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It Ain’t _ _ _ _ Until It’s Over.

This is addressed mainly to garden centers that are located in the areas that experienced a very strong and warm early spring, a very wet and cool early May, followed by recent high humidity and daytime temperatures. This year that covers most of you.

In the past several days I’ve talked with several garden centers and found all of them to say something to the effect that there was NO WAY they could make up what they’re behind this year. I think they are WRONG. Continue reading

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Should Your Suppliers Sell Direct?

(Approx. read time 3 min.)

Proven Winners is now selling online direct to consumers.

Yes, others do it but Proven Winners is the first major brand in our industry that has begun selling finished annuals, perennials, grasses and shrubs direct to consumers from the Proven Winners website.  This is called cross-channel distribution by the way.

Just when I was getting used to things as they are now my cheese has been moved again. This is not entirely a bad thing though I’m still not saying it’s entirely a good thing. Maybe it is just is what it is? Continue reading

The $69.95 Tomato Success Kit

Buy The Look

The complete answer to the $64 question about how to successfully raise a great tomato plant is over at Gardener’s Supply Company. This question about how much people will pay to raise just a couple of tomato plants is no longer a joke. And if you want an early tomato the stakes are even higher.

This endeavor for bragging rights and to “beat the brother-in-law” with the earliest, biggest, bestest Beefsteak, Mortgage Lifter, Early Girl, Early Boy, or whatever your favorite tomato might be is officially out of control. Bring it on! Continue reading

Will this be the Year of the Fairy Garden?

Are fairy gardens even on your radar screen?

Fairy Garden at Tonkadale Greenhouse

Chances are you have very little interest in Fairy Gardens. Maybe you should take an interest, even for the unusual reason that doing so may build traffic for your garden center.

I posted an article titled Building on an Old Plant Category back in May 2009. In the article Fairy Gardens was briefly mentioned. Since then nearly every day brings at least one visitor to the blog via a web search for “Fairy Gardens”,”Fairy Tree Garden”, or similar. When I tried my own search the page doesn’t even come up in the top 20 Google search pages so that tells us something about how serious these hobbyists are.

Before you disregard the possibility of promoting Fairy Gardens do your own search and check out just how active this little corner of gardening is. Miniature gardens are within reach of anyone. They seem to be drawing the interest of young and old. Very little space is required, with many gardens being constructed in containers of all sorts. Continue reading

All you believe…may be ALL WRONG – Belief #5

Misconception #5 – Lower Your Prices and Make it Up on Volume

(Read time approx. 3 minutes.)

This is the fifth misconception in a series of six. The concepts being discussed here will likely be counter to your beliefs. The comments left on the previous posts are quite interesting so you may want to go back and read them. Click HERE to go back and begin with the first post related to this series.

Possibly one of the greatest travesties to befall the independent garden center as an industry is the fallacy that if you offer lower prices you will “make it up on volume”.

This is what I  call Fifth Grade Economics. The general level of knowledge about economics in our industry was learned in fifth grade social studies class. In my fifth grade class Mrs. Woods taught us about supply and demand, and how if you lowered the price you would “make it up on volume”. Unfortunately this same macro-economic principle has been perpetuated in higher education and has not been balanced with understanding of the micro-economic application in an independent garden center serving niche demographic and psycho-graphic customers.

Continue reading

Fair Follow-up to Proven Winners Fair Test?

(Read Time, approximately 2 minutes.)

There has been quite an interesting dialogue of comments following the post here on August 28, 2009 titled, Is THIS a Fair Test? Mark Broxon and Dave Konsoer from Proven Winners and Kip Creel from StandPoint reacted with more information and their views on the research conducted at Churchill’s Gardens and Rolling Green Nursery, both located in New Hampshire. The additional information they provided did not include additional photos of their research, however there are new pics of the researched displays on Garden Center Magazine’s website.

Proven Winners Test at Churchill's Gardens

Click Photo to See Tested Displays

Are we to always assume reported research is different than it appears? StandPoint’s Kip Creel said, “You cannot fairly judge the quality of the research from one photograph and a magazine article.” (That was the original point.) While this is now apparently true, it is exactly how research is judged when one photograph and an article are all you have to go on. (At the time of writing this I have not found any other stories on this particular research on the Internet.) It seems like judging the quality of the research from the information provided would be prudent. Continue reading

Is THIS a Fair Test?

Read Time: Approximately 2 minutes.

NOTE: Click HERE to read a November 10, 2009 follow-up to this post titled “Fair Follow-Up to Proven Winners Fair Test?”

You’ve probably read or will soon about yet another recent case study claiming again that branded plants outsold non-branded 5:1. CLICK HERE to go to a report on the research in Garden Center Magazine’s OPEN REGISTER blog.

A Fair Test?

A Fair Test?

Maybe I just don’t understand how  anyone could dispute the results of the study after looking at the photo of the two displays that consumers compared. What were they trying to prove? I would HOPE that the display in the foreground would outperform the other.

Which bench would you lead a well-heeled customer to if the grass is even damp? One is on a gravel paved area, and the other on grass. What would we see if we watched the customers approach identical benches in the same physical environment? Continue reading

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