‘Garden Center Success’ at New England Grows lives up to its name
The inaugural New England Grows’ “Garden Center Success” Seminar delivered the goods to some 300 attendees, many of whom were singing the program’s praises immediately afterward.
The seminar, held Feb. 2, was geared strictly for garden center operators, and kept attendees active throughout the first leg of the three-day New England Grows event, held in Boston’s Convention & Exhibition Center. Despite a winter storm that howled through much of the country, a full line of speakers helped Garden Center Success (GCS) live up to its name, according New England Grows executive director Virginia Wood.
“Honestly, we hit a home run with the program,” Wood said. “The weather kept some away, but those that were here were ‘over the moon!’”
One of the participants at the event, which was presented in cooperation with Garden Center magazine, agreed emphatically. “I had very, very positive responses from the participants and the vendors as well,” said Ken Lain, owner of Watters Garden
Center in Prescott, Ariz.,and a keynote speaker. “I have to say, ‘great job!’ to the New England Grows group.”
Other keynote speakers at GCS were industry marketing specialist Anne Obarski, who discussed “Are you a retailer or a garden center?,” and Jonn Karsseboom, owner of The Garden Corner in Tualatin, Ore., who focused on avant-garde techniques for reaching and retaining customers. Jon Hockman, of the d3 Group in Washington, D.C., served as facilitator of the day-long gathering, which also featured breakaway networking sessions.
Wood said seminar attendees offered a number of positive comments on speaker appraisal forms turned in after the session. Here are highlights:
“This has been the very best retail garden center educational event I have EVER attended! Best speakers! The time flew by!”
“Every speaker was outstanding!”
“Great information presented in a humorous, entertaining way, as well as addressing issues we all share.”
While Garden Center Success was the focus of Day One, all facets of horticulture were included in the education program, so there was a “something for everyone” feel to New England Grows throughout the event.
Gertens plans to expand its sprawling Twin Cities facility
Gertens’ sprawling complex in Inver Grove Heights, Minn., might grow even bigger, TwinCities.com reported. The family-owned garden center and nursery wants to add 250,000 square feet of greenhouse space on its land south of the retail center. The expansion would be done over several phases and stretch a number of years. Plans call for the new greenhouses to be built on 6 acres of existing planting fields. The land is among 46.8 acres that Gertens owns in a commercial area south of Interstate 494 and east of U.S. 52, according to plans submitted to the city.
Branding company looks to revitalize bulb market
Woodbine, a brand-revitalization agency, has been selected by a group of 17 flower-bulb trading companies to develop and execute a marketing campaign to invigorate consumer demand for flowering bulbs throughout North America. The participating companies are affiliated with Anthos, the Royal Trade Association for Nursery Stock and Flower Bulbs headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Together, the participating companies account for 85 percent of consumer sales in North America.
The campaign, set to launch during the second half of 2011, will consist of a website, consumer advertising, digital marketing, social media, public relations and event marketing. It will also have a trade component targeted to retailers across all channels of distribution. The participating companies have made a three-year commitment to the campaign, totaling $1.9 million per year.
Burpee Home Gardens Youth Garden Award winners chosen
Burpee Home Gardens has announced its 2011 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award winners. Selected from more than 220 applications from community and urban school gardens across the United States, this year’s winners are:
- City of Inver Grove Heights Parks and Recreation (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.)
- Kid Power, Inc. (Washington, D.C.)
- Robles Elementary School (Tampa, Fla.)
- Waterford School District (Waterford, Mich.)
- West End IB World School (Nasville, Tenn.)
The five winners of the 2011 “I Can Grow” Youth Garden Award will receive up to 500 vegetable and herb plants from Burpee Home Gardens, $2,500 toward garden supplies, 5 gallons of Daniels organic-based plant food, one hose-end sprayer, on-site layout and installation assistance from Burpee Home Gardens experts, and a Flip camera to document the garden’s success.
Espoma teams with National Gardening Association
The Espoma Company (www.espoma.com) has formed a strategic partnership with the National Gardening Association (NGA). As part of the relationship, Espoma will become the exclusive sponsor of NGA’s website as well as its Regional Gardening Reports, an e-newsletter that goes out every other week to twelve gardening zones across the country. “The Espoma Company has vigorously demonstrated its commitment to our vision of connecting people to plants in the areas of plant-based education, health and wellness, environmental stewardship, community development and home gardening,” said Mike Metallo, president & CEO of NGA. “The Espoma philosophy and product line perfectly fits our mission and our brand.”
Ferti-lome and Monrovia partner to bring new co-branded products to market
“The Ferti-lome people” from VPG and Monrovia have launched a joint venture to introduce a line of co-branded garden and plant health products, which will be sold exclusively in independent garden centers, hardware stores, and farm and ranch stores.
Through this partnership, Monrovia will incorporate select Ferti-lome products into its growing practices, as well as launch new products for home use. “The new co-branded plants and related gardening products will provide consumers with a complete solution for a successful gardening experience,” said Wade Bowman, president of VPG, producers of Ferti-lome. Joint sales and marketing efforts will begin this spring.
New Jersey to host 2011 Garden Centers of America Summer Tour
Garden Centers of America will host its annual summer tour June 13-16 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Prices for the tour range from $550 to $800 depending on GCA membership status and date registered. Tentative tour stops include: Reynolds Garden Center, Bob’s Garden Center, Garden Green House & Nursery, Lucas Greenhouses, Sickles Market, Barlow Flower Farm, Dearborn Market, Montgomery Gardens, Hall’s Garden Center, Williams Nursery, The Farm at Green Village, Metropolitan Plant Exchange, Fairfield Garden Center, Strawberry Blossom Flower Shop, 14th Street Farmer's Market, Max is Back and Well-Sweep Herb Farm. The host hotel will be the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick. For more information visit www.gardencentersofamerica.org.
Little Lime hydrangea wins over voters
Garden Center’s sister publication, Nursery Management, revealed the 2011 New Plant Pavilion winner at this year’s ANLA Management Clinic in Louisville, Ky. Attendees voted for their favorite, and Little Lime hydrangea came out on top. H. paniculata Little Lime (‘Jane’), from Proven Winners ColorChoice, has the same great flowers and coloration as ‘Limelight,’ but comes in a smaller package. It reaches 36-60 inches high and 48-72 inches wide. Summer flowers open soft green and turn pink to burgundy in fall. These plants are excellent for landscapes, containers and as cut flowers. They’re deciduous, hardy to Zones 3-9 and bloom on new wood.