends, a producer of accessories for gardening and hydroponics, claim the solution for these problems. The Ultimate Plant Clips can be used to fix plant stems with one hand by simply holding their curved ends with thumb and index finger and pressing them together. Keeping plants growing in the right direction gets a lot easier with the clips. Due to the durable and flexible design, they are supposed to last for years, while giving the plants enough space to grow.

Further Information:


Seed Mixtures Support Bees

The mass dying of bees in central Europe and in many other parts of the world is not only a problem for beekeepers every year but a severe danger for the whole ecosystem. Many reasons are given for this phenomenon, like parasites, viruses, foulbrood or pesticides, but hardly any solution has been found, yet.

This may now change as the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences in Bern, Switzerland (HAFL), developed special seed mixtures with plants providing bees with enough nutrients in difficult periods. The project was supported by apisuisse, the Inforama Rütli, the farmers’ associations of Bern and Switzerland and fenaco/UFA-Samen.

Bees are especially in trouble finding food when their main sources like rapeseed, dandelion and fruit are withered and before the forests supply them with “food”. The meadows growing from the Swiss seed mixtures help the bees to be nourished in these critical times – helping them to survive with positive effects on their development, health and defense constitution.

The seed mixtures were tested and compared to conventional meadows with wild herbs: five times more honeybees and two to three times more wild bees approached the Swiss meadow! Another advantage is that the seeds easily grow on all kinds of soil, either poor or rich.

 Further Information:


Making Gardening an Experience for Kids – With the Right Tools

In a time, in which children are more tempted to sit at home and play video games instead of spending their free time outside, parents sometimes need incentives to get their kids interested in what nature has to offer. Gardening tools and even growing equipment for our youngest are becoming more and more popular.

The German nursery garden BKN Strobel for example just launched a campaign named “Ich bin im Garten” (I’m in the Garden) where children can grow their own little plants in colorful pots. The attached labels have QR-Codes so they can look up information about their plants on a special website.

The German company Romberg, which specializes in plant growing and hobby gardening products offers a miniature greenhouse complete with seeds and substratum which can be kept inside the house. It comes together with an easy illustrated instructional book.

The Finnish tool producer Fiskars also has its own collection for kids. My First Fiskars “Boxi” consists of a shovel, a rake, a spade and a brush, each designed for small hands and with vibrant colors, for helping the adults playfully with the  duties in the garden.

Every child is gifted with a great sense of curiosity and openness towards natural things. It is important for them to develop a healthy relationship towards Mother Nature and that we teach them from an early age on what a fun activity it can be to cultivate plants and handling natural products outside. With the right tools, materials and appropriate instructions gardening is fun and an educational experience for our youngest.

Further Information: