As exhibitions go, Glee, the annual garden and leisure show at the NEC?is one of the most pleasurable.

If it wasn’t for lugging a bag of press releases along with the shorthand notepad and a camera and not having any access to natural light (or air), I could almost kid myself I was on a day trip to a rather lovely garden centre.

I guess the obvious explanation for that is that I can relate to the exhibits on a more personal level. I can imagine buying gazebos, potting benches and decking for my own garden – and I can see a fence post purchase looming – but investing in a big lump of woodworking machinery or a couple of I-joists is a bit more of a stretch for me.

Glee, by its very nature, is also a very forward-looking exhibition. Quite simply, manufacturers are there to display next year’s must-have garden products – for merchant and retail buyers it’s a shop window into next season.

As Andy Hodge of M&M Timber put it, "This show is like our Milan."

Garden centres are now destination outlets, are highly competitive and need eye-catching products, he added.

The fact that there was plenty to catch the eye at this year’s show is testament to the resilience of a sector that has had to stand its increasingly muddy ground over the last few years. While all business sectors have had to deal with the economic slump, garden product manufacturers have also had to contend with some pretty awful weather. And, more than anything, it’s the weather that determines success for them.

The climatic extremes of this year to date are reflected in bottom lines across the sector but TGB Shed’s experience is probably typical.

"The market up to March and April was very disappointing," said managing director Graham Vernon. "The cold, wet weather had a major impact on business as sales were delayed by two months.

"We were always going to be playing catch-up after that but the warm, prolonged summer was a godsend.

"In March we were down 25% and by more than £250,000 in turnover but business over the summer has more than compensated."

It’s a similar story on the decking front, with Adam Pulfer of Hoppings Softwood Products summarising the year as "very poor and then very good".

These extreme peaks and troughs of good and bad business activity levels are a constant source of frustration, not just for the manufacturers but also for the primary processors selling into the huge fencing market.

That said, factoring the weather into what is already a seasonal market equation is such familiar territory for manufacturers, distributors and retailers, that they’ve learned to be philosophical, tending to temper any predictions with a "weather permitting" caveat.

"Let’s hope for a drier start to the year than we experienced this year," said Metsä Wood’s Warren Dudding. " Without a doubt the weather has a major impact on the sale of decking and, indeed, all outdoor garden timbers. Predictions for 2014 – if the weather forecasters struggle, then I guess I’d better not try!"

I’m not going to try either. Neither am I going to predict if a move from halls 4 and 5 to halls 17-20 at the NEC will boost the shrinking Glee exhibition’s fortunes.

I certainly hope so. I like a day out.