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Building Upon An Old Plant Category

First it was Stepables, that brought excitement and expansion to a staple category – groundcover plants.

Stepables at The Garden Corner

Stepables at The Garden Corner

There is a merchandising rack system available for Stepables, but since they are sold in national big-box chains savvy independent garden centers seek to differentiate with creative displays such as the one shown above at The Garden Corner in Tualatin, (Portland) OR. Co-owner Tracy Karsseboom creatively located the classy shoes at a second hand store.

The category is ever-expanding with Plants That Work in Nooks & Crannies from Novalis, and Rock Stars from Valleybrook and others.

Treadables at Knollwood

Treadables at Knollwood Garden Center
Footprints at Berns Garden Center

Footprints at Berns Garden Center

There are others including some home-grown brands such as Treadables found only at Knollwood Garden Center in Beavercreek (Dayton) OH and Footprints found only at Bern’s Garden Center in Middletown (Dayton) OH.

Sara Tambascio, editor of Sara’s Green Space, a greenhouse industry blog on going green posted the photos of the Nooks & Crannies display she found at Breezewood Gardens in Chagrin Falls (Cleveland) OH and more in her Flickr fotostream.

Flickr seems to be one of the blogger favorites for collecting and sharing photos online.

Nooks & Crannies at Breezewood Gardens

Plants That Work in Nooks & Crannies at Breezewood Gardens

The green roof birdhouse in the display is intriguing, especially if the birdhouses were available for purchase along with the plants.

Green Roof Birdhouse at Breezewood

Green Roof Birdhouse at Breezewood Gardens

Miniature Garden at Altum's

Miniature Garden at Altum's

The trend has continued and expanded upon with miniature conifers as in the inspirational container gardens found at Altum’s Horticultural Center in Zionsville, (Indianapolis) IN.

Trough Garden at Altum's Horticultural Center

Trough Garden at Altum's Horticultural Center

Then there is the Fairy Garden category such as found at A Proper Garden in Delaware (Columbus) OH.

Fairy Garden at A Proper Garden

Fairy Garden at A Proper Garden

Treehouse Fairy Garden at A Proper Garden

Treehouse Fairy Garden at A Proper Garden

The fairy garden display has grown and expanded over the years as it has been accepted by an expanding clientele. Click here to read more about it the May 2009 issue of Green Profit magazine.

Fairy Garden Department at A Proper Garden

Fairy Garden Department at A Proper Garden

So this is what can happen when opportunities are found, expanded upon, and exploited by a garden center – as long as consumers really do buy-in to the concept, buy the plants and take them home and get caught up in it.

This is what a good hobby is all about. It engages the participant on an  emotional level, gives them bragging rights, entertains their imagination and seperates them from their worries as well as their wallet. Who doesn’t need a little fantasy? And who doesn’t need more customers who are excited and passionate about it to the point gardening of any kind becomes their hobby?

If the independent can respond with committment and creativity to these types of opportunities they can find new joy in the garden center business, as their customer finds new joy in the garden. So what’s next?

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