Trey, the blogging nurseryman, @ the Golden Gecko had a number of interesting posts where he discusses the economic impact on nurseries, change in the way nurseries operate, and garden blogging -among other topics. As a long time nursery customer, and as someone who has more often than not had to tighten the purse strings, I thought I would put in my two cents… if it helps.
What a wonderful message to our children when we plant a tree. Yes, we may not be around long enough to hang our hammock in it, but someone will.
We, in the garden business world are perfectly poised to be the “alternative” to the madness. Greenery, fresh air, hope, camaraderie, flowers, trees, longevity, and timelessness are the attributes we offer. We just need to get that message out, and they will come.
We have here in California over sold plants that really don’t perform well in our area. This is not Oregon’s fault, but rather a response to demand from well meaning gardeners, who want gardens that look like the pictures of places in other lands where summer rain is the norm.
Visiting Home Depot the other day I say row upon row of clipped rosemary being sold for prices that an independent can’t possibly match. Will they sell them all? Who cares?
Independents can treat the customer as a friend. We need to work with our customers. We need to find out more about their wants and needs. The best way to do that is truly get to know who it is walking into the store
These quotes were taken from several recent posts. Just a selection!
The first thing an Independent nursery can do for me is stock some seed and selections that others don’t, or can’t. Every year I look for Reseda odorata, Mignonette. And every year, if I want it I would have to scour the catalogs for it- even they have limited their offerings. It isn’t just Reseda, but that is the example of something that isn’t difficult to grow, used to be much more common, and has been deleted from all the “big box stores”. In fact, for the usual summer garden suspects, I do shop @ Walmart or Home Depot. The Independents can’t compete in price, but I would pay the price for something special that others have eliminated due to a need to reduce their inventory.
An excellent example of what was once a must-visit-and-buy stop of mine in the spring growing season was K-Marts Martha Stewart seeds and plants. K-Mart has pretty much disappeared from my area, and I haven’t seen anything comparable to those few years when Martha ruled the quality KMart aisles. If Independent nurseries chose some particularly fine plants like those, I would make a trip for miles to buy them. I’m frugal, but I also appreciate adding special plants to my garden.
I pretty much expect that Independent nurseries carry things that do well in my climate and growing conditions. If something isn’t hardy – it needs to be well marked. If not, that is the kiss of death for that nursery- I go to an independently owned nursery for the know-how and the quality. That is why I take the time, spend the money, and use up gas to get there. Please don’t disappoint me- I might not make the effort if it is the same as something cheaper and more convenient for me elsewhere. This is more important to me than “having an experience” which is the direction some smaller types of local nurseries aim for. The experience I want is in my garden, and the nurseryman can help me have it by providing good quality, interesting plantings.
If your employees are not knowledgeable, supply some printsheets with the info. That is a nice touch.
I buy clipped Rosemary at Christmas time very often. I buy it as a cut flower arrangement- it never lasts for me.
Gardening as an occupation and avocation is something that is shared- we should all become garden evangelists of a sort I think. No amount of description portrays what gardening can give ( with the exception, perhaps of “The Secret Garden”).
It would be nice if garden bloggers became more sharing and joined in discussions with each other on these topics. We could exploit this media far more than we do for learning and sharing purposes.