Everything New (and Old!) in the Gardening World
Every year right after New Year’s parties have wound down and the confetti is a recent memory, I make my annual pilgrimage to the MANTS Show (Mid-Atlantic Nurseryman’s Show) at the Baltimore Convention Center. I look forward with anticipation to see old friends, new ideas or old re-packaged ones, and buy some new exciting products. And the best part is the event is in my backyard! The biggest show of its kind on the East Coast, with almost 1000 exhibitors taking up the maximum available space on one level at the Baltimore Convention Center, the MANTS show has exhibitors from all over the country and the world. Starting in Williamsburg Va in 1971 with 64 exhibitors, and moving to Hunt Valley, MD, in the 70’s, and finally finding a home at the convention center in Baltimore, it has become known as ‘The Masterpiece of Trade Shows’.
A Plan is Essential!!!
With so many exhibitors and so much ground to cover, I decided to start early on Wednesday morning for the opening and attend for the full three days. In earlier years, I attempted to see everything in one long marathon day, but was exhausted! I go with a plan, looking at the exhibitor list beforehand, to see which exhibits I can’t miss, and adding a few new ones that I want to try. Once you get into the hall, the mass of exhibits can be overwhelming, so you must have a plan of attack.
HERShovel by Green Heron Tools
A new vendor that I wanted to look at was Green Heron Tools that was billed as “High quality farm and garden tools for women”. I was very skeptical because I have seen a lot of boondoggle tools made for women that were laughable – not pink, but flimsy and not sturdy enough to withstand abuse. But once I went up to the booth and picked up their custom designed shovel, I knew I had to have it! The company is run by a mother/ daughter team, and their team designed and tested the shovels themselves, and call it the HERSh0vel. Started in 2008 in nearby Pennsylvania, Green Heron Tools, has been featured in Organic Gardening Magazine at http://www.organicgardening.com/living/womens-work. The shovel/spade is engineered to maximize the power and the lower center of gravity of a women’s body and has a great hand feel. I was hooked.
Designed as a shovel – spade hybrid, it is light weight and has a large convenient digging handle and comes in 3 sizes. I am 5’3″ tall and the middle size was perfect for me. The price was $57, which I thought was reasonable for a well made tool. Most of the professional shovels that I have used tend to be very heavy, and the light weight of this shovel was an eye opener. The company sells other products from different companies made for women, but the shovel is one that they designed themselves. They are working on a tiller made just for women slated to come out in 2014 and I am anxious to see that. My tiller is much too large and cumbersome for me to handle, and I would love to have something more manageable.
Since I sell a lot of miniature/fairy gardens in the spring, I was happy to see several vendors carrying a good variety of tiny furniture and other products for fairy gardens. It seems like the gardening product world is always a couple of years behind the trends that I see happening in my business, but it looks like they caught up this time. I have had to order online in the past for these items but it looks like they are mainstream now.
Stay tuned for part 2, (Goji Berries and my incredible haul at the end!!!)