February 24, 2011

Green Roofs Offer Sky-High Possibilities

Imagine how many plants growers could sell if city governments awarded U.S. businesses $5 for every square foot of garden space they planted. Imagine if the incentive trickled down to the homeowner level, too. City governments are, of course, unlikely to present such incentives for every garden installation within their limits, but what if they took a more active role in promoting the installation of green roofs? Portland, Ore., is already offering a $5-per-square-foot incentive to property owners and developers through 2013 to add more “ecoroofs,” which cost between $5 and $20 per square foot according to the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. Cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. have been green roof leaders over the last decade, as well, while Austin, New York City and Philadelphia are becoming more serious about incorporating green roofs into their culture. No, the United States isn’t greening as many acres of roofs as […]

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February 23, 2011

Brand Building With A Comic Superhero

The Amazing Spiderman. The Incredible Hulk. The Adventures of Tommy Treadwell. Wait, Tommy who? Tommy Treadwell, of course. No, Tommy isn’t the world-famous comic superhero Peter Parker and Bruce Banner are. He is, however, the face of the Treadwell perennial brand as the creation of The Perennial Farm in Glen Arm, Md. And now, Tommy has his own comic series. “I think the possibilities really are endless for a comic,” says Tom Watson, Treadwell’s marketing and brand manager. “We lined up about six for this year, each with a specific message.” The first comic in The Adventures of Tommy Treadwell introduces a few of the more popular varieties in the Treadwell line. The next comic, which Kiley indicates will be released sometime in the next couple weeks, will focus on the Treadwell brand website, TreadwellPlants.com, which was launched in January. Yet another idea for 2011 is to put Tommy in […]

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February 18, 2011

On Sustainability: No Two Consumers Are Alike

Savvy marketers rely on the principles of customer segmentation and product targeting to more efficiently allocate scarce resources and effectively reach groups of consumers with similar preferences or demands. It would appear as though many people have jumped on the eco-train, but to what extent have people who purchased plants, many of them gardeners, adopted eco-practices like recycling and composting? Previous research shows some consumers are willing to pay a premium price for green products and share attitudes that are favorable toward the environment. Premium-priced products are assumed to be more profitable, and often are. Still, relatively little is known about gardeners and their ecological attitudes, practices or behaviors. Our objective was to identify and profile consumer segments with regard to their gardening purchases. Are gardeners more eco-friendly? We sought to determine whether there were differences in their eco-friendly attitudes and behaviors, such as recycling. Our underlying belief was that […]

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February 15, 2011

Reconnecting With Consumers Crux Of Seeley Conference

In today’s post-recession marketplace, the “reborn consumer” is asking tougher questions. She is making more critical decisions as to what is really important and what she really needs. Marketers can no longer assume the consumer will return to buy what she has bought before. Indeed, total consumption levels have already returned to pre-recession expenditure levels, but not every subsector of the economy has rebounded, as the consumer is spending differently, buying more in some categories and less in others. At the 26th annual Seeley Conference, greenhouse industry leaders will explore a series of questions through thoughtful, relevant presentations and lively group discussion. Among the questions: –Why are people blind to the plants and flowers that surround them in everyday life? –Can the industry overcome plant blindness and increase mindshare in the consumer by understanding and communicating that our products are necessities in people’s lives and not mere luxuries? –How has […]

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February 8, 2011

New Gardening Game To Debut This Summer

The folks that brought you the GardenPilot iPhone app are hard at work to bring consumers a new 3-dimensional online game focused on gardening. Called GardenQuest, it’s set to debut this summer. Steve Cissel of 10-20 Media says the goal is to frame the game with the industry in mind, engaging consumers on behalf of all aspects of the green industry. The idea for the game came out of the plethora of discussions about an industry-wide promotion. “I’ve been in this Internet space for a while and see an opportunity to create a virtual economy that will benefit everybody in the industry,” he adds. “This (game) allows for a person’s creativity to come out, and they will be able to put things the way they want them.” Currently a company with more than 20 years of experience in game development is creating GardenQuest. Why a gardening game? Games like FarmVille […]

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February 2, 2011

Study: Flower Quality More Important To Consumer Than Price

The Floral Marketing Research Fund (FMRF) recently released a comprehensive study titled “Consumer Preference for Flowers as Gifts.” According to the study, the quality of flowers is more important to consumers than price. When compared with other attributes when purchasing flowers, consumers ranked quality the highest consideration in the buying process, followed by color, price, design and other factors. That’s just one finding from the research study that’s now available from the FMRF. The Floral Marketing Research Fund was established in 2008 by volunteers of the American Floral Endowment board of trustees to support consumer research that benefits the floral industry. Funded in part by Asocolflores and other industry individuals and organizations, this research provides important insight on how consumers perceive floral advertising, price, longevity, fragrance, appropriateness of flowers for specific occasions and other preferences. The "Consumer Preference for Flowers as Gifts: Age Segments, Substitutes, and Perceived Risks" is the […]

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February 1, 2011

Monrovia Falls Short Of $20 Million Target

Monrovia failed to reach a target of $20 million in incremental sales by the end of January. As a result, the company has accepted an order to deliver unbranded Monrovia plants to Home Depots in the western United States this spring. “No, we did not meet our goal. If we had, we would not have sold plants to Home Depot,” says Bob Smiland, chief sales and marketing officer for Monrovia.” Including the Home Depot order, the company achieved $12 million in additional sales, Smiland says. “We still have a lot of plants for sale.” Following the economic downturn and a significant three-year slump in sales, Monrovia was required by its banks to meet certain financial targets for this spring. The company’s leadership had asked its independent retail customers to place an additional $20 million in orders by the end of January or face the prospect of having to move inventory […]

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January 31, 2011

Building Buzz For Flower Bulbs

Flower bulbs are about to get rebranded. Anthos, an association that represents flower bulb and nursery stock companies, has selected a brand revitalization agency to develop and execute a marketing campaign to invigorate consumer demand for flowering bulbs here in North America. Seventeen of Anthos’ members companies are participating in the campaign, and they’ve collectively pitched in $5.7 million for a three-year campaign. “Education is important,” says Henk Westerhof, Anthos president. “Consumers know what a flower bulb is, but you have to deal with different climate zones here in the North American market. People don’t know what to do with flower bulbs.” North America, according to Westerhof, is the largest flower bulb export market in the world, generating about $130 million in sales annually. The 17 companies participating in the campaign account for 85 percent of North American consumer sales. Still, Anthos member companies see room for growth, particularly among […]

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January 24, 2011

So Much For Supermarkets

Considering the half-hearted commitments many supermarkets are making to floral these days, it’s difficult for consumers to take their supermarket’s floral department seriously. How can a dozen poorly displayed primrose, a small table of daffodils, hyacinths and tulips, and a few dozen cut flower assortments constitute a department? Sure, there’s a customer service desk in the area, but how often is someone actually manning it? The demise of the supermarket floral department has largely contributed to the demise of the blooming potted category. Even longtime growers who’ve framed their businesses around blooming potted plants are reconsidering their business models. Norm White, for example, is putting more emphasis on ornamental bedding plants at White’s Nursery & Greenhouse in Chesapeake, Va., and other growers like him are trying to do the same. “What’s happening at the supermarkets is very discouraging because I know consumers will buy our product if they put it […]

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January 13, 2011

Retail Florist: It’s Time To Rethink The Poinsettia

Has the poinsettia run its course with the American public? As Jeff Corbin, the owner of Radford Florist in Virginia writes, growers and, independent retailers in particular, should take new approaches to the plant and consider other, more unique crops for the holidays: We are just breaking into the garden center arena. We will open Green Barn Garden Center this spring, but I have 30-plus years experience in the retail florist arena. Poinsettia sales have dropped steadily over the past decade. With this long-term trend, I don’t think we will see it bounce back. Poinsettias are still enjoyed by the public but their perceived value seems to have dropped. The public will enjoy it as a personal consumable for $8.50 to $17.50, but not in giving it as a floral gift for $25 to $50 as they once were. We have had more luck with bulb plants such as narcissus. […]

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January 12, 2011

Ellepot Develops Biodegradable Retail Bag

Ellepot-USA has been working with Schur A/S, a packaging company, the last eight months on the development of a biodegradable retail bag. Ellepot’s primary goals have been to produce 1) sustainable packaging that’s biodegradable and 2) will help growers reduce shrink of finished product. Other product development objectives were to: –Eliminate the need for tag inventory–Provide a thermal print of the variety at the time of shipping–Customize a generic bag just before shipping–Develop a bag bottom that prevents soil from spilling into cars and shopping carts The retail bag concept will first be presented at IPM Essen 2011 in Essen, Germany, later this month at the Ellegaard booth 3C21 located in hall 3.0. Learn more about Ellepot-USA at www.ellepot-usa.com.

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January 6, 2011

Burpee Receives Hundreds Of Applications For Youth Garden Award

All over the United States, thousands of people showed interest and nearly 200 schools and organizations applied for the 2011 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award from Burpee Home Gardens. The award, announced last fall, will sponsor and support urban school and community garden installations in five U.S. cities this spring. Winners will receive up to 500 vegetable and herb plants, a generous donation for garden supplies, on-site assistance and more. “We are overwhelmed at the response for this award and with the amount of organizations eager to bring vegetable gardening into the classroom and community,” says Carolyn Dixon, Burpee’s national sales manager. “The application review process has been long and intense, but we’re thrilled this award is part of the growing movement to bring fresh vegetables to urban youth.” The “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award will be presented to established or start-up programs that have demonstrated a well-developed […]

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