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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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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