Archive for August, 2012

isaac-damageHey everyone,

We have been getting a lot of inquiries about what the mums look like. I know some store are already carrying them. Showing what we have now is better than telling you so there are pictures below.

Hurricane/Tropical Store/Tropical Depression Isaac has provide some of you all some much needed rain. So far we have only received about 1/2-1” of rain here but east of us has gotten a lot more. A good slow soaking rain is good for the mums and will help speed them along. Isaac also brought us some 45 mph winds yesterday evening. Some of the mums were blown over and we are setting them back up again today. I got home to find a tree across my driveway that had to be cut out of the way.

Enough of that. Now for the plants.

#8 Mums

Early Varieties

mums-8in-36 mums-8in-37

Mid-season Varieties

mums-8in-45

#12 Mums

Early Varieties

mums-12in-53 mums-12in-59

mums-12in-88

Mid-season Variety

mums-12in-90

Fall Annuals – Dianthus, Snapdragons,Petunias and Dusty Miller

dianthus-J6 snapdragons-J6 Dianthus ranges from Scarlet with Color to Violet with Buds only. Snapdragons are consistent with Buds/Light Color now and will probably be Color or Good Color by Tuesday.

petunias J6 petunias-J6-6 Petunias are close. A few colors have Buds and some Very Light Color now. I think they will have more color by Tuesday too. We will be updating the comments on the availability on Tuesday morning if these have changed.

dusty miller J6 A few Dusty Miller are ready too.

Violas are looking really good now.

violas-J6-96 violas-J6-20

violas-J6-90

Our pansies are not quite where they need to be yet to be put on the availability. We have some Buds and Color popping up but the plants themselves don’t have all the dirt in the flat covered and need to root out better.

J6-pansy-515 J6-pansy-707

J6-pansy-717

Wind damage from Isaac. You can see the dust blowing off the field in the background.

winds of tropical depression isaac

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Last week I shared my thoughts on some consumer research published by Nursery Management. Here is another opportunity to learn more about the latest consumer trends research.

By the way, if you don’t follow the Ellison Chair International blog you should start. Right now. I mean it.

Next webinar up: The Latest Consumer Trends Research

Consumers are so fascinating, but who has time to keep up with the latest consumer research? Dr. Bridget Behe will share the latest findings about consumers in the studies she and colleagues are conducting. Sustainability, containers, pricing, and attention – learn what the leading researchers now know about consumers.

Title: “The Latest Consumer Trends Research”
Date: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Time: 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM CDT

Register now by clicking the link below:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/891991977

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

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#12-mums-1 The beginning of Fall is getting near. I think we will have plants ready by the first week of September. We have some dianthus and snapdragons that have buds now but they need another week to get where we want them to be.

Speaking of dianthus and snapdragons, I recently read an article in Nursery Management where the Connecticut Nursery and Landscape Association got a $35,000 USDA grant for market research. One of the things that caught my eye was a sections in the article about fall selling. Here is what it says:

Give consumers plants in the fall

In these focus groups, we wanted to know about expanding the plant-selling season beyond the spring.

We discovered most customers do not know that fall is a good time to plant perennials, trees and shrubs. When they’re told how the longer cool months enable plant root systems to better establish themselves in moist soils, then pop out beautifully in the spring, consumers are amazed.

“You have to get that message out there,” said “Sheri.” “Nobody knows that.”

Instead, here’s what consumers see at garden centers in the fall:

  • They push mums at us.
  • They’re winding down their inventory.
  • There’s nothing to buy but pumpkins, mums and cabbage/kale.
  • Christmas stuff is already out.
  • All I see is ‘bulbs for fall’ under ‘Fall is for Planting’ signs.

One participant summed it up: “When I think of fall, I see pumpkins but not plant displays. I can’t see the focus on plants.”

Consumers admit they also feel a psychological pull-back in the fall months. “The days are shorter, so you have less time to spend out there,” said one Norwalk panelist.

But their minds could be changed into buying more plants in the fall. That’s a big opportunity for our green industry.

Even though this is in Connecticut, I think it is a very enlightening peek into the minds of our fall customers. This tells me that we need to be offering more items including perennials along with other fall annuals for our customers. With that said, keep an eye out on our availability for perennials this fall. We will have some available in a couple of weeks about the time the pansies and other fall plants get ready.

This research points out a fact that I already knew but it still needs emphasizing: we stink at educating and communicating with consumers about what, how and when to plant. We all need to do a better job educating consumers. Facebook has been a great too for us when it comes to communicating with our retail customers, but we are only reaching about 1% of the local population. However, that 1% is very interested in what we post and when they like or share our posts we get up to 2-3% total reach.

Take away points on all this:

  1. Tell your customers about the benefits of fall planting
  2. Carry more than just pumpkins, mums and cabbage/kale and let your customers know that they don’t have to settle for the same old stuff

Now for some pictures. Not a whole lot of size and hardly any color but they are coming along nicely. These pictures were taken on Wednesday and looking at them today, they have filled out quite a bit.

diantus-853 pansy-535

pansy-843 pansy-939

pansy-975 petunia-251

snapdragon-#4-8 snapdragon-#4-38

snapdragon-J6-82 viola-8

viola-490 #12-mums-2

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We are finishing up planting our poinsettias this week. We are also planting fall annuals weekly.

We have also been working on spring 2013. Yes, it is time to start thinking about next spring. We will be sending out a short survey soon to get your input on a few topics so keep an eye on your inbox for the survey. I hope that you can take the time to fill it out and help us grow the best for you.

These are some freshly planted poinsettias:

image

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The biggest problem with our industry is that we are trying to do too much or we are trying to do it too quickly.

This has been building for years, but really went into warp speed when the economy started tanking and growers, buyers and garden centers started scrambling to cover lagging sales or sell leftover plants. It peaked last year and is going 500 miles per hour this year. Everyone should take a breath and slow down.

I know what I’m talking about because I need to slow down myself. When you have too much going on and you are behind due to various reasons and you are working on 8 different things at once, you need to slow down. If you don’t, you will either make a mistake, a bad decision or hit that brick wall that says, “You can’t work like this anymore.”

A lot of companies have just wrapped up their fall bookings, are still trying to wrap up their fall booking or are just now thinking about fall bookings. I hate to tell you this but it’s time to work on spring. For a grower to do a good job, fall should have been done months ago. Last minute orders, last minute cancellations, last minute anything doesn’t work when it comes to plants. Plants need time and so do all the people working with them. Slow down, figure out what you need to be successful and make it happen.

Our industry is not one that can operate behind schedule. Getting behind and having to work too quickly is a recipe for problems. Plants can’t be squeezed out of the greenhouse with out planning. Our industry is all about the grower or rather the plants the growers are producing. The manufactures rely on the orders from the growers. The garden centers and consumers rely on the growers for the supply of plants. Why are we trying to work on our schedules when we need to be working on plant’s schedule? Plants are not fast. Slow down.

Rushing around and chasing the latest fad that going to save the industry or your business. Planning and attention to details are the only thing that will work. Everyone got behind three years ago and have not caught up. Face it. You aren’t going to get caught up.

Slow. Down.

The details are what can kill you and the plant business is a business of details. Slow down and pay attention to the details.

Slow down. Get one thing done today then do it again tomorrow.

Slow.

Down.

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