April 14, 2009

Ravin’ Traven: Response To Last Week’s Rant

WOW, that was sure some response I got from the rant last week. It’s gratifying folks actually read the thing, but it was surely overwhelming I think it might be time to reflect upon the depth and VIGOR of the response, too. Allow me to remind you all of a few things first: 1. The rant is intended primarily as a communication to MY customers, a vehicle for me to get the Peace Tree message through the piles of faxes and e-mails flooding their desks. 2. It is not intended to do anything other than to make people THINK about things, not to pontificate, not to tell anyone what they must think, but what I’m thinking and how I see things. Well, it’s fair to say that people surely were thinking about this one!!! 3. The entire response trail was about the last couple sentences only, not the main thrust […]

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April 7, 2009

Ravin’ Traven: Spring In Full Swing

IT’S EASTER WEEK. The customers are calling, the greenhouse is doing its thing and we’re ready for the onslaught of spring. Are you? Herb and veggies are HOT, HOT, HOT. Somehow, it seems they are satisfying a real need, a DESIRE for real-world folks, under lots of pressure, to feel like they are doing something, anything, to take care of themselves. They’re bringing CONTROL back into their lives, some clarity of purpose and the belief that you control your own destiny. Gee, it’s been a long time since we felt that way, so this is a good thing. We’re also seeing strong, pent-up demand for COLOR on anything. It may be “seasonally inappropriate,” like a New Guinea impatiens, but if it can be jammed in a color basket for Easter, it is going. We welcome this type of insanity, but it also creates some potential issues farther down the road–when […]

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April 7, 2009

Montgomery’s Orlando Retail Report

Introduction It was an ideal day for gardening, as well as shopping with temperatures of 55°F at a.m. rising to 85°F by the p.m. hours. Consumers were out in droves during the a.m. hours, but the traffic subsided dramatically in the afternoon. Bedding plants, perennials and vegetables were moving well with the top selling annual appearing to be the T-18 landscaper tray. In the vegetables category, both seed and plants were selling well along with tremendous volumes of potting soil, top soil and mulches. There was also good movement in foliage plants that double as landscape plants in this market. We visited two independent garden centers, but both were more focused on landscape plants, fountains and containers, so there was little to report about annuals and perennials. Home Depot Home Depot clearly has improved its products, quality and merchandising with better color, plant size and improvements in accuracy of pricing. […]

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April 7, 2009

Target Unveils Eco-Friendly Outdoor Living Collection

This spring, Target is introducing MIO For Target, a line of environmentally responsible outdoor living products. “We’ve worked closely with the MIO team to ensure this eco-friendly collection is an easy and affordable starting point for our guests to lead greener lives,” says Gina Sprenger, senior vice president, merchandising. The collection includes eight outdoor items made from recycled and renewable materials, including a watering can, trowel, cultivator, weeder, mini herb garden, solar lights, hammock and composter. The products range from $6.99 to $99.99. Read more here.

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March 31, 2009

Taking A Message To Times Square

The City That Never Sleeps will be getting a whiff of our industry over the next few months, as Asocolflores has contracted the CBS Super Screen in Times Square as part of its Colombia, Land of Flowers marketing campaign. Anybody who’s been to Times Square has stood and stared up at the gigantic Super Screen, which measures 26 feet wide by 20 feet high. We’ve seen the Super Screen repeatedly on TV shows and in the movies, and Asocolflores now has access to it with several spots over the next few months. Asocolflores is scheduled to run two 15-second spots per hour, running 18 hours per day (6 a.m. to midnight) and seven days per week into June. According to Asocolflores, the screen generates more than 1.5 million consumer impressions per day. For more information, visit www.Asocolflores.org.

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March 24, 2009

Award Established In Honor Of John Holmes

America in Bloom (AIB) has established the John R. Holmes III Community Champion Award to recognize an individual who, in the view of the board of directors, best exemplifies community leadership through actions that reflect the mission of the organization. The award recipient will have demonstrated a vision and selfless commitment to moving the community forward. The individual will come from a city that has participated or is currently participating in the AIB program. Nominations for the annual award will be accepted by the board of directors until July 1 each year. The first award will be presented during the 2009 AIB Symposium and Awards Program, October 1-3 in Hershey, Pa.   America in Bloom will continue to accept contributions for this award given in memory of Holmes, the late CEO of OFA–an Association of Horticulture Professionals, who died unexpectedly in February. An AIB board member and officer since the organization’s […]

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March 24, 2009

AIB Earns Urban Beautification Award

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) will present America in Bloom (AIB) its Urban Beautification Award for 2009. Click here for the full list of AHS award winners. In its first eight years, more than 160 communities have participated in AIB, touching the lives of about 21 million people in the United States.

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March 23, 2009

White House Garden Bodes Well For All

Twenty-six elementary schoolchildren helped First Lady Michelle Obama break ground on the produce and herb garden on the White House grounds late last week. Crops to be planted in the coming weeks are spinach, broccoli, lettuces, kale and collard greens, assorted herbs and blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Michelle Obama said her family talked about planning a garden since they moved to the White House in January. Although vegetables will be sprouting in the White House vegetable garden, the news has generated positive national press for gardening of all kinds. One spot on NBC News last weekend highlighted home gardening and the ability to save money while doing it, and another showed Mrs. Obama breaking ground on the new veggie garden. “Tons of consumer data tells us that most people’s first foray into gardening starts with vegetables, and then if they are successful and enjoy it, they then expand into flowers and […]

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March 20, 2009

Lowe’s Debuts New Easy Planting Program

Lowe’s and Learn2Grow.com have partnered to create an exclusive “plant by numbers” program called Design By Function, complete with 20 free professionally designed plans. The plans range from a window box display and patio gardens to an entire front yard plan. Visitors to the Learn2Grow website can pick the plan they like and print out a plant list, as well as research basic habit definitions and learn about the elements of a landscape design (i.e. foundation plantings, accents, etc.). Once they have their plant list, they can go to their local Lowe’s store and find the plants, which are labeled to match the Design By Function program. The sections are broken down in the store based on the plant functions listed on the site, like flowering shrubs, foundation, accent and more. Customers also have access to a free plant database on the website where they can type in the plant […]

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March 17, 2009

Look For Burpee Home Gardens Online

Check out the new Burpee Home Gardens website devoted to the line of garden-ready plants. The site offers basic gardening tips, variety and growing information, care and maintenance tips and fun facts about vegetables and herbs. You’ll also find recipes for cooking with the Burpee Home Gardens plants. Check the website out at www.BurpeeHomeGardens.com.

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March 11, 2009

Proven Winners Launches National Beautification Effort

Proven Winners has launched a national beautification effort through radio stations in California, Massachusetts and Illinois from January until May to promote the benefits of gardening to listeners across the country. The campaign’s objective is to create an emotional connection between listeners and their favorite radio personalities through gardening competitions, contests and hands-on experience. “Our goal is to encourage women of all ages to enjoy the benefits of gardening, utilizing quality products that are easy, fun and deeply rewarding,” says Marshall Dirks, director of marketing for Proven Winners. “We also seek to support the efforts of local garden centers by promoting the gardening experience to a large audience.” For more on Proven Winners’ radio efforts, click here.

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March 9, 2009

Walters Gardens Launches Consumer Websites

Designed to inspire and inform home gardeners about perennial gardening, Walters Gardens has launched two new consumer websites: www.perennialresource.com and www.growdesignerplants.com. Both sites feature retailer locators to help consumers find retail stores that sell the plants they see online. They can search by zip code and easily get directions to the businesses. The Perennial Resource website has been rebuilt to include an encyclopedia of more than 1,500 varieties. The encyclopedia is searchable by botanical or common name and more than 40 plant characteristics, including water, sun and soil requirements and more. The site also contains a “Design & Grow” segment: six steps to designing, creating and maintaining your own perennial garden.” The Grow Designer Plants website is dedicated to the Designer Collection of hostas and daylilies from Walters Gardens. Targeted towards younger gardeners who love designer products, the site features glamorous photos of the perennials in the collection. A Grower’s guide […]

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