January 23, 2009

Colors To Look For Come Spring

Ball Horticultural Company took a look late last year at consumer color preference information and published data from leading forecasters. It concluded rich shades of purple, energetic shades of yellow and bright accents in orange will be the hottest color trends this spring. “Color has always been the number one factor in what people purchase,” says Diane Hund, director of marketing for Ball. Here are three varieties from Ball that match the color preference the company expects consumers to gravitate toward come spring: Purple ‘Purple Flash’ ornamental pepper has striking flashes of bright purple foliage among the dark leaves that contrast well with small, glossy black fruit. These heat-tolerant plants are great for mixed containers and in-ground plantings. Yellow ‘Lucky Pot of Gold’ lantana has a unique compact habit that makes this item a top choice for small pots, baskets and mixed containers. Lucky’s gold tones will give gardeners energy […]

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January 23, 2009

White Flower Farm Kicking Off Spring With Contest

White Flower Farm recently released its Spring 2009 catalog with more than 145 tomato varieties, and it’s taking tomatoes a step further this year with its Great Tomato Celebration Recipe Contest. The grand prize is a trip to White Flower Farm in Litchfield, Conn., where the winner will spend a day at the nursery working in the gardens, visiting the greenhouse and touring the property. Recipes must be original, and fresh tomatoes must be a key ingredient of the recipe. A written description of what makes the dish tasty must be included, and each contestant may submit up to three recipes. For more information, visit www.whiteflowerfarm.com. Entries are due March 15, and winners will be notified by the end of April. To enter, email entries to tomato@whiteflowerfarm.com or send by mail to: Tomato Recipe Contest White Flower Farm P.O. Box 50 Litchfield, CT 06759-0050 Christopher Kimball, publisher and editor of […]

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January 21, 2009

Smart Marketing Tops TPIE Agenda

Health and beauty go hand in hand. The ability and importance of marketing and selling products that promote both was one of the main takeaways from the 2009 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) last week at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale. “Tag It Tropical” was this year’s show theme for the annual industry gathering, which is known for a trade-show floor with aisle upon aisle of awe-inducing colorful foliage. The three-day event presented by the Florida Nursery, Growers & Landscape Association dedicated a healthy portion of its conference programming to inspire attendees to look beyond a plant’s form, and focus more on its function. To Your Health There is plenty of research to back the benefits of plants. The ability to help produce the very air we breathe should be enough reason to want plants around at all times. Over the years, these kinds of studies and […]

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January 16, 2009

Strategies For A Successful Spring

Spring 2009 promises to be one of the most interesting and perhaps difficult selling seasons that we have seen in some time. What can we expect from the American consumer this spring? Garden center retailers across the Unites States are cautiously optimistic that folks will be out in numbers and spending a fair share on lawn and garden products. What impact will there be on the lawn and garden sector from the precipitous fall in economic conditions from the back half of 2008? Will customers spend enough of their remaining discretionary income, or will they forego such products at increasing rates to spend on more “fundamental necessities?” Do you expect top-line sales to increase, stay the same or decrease? How about the impact on profit margins to go along with sales? Should margins be pushed even higher to make up for potential lower overall sales? Coping With The Economy How […]

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January 14, 2009

Pitch In And Plant Pride

Throughout 2009, there will be a strong national emphasis on community service programs–ordinary citizens coming together to do what they can to make a difference in their communities. It just so happens our industry has one of the best community revitalization programs, America In Bloom (AIB). For more than seven years, AIB has been making an impact at the grassroots level by connecting people to plants through education and participation. Nearly 160 communities from 37 states have participated in the annual beautification contest. One of the comments we hear over and over is how the program brings residents together who might not normally work together on common goals. The fact that AIB spans eight judging criteria cultivates residents who are not only interested in plants and landscaping but also heritage preservation, environmental awareness, economic development and community spirit. You don’t have to be a gardener or horticulturist to embrace it. […]

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January 13, 2009

Teleflora To Advertise In Super Bowl

For the first time, Teleflora will take the major step of advertising during the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, according to the Society of American Florists (SAF). The floral giant will have a 30-second spot in the second quarter of the game broadcast on NBC, incorporating the talking flowers used in last year’s “America’s Favorite Mom” campaign. “Our main priority is always our member florists, and during these hard economic times, Teleflora wants to help our florists generate sales and foot traffic into their shops,” SAF quotes Shawn Weidmann, president of Teleflora. “With the Super Bowl airing less than two weeks before Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reach more than 90 million potential buyers and reinforce the importance of sending flowers that are hand-arranged and hand-delivered by a local florist.” According to Brandweek, Teleflora’s spot is reminiscent of office sitcoms, showing a man giving a box […]

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December 29, 2008

Online Only: Retail Dos and Don’ts

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited hundreds of garden centers last year and shared his findings on plant size and color with us. He also shared hundreds of photos from his stops last fall in Atlanta, Baltimore, Long Island and South Florida. We picked five photos that stood out for a job well done–and five that simply stood out for the wrong reasons.  

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December 22, 2008

Different Is Not Always Better

The U.S. economy has been weathering recession-like conditions for a while now, including job losses, home foreclosures, declining consumer confidence, lower business spending and inflationary pressures on some of our key production inputs. Due to the cumulative impacts of these stressful economic conditions, we find several of our friends and colleagues are no longer working in the industry. Of those remaining, several I have interacted with have indicated their business activity is way down, but others say they have either been “holding their own” or “doing OK.” There has, however, been another (yet smaller) subset of growers that has indicated its “sales are up” or business has been “expanding” this year. Surviving & Thriving So naturally, this has prompted me to ponder how this can be. What is it that separates the folks who are just doing “OK” from those who are doing well? As usual, there is no easy […]

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December 17, 2008

Winning Consumer Dollars

This is not an article on horticulture joining forces for a “Got Milk?” campaign. Those activities look like they are taking shape … maybe? In the meantime, we decided to focus on showing how to make an impact at the local level where the shovel hits the dirt. First, the numbers: The average U.S. consumer spent $46,409 in 2005 after taxes, and most of this went to housing, transportation and food. About $12,000 was left for discretionary items, and that’s what we are competing for. Discretionary spending is pretty interesting. Consider the average U.S. consumer spends $2,634 on food away from home, $426 on alcohol, $1,886 on apparel, $2,388 on entertainment, $126 on reading materials, $319 on tobacco and $5,204 on personal insurance and pensions. Forty years ago, spending more on going out to dinner than clothing would have been shocking. Today’s Americans are dressed down and casual. Are they […]

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December 15, 2008

Stepables Amps Up Its Marketing

The masterminds behind the Stepables national line of branded plants have come up with the Tough Ten list of creeping perennials that can withstand a wide range of conditions. These were chosen for versatility and their robust habits. The plants will be featured in marketing and point-of-purchase materials throughout 2009, which will include a new, buffed-up Stepables guy. The Tough Ten are: –Sagina subulata (Irish Moss)–Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ (Scotch Moss)–Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)–Mazus reptans (Purple Mazus)–Thymus praecox ‘Pseudolanuginosus (Woolly Thyme)–Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’ (Miniature Thyme)–Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (Golden Creeping Jenny)–Sedum spurium (John Creech)–Ajuga hybrid ‘Chocolate Chip’ (Dwarf Bungleweed)–Lotus corniculatus ‘Plenus’ (Double Birds Foot Trefoil) Find out more about these and nine new varieties introduced for 2009 at www.stepables.com.

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December 8, 2008

View: Jerry Montgomery On Big Box Poinsettias

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited an assortment of Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart garden centers in North Florida two weekends ago and shared his assessment of each retailer’s poinsettias with us. He concluded Walmart will lead the poinsettia sales charge, although sales will be soft this season. Introduction Although there were a lot of shoppers out (Nov. 28-29), there was not much activity in the garden centers of the three national retailers with the exception of Walmart, where many shopping carts contained poinsettias. On Black Friday, Home Depot promoted 5-inch poinsettias at $0.99 each, and Lowe’s promoted a quart poinsettia at $1.49. These were both “door-buster” specials seemingly with minimal impact. Home Depot Of the three national retailers, Home Depot had the smallest inventories and a limited number of SKUs compared to Lowe’s. Home Depot did, however, have the best Christmas we have seen in many years produced by Peckett’s […]

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December 2, 2008

Garden Retailers Dish On Black Friday

Black Friday was a mixed bag for garden center retailers. Despite the uptick in sales many retailers saw throughout the country last Friday, garden retailers in some locations couldn’t make the same claim. Meanwhile, others saw heavy traffic Friday that dropped the rest of the weekend. “The traffic was normal for us, but the sales were down,” noted Sandi McDonald of Hillermann Nursery & Florist in Washington, Mo. “People were buying, but just not near as much as in the past. We have a more open set up in the store, and have had many great comments about it. Cut Christmas trees moved well, as well as fresh greenery.” Gali’s Garden Center in Beachwood, Ohio, saw sales jump about 20 percent versus the year before on Black Friday via an open house, but tree sales remained steady with the previous three years. “So what does that mean for the season?” asks […]

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