June 23, 2008

Varieties En Vogue

Novalis displayed its new Plants That Work By Color, an expansion that brings new colors and forms to the brand. In spring 2008, retailers will have more than 200 varieties to choose from. Novalis’ Tom Kegley, Jean Dooley, Kim and J. Guy (left to right) also showed off the new Commotion series of gaillardia. Laurie Nack and Juan St. Amant shared Plug Connection’s new young plants and plugs for 2008 with visitors. A cool display featured herbs and vegetables from the Organiks line of certified organics. A breezy, outdoor living display from American Takii highlighted the garden and landscape performance of the Opera Supreme series of petunias. With improved day-length response and early flowering, Opera Supreme is available in eight colors with an abundance of blooms. Garden Splendor by Overdevest Nurseries’ David Wilson showed off coreopsis ‘Pinwheel,’ a soft yellow variety and 2008 Showcase Plant. Echinacea ‘Pink Double Delight,’ another […]

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June 23, 2008

Carrying A Torch For Flowers

In China, the two most important events to the international flower industry in 2008 are the 10th Hortiflorexpo 2008, Beijing in April and the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games in August. The 10th Hortiflorexpo exposition will give anyone interested in importing from or exporting to China the opportunity to exhibit or visit the largest horticultural exposition in the country. The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games in August is of interest to anyone who enjoys how a city can be transformed through the use of flowers. The massive use of flowers will be something to see and enjoy. Our industry is fortunate that China has selected flowers as the main method of beautifying their cities. The 10th Hortiflorexpo China 2008 in April is an event you should not miss. Hortiflorexpo China is an annual event held every odd year in Shanghai and every even year in Beijing and is the largest trade […]

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June 20, 2008

R U Ready?

So the other day I was attending the Canadian Greenhouse Conference and had a chance to sit in on the keynote address. Anna Ball gave a fantastic presentation, talking about the industry and trends, sharing how she sees our future. Anna has been very consistent the past few years talking about sustainability and she talked about that again. In case you have been doing space travel the past few years, with the good help from former VP Al Gore and a rapidly warming planet, many/most consumers/voters are now aware of environmental issues. The green movement has moved from the fringes to center stage. If you cannot be fully "Certified Organic" you should at least be making your business and home "better" by shifting to products and practices that use less energy inputs. This is the drive to using products that are sustainable. A company that was focused on these issues would […]

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June 20, 2008

“That’s Hot”

The next generation. Those three words are overwhelming to a lot of growers. Marketing to the largest current demographic of gardeners, women ages 35 to 55, is tough enough, and then you throw in a bunch of Gen Y’ers, and what have you got? A big need for expertise from someone who is part of that generation. That is exactly where Takao Nursery found its inspiration for marketing Garden Bloomers perennials. The brand was added to the young plant grower’s name (Garden Bloomers Takao Nursery) in 2000, when the nursery set out to “create an identity for the nursery that would be both universal and appeal to all, and was also to be used by other growers and retailers to market our product,” says Lisa Takao, creative director and eldest child of co-owners Danny and Renu Takao. When 27-year-old Lisa and her siblings Emily and Aaron went to their parents and […]

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June 20, 2008

Rethinking Retail

The retailing of garden goods continues to be an ever-changing scene. Many of this past season’s challenges were new to lawn and garden retailers. Here are some of the marketplace developments that provoked retail operators to take a hard look at how they might more effectively present plants to shoppers: - The ongoing upswing in the popularity of container gardening. - The continuing increase in outdoor living activities. Outdoor rooms have become living areas for more hours of the day or night. The season starts earlier in the year and lasts longer. - Water gardening has been a resounding success and an abysmal failure — often dependent upon how much space can be devoted to it. - While hardly a trend, there are conspicuous examples of garden centers getting into growing activities or enhancing their existing involvement. - As garden centers expand or upgrade their facilities or add new units, there […]

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June 20, 2008

Demystifying Pay-By-Scan

I recently participated in a group discussion at the Super Floral Show in Salt Lake City covering the topic of pay-by-scan or as some call it, VMI, or Vendor Managed Inventory. This is a program that has received a lot of attention in the last two years, ever since The Home Depot launched this program across the bedding plant industry in spring 2005. This article is intended to provoke discussion and should be considered neither pro or con. I simply want to state my opinion of current events through my perspective. The purpose of this article is to clarify some questions that may be out there in the industry in relation to the program. Is it working? What impact does it have on suppliers? Are suppliers happy with it? Is the retailer happy with it? What are the pros and cons from supply side and sell side? If this is such […]

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June 19, 2008

Solving The Marketing Mystery

Greenhouse Grower asked several label, tag and marketing companies their thoughts on what it takes for growers to get attention for their products, both from retailers and consumers. Here’s what they said: Finding The Trends by Bob Lovejoy Horticultural Identification Products Horticultural Identification Products (HIP) is proud to be the supplier of three environmentally-conscious horticultural tags — Repel, EcoTag and BioTag. As a marketing innovator, HIP is at the forefront of the “green” revolution in the Green Industry. We identified a need for environmentally friendly packaging Repel is an innovative paper substrate containing 30 percent post-consumer waste, making it an environmentally responsible choice. The Repel product exceeds expectations of traditional paper labels by resisting curling and fading when exposed to water and sunlight. Compared to traditional, high-density polyethylene substrates, the Repel product with post-consumer content reduces the energy inputs of trees, water and fuel, while reducing the waste outputs of […]

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June 19, 2008

Mail-Order Success

Since 1991, Mischel’s Greenhouses Ltd. in Michigan has been mailing specialty annuals to customers across the country. John and Renee Mischel started out with wholesale growing, which continues today. The decision to try retail mail-order came in part because of a need to diversify the market, John says. What started out as only eight varieties of geraniums has since grown to approximately 102 varieties of specialty annuals. While the success of Mischel’s (www.mischelsgreenhouses.com) mail-ordering increases each year, John and Renee agree starting a mail order business was no easy task and required a lot of dedication and hard work. “We had to do a lot of trial and error to figure out the best way to go about reaching our customers,” says Renee. “It certainly is a slow growing thing,” John adds. “What it takes is time to cultivate relationships with your customers. It took perseverance and slowly gaining confidence […]

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June 19, 2008

Take The Money

This story could be about "Any Retailer USA." The names have been changed to protect the innocent. It does not reflect the majority but it certainly is happening in many locations across the country. Imagine yourself out on a shopping excursion anxious to dig in to a weekend project of planting, maintenance and yard work when you find yourself just entering your favorite local retailer (fill in your favorite target here). It’s a picture perfect Saturday morning in early May. Temperature at 10 a.m. is 67˚F. Humidity is down around 30 percent and there are light winds blowing at about 6 mph. There’s brilliant sunshine with the occasional white puffy cloud floating by. As you leave your car to walk into the garden center, you notice the local bedding plant supplier’s truck just pulling out from the back nursery gates with a bountiful harvest of fresh plants blazing with color as […]

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June 18, 2008

Driving Demand

You grow beautiful flowers, all with their own unique characteristics. But can a plant really sell itself? What is it that makes certain varieties stand out? It’s not just what you sell — it’s how you sell it. Good marketing can mean the difference between an ordinary pelargonium and a must-have geranium.  Driving Sales Dümmen has created several new programs to help growers generate interest their product. Instead of relying solely on retailers to promote the benefits of particular varieties, growers can take matters into their own hands with POP packaging and signage provided by Dümmen. It’s called Colour Festival, Dümmen’s new umbrella of marketing concepts. According to Rebecca Lusk, regional sales manager at Dümmen USA Inc., the concepts for each of the new programs — Pure Glamour, Potunia Round And Round!, Flowering Expressions, Party In Pink and Magic Stars — all were created with the grower and today’s consumer in mind. The glory […]

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June 18, 2008

The Marketing Education Of A Plant Guy

I attended a terrific retail seminar in Savannah a while ago to hear about the state of the retail industry. Some well known and highly competent speakers were there, including Judy Sharpton, Dr. Bridget Behe, Kip Creel and Marshall Dirks, and I was soon being gently embraced in marketing and promotion. I heard a rumor that people in marketing were not interested in plants, only lifestyles and other such twaddle, so, with an open mind, I thought I would go hear what the other side was saying about plants. The short answer is “nothing.” The long answer is the same, but a little more educational. Turns out I was in serious denial, so here is what this plant guy learned. The good news is this thing we call gardening is well known. We have an 85 to 90 percent participation rate of homeowners in the country (the entire other 10 to […]

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