March 6, 2009

Park Seed’s New Website

Park Seed relaunched its website earlier this week. The look is different, but you can still operate there as you have in the past. Check it out at www.ParkSeed.com.

Read More

February 27, 2009

Study: Houseplants Great For Retirement Communities

A recent study published in the American Society for Horticultural Science journal HortTechnology finds an activity as simple as caring for houseplants can have positive effects on residents of assisted-living communities. The four-week study by Claudia C. Collins and Angela M. O’Callaghan involved participation by 18 residents in a weekly, two-hour interactive horticulture class taught by a social horticulturist and a sociologist. Residents were given interactive lessons on the care of houseplants, choices of what plants to bring home and care for and different options in potting containers. The classes offered residents an opportunity for social interaction with peers and instructors. Over the course of the study, teachers were impressed by the transformation of the overall demeanor of the students. They changed from a state of passive, lonely dependence to being more active, socially connected, and responsible for something other than themselves, demonstrating improvement in quality of life and mastery. […]

Read More

February 26, 2009

Ball Launches Burpee Plants At Retail

At the upcoming 2009 California Pack Trials, Ball Horticultural Company will launch the Burpee Home Gardens plant program. This line will offer Burpee-branded, garden ready plants at garden centers in select markets this year and nationally in 2010. With the help of Ball’s marketing and distribution capabilities, an assortment of exclusive Burpee plants will be sold at garden centers, many of which have not previously been available in plant form at retail outlets. “The combined efforts of both Burpee and Ball will offer strong products and supports to make this plant program successful at retail,” says Chris Romas, president of W. Altee Burpee Company.

Read More

February 25, 2009

Park Brothers Launches New Consumer Website

Park Brothers Farm has launched a new consumer website dedicated to the branded Charley’s Vegetables line. The site explains that Park Brothers “started this website to help new and veteran gardeners grow successful gardens full of tasty vegetables.” Users can search for information on specific vegetable crops (cucumber, cantaloupe, eggplant, etc.) and uses a chatty tone to speak to consumers on a more personal level.

Read More

February 19, 2009

Proven Winners Idea Book Wildly Popular

Proven Winners has been promoting its Gardener’s Idea Book in January and February ads in major consumer publications with great success. All told, they have received more than 21,000 requests for the free book, which features colorful inspirations for mixed containers. Those numbers are three times the amount of people who requested the books during the same period last year, so members of Proven Winners are optimistic for a great gardening year. The top six sources for requests are: Star Radio in San Diego, Backyard Living magazine, KIIS radio in Los Angeles, Martha Stewart Living magazine, Country Living magazine and P. Allen Smith’s Newsletter. Check out an online version of the book here. Proven Winners also asked consumers about their anticipated spending for the spring, and the results were very encouraging. More than 56 percent of those who responded said they would buy more plants than last year, while nearly […]

Read More

February 11, 2009

Empower With Plants & Flowers

So much of what is going on in the world is just beyond our control. As an industry, we have an opportunity to help people transform their homes and yards into sanctuaries for calm, beauty, enjoyment and resilience during these trying times. While our national and local economic recoveries will take many years, a home can be transformed, brightened and productive in a single season. The first Saturday in February, I attended Cleveland Botanical Garden’s fourth annual Sustainability Symposium to learn more about our region’s most passionate gardeners. I had attended two years ago and was wondering if the interest would be as strong and what the audience would be most interested in. In the trade, the consensus seems to be sustainability is not as important when people are pinching their pennies, that saving money trumps all other interests. But this was a more affluent group of gardeners and community […]

Read More

February 10, 2009

The Cart Compromise

Some carts and racks designs, like this Bellisimo signage from John Henry Company, are generic so growers can showcase any plant for any season. Imagine a woman in search of great plants at a garden center. Maybe she simply needs plants to fill out her garden. Maybe she’s in search of great-looking blooming potted plants for the back porch. Whatever the woman seeks, she’s on the prowl. She locates the plants she wants from a distance after only a few minutes in the garden center. There are a bunch of them seated on a rack. Having found the plants she originally sought, the woman feels relieved. But then she sees a problem: Up close, the plants barely resemble themselves. Because the plants are wedged tightly between the rack’s shelves, there’s little room for them to breathe–let alone bloom. The plants are withering, stricken from lack of sunlight and parched from […]

Read More

February 10, 2009

Industry Segments Duke It Out

Teleflora isn’t the only company competing for Valentine’s Day commissions or sales the wrong way this year. GivingPlants.com, which teams with growers to bring flowering potted plants to consumers, deliberately attacks the Colombia cut flower business–a V-Day competitor–in a video that appears on its website and YouTube. You can view the 60-second video titled “The True Story of Cut Flowers” here. The video is just another example of an ad campaign of one company that attempts to undermine another segment’s product without promoting the benefits of its own. GivingPlants.com has a great website and beautiful products, and it should build a campaign centered around that. It’s unfortunate many U.S. cut flower growers have been affected by the growth of the Colombian market, but the Valentine’s Day message we should be delivering is to buy more plants and flowers, regardless of who supplies them. If a consumer chooses to buy cut […]

Read More

February 10, 2009

Positioning Your Products For V-Day

Roses don’t necessarily have to dominate the floral scene come Valentine’s Day. A good-looking product, like the African violets Holtkamp Greenhouses packaged in pink sleeves this year, can drive sales–even for plants that aren’t traditionally marketed for Valentine’s Day. Holtkamp planned to ship the violets on Monday and Tuesday of this week in packs of 30 as part of a “super special.” It was selling them for $1.35 each, plus boxing and shipping, and making them available Thursday and Friday.

Read More

February 10, 2009

Taking It To The Teleflora Ad

Appalling? Genius? Downright awful? Whatever you thought about Teleflora’s 30-second Super Bowl commercial, it got people talking. In fact, it was among the most talked-about ads in the week after the big game. First off, if you haven’t seen the ad, watch it here. The commercial debuted during the second quarter of the February 1 game, and its premise is that hand-arranged flowers are a better value than flowers delivered in a box. We asked our readers what they thought of the commercial in last week’s eNewsletter, posing five choices to them in our Benchrunner Barometer. The choices were (1) I loved it; (2) I liked it; (3) I thought it was OK; (4) I hated it; and (5) I didn’t get it. Judging from the poll results, the commercial was apparently OK. Thirty-nine percent of respondents thought the ad was OK, 19 percent hated it and 18 percent didn’t […]

Read More

February 3, 2009

Virginia’s ‘Beautiful Gardens’

A horticultural association in Virginia has created a new plant introduction program for 2009 called Beautiful Gardens, complete with promotional materials for independent retailers. The introductions are all tested across the varied climatic zones throughout Virginia to ensure customers are successful with the plants they buy. The program, created by the Virginia Nurserymen’s Association Horticulture Research Foundation Inc., is available to independent retailers in Virginia and was made possible through partial funding from a local grant. The group established 1-acre test sites in Glade Spring, Halifax County and Blacksburg, as well as at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. The plants in the program so far include the following:–Cercis chinensis ‘Don Egolf,’ Chinese Redbud –Helleborus x hybridus Pine Knot Strains, Lenten Rose –Agapanthus x Monmid ‘Midknight Blue,’ Lily of the Nile - Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Snowflake,’ Oakleaf Hydrangea –Ilex x ‘Virginia,’ Holly –Thuja x ‘Steeplechase,’ Arborvitae –Buxus x ‘Green Velvet,’ Boxwood –Stokesia laevis […]

Read More