Canadian garden centers battle the coldest climate of all regions. They have the highest percentage of garden centers that reported they have a gift shop and also offer apparel, and survey respondents reported more divisions than U.S. IGCs. Fairy gardening also does well here. Canadian garden centers most likely offer more than just plants because the growing season is so short. Indoor gardening supplies are more popular here than in any other region, as well, as 25% of respondents indicated sales of the category increased from 2015 to 2016. Staples like vegetables and hanging baskets are popular, too. Canada, like the Northeast, also experienced drought, and a majority of respondents cited it as the most impactful weather event.
It seems many of our readers are maintaining the status quo since last year. Field-grown trees and container-grown shrubs tied at 21% for crops with the highest sales volume in 2016. Container-grown perennials ranked third with 15%. Last year, container-grown shrubs were in the top spot with field-grown trees in a close second, followed by container-grown perennials.
When it comes to the most profitable plants, there was little change from last year. In 2016, readers ranked field-grown trees as their most profitable plant (23%), followed by container-grown shrubs (19%) and container-grown perennials (14%).
While edibles are still on the radar of many growers, not as many of our respondents this year plan to grow more of the trendy crop. In our survey, readers said they plan to increase production in 2017 of propagation material (56%), container-grown shrubs (53%) and edibles (48%). Last year, 60% of readers planned to grow more edibles, 58% said they’d increase propagation material, and 54% planned to grow more container-grown shrubs.
There are still some shortages in the market, and readers anticipate seeing fewer field-grown trees in the market (36%), followed by container-grown trees (35%) and propagation material (35%).
“Congratulations on your new beginning” read the card accompanying a beautiful bouquet of flowers my friend recently received from her husband. What a magnificent way to celebrate a new job, don’t you think? Only thing is, she wasn’t starting a new job. She had just learned that her division, along with her job of 23 years, was being phased out.
“What a sweet message that provided just the right perspective,” she said as she shared how his note impacted her as well as other members of her staff on the receiving end of the distressing news.
Her experience, coupled with the upcoming holidays, made me think about key characteristics highly successful leaders possess, as well as prize and cultivate in others.
If you haven’t already, take time this Thanksgiving to express your gratitude to your exceptional employees who help make your workplace hum with their ability to:
1. Reframe circumstances. Reframing, a resiliency skill, is looking at things from a differing, more helpful perspective. Like your employees, my friend’s husband could have panicked at bad news. Instead, he chose to look at the positive. Next time someone makes a mistake, you can help them see it as a terrible thing, or as a wonderful opportunity to grow and tighten up your systems to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
2. Offer encouragement. No matter how great the job or wonderful an environment you’ve created, challenges and difficult circumstances arise. As someone once said, “You’re either in a tough time, coming out of a tough time, or heading into a tough time.” When an employee is struggling, a team is facing a tough decision or a business is besieged, sometimes all it takes to muster the strength to get through it is a well-placed word of encouragement.
3. Be a firm but gentle truth teller. While having everyone say yes or massage your ego may feel great in the short run, you and your business will suffer if you aren’t surrounded by people willing to tell you the truth from their perspective. It’s virtually impossible to be at your best in a vacuum. As Solomon said, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Even with a fantastic boss or employee, it can take a great deal of courage to disagree, offer a differing opinion or hold someone gently accountable for their actions and results.
4. Disagree civilly and respectfully. Conflict is inevitable in the workplace, and how it is handled determines whether your work environment and employees are safe and positioned to be highly productive. Take special notice of employees who practice listening, trying to understand one another’s perspective, and who leave others feeling uplifted instead of torn down when problems arise.
5. Consistently work hard. Wouldn’t it be great if every employee was a rock star who worked hard and made your job exceptionally easy? Take time this holiday season to thank your sometimes unsung heroes who step up to the plate and deliver for you day after day, week after week, year after year.
While Thanksgiving is a time we set aside to formally express gratitude, my hope is you regularly notice and comment on all the wonderful things your staff does the whole year through. The more you do, the more you’ll see the behaviors and characteristics you prize. Who wouldn’t want to perform at their best and go the extra mile for a boss who truly sees and appreciates them?
Dr. Sherene McHenry works with organizations that want to boost their Leadership IQ so they can enhance effectiveness, increase employee engagement and raise productivity. Learn more at sherenemchenry.com
Houston garden center tour slide show
In October, Garden Center magazine visited five different IGCs in the Houston, Texas, area as part of the Garden Center Group’s annual Fall Event. Each stop on the tour offered a unique perspective on merchandising and customer service, with each location displaying its own niches and specialties. A photo slide show of the garden centers on the tour can be viewed on the Garden Center Facebook page at the link below.bit.ly/2eZg5Fx
What’s trending on Facebook
Following the release of Garden Center magazine’s September 2016 Top 100 IGCs issue, we shared the profiles that spotlighted 20 of the Top 100 retailers from across the U.S. with our Facebook followers. The story of Armstrong Garden Centers and Pike Nurseries; “Two names, same service,” was shared on our Facebook page on Oct. 10, gaining the most impressions of the month, and was shared by 40 visitors.bit.ly/2fzGJ9C
Industry talk from Twitter
Why Urban Farming Makes So Much Sense for New York City — Thrillist https://t.co/n8whvw6UjY
5 stories in brief
Top industry news from our website
1. End of IGC East
The Eastern Show for IGCs is cancelled due to lack of support, according to organizers Jeff and Cheryl Morey. bit.ly/2dPW1EV
2. Around Houston
We toured five distinct garden centers throughout the Houston area and shared highlights with readers. bit.ly/2dnG4VT
3. Supply research
A study by the Horticulture Research Institute produced an infographic depicting the U.S. regions with the highest out-of-state plant sales. bit.ly/2e5oGVh
4. Press awards
Editorial and design staff of Garden Center magazine were recognized with awards from ASBPE and The Press Club. bit.ly/2fIH498
5. Bayer acquisition
SBM finalizes acquisition of Bayer Garden and Bayer Advanced, which will be grouped into a new unit called SBM Life Science. bit.ly/2fgPOTt