Growing Teams And AIB

The village of Warwick, N.Y., has a vibrant downtown business district. That vibrancy continues to grow and has brought many unique opportunities and even some surprises to the townsfolk and four area garden centers. One of the grower-retailers spearheading this effort is Deborah Sweeton, owner of Generals Garden and TechniGrowers Greenhouses.

In 2003, a small group of interested citizens formed a committee and entered the America in Bloom (AIB) competition in 2004 and Warwick won its population category. They have continued their efforts every year since, even without the competition as an impetus to keep going.

In fact, this year they are entering the International Communities in Bloom Competition and will compete with Canadian and European towns in their population category. This summer, Warwick will compete against Aylmer, Ontario; Boissevain, Manitoba; Hampton, New Brunswick; Nieuwport, Belgium; Pembroke, Ontario; Pitlochry, United Kingdom; and Quesnel, British Columbia. Awards will be presented in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in October.

Coming Together

Participating in AIB has benefited merchants and residents. When interviewed recently after a busy warm spring day, Sweeton shared progress her group has made. She leads the 15-member core committee that keeps the AIB movement growing in Warwick every year. The municipality sees the benefit of the program and contributes man hours to hanging baskets and watering them through the growing season throughout town. The mayor even sits on the committee. The businesses contribute money and the residents volunteer to plant and maintain pots and plantings, literally keeping it growing.

Warwick’s strategic efforts have been honed over the last seven years and are making a big difference in this New York suburb. In the first year of the competition, area growers donated plants and materials at the growers’ cost. Fundraising now accounts for the $6,000 to $10,000 raised each year. Letters are sent to all downtown merchants and residents who continue to support the effort by making monetary donations. The need grows as the projects continue. Most of the money goes toward providing planting materials, which are sold to the AIB committee at wholesale prices.

Today, as you drive down the main street you will see 40 hanging baskets, 120 containers, 65 30-inch large pots and 15 bridge planters dotting the streetscape. This year the parking meters were upgraded with sleeves to add visual appeal and cohesiveness with the other lighting and refuse fixtures that dot the main thoroughfare.

The growers meet before the growing season. Their group discussion leads to the development of a list and final number of plants needed for baskets, pots and planters. Then, the growers divvy up the plant list and are assigned a certain number each to grow. A weekly conference call coordinates them to track their growing and delivery schedules. The greatest surprise and benefit for the horticultural businesses is they are now a team and have become friends. Before, they were just competitors.

As the number of planters has grown over the years, so has the gardening interest of customers shopping downtown. When a number of people started asking questions about the plants in the containers, the four retail garden centers met their growing interest. They have published a tri-fold, anecdotal brochure that includes “recipes” for do-it-yourselfers, drawings of the plants indicating both the botanical and common names and, most importantly, where they can be purchased. The brochures are distributed to the merchants throughout the village and at municipal buildings. Sweeton concluded that the greatest benefit for the village is that “100 percent of the merchants support the beautification effort.”

A Lasting Impact

AIB’s External Relations Chair and Greenhouse Grower Editor Delilah Onofrey says Warwick is just one of many examples of towns where growers and garden center retailers have been successful in closing the loop locally, driving home the benefits of a national program.

“The best way to reap the benefits in your market is to plant the program and watch it grow,” she says. “It’s contagious and residents really appreciate the visible difference and results. More baskets get planted each year. More beds get adopted. Plantings sprout up in commercial, residential and industrial districts. Just as blight and graffiti lead to bad things, plantings jumpstart good things and create vibrancy.”

For more information about America In Bloom, visit AmericaInBloom.org. Experience AIB firsthand at the national symposium and awards program in St. Louis, Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes and learn where changes are needed.

Read More
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More
Salvia 'Playin the Blues' from Proven Winners

September 9, 2014

Grand Gardening Show On Mackinac Island Draws Huge Audi…

Dates are already set for Proven Winners' 2015 Grand Garden Show after the great response the 2014 show received in late August.

Read More

August 27, 2014

New Gardening App GrowIt Connects Community Of Gardener…

Thanks to Ball Horticultural Co.’s Mason Day and Seth Reed, gardeners can now share photos of their plants, interact with other growers and learn about what grows best in their area with the duos new app, GrowIt!

Read More