May 29, 2012

Plant Trends For 2012

Riot Of Color KL: The hot colors at IPM Essen 2012 were grays and slates. I also saw lots of pink undertones, metallic and pearlized colors and monochromatic blends of purple. MH: Grays, slates, pinks, and what I call smoky purple lead nicely into an emerging palette of taupe, coral and cream. All of these colors have been spotted in the clothing world and are sure to dominate in the next couple of years. MMG: Bright bold colors…in containers and plants…add instant impact to patios and porches. Au Naturel KL: There is a huge trend in using natural products as design accents. Elements of nature not only have the visual appeal, but they have an emotional appeal as well. Natural products evoke feelings of the outdoors. MMG: Natural materials like bark, stones and shells are still the rage in garden interiors and exteriors. Big Trend In Small Packages KL: Some […]

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May 4, 2012

Marketing Through Storytelling: Build A Program Around A Story

Much like a true page-turner, successful programs have the opportunity to tell an appealing tale. A great story has the ability to capture the attention of the consumer, even if it’s for a few moments. And really, a few moments are all you need to provoke an impulse to buy. Use these six steps to craft your own story and launch a successful marketing program. 1. Identify Your Market The first step is to find out who your “readers” are. Which customers are you targeting? For example, if you’re building a program around vegetables, you may want to target consumers who are health conscious. The green and buy local movements use a narrative to get people onboard with their missions, and you can do the same. Think about constructing a character that fits the story (a mom who values organic produce, kids who like harvest veggies from the garden). By […]

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May 2, 2012

Costa Farms Launches Spring/Summer Edition of GrowingStyle Digital Magazine

As a new generation of garden enthusiasts hunger for plant information and the latest garden trends for indoor and outdoor décor, Costa Farms has launched its spring/summer digital magazine, GrowingStyle, to inspire gardeners and educate the plant curious. “We want to make it easy for gardeners and those curious about plants to explore new plant options and discover bold new tropicals and annuals to spruce up the patio or deck while at the same time learning about the many health benefits of greening our homes and offices,” says Jose Smith, president of Costa Farms and publisher of the magazine. Spring is the ideal time to add living color to the home or office with plants, and GrowingStyle offers suggestions and images to make it easy to beautify homes and gardens with foliage and flowers, indoors and out. Available on iPad, iPhone, Androids and desktops, readers learn simple ways bring life […]

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April 10, 2012

How To Schedule Messages In TweetDeck, HootSuite

How To Schedule Messages In TweetDeck 1. Open a free TweetDeck account at You must use the Google Chrome browser to use TweetDeck. You can download it for free here: 2. Click the blue button to write your message. Write your message here. (You can find more information on how to use TweetDeck direct from Twitter here.) 3. Under your message, click on the clock icon. This will open up a calendar window. Select the date and time you’d like your message to appear. Click the clock again to close the window. 4. Click the Tweet button to complete the scheduling of your message. How To Schedule Message In HootSuite 1. Open a free HootSuite account at 2. Write your Twitter post or Facebook post. (Click here for the HootSuite Quick Start Guide to getting you going in HootSuite.) 3. Click on the calendar icon under your message. […]

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April 10, 2012

Store Displays, Customer Service & Pricing In Southern California Retailer Locations

The weather was cool and overcast, recording 60s during the day and 40s at night. All retailers were well stocked and ready to handle large customer volumes. It rained on March 23, so it was not surprising to see low traffic counts in most retailers, with the exception of Armstrong Gardens at their Flower Fields location. In paying attention to how personnel interaction affects the customer experience, it was disappointing overall to observe how few employees greeted the customers. Only 20 percent actually interacted with the customers, although a much greater percent did at Walmart. At the one Armstrong store on the tour, all the employees in the selling areas interacted with every customer they passed. Home Depot Home Depot has two new and interesting programs: Bloomtastic A program of perennials, roots and soft woody items positioned as premium items with a fairly aggressive price point of $11.98 for an […]

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March 25, 2012

Breeders Deliver Convenience

There’s always so much to see at Spring Trials, it can be a little overwhelming. But much of what was on display at some of the breeders we’ve visited the last two days had to do more with simplifying things. Two breeders, in particular put a great deal of effort into regionality in some of their Trial displays. Local is hot trend with consumers at retail these days, and both Benary and Ecke seem to be trying to bring that same focus to the grower. Representatives from both companies spoke about how, more and more, growers are asking them to sort through their catalog and  help focus just on the plants that will work well in a specific region.     Benary built a large display focusing on plants that thrive in different parts of the country from the West and Southwest to the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast. Ecke has a […]

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March 24, 2012

Ecke Shows Impatiens Alternatives

Downy mildew has been an uncomfortably hot topic for growers and retailers in recent months. The disease decimated impatiens in a number of areas last fall and is already showing up in Florida this spring. While the majority of the country may not feel such a drastic impact, downy mildew is making a lot of people nervous about the propsect of a season without the nation’s most popular bedding plant in some areas. At our first stop at this year’s Spring Trials–Ecke Ranch, in Encinitas, Calif.–we saw a response to the problem. The folks at Ecke aren’t introducing a new resistant impatiens variety. They are, however, promoting alternatives to the crop in areas where downy mildew is already showing up in landscape plantings or even in the greenhouse. Ecke’s Technical Services Manager, Rebecca Siemonsma, showed us a landscape vignette with a number of alternative plants that can work well in […]

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March 20, 2012

America in Bloom Wins Best Achievement Award At Philadelphia Flower Show

America in Bloom (AIB) earned Best Achievement for Depicting Horticulture as a Way to Create Community at the Philadelphia International Flower Show on March 3, 2012. The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society awarded this honor to the non-profit organization for its 15- by 20-foot garden display exhibit. “We’re so pleased that our first exhibit of a garden display in this prestigious show has been so well received, not just by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, but by the thousands of people who have already visited it,” says Delilah Onofrey, an AIB board member and co-founder and former Greenhouse Grower editor. “Opening day was a big success, with some visitors being familiar with America in Bloom and others learning about us for the first time.” The display garden was designed for easy accessibility, creating a walkable experience that allows guests to see plants close up. Each visitor to the AIB exhibit receives a complimentary […]

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March 19, 2012

Why You Need Social Media (Even If You Think You Don’t)

With spring arriving ahead of schedule, updating your Facebook status is likely the last thing on your mind – if you even have a Facebook account, that is. But social media can have great value, and even if you’ve resisted up until this point, it’s easy to get started. In this Q&A, Jason Falls, CEO  and founder of Social Media Explorer LLC, a digital and social media marketing company, and author of No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing, explains how and why to take the first step. GG: What’s the value of social media to an industry segment that doesn’t reach through to the consumer, a la greenhouse growers? JF: Your customers are using social media, whether you communicate with end consumers or purchasing agents or CFOs at other companies. You have to remember you don’t sell to a business, a building or a logo. […]

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March 14, 2012

Bonnie Plants Launches New Website

The top 10 best new features of the improved Bonnie Plants website include:  1. Easy-to-Find Info: Find the information you need with top-level navigation to the company’s most popular pages, including all vegetable and herb product pages, how-to-grow articles  and gardening-specific how-to articles. 2. A Connected Bonnie Community: Users have one-stop access to Bonnie Plant blogs, partners, newsletters, social sites and video library through the site’s Community section. 3. Social Sharing: Gardeners can share ideas and information with their friends using the social share buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. New user-friendly URLs also help visitors be share-savvy. 4. New Products For 2012: New vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the Bonnie Plants offering are highlighted in the online plant catalog. 5. How-to Video Library: All Bonnie Plants videos, including gardening how-to, recipes and behind-the-scenes videos, can be found in the Videos library. 6. Easy-to-Read Nutrition Info: Now nutrition information […]

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March 6, 2012

Trey Pitsenberger: His Perspective On Marketing

Known online as the The Blogging Nurseryman since 2005, Trey Pitsenberger has worked to create one of the industry’s most read blogs at Want to begin using this form of social media to promote your own business or viewpoints? Check out what Pitsenberger has to say in this Q&A with Greenhouse Grower. GG: What motivates you to blog? TP: When I started in 2005, it was a new thing for the most part. At the time, websites were somewhat static, and it seemed you needed a webmaster to make any changes. I was intrigued with the idea of sharing my thoughts on a regular basis. It was the beginning of online social media. No Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest back then. While I also use Facebook and the rest, my blog is still very important to me. The blog takes me in new and exciting directions beyond being an owner […]

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