Natureworks Monarch life cycle caterpillar FEATURE

April 29, 2016

Do Customers Really Care How Plants Are Grown?

The consumer uprising against neonicotinoids has roiled the industry over the past couple of years. In June 2013, someone applied pesticide to a tree in full bloom, using the product in an off-label manner. That misapplication killed tens of thousands of bees, capturing the attention of activists. A short three years later, that activism has led to policy changes for big chains like The Home Depot and Lowe’s. Several cities and towns across the country have banned the sale of neonicotinoids. All of this made me curious. How was all the publicity affecting consumer attitudes at local garden stores? Traditionally, customers have shown little interest in how flowering plants are grown, other than they like the idea that they are from a local source. They have been much more particular about food plants than they have ornamentals. So I sent questions out to a few retailers across the country, and […]

Read More

April 26, 2016

Fun Display Ideas From California Spring Trials

In a year that was light on new introductions, plant breeders ramped up their display creativity. Garden retailers can find a lot of inspiration for their own stores here!  

Read More

April 26, 2016

12 Questions To Test If Your Store Is New-Customer Friendly

Consultant Ian Baldwin offers ways to help you look at your store with fresh eyes and how you can make it welcoming for new gardeners.

Read More

April 20, 2016

How Gill Landscape Nursery Reacted After A Client’s Dogs Were Hit

Sally Gill talks about how owning up to a terrible mistake, even when others share responsibility, is not only the right thing to do, it also makes long-term business sense.

Read More

April 19, 2016

7 Insights For Garden Retailers From The California Spring Trials

Among all the new plant introductions to be found at California Spring Trials is a treasure trove of consumer trends and marketing ideas to be gleaned. Here are seven insights that stood out for Jim Sulecki, Content Director at Meister Media Worldwide, Greenhouse Grower RETAILING‘s parent company. Millennials like wilder, more diverse products — hence, more combinations of flower forms (From Tom Linwick and Jen Calhoun at Benary) Landscapers like big — e.g., begonias. Maintenance consists only of planting and then one “pluck” — anything that’s sticking up (From Tom Linwick and Jen Calhoun at Benary) Perennial sales are up 30% (From Proven Winners) The most effective signage focuses on desired end result of relatively carefree container gardening: “Spend time with your friends;” “It’s okay to sit and daydream;” “Create your own outdoor oasis.” (From Proven Winners) Master Tag and Summit Plastics, which has an NFL license, says retailers need to think regionally about sports teams items, rather […]

Read More
Hello sign at Bachmans Idea House FEATURE

April 19, 2016

How Bachman’s Benefits From Its Ideas House

This past weekend, Bachman’s 2016 Spring Ideas House ended, marking the eighth year the Minneapolis-based regional garden store has invited the public in to see a former Bachman family home that now acts as a showcase for creative home and garden decorating. Three times a year, Bachman’s visual merchandisers strip the house, which once housed three generations of Bachmans, and repaint, replant, and redecorate it using items that can be purchased at the garden retail store. The team spends a year pulling together ideas, trends, colors, and so on, and transform the 1920s dwelling for each open house, drawing customers back again and again. Prior to the Ideas House, the management team worried about the long-term implications of having an aging customer base. They wanted to keep current customers happy, but knew they needed to attract younger customers. They tried several different marketing campaigns, and did not see a noticeable change. Then they […]

Read More

April 19, 2016

Best Plants For The Lower Plains

The lower regions of the Great Plains have much higher summer temperatures than the states to the north, although it shares the high winds and unpredictable weather found throughout the Plains. Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis and Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City held trials in 2015, testing which plants performed best in their regional weather. Here are a few notes on each trial before we get to the photo gallery of top performers: Missouri Botanical Garden Missouri Botanical Garden’s field trials experienced cooler weather in 2015 than most summers. There were less than 14 days of temperatures over 90˚F. Most days were in mid to high 80s, with much less humidity. Throughout May, June, and part of July, rainfall was much heavier than normal. August and early September were very dry and irrigation became necessary. There were 165 items and a total of 4,149 plants. Missouri Botanical Garden’s trials are located in […]

Read More

April 12, 2016

Bee Smackdown: Conflicting Reports Claim Bees Are Bouncing Back And Collapsing

A couple of articles have been making the rounds on Facebook this month, citing the same USDA reports to come to very different conclusions. One story is from the Washington Post, and it’s title says it all: “Call Off The Bee-pocalypse: Honeybee Colonies Hit A 20 Year High.” Meanwhile, a small paper in Ohio, the Telegraph-Forum, published “Bees Had A Rough 2015.” Sifting through stories that pop up on your Facebook feed can be a wild ride, which is a way of saying that not all linked sites are equal in quality of journalistic efforts. But in this case, both are reputable papers. So this, I felt, required a little more digging. Remember, both reporters cite the same report, the USDA honey report. So how did they come to such different conclusions? Washington Post Reporter Christopher Ingraham zeroes in on the portion of the report that lists the number of colonies. He then went back […]

Read More

April 11, 2016

Maryland Is Poised To Be First State To Ban Neonicotinoids

A bill banning consumer use and retail sales of neonicotinoids has passed the House and Senate in Maryland and is now awaiting governor Larry Hogan’s signature. If it becomes law, it will be the first state-level ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, although there are several county and municipal level laws across the U.S. The Pollinator Protection Act originally banned sales of plants treated with neonics and passed both legislative bodies, but that language was struck out during the reconciliation process before getting a final vote from House. The ban focuses primarily on retail sales of neonicotinoids. The Act does allow certified applicators, farmers, and veterinarians to use neonicotinoids. However, language in the bill refers to a six-month neonicotinoid study being conducted by the EPA, instructing the Maryland Department of Agriculture to revisit its rules of allowable use of neonicotinoids once that study has been released. The ban will take effect on January 1, 2018, if it […]

Read More

April 11, 2016

Should The Industry Change California Spring Trials?

Every year, in the midst of the madness that is known as California Spring Trials (CAST), industry insiders debate how the event should be changed. Breeders, growers, reporters, and other attendees question if this is the most effective way to introduce new plants. Part of this debate is sparked by exhaustion, not to mention shock from the amount of money spent. For attendees, it’s almost a week of sprinting up or down the California coast, so you can make your appointed stops at various greenhouses, vineyards, and other breeder venues. The least fun parts of travelling are repeated over and over — packing up every morning and wrestling everyone’s luggage into the truck, and keeping alert during long drives. For breeders, it’s thousands and thousands of dollars spent on merchandising consultants, extra staff, prepping for weeks, then keeping everything looking amazing no matter the weather or the number of grabby attendees […]

Read More

April 11, 2016

What Is It Like To Attend California Spring Trials?

Most garden retailers haven’t attended the industry’s arguably most spectacular event, California Spring Trials (CAST), where all the new and improved plants are put on dazzling display. The reason so few have had the chance to attend is there in the name: Spring. Generally speaking, the season is kicking off and all hands are needed in the store. Unless your a larger retailer, you simply can’t spare the time. So I thought I’d try to bring you a small taste of what a week attending the Spring Trials is like. CAST, the event’s acronym, is just shy of a week, running from Saturday through to Thursday. It’s not held in one location, but at various greenhouses, vineyards, and other venues. There’s no limit on the number of stops, and these locations generally fall between the two boundaries L.A. and San Francisco. Actually, until last year, the southern border is north of L.A. […]

Read More
Snow on fruit tree blossoms FEATURE

April 5, 2016

How Garden Shops Can Best Weather An Unusually Early Spring

When spring comes early, there’s generally a sense of joy, tamped down slightly by the dread that this is all the spring you’ll see. While you have no control over the weather, any smart business person can take steps to make the most of the early sales, while also guarding your finances in case the season actually does turn out to be short lived. Or, as garden industry consultant Sid Raisch says much more elegantly: “I always say that ‘A great season requires a long season,’ but there is more to the story. While an early spring could result in a great season, there are many ways it can still go bad beyond a surprise late snow storm. An early spring is an opportunity to a better spring, but not a right to one. Good luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.” In addition to Raisch, we also reached out to consultants Sid Raisch, […]

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]