Three of the best-known gardens in the West Midlands are to be featured on Japanese TV – with help from UK Trade & Investment.
A Japanese camera crew has just finished filming Trentham Gardens and Biddulph Grange Garden in Staffordshire, and Dorothy Clive Garden in Shropshire.
All three venues are featured in “The Great Gardens UK” website and brochure – greatgardensuk.co.uk – which details some of the finest gardens in the region.
The presenter, Kay Yamada, is a renowned specialist on English gardens, an award winner at Chelsea Flower Show and a celebrity on Japanese satellite television.
She works with key industry specialists and opinion formers from Japan and the UK to promote not only English gardens, but also the British culture, tradition and lifestyle to Japanese people.
Kay’s company runs the largest English garden in Japan, has 24 retail stores selling British gardening products, food and giftware, and runs the Kay Yamada Gardening School, which has four branches across the country.
The filming follows a meeting between Marketing Standard – a Japanese business and marketing consultancy from Telford – with Kay and Phil Challinor from UK Trade & Investment during a “Life Style” exhibition in Tokyo last year.
As a result, a strong business relationship was formed, and Phil, UK Trade & Investment’s international coordinator for Advantage West Midlands’ Tourism and Leisure cluster, subsequently invited Kay to leading garden and leisure show GLEE at the NEC as an international buyer.
Marketing Standard is now working with Kay on a number of projects, and Kay’s company has also invited several West Midlands firms to exhibit at their annual English Garden Show in Osaka, which is attended by more than 100,000 visitors, next April.
Phil said: “I am delighted that Kay is showcasing three of the best West Midlands gardens to an audience of over two million people in Japan, raising the profile and prestige not only of the gardens involved, but the region as a whole.
“We have worked with Marketing Standard for a number of years to explore opportunities to increase the region’s trade with Japan, and look forward to a long-standing relationship with Kay to the benefit of everyone involved.”
Sam Kawai, director of Marketing Standard, said: “Historically the Japanese have a high regard for UK products and Japan is the UK’s largest export market outside Europe and USA. “There are great opportunities – not only for the garden industry but also for a variety of sectors. 2008 marks a special 150th anniversary of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Amity and Commerce. We are hoping to celebrate this by supporting more UK businesses to enjoy successful business with Japan through a variety of activities scheduled this year.”
Kay said: “I enjoyed all three gardens very much, each was unique and all were extremely beautiful and original in design.
“Working with UK Trade & Investment and the AWM Tourism and Leisure cluster has increased my knowledge and understanding of the region as a tourist destination and I look forward to promoting this beautiful part of the country through different media in Japan.
“I am planning to bring an organised tour group to the West Midlands in September and look forward to visiting all the “Great Gardens of the West Midlands” in due course.”
The West Midlands gardens will be featured on one of Kay’s weekly satellite TV programmes this autumn on BS11 channel.