Yesterday I spent a long day trucking round the Foire de Paris so I could bring you all the latest in the garden world. I had such fun meeting the people who run their business and talking to them about their products. Here's what I found interesting:-
Two innovative products for watering the garden: A simple probe with a very simple regulator that uses old plastic bottles and can water plants for up to 3 months - ingenous! There was also a system similar to the self watering systems but hooked up to a very large bottle.
I often use upturned plastic bottles full of water in the soil to give the plants water when we're away but I always feel that the water escapes far too quickly. This probe solves the problem very nicely. I purchased 4 and will report back on their effectiveness. A really really great solution to window box watering that is ecologic because it only releases water gradually and reuses those plastic bottles.
The second product that caught my eye was a hose storage system that is stored in the ground (no more unsightly hose wheels) and rises up from the ground through pressure once the water is turned on rather than using electricity. Same for winding back the hose. Great for larger gardens. Jetzer at http://www.polymonde.fr/
If you have a terrace and you long for grass or a nicer outlook from your terrace than your neigbour's kitchen or a brick wall, then this company might have just the thing. They sell synthetic grass which looks pretty natural and they make printed banners with natural images on them to disguise an ugly view or balcony rails or just to offer some privacy. http://www.visua.fr/
There was a LOT of garden furniture. If you're thinking of buying some, get yourself down to the Foire as you can get some great deals, especially on the exhibition models. A few pieces (amongst fields of teak tables) stood out:
These are cute resin chairs. The adult versions light up and the sunlounger has a very sculptural form. http://www.qui-est-paul.com/
This Belgium firm makes garden furniture in limited editions only and sells directly from the factory. I loved the granite topped table, the classy wood and white table/chair set and the cute tulip lights amongst many of their unusual designs. http://www.creazzi.com/
The double sun lounger made me long for a huge garden and a swimming pool. No more craning your neck to chat to your sunbathing companion when you are facing each other like this. Really lovely and made of beautiful materials. Stylish. Luxe! http://www.egoparis.com/
If you'd like a water feature in your garden or on the terrace but don't want a pond or twinkly fountain, here's an alternative. Lots of different designs including one that lights up in different colours. I preferred this simple one which I could imagine tucked away in a secluded corner. Apparently the Managing Director designs all the fountains herself. This firm also sold a really unusual 'living wall' with a fountain. http://www.cactose.fr/
And lastly, I thought this low table made of concrete and steel with a niche for grass or flowers was an excellent modern mixture of hard, soft, industrial and nature. The creators of this furniture are young and friendly and I hope they have lots more ideas on this theme. Ones to watch! PARISPARIS http://www.parisparis.biz/
The Foire really had a carnival atmosphere, loads to see, and even though I didn't visit all the Halls, my feet were sore at the end of the day. I even had time to digress into the winetasting and food halls (a girl's gotta eat) and my highlights there were some expensive Cour St Emillion wine and Grand Marnier crepes. http://www.foiredeparis.fr/