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Have you sent in your entry yet to be Lawn & Garden Retailer’s 2019 Merchandiser of the Year?

If you haven’t, the clock is ticking. You have a little less than a month to submit your entries. The official deadline is June 13, 2019.

So you still have time (but not a lot) to grab your camera and take some photos of your best display or group of displays.

You could be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine and win the Dramm 60123 Display, which retails for more than $2,400, and a $500 Wholesale Gift Credit from Braun Garden Products and a 15 percent discount for Braun’s 2019 Catalog offering (one time).

Remember, the deadline for entries is June 13 so don’t procrastinate because that date will be here before you know it.

We want to see your best pix when things are looking full and fresh and ready to go!

You can find all of the details — and see previous winners and finalists — on our website.

If you have any questions, please contact Tim Hodson, Lawn & Garden Retailer’s editorial director, at thodson@greatamericanpublish.com.

— Tim

The post Less Than a Month appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter this weekend and an equally outdoor-filled Earth Day yesterday. The main campaign of Earth Day 2019 — according to Earth Day Network — was to “Protect Our Species,” and the work doesn’t stop after the day is over.

The species include giraffes, coral reefs, whales, elephants, insects and many more. Most notable for our industry is that the list includes bees! We all know how important bees are — and how important the plants we sell are — with more than 332,000 flowering plant species dependent on pollination.

I know it’s a busy time of the year, but maybe you should start planning your events for National Pollinator Week, June 17 to 23. McDonald Garden Center in Virginia piloted an event for that week last year with a walk-through butterfly tent, a Honeybee Hive Observation Station and much more, and they said the event was very popular. Let’s get creating to help the bees!

New Opportunities

Spring is a time for new beginnings, especially in this industry. Seven years ago I struggled to remember the difference between an annual and perennial, and now I am the go-to plant person among friends and family.

It’s bittersweet for me to say that I am leaving the horticulture industry in the coming weeks to pursue a new opportunity in publishing. I will truly miss working closely with independent garden centers, as you are the nicest people around.

I appreciate all you have done for me, I look forward to new challenges, and I know I won’t be able to stay away from your stores when I travel!

Rest assured, you’ll hear from me in the May and June issues of the magazines, and I know the Lawn & Garden Retailer team will continue to provide you with the information and inspiration you expect from us.

Don’t hesitate to reach out, and for the last time in your inbox …

Cheers,

Abby 

The post Earth Month & Pollinators appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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Spring is in full force as far as the calendar is concerned, and let’s hope that even the northern parts of the country start seeing warmer temperatures soon! I know your stores are getting stocked and ready for the busiest weekends of the season, so I want to put it on your radar that you could be Lawn & Garden Retailer’s 2019 Merchandiser of the Year.

Grab your camera and take some photos of your best display or group of displays. You could be featured in an upcoming issue of the magazine and win the Dramm 60123 Display, which retails for more than $2,400, and a $500 Wholesale Gift Credit from Braun Garden Products and a 15 percent discount for Braun’s 2019 Catalog offering (one time).

You have until June 13, but I want to make sure you get the best shots when things are looking full and fresh! Find more details — and see previous winners and finalists — on our website.

Maximizing Your Store

Have you picked up the April issue of the magazine yet? There’s one article, “7 Steps to Better Store Penetration,” that I’d love to hear from you about after you read it.

Have you taken any of John Johnston’s tips for your own store? Have you created wider aisles? Installed new lighting? Simplified offerings? Let me know at akleckler@greatamericanpublish.com, and feel free to add any other store design components that are working well for you.

Cheers,

Abby

P.S. Thank you to all of you who participated in our survey on on pet departments at your garden centers! You can see the results in the April issue. Stay tuned for more surveys like this one.

The post Ready for the Season appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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California Spring Trials 2019 has ended, but we have so many more retail ideas and variety introductions to share with you. We last left off on Day 4 of the trials with some highlights from PanAmerican Seed in Santa Paula. With eight divisions under one roof, we pick up again today with more from the Ball Horticultural Co.

We then started our fifth and final day at Grolink, with numerous companies exhibiting. We saw a lot of sunflowers along the coast this week, and Evanthia’s Sunsation in three colors — Yellow, Flame and Lemon — was another impressive one. Florist Holland showcased its new gerberas along with POP ideas for gifting the flowers for the holidays.

Our final stop of the trip was at Green Fuse Botanicals in Santa Paula, where both Green Fuse and Westhoff were exhibiting. Take a look at a huge new echeveria series, Coral Reef, as well as new additions to the Rex begonia line from Green Fuse in this video. They’re perfect for cool-weather and holiday programs.

We’ve loved having you follow along with us, and we’re going to have a lot more coverage in upcoming issues of Lawn & Garden Retailer and GPN magazines as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

Fancy Combos

Westhoff

Westhoff’s new FanciFillers program includes eight bold, on-trend plants meant to step up your game when it comes to mixed containers. The didelta ‘Silver Strand’ seen up front has a succulent look but extremely soft texture, and makes for an incredible height component that really stands out.

Wax Bulbs

Ball Ingenuity

These amaryllis wax bulbs make for the perfect gift item in your garden centers. They don’t need water to grow and flower four to six weeks. Customers can choose to take the bulb out of the packaging and place it on any surface or else the bulb will continue to grow out of an opening in the top of the plastic.

An Anniversary

Suntory Flowers

Surfinia petunias celebrate their 30th anniversary this year, and any occasion can help reinvigorate customers. Suntory Flowers had celebratory signs, a look back on its history, a cake, a new release of ‘Surfinia Purple Starshine’, an homage to its two best sellers — Heavenly Blue and Deep Red — and more.

Potted Plants

PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed has beefed up its “Gateway to Gardening” plants, which are meant to attract new plant users and younger generations. This assortment of smaller breeding is great for gifts and both indoor and outdoor décor. Celosia, gerbera, ornamental peppers, campanula and lavender are just some of the offerings.

Size It Up

Green Fuse Botanicals

Green Fuse launched its new leucanthemum ‘Betsy’ this year with truly massive flowers. Shown here is ‘Betsy’ alongside a bloom from Green Fuse’s smallest leucanthemum to showcase the size range, providing a great idea to group like plants together so shoppers can see what they’re really getting.

Use of Color

Royal Van Zanten

To display its Colorita series of alstroemeria, Royal Van Zanten used blue, greens and yellows on the background and in the live scene. The two new colors — ‘Colorita Katiana’ with red blooms and variegated foliage and ‘Colorita Mulan’ with a bold purple color — garnered a lot of attention.

The Park Theme

Selecta One

I love a good theme that is carried throughout a garden center, so Selecta One’s idea caught my eye. They took the park theme and ran with it. Dahlias surrounded the fountain in the park, Uno and Neo calibrachoas can be seen in the background on swings and Trixi combinations were featured on a moving merry-go-round.

Stay Indoors

Ball Ingenuity

We saw a huge focus on indoor blooms from Ball Ingenuity, whether indoor Hydrangea macrophylla or these lesser known Betulia bowls. Shown is begonia ‘Betulia Candy Pink’, which thrives in the shade of the indoors. Bright Pink, Light Pink and Red are three additional colors in the series.

The post California Spring Trials — The Final Days appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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The journey continues down the California coast, where we’ve been seeing a lot of new introductions and having fun along the way. Day 3 started at American Takii in Salinas, where they were exhibiting along with HilverdaKooij, who will be merging with Florist Holland later this year.

We then headed over to Sakata Seed America, also in Salinas. They launched the new Viking and Viking XL begonias as well as a new bicolor Profusion zinnia, which you can learn more about in a video I did from the stop on social media.

Up next was Dümmen Orange at the Edna Valley Vineyard, our final stop of the day. They launched a new Fleur de Rock collection of rock garden plants to meet the demand for super low-maintenance offerings.

Yesterday we started our day at Windmill Nursery in Buellton with J. Berry Nursery and 2Plant International, among others, before heading down to PanAmerican Seed in Santa Paula. With eight different companies of Ball Horticultural exhibiting under one roof, we’ll touch on a few of them below and save a handful more for our next e-newsletter on Friday. Also, learn about new AmeriHybrid begonias and a new osteospermum series in this video from the stop.

Keep up with us on Instagram and Facebook, head over to GPN’s blog for more on variety introductions, and make sure to click on the below images for more info on all of them …

Downy Mildew-Resistant Impatiens

PanAmerican Seed

Beacon impatiens from PanAmerican Seed are newsworthy this year because of their resistance to impatiens downy mildew. The six colors — and two mixes —were displayed beautifully in this heart planting, and there’s also a unique story in that 3 percent of all sales will go to a lesser-known charity — this year it’s the Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) Foundation, also known as “brittle bone disease.”

Cut Flowers

Sakata

This gorgeous table display showcased Sakata’s new Coco cut flower marigold in three colors: Gold, Deep Orange and Yellow. Named with the Disney movie of the same name in mind, “It’s always a fiesta with Coco.”

“Tropical” Impatiens

Dümmen Orange

We know tropicals are hot right now, but what about this new series of SunStanding New Guinea impatiens that have variegated foliage for a tropical look? SunStanding Jazzy has two new intros this year: Coral and Hot Pink. Imagine this in combinations.

A Zinnia Retreat

Takii Seed

The new line of Prĕciosa zinnias from Takii is available in seven colors and a blend that stay compact and have good branching for more flower power at retail. This display, meant to look like a European oasis, really made the flowers pop and differentiated this intro from the rest of the space.

A Rainbow of Peppers

Burpee

Snack peppers aren’t going away, and what’s unique about these new Mardi Gras Fun varieties is that you can grow all four colors in a 16-inch pot to have an array of purple — yes, purple! — red, yellow and orange snack peppers. You could have some fun with the Mardi Gras name too.

A Play on Words

J. Berry

J. Berry Nursery always rolls out the red carpet to highlight its Hollywood Hibiscus series, and this year it was no different for its Crown Jewel Begonia line. This treasure chest was an easy way to really make the ‘Positively Peridot’ variety pop.

Contrasting Colors

Star Roses & Plants

Star Roses & Plants used different, brightly colored doorframes to make its lines stand out, an easily replicated idea for your stores. Bushel & Berry was highlighting its Cascade series of blueberries perfect for hanging baskets.

A Grand Entrance

Sakata

Shoppers always look up, but it’s hard to make a greenhouse look special from that high. These plantings welcomed people through each doorway and got a lot of attention for their eye-catching color and combinations.

The post California Spring Trials — Middle of the Road appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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The first two days of California Spring Trials are in the books, and so far we’ve seen lots of great plants and displays from breeders. The next three Retail Reports will take you through some of the highlights. (Make sure you click on the “read more” or each image for additional info.)

Team Lawn & Garden Retailer and GPN started in the north on Saturday with our first stop at Speedling in San Juan Batista featuring Hem Genetics among others, before heading over to Suncrest Nurseries where a number of Israeli breeders — Hishtil, Jaldety, Cohen and Nir — had material on display.

Up next was Pacific Plug & Liner, whose theme we look forward to every year. This year did not disappoint with The Secret Garden concept embraced by all exhibitors there, including Terra Nova Nurseries. See a video from PP&L on our Facebook page. Our final stop for the day was Benary in Watsonville, who told its family story of their company through their displays.

Day 2 started at Kirigin Cellars in Gilroy, where Proven Winners featured a  number of new retail concepts along with annual, perennial and shrub introductions, some of which you can see in this video. We then headed to Syngenta Flowers, also in Gilroy, before going to Danziger and finishing the day with a trip to Beekenkamp’s location, where Monrovia exhibited as well.

Make sure you’re following along on Facebook and Instagram, and check out GPN’s blog for some variety-specific intros. And until Wednesday, check out these highlights …

Pentas

Benary

Benary’s best-selling crop in the U.S. is pentas, and the new Graffiti 20/20 series with nine colors and one mix was on full display. With dense, tight flowers for maximum color and a fun name, the possibilities are endless at retail.

Amore

Danziger

Danziger added three new Amore petunias to its series with heart-shaped patterns on every bloom, and they also showcased the varieties in combinations. New Amore POP includes these tags with “To:” and “From:” fields that are a great idea no matter the crop.

Upscale Planters

Proven Winners

Proven Winners is rolling out its Decked Out program where, instead of using the traditional Proven Winners white pots, growers or grower-retailers can choose any decorative container so long as it fits within the program guidelines (e.g., a minimum price point of $2 at wholesale).

Helianthus

Monrovia

The new ‘SunBelievable Brown Eyed Girl’ helianthus boasts, “One plant. 1,000 blooms.” It continuously blooms from spring until the first hard frost. The dark center is really prominent in spring and fall, and it yellows out in the summer.

Setting the Scene

Terra Nova Nurseries

This display from Terra Nova Nurseries was spot on with The Secret Garden theme of the stop, with tea cups featuring heuchera and numerous introductions throughout. The “brick” wall was created with boards but looks extremely realistic.

Combinations

Jaldety Nursery

We’ve seen a lot of unique combinations in the first two days, including this one from Jaldety, which includes the new ‘Silver Roses’ sedum in the bottom left corner, named for its compact, small rose petal-like shape.

School Spirit

Syngenta Flowers

This new series of Ivy League trailing geraniums from Syngenta Flowers just screams for spirited merchandising whether the local college colors are burgundy, salmon or something more common.

Rethink Functions

Pacific Plug & Liner

These tables at Pacific Plug & Liner garnered a lot of attention as the center cutout was originally intended as an ice box or cooler for drinks. The plantings, however, make for a great conversation starter and fun idea for any event at retail.

The post California Spring Trials — Starting Up North appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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Lawn & Garden Retailer by Abby Kleckler - 2M ago

The countdown is on for California Spring Trials. We’re headed out at the end of the week to The Golden State where we’ll be met with new varieties galore. With 18 stops and more than 50 exhibiting companies, the agenda is always daunting, but the incredible merchandising displays and breeding introductions always impress.

I’ll be coming into your inbox next Monday, Wednesday and Friday with special Retail Reports from Spring Trials that will include all the inspirational ideas and plants sure to step up your game at the garden center.

Also, head on over to Lawn & Garden Retailer’s Facebook and Instagram right now, and make sure you’re following us. You won’t want to miss the photos and videos from the road.

Jasmina Dolce, managing editor of our sister pub GPN, has been giving growers sneak peeks at some of the new varieties we’ll see in California in her Culture Connection e-newsletter. I don’t want you to feel left out though! There’s four editions so far: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 and Volume 4 — just click on those links for each one. And let me know if you’ll be out there.

Consumer Excitement

I don’t need to tell you that the official start to spring is tomorrow! And this is also the kick-off to the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier.

I’ve heard from some of you that you’re headed to your local spring show, or even exhibiting or bringing a bus-load of customers. Please send me your photo highlights! I’d love to see them and share them.

Cheers,

Abby

The post Westward Bound appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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Guess what day it is? It’s National Plant a Flower Day! I must confess that I had no idea we celebrated such an occasion on March 12 every year until a note appeared in my inbox, but this seems like a day that we should all be promoting with spring just around the corner.

I also discovered that this Thursday, March 14, is National Learn About Butterflies Day!

This seems like the perfect opportunity to let your customers know that the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge surpassed its goal at the end of February. That’s right; more than 1 million gardens have been registered, involving an estimated 8 million people! Learn more about where these gardens are and what’s next — think year-round food supplies for pollinators — on our website.

A huge pollinator push started a few years ago, but has your customers’ enthusiasm continued to strengthen? How are you promoting pollinator-friendly plants? Let me know at akleckler@greatamericanpublish.com.

What Do Your Customers Think of You?

Isn’t this a question we’d all like to know the answer to? Head on over to our March issue to read an article by the same title. Danny Summers from The Garden Center Group talks about its mystery shopper program and, more importantly, how to set the standard among your employees to ensure happy customers.

Also in March, Stan Pohmer talks about having control over what the customer sees and feels, and the way he or she is treated. I think his 12 sure-fire ways to make sure customers have an incredible experience are important to read. And I’d love your feedback.

Cheers,

Abby

The post Flowers, Butterflies & National Holidays appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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Hopefully you’re familiar with AmericanHort, the association that represents all sectors of the horticulture industry. AmericanHort puts on the Cultivate trade show every July in Columbus, Ohio — and as one of the Retail Community Connectors, we’ve been planning the show’s education, and I promise you there will be some great sessions.

AmericanHort provides education throughout the year as well though, and one of these struck me as being particularly relevant to you all: The Industry Insider Report: Garden Retail Profitability.

Steve Bailey, garden center consultant and service provider of The Garden Center Group, is doing a four-part video series on managing financial data to help you better manage your business performance.

As someone who has sat through a number of Steve’s sessions on profit and loss statements, pricing, margins, inventory management, and more, I urge you to take a look. The first video comes out today, so don’t wait too long.

The video series will also end in a live panel discussion with Cameron Rees of Skinner Garden Store in Topeka, Kansas; Dennis Fix of FarWest Landscape & Garden Center in Boise, Idaho; and Derek Ellis of Ellis Home & Garden in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Call for Events

I could use your help! Do you have any standout events at your garden center? We’ve featured more than a dozen in our Event Central column: a Houseplant Runway Show; Food Trucks on the Farm; farm-to-table dinners at the garden center; Tomatomania and many more.

I know I’m missing some great ones though! Shoot me an email at akleckler@greatamericanpublish.com.

Cheers,

Abby

The post All Eyes on Profitability appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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Valentine’s Day is this Thursday, and I’ve loved seeing some of your garden centers’ Facebook and Instagram posts giving customers gift ideas: String of Hearts houseplants, containers with heart decals or “I love you messages,” cyclamen and of course gorgeous bouquets.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), spending is expected to increase this year to an average spend of $161.96, topping the all-time record of $146.84 in 2016. That’s $19.6 billion in total spending, and we know that a good portion of that is spent on flowers.

One number from the NRF that caught my attention, however, was spending on furry friends. Pet spending is expected to total $886 million this year, which is up nearly 60 percent since they first starting asking the question in 2008.

Does your store sell any pet products? Whether a few local items, some pet-themed garden décor, a dog- or cat-centric event or a full-blown pet department, I’d love to hear about it.

Please take a short survey  — less than 10 questions — to help me out: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LGRPets. And make sure to look for the responses in the April issue! You even have a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card.

Speaking of Issues

Have you picked up your copy of the February issue yet? You’ll find a captivating retailer profile of Fiddleheads Garden Center in Dalton, Georgia; ways to become a pro for garden-loving shoppers who also have an affinity for chickens; tips to help plan your succession even before it’s that time; a Winter Farmers Market at Primex Garden Center in Pennsylvania; and much more.

Cheers,

Abby

The post Flowers & Dog Treats appeared first on Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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