Tuesday, December 30, 2008
This program is a non-profit created by The Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio. It’s a farm dedicated to growing specialty herbs, veggies and microgreens sustainably, and supplies chefs all over the country. The idea came about when the owners were sitting with some chefs talking about the lack of nutrition education for kids. They came up with the program, which involves sending vegetable seeds and soil packets to classrooms across the country, along with a curriculum designed to teach kids in a fun and enjoyable way about vegetables and nutrition.
I don’t know if there are partnership opportunities with this program for garden centers, but it seems like it would be a great way to tie together nutrition and gardening.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The blog’s focus is Managing Through Tough Times, and our own Group Editor Richard Jones will be one of the featured bloggers, along with Dale Deppe of Spring Meadow Nursery, Ken Long, president of Garden Centers of America and co-owner of L.A. Reynolds Home & Garden Showplace, and many others.
Find it all at www.managementclinic.org/blog/index.cfm.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Remember the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and the USA Dream Team? At the time, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley showed the world just how far ahead the U.S. was in the realm of basketball. If there was a garden center dream team, Homestead Gardens would be in the starting five and in line for a gold medal.
The size of Homestead is one thing, but it's what they're doing under their roofs that's something worthy of it's own HGTV show.
When you walk through the front doors, the first thing you notice is a runway of main-aisle that gives you an unobstructed view all the way to the back door. Dave Hanger, Homestead Gardens General Manager, said it gives the retail space a racetrack layout, which leads shoppers to everypart of the interior property. He compared it to Target's main, 15 foot aisle that runs throughout the store.
The space at Homestead Gardens is second to none and makes for a breatheable experience. And that space doesn't interrupt their holiday offerings.
Scott Daley is the resident creative genius. Hanger said that Scott is just "unbelievable with some of the things he's doing around here." A great example of this is the half taxi cab. Found in the Department 56 section, some Homestead workers went down to a junk yard and found this car. They had them cut it in half before they hauled it back to the store. A fresh coat of paint and voila...an instant display fixture meets conversation piece. Vintage chairs, freezers, tables and ovens can also be found in their displays.
Besides everything else going on during the holiday, Homestead's toy train track is a big ticket. With a full-time conductor on hand, "On weekends it's sometimes three deep in here (around the track)," says Hanger. "Sometimes you'll see three generations come in to watch the train."
Sunday, November 23, 2008
It may have been the cloudy day. It may have also been the “getting ready” transition between seasons, but Valley View Farms looked a little bare from the outside, which ill-prepared me for my first couple steps into the store.
It was like Clark Griswold’s house inside-out.
Ceilings were lit from corner to corner. And the rotating artificial trees decked in an assortment of ornaments and lights were an added touch that didn't/won't go unnoticed.
I’d be interested to see what it would look like if they turned down the normal house lighting a little. I bet the Christmas lights would pop even more, and save on the electric bill along the way.
Don’t let the title fool you, Bucks County’s Bucks Country Gardens does Christmas big, but they also do a lot of the little things. Not to mention, their barn turned retail center is a perfect place not to get lost.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
There are those places you come across in life where you just feel comfortable and safe.
Feeney’s is one of those places.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Not even a year old, it’s only natural for Terrain to have a couple hiccups in the growing process, right?
Pier One dressed in an expensive flannel shirt. That’s my initial take on Terrain. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.With live garland wired and streamed over the main walkway, it was easy to see that “rustic” oozes out of everything. And isn’t it funny that this is considered cutting edge?
There’s about 75 of us on this tour of Southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond. We’re split into two buses, and GCA’s Shanan Molnar wasted no time informing us that we were on the official “fun bus.” With Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer playing on the radio, the tour’s very first stop started at Waterloo Gardens in Exton.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Maybe some garden centers are doing something like this? If you are, make sure you give your local newspapers and TV stations a call to let them know! They love these human interest kinds of stories, and you just might get some media coverage, while, of course, supporting a great cause.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Anyone interested in more information can click here to visit the IGCA Web site.
The artistic presentation of the produce blew me away. Too pretty to eat!
Saturday, September 13, 2008
The final garden center stop on the IGCA Congress tour was Art Knapp’s Plantland, the company’s flagship store.
The garden center touts its selection of unique, imported furniture, which is beautifully displayed.
Attractive vignettes help lead shoppers through the extensive home décor department, which includes everything from large furniture pieces to artwork. The home décor department was just beginning its transition into the Christmas season, which one of the employees admitted is a little earlier than usual. But, Art Knapp’s does Christmas so well, they wanted to make sure everyone on the tour had a chance to see it. I especially liked the Asian-inspired Christmas display (pictured).
The garden center also offers a wide selection, including a variety of large specimen trees.
After a scenic drive through the countryside, we arrived at Trice Farms. The garden center markets itself as the area’s water gardening expert, and a number of lovely display ponds on the property confirm it. This store spares no expense when it comes to showing customers exactly what they’re capable of in the water gardening category.
A water gardening information center (pictured), staffed by employees, helps take the intimidation out creating a pond. The store also features a studio where classes and seminars are held to educate customers.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Brian Minter pointed out to me that Northwest has found a bit of a niche with its “disappearing water gardens,” which use natural rocks to absorb and recycle a water feature’s water. This allows the homeowner to have the look and sound of running water, but without algae build up or the risk of attracting disease-carrying mosquitoes.
Day four of the IGCA Congress first took us to Ninety-Nine Nursery & Florist, a family-run operation known for its award-winning displays. “Impeccable” was the word many tour attendees were using to describe the garden center, and that pretty much sums it up. This is a garden center that’s not afraid to throw away tired plants. Every plant there was perfect.
Ninety-Nine has also found a way to profit from waste, selling petals from roses about to be discarded for $4.99 a box.
The Burnaby store is the flagship, and there’s no shortage of curb appeal at this store. Beautifully planted flower beds at the entrance invite customers in. At Mandeville, the quaint café includes a lovely patio with tables and chairs, helping to make it a true destination garden center.
The stores also do a fantastic job with their cross merchandising, always helpful in getting the add-on sale and raising average price per transaction.
Sustainability is an important mission for GardenWorks, too. GardenWorks not only offers reusable shopping bags printed with a message to support independent Canadian garden stores, it also supplies grower flats for shoppers to use and bring back to the store, in place of expensive cardboard boxes.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The 7,000-foot tall Mount Cheam is a splendid backdrop for the 11 gorgeous themed gardens. You’ll find out more about the gardens in the November issue, too, but until then, check out these photos!
Surrounded by box stores (including a Home Depot right across the street), this particular Cannor Nursery store has had to reinvent itself in recent years in an effort to cater to the higher-end consumer.
The store’s café, Tamaringo's, creates a cozy, inviting atmosphere that no big box could replicate, and it serves a delicious assortment of coffees, teas and other foods (including yummy gelato).
Cannor’s efforts to focus on “relationship selling” – building connections with customers so they won’t want to shop anywhere else – have been successful. The owners say sales are growing more every day, and they’ve found their niche with the more affluent customers.
Nordic Nurseries isn’t a garden center, but it was full of spectacular marketing and merchandising ideas, in addition to magnificent trial gardens.
The nursery is actually a grower of more than 300 varieties and is in the Proven Winners grower network – hence, the fantastic displays featuring Proven Winners point-of-purchase materials.
I really liked the way Tanglebank uses paint to add interest to otherwise ordinary benches. Owner Brenda Falk says she decided to add the splashes of green and yellow paint because in an area known for its rainy weather, the colors can make the garden center feel bright and inviting, even on dreary days.