Friends and relatives – outside the timber industry, obviously – began to worry about me six or seven years ago when I started to take what, to them, seemed a slightly out of proportion interest in garden boundaries.

In fact my new found appreciation was perfectly reasonable as I’d finally got around to replacing an old fence that was occupying more of my neighbour’s garden than mine by virtue of a 45O list – I kid you not. The replacement fence, a triumph in closeboarding, was a joy to behold. When I moved house a couple of years later my chief regret was that I couldn’t take it with me.

So it’ll come as no surprise to hear that I thoroughly enjoyed the Glee garden products show earlier this month. Fences galore and quite a bit besides.

What amazes me is that just when you think there can be no more possible fence panel permutations and no more variations on landscaping products, pergolas and summerhouses, along comes another innovation. Okay, some of them may be just minor tweaks, but they’re enough to keep the buyers coming back for more.

The show will be covered in more detail in the next issue but just by way of example, in recognition of the UK’s ageing population, Forest Garden’s product development includes a new "Accessible gardening" range, designed for the less able bodied gardener.

Meanwhile, the big news from Grange Fencing is that it is fully embracing fence post incising technology so the service and guarantees it can provide its customers with will be that much more robust.

Innovation was also much in evidence at Timber Expo this week. And, perhaps more importantly, companies have recognised the competitive advantage innovations of the recent past have created, have built on them and have brought new products to market on the back of them.

W Howard, for example, launched its new Profyl Extreme range of Medite Tricoya mouldings. The technology developed by modified wood specialist Accsys Technologies and Coillte Panel Products has enabled W Howard to create a whole new range of exterior applications for MDF mouldings, from cladding, fascias and soffits to window beads. The MDF mouldings market has just got a whole lot bigger.

The next big timber industry exhibition, W12 Working with Wood/Working with Design is under two weeks away and I’ve no doubt we’ll see more innovation there too. New machinery and equipment will be launched that will ultimately open doors and broaden markets for timber processors and wood products.

It’s enormously encouraging to see that the timber industry hasn’t stood still in the dark days of recession, has used the "downtime" wisely and continued to move forward in terms of product development and improved customer service.

Those two things are celebrated annually in the TTJ Awards and this year’s event provided some more positive indications of the sector’s dynamism. The Timber Innovation category drew the most entries by some margin, while the Excellence in Marketing Award attracted more submissions than ever before. Proof indeed that the timber industry is investing in its future.