January 3, 2011

What Consumers Say About Veggies, Perennials

Ball Horticultural Co. worked with an outside firm in 2010 to dig deeper into two consumer trends: grow-your-own vegetables and perennials. According to information Ball sent out in a December eNewsletter, the study involved six focus groups in three cities and an online survey of more than 300 consumers. Two focus groups were conducted in each of the following cities: Chicago, Charlotte, N.C., and Portland, Ore. Some key findings include: • Forty percent of those surveyed say they started with vegetable and flower gardening at the same time. • More than half of all vegetable gardens are actually done in pots and containers. • The No. 1 driver of variety decisions is flavor. • Seventy-three percent purchased veggies and herbs as plants, rather than seed packs. • Newer gardeners are more likely to start from plants than from seeds. • Casual gardeners plant veggies at least once each year; enthusiastic […]

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December 29, 2010

Petitti And Eagle Creek Unite

Sometimes, the best career move one can make is to take a step back. Jill Bonner Cain reached that point with the birth of her baby boy in May and decided to sell the retail operation she founded in 2002, Eagle Creek Garden Center in Bainbridge, Ohio. “The biggest thing was starting a family for me,” Cain says. “There are not enough hours in the day and  I want to raise my child, not just put him in daycare. With retail, it’s a 365-days-a-year, 24/7 kind of business.” When Cain and her family began to discuss the idea of selling the upscale, destination garden center, one local garden center chain came to mind as a possible buyer: Petitti Garden Centers. Owned and operated by Angelo Petitti and his family, the Petittis had seven garden centers located throughout Northeast Ohio. “There was really only one person who could take over an […]

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December 20, 2010

Video: PJ Ellison Talks Poinsettias On CNBC

PJ Ellison, the owner of Ellison’s Greenhouses is Bonham, Texas, appeared on CNBC last Friday for a small business segment. After a rather amusing introduction, Ellison reflected on how her business is faring and whether or not she’s seeing consumer spending this holiday season. Watch video of Ellison’s segment.

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December 20, 2010

BloomIQ.com Expands To Include New Features

The John Henry Company has expanded its BloomIQ.com website with new features to help novice and experienced gardeners plan their purchases in advance and ensure plants thrive once they get home. “Gardeners have questions about garden design both before they visit the garden center and after they come home with their plant purchases,” says Erin Willigan, vice president of marketing for BloomIQ. “The information on a plant tag provides all the essential planting and care information, but gardeners often need assistance with companion plants, garden design and troubleshooting.” Responding to this need, BloomIQ.com now includes a comprehensive library of articles on popular indoor and outdoor plants. The articles expand on the website’s plant encyclopedia and garden collections to provide in-depth design ideas, care tips and troubleshooting advice for all gardening zones. When linked to a plant tag, the BloomIQ.com article library provides the individualized support gardeners need. This connection enables […]

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December 13, 2010

N.J. Ag Secretary Encourages Locally Grown Poinsettia Purchases

New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher urged consumers last week to ask for locally-grown poinsettias when purchasing the plant for the holidays this year. “Just like buying local produce helps our state’s farmers, buying a poinsettia that was grown here in New Jersey helps sustain our state’s agriculture industry,” Fisher says. “Poinsettias are a beautiful, festive plant and we have many growers in the state who specialize in the traditional, as well as more unusual varieties. They make great gifts or decorations for your holiday home.” Fifty-eight poinsettia growers operated within New Jersey in 2009. In all, the 58 sold 1,335,000 potted plants. Wholesale sales of New Jersey-grown poinsettias amounted to more than $6.6 million in 2009, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.

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December 7, 2010

Behind The Scenes At Bell

Bell Nursery and its Premier Plantscapes division in Burtonsville, Md., were just featured on Washington, D.C.’s, Fox News affiliate to give consumers tips on decorating with plants for the holidays. And Thanksgiving weekend, GG’s Editor Delilah Onofrey visited Bell to see how sales were moving after Black Friday. Bell’s Executive Vice President Adam Stewart reports Black Friday sales were 20 percent ahead of last year. “We sold about half a million 6-inch 99-cent poinsettias on Black Friday, 460,000.” Bell serves more than 180 Home Depot stores with production facilities in Maryland, Virginia and Ohio and a network of more than 40 contract growers. While Black Friday featured the 99-cent poinsettia promotion, prices returned to $5.97 for the plants in 6.5-inch pots the following days. Ten-inch were selling well at $19.97 and the special poinsettia trees retailed for $36.98. Bell also brought in novelty mini poinsettias from Holtkamp Greenhouses in ceramic […]

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November 19, 2010

Reader Reaction: Working Together Key To Capturing Next Consumers

Tara Herrera, president of Herrera Horticultural Consulting, responds to OFA President Danny Takao’s letter about why waiting for young people to become our industry’s next group of consumers is the wrong approach. Herrera also offers two suggestions for capturing the next group. I am writing in response to Danny Takao’s response to Kevin Yanik’s commentary. There are two things here upon which I wish to comment. First, I totally agree. We need to capture people as young as we can and tap into two separate trends: 1. “Do it yourself” for home gardening with fruits and veggies – but make it easy for folks to do it; and 2. "Do it for me" because I don’t have the time or the energy to do it myself.   If something is perceived as difficult to do, people will not do it.  Especially the younger generation. They aren’t going to change as […]

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November 19, 2010

Forecasting 2011 Weather

Planalytics is hosting a webinar Dec. 7 to review the key weather developments of the 2010 ag season and look ahead at factors that will influence the weather in 2011. Register for the webinar here.

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November 16, 2010

Traven To Make 2nd Appearance On ‘Martha Stewart’

[imageviewer] Peace Tree Farm’s Lloyd Traven is scheduled to appear on “The Martha Stewart Show” a second time Nov. 30, when he’ll decorate the show’s set and share some of Peace Tree’s poinsettia topiary specialties. Among the topiary shapes Traven will share is Peace Tree’s new poinsettia wreath. Traven will also share innovative design concepts with poinsettias and new genetics. “The Martha Stewart Show” airs live on the Hallmark Channel. Watch Traven’s first appearance on the show earlier this year here.

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November 12, 2010

Takao: Waiting No Way To Reach Next Consumers

OFA President Danny Takao responds to Associate Editor Kevin Yanik’s November column about why waiting for young people to become our industry’s next group of consumers is the wrong approach. I wanted to respond to the last commentary about waiting for the next group of consumers. I’ve been in the nursery industry all my life and have been through a lot of recessions and downturns. But never have I seen so many growers go out of business or get out of business without it having some impact on those who stayed on. What I mean is when a greenhouse or nursery closed in California, there was a mad scramble to fill that market share from everyone. In the last eight to 10 years, we must have had more than 200 or 300 acres of greenhouse and 2,000 acres-plus of outdoor production disappear without putting much of a ripple in the […]

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November 11, 2010

New Growth Changes Name, Introduces Deferred Billing

New Growth Marketing has changed its name to Bailey Signage Solutions. The company, founded in 2004, provides custom point-of-purchase materials for independent garden centers. “The name change more clearly defines our company’s commitment to the independent garden center channel,” says Terri McEnaney, president of Bailey Nurseries. “Research tells us that colorful, customer-friendly signage translates into increased sales. Our goal is to help garden centers create innovative and visually interesting marketing programs that help boost the bottom line.” Bailey Signage Solutions is offering an early order and deferred billing program. In addition to new volume discounts, billing will be deferred until June 1, 2011 on new orders of $500 or more. Orders must be place by Dec. 1, 2010. Product and pricing information can be found at the Bailey Signage Solutions website.

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November 11, 2010

Item-Level RFID On The Horizon?

For years, RFID has been employed at the pallet level among large retailers. But now, with several retailers testing item-level RFID, it could be more reality than sci-fi. Item-level radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging has, to this point, been mostly cost prohibitive for retailers. But some are testing the technology on specific items to see its benefits, according to a story on Stores.org, the news site for the National Retail Federation. The technology includes a tag on the pallet or item level, as well as a reader within a certain amount of distance that reports to a computer. That way, retailers can tell where each product is in the store in real time, allowing them to replace out of stocks, get an accurate inventory count and reduce shrink. Retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Dillards, J.C. Penney, Gap and, of course, Walmart, have all used RFID tagging on certain items in 2010 to test […]

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