Going to the Birds!

Going to the Birds!

 

Have you noticed folks going gaga over birds? Bird feeders, bird houses, bird baths…everything is for the birds!

Sure, some people want to keep the birds away. And that’s okay, too.

Either way, gardeners have relationships with birds. This isn’t new, however, it’s a growing trend for garden centers and a great way to attract more customers and increase revenues . Provide information and products. Offer accessories made from natural and sustainable components to the bird lovers with a variety of bird foods. These folks will also purchase identification guides, bird song recordings and related products.

Also, sympathize with those protecting their fruits and vegetables by carrying environmentally safe bird barriers and deterrents. They’ll appreciate your concern for their harvest. Maybe, if the birds aren’t the enemy, the customers will change their minds and buy bird baths and binoculars!

Don’t forget to highlight these products in your newsletter, Facebook, ...

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Merchandising Concept “Plentiful but Unique”

Merchandising Concept “Plentiful but Unique”

Half-full or half-empty? That’s an interesting concept when it comes to merchandising. When I worked in a big-box garden center, we tried to keep the large shelves full of plants. Was that a good idea?

I recently read an interesting article by Karen E. Varga, “Four tips from a visual merchandiser who’s seen the best and worst in retail displays.” If you didn’t see it, check it out online at http://bit.ly/XJIg8v .

I especially endorse the tip of offering a “plentiful supply but give the illusion of uniqueness.” She makes a good point about customers not liking half-empty shelves and followed with the opinion customers who see large full shelves of the same plant will think everyone will have that same plant. Obviously, the big-box stores don’t think their customers have that reaction.

How does your garden center merchandise?

It would be very easy to test your customers’ reactions. ...

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YCGT! Love Is In the Air With Witch Hazel!

As this is February, the month of Valentine's Day, it seems I should write a blog about "love."

Honestly, what can I say about love which hasn't already been said? Love is wonderful, it can hurt, many kinds of love exist, you can't force it...

Hmm, now that is an interesting thought. You can't force love. Probably true. Nevertheless, I love "forcing."

For the last couple of months there have been only a few flowers blooming outside. However, inside my house, paperwhite narcissus, hyacinths and witch hazel brazenly bloom and fill the air with their fragrances.

Perhaps you didn't realize witch hazel could be forced to bloom. It's very easy. Simply cut 12" long, bud-laden, young twigs from your outside shrubs. Bring them into the house and place in a vase of cool water. You can slightly smash the cut end to assist water ...

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What is a Garden Writer? What Can We Do For Your Business?

Katie Ketelsen asked me to write a posting for the National Green Centre blog about garden writers. In it, I described what a "garden writer" is. I described some ways they can help your business, including  revving-up your newsletter, pumping energy into your emails, ratcheting  your website ranking, scattering your pins through Pinterest and onto your revitalized Facebook and Twitter accounts, and brainstorming your next YouTube video series. In short, they can effectively get your company’s message out to your current, and future, customers.

Of course, I also provided insights on how a garden writer can save you time and increase revenues. Also included was information to find a garden writer, but, of course, you already know that!

Enjoy! Check it out here.

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Attend a Horticultural Trade Show

Last June I wrote about a simple and enjoyable way to increase employee productivity and discussed networking at professional organization meetings.  That advice applies to business owners also.

Last month, I wrote about giving yourself the gift of time by creating an editorial calendar.

So, now you have time and recognize the importance of networking, let’s consider attending some horticultural trade shows. There is no other place you can go to talk with, learn from,  and swap stories with, than a trade show.

Currently, while writing this posting, I am attending MANTS (Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show) in Baltimore, MD. The Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Associations held their separate annual meetings today, to be followed by several receptions and a charity auction this evening.

But the real action is on ...

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Let’s Grow Clean Indoor Air!

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed indoor air pollution as one of the top five threats to public health. Additionally, a 1984 World Health Organization Committee report concluded up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide ranked low for indoor air quality (IAQ). Floor coverings, furniture finishes, electronic equipment, permanent pressed clothing and bedding, and “cleaning products” all outgas one or more pollutants. Combined with the fact that Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, we’re living in polluted air whether we are inside or outdoors.

To have clean air, we obviously need to stop doing those activities that produce dirty air. But, is there anything else we can do?

Remember the question on your biology quiz, “What is the most important product from plants?” Actually, this is a trick question as there are two answers. .. oxygen and food. But for today, let’s talk ...

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Give Yourself the Gift of Time

 

It’s that time of the year again. Yep, the time you give gifts to others. And, hopefully, you will also receive gifts.

How about giving a gift to you? Just a small one and I promise it won’t cost a dime…

Give yourself the gift of time.

No, I’m not saying to take time off (although that would be a good idea!).  This is a gift to create more time and less stress next year.

Oh, do you want to know what I’m talking about?

Everyone “knows” they should add more content to their websites, post more frequently in various social media and send out emails or newsletters to their customers. However, I hear wails of “I don’t have time” or “I can never think of what to write about” when I suggest an increase.

Give yourself an “editorial calendar.” In other words, take an hour or two to ...

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Agastache: Enjoy it, Drink it, Love it!

“Hmmmm, this tea is delicious, but I don’t recognize it. It’s sort of like licorice, has a great herbal scent, and just feels good going down. What is it?” I asked.

She pointed out her window, beyond which was her garden and said, “It’s the pink flowered bush, Agastache. Just add hot water and steep.”

The patch of pink flowers waving in the wind had already caught my attention. Even in the downpours of recent Seattle rains, the bright green leaves and pink flower plumes stood upright and brightened her garden. I decided it was time for me to get to know this plant…

Agastache, also known as Hyssops, is a hardy (read “tough”) aromatic perennial member of the mint family. Many are native to North America. Flourishing in sunny locations in zones 5 through 9, the main requirement is well-drained soil. The group is drought tolerant and not fussy ...

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Hoping Santa Brings More Customers?

Are you asking Santa Claus for more customers?  Leaving cookies for him isn’t the answer…

Some garden centers think of this as their “slow” time, a time when customers aren’t thinking about planting veggies, flowers or trees. But actually, this is the BEST time to build your relationships with your customers.

Think about it. This is the time when you can provide information to your customers. Newsletters, emails, and signage help them save the lives of their plants, encourage improved plant growth, and foster garden design ideas. Now is the PERFECT time to get into your customers’ minds, offer them information they didn’t realize they needed and increase their awareness and appreciation for what you can uniquely offer them.

This is NOT the time to hunker down and sweep the walkways. NO!

You need to have a system to communicate with your customers. That is not the same as a ...

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It’s Holiday Cactus Time!

Have you noticed the brightly colored plants at your local stores? It's "Holiday Cactus time!"

The Holiday Cactus doesn't resemble its other cactus cousins. Native to forests and jungles, rather than desert, these plants are generally epiphytic, growing on trees or rocks. Distinctly flattened claw-like joints approximately 1" long form the arched and hanging stems. These do not look like cactus.

The 2 1/2 - 3" tubular blossoms emerge from the stem tips. As hybridization continues to create a wide variety of colors (pink, reddish, white, orange, purple or multicolored), a collection of holiday cactus can create a rainbow effect over a several month period.

In case you are wondering, the Easter cactus is closely related. However, in addition to blooming in the spring, another difference is the blossoms also form at the stem joints. Many hybrids between the two genera exist and bloom at ...

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