December 8, 2011

A Gardening Website To Educate Novices

GG: Why is it important for growers and the industry to help consumers with our garden products? Giorgio: Our research indicates more than 75 percent of gardeners consider themselves between novice and moderately experienced. That is a huge segment of garden center shoppers needing help in selecting and successfully growing the plants they purchase. If gardeners are successful, everyone benefits. GG: Why did MasterTag decide to build a website at MyGardenInsider.com as a garden resource for consumers? Giorgio: Throughout our 62-year history, we have been focused on the gardener. The website is another evolution of MasterTag as a gardening resource. The advances in technology, such as QR codes and how information is communicated at the point of sale and elsewhere, were big motivators in our effort with the website. MasterTag is the curator and archivist for an enormous amount of horticultural content. MyGardenInsider.com makes it easy for growers to tap […]

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December 8, 2011

Why We Must Drive Consumer Success

I’ve been thinking a lot about Steve Jobs lately, and I’m sure I’m not alone. I think about the wonderful products he created that changed our world. I remember him talking about how important it was for his customers to be successful with his products. It’s easy to be successful with Apple products because they’re designed to be that way. I see my 91-year-old father and my 84-year-old mother easily navigate an iPad. You hear stories of 1-year-olds doing the same. My favorite story is about parents who noticed their baby swiping a page in a book and clearly expecting the picture to change. Does that define making customers successful with a product? We know it does. Where Our Industry Fails I also think about how often our industry fails to do what Apple has done. We become overly focused on price and lack focus on how to make our […]

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December 8, 2011

Academic Team Dedicated To Sustainability Research

Purdue University’s Roberto Lopez, the University of New Hampshire’s Brian Krug, the University of Maine’s Stephanie Burnett and Cornell University’s Neil Mattson established the Floriculture Sustainability Research Coalition (FSRC) three years ago. The FSRC’s goal is to provide information to the greenhouse industry about sustainable growing and business practices through multi-state research and Extension activities. Here’s a look at yet another research group worth supporting and some of the projects they’re working on: Low Or No-Heat Bedding Plant Production Multi-year and collaborative research at Cornell and Purdue is shedding light on how growers in temperate climates can finish high-quality, sustainably produced bedding plants and hanging baskets with low or no heat for the Mother’s Day market. Mattson, Lopez and their students are quantifying time to flower and growth difference between bedding plants produced in a greenhouse with a temperature set point of 65°F and an unheated high tunnel.  Figure 1, […]

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December 8, 2011

Berry Family Building Brand Around Simplification

Packaging, merchandising and marketing all play a huge role in consumer success, and the way the Berry Family of Nurseries handles Forever & Ever Plants is a good example of a grower embracing those elements. The Berry Family of Nurseries partnered with Horticultural Printers to design a consistent, cohesive look to build elevate the brand. The Horticultural Printers team helped the Berry Family of Nurseries design tags, signage, trade ads, brochures, a consumer website and even a tradeshow booth. “There is a narrow window of opportunity to capture an audience’s attention in today’s fast-paced world,” says Brett Jones, vice president of sales and marketing at the Berry Family of Nurseries. “Our informative, integrated marketing program attracts, educates and promotes success and satisfaction at both the retail and consumer levels.” The Forever & Ever brand’s plant tags feature multiple product-in-action pictures and include 2D mobile tagging codes linking to the Forever […]

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December 8, 2011

2 Technologies That Keep Consumers Engaged

The Burpee Home Garden Coach With increasing food prices and a trend toward consumers growing their own vegetables, Ball Horticultural Co. wanted to cultivate the consumer’s success by helping gardeners enjoy the literal fruits of their labor. Through Burpee Home Garden Coach, Ball’s veggie-growing division discovered the secret to winning: constant, consistent management. “To make today’s gardeners more successful, we can’t abandon them as soon as they purchase the plant,” says Diane Hund, Ball’s director of marketing. “Once we knew that, we simply had to choose the delivery vehicle. We had all of the information online, but that requires the user to sift through pages to find the right data. By knowing a bit about the consumer–where they live, what they planted and when–we can send fairly specific information that will increase their success. Texting is simply the most up-to-date way to deliver the information.” Burpee debuted its Burpee Home […]

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December 8, 2011

The Best Research Results Require Your Patience

I have been involved with the Floriculture Research Alliance (FRA) for three years.  I wholeheartedly support their efforts because as a grower, I need unbiased, rigorous and well-designed research that helps me solve current problems. I need research that is creative and challenges my assumptions about how my growing system operates. My research dollars go primarily to Erik Runkle at Michigan State University, and I don’t put too many specific demands on how he uses the money. Part of my reasoning for this is that a lot of the creativity is being driven out of research because of a demand for the instant result. But good research doesn’t work this way. It’s a process of discovery that takes time to unravel. Good research often takes unexpected turns with unforeseen outcomes. My investment gives me firsthand access to the research results and the researchers. This is important! The FRA even takes […]

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December 8, 2011

2 Examples Of Using Social Media To Its Fullest

Fiskars Fisk-A-Teers Fiskars has enlisted some of its biggest fans to serve as brand ambassadors, in its Fisk-A-Teers social brand. Fiskars says it hopes to open the lines of communication with the people who use their crafting products. “We want to know about being a crafter/mom/working woman, and what you like about us and what you don’t,” the site says. “We can take it. Promise.” Included under the Fisk-A-Teers program is a message board, gallery of user-submitted images, a blog that includes YouTube video tutorials on craft projects. There’s also a resource center where users can download graphics for scrapbooking and icons users can place on their blogs and websites that brand them as Fisk-A-Teers. Explore what it’s all about at Fiskateers.com/blog. Well-Pict Berries On Facebook The Well-Pict Berries Facebook page is a home base for all of its social network channels–Twitter, videos, photos, discussion boards and poll questions. Well-Pict […]

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December 7, 2011

What Is The Grow Initiative?

There was just one ground rule at The Grow Summit: we weren’t allowed to talk about problems. Just ideas for solving problems. For two days in Cleveland last August, Greenhouse Grower gathered growers, industry suppliers and allied representatives for a roundtable meeting we called The Grow Summit. Our goal was to start a process that generates solutions to the issues we all face and re-energizes the greenhouse industry. You know the challenges. The economy. Housing. Fewer gardeners. Our industry isn’t broken, but it’s not growing at the healthy clip it once was, with nothing but blue skies ahead. We can’t change the macro factors affecting our business. We can, however, change the way we react to them. That’s why we assembled a group of innovative thinkers to work through what those reactions should be. The Grow Summit covered a lot of ground in those two days. In the end, the […]

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December 6, 2011

A Young Person’s Perspective On Attracting The Next Growers

I was recently with a group of greenhouse growers, researchers and suppliers when a conversation started about where the grower of the future will come from. The consensus was that fewer growers will come from universities and more will be company educated and trained. Although this trend is disputable, it highlights the point that college horticulture progams are undergoing drastic changes. The best companies will put thought and resources into changing with these programs, and continue to move forward without leaving young people behind. These companies will see the future value of a young grower and be willing to allocate current resources for getting that return. Prioritizing The Future Even in a time when budgets are tight, investing in future growers should be a high priority. After all, young growers will be the ones preserving knowledge and building upon it to grow the quality crops your company sells in 40 […]

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December 6, 2011

Why We Must Sharpen Business Management

What can a guy with 15-plus years in distribution tell a grower about running a greenhouse operation? To be honest, I asked myself the same question when I was invited to Greenhouse Grower’s Grow Summit in August. What do I know about growing plants? Frankly, not a lot. So before I accepted the invitation I had to think about what I could bring to the table. My first thought was the fact that a business is a business. All businesses are trying to do the same things: increase sales, reduce costs and have money left at the end of the year. I thought about how distributors and growers are similar. We are both supplying our end user–for Integrated Horticultural Alliance (IHA) members, the grower; and for the grower, the independent garden centers or the mass merchants. I also thought about the differences in our businesses, and this is where I […]

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November 21, 2011

The Grow Initiative

The Grow SummitNineteen innovative thinkers representing multiple facets of the ornamentals industry gathered in August for the Grow Summit. The goal was to begin creating solutions to re-energize our industry and help put it back on a path to consistent growth and success. The roster for the meeting included: Marc Clark  Rocket Farms  Large blooming potted growerTom Smith  Four Star Greenhouses  Young plant growerDanny Gouge  Willoway Nurseries  Woody ornamentals growerCarole Barton  Barton’s Greenhouse  Smaller grower serving independentsBob Barnitz  Bob’s Market & Greenhouse  Grower-retailerEd Kiley  The Perennial Farm  Perennials and landscape growerChris Buchheit  Everiss  FertilizersDave Watt  Express Seed  BrokersJoe Farinacci  IHA  Hard goods distributionRick Vulgamott  The John Henry Company  Tags and marketingJeff Warschauer  Nexus Corporation  StructuresChuck Snyder  Summit Plastics  PlasticsChuck Buffington  Syngenta Flowers Pro  Live goodsBob Dolibois  ANLA  Trade associationMichael Geary  OFA  Trade associationPeter Moran  SAF  Trade associationJim Faust  Clemson University  ResearchDelilah Onofrey  Formerly, Greenhouse Grower  MediaBob West  Greenhouse Grower  Media […]

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