Garden spending drops, but retailers maintain head-to-head competition
Planned consumer garden spending is expected to drop from an average $615 per household in 2009 to a projected $469 for 2011, according to Garden Writers Association Foundation (GWAF) 2011 Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report. At the same time, competition between independent garden centers and mass merchants is expected to remain evenly split for early-spring plant purchases. When GWAF started tracking the early spring gardening preferences of consumers in 2005, only 40 percent of the respondents planned to buy most of their spring plants at garden centers, compared to 51 percent who favored mass merchants. GWAF’s latest report, conducted in April, found that garden centers maintain a slight edge over mass merchants (46 percent to 44 percent) for consumer preference in purchasing most of their spring plants.
American Garden Award enters its third year
The American Garden Award contest is back and bigger than ever for 2011. There are now 24 participating public gardens displaying seven new varieties for the gardening public to choose as their favorite. All 24 gardens can be viewed on the AGA website (www.americangardenaward.com). Garden visitors can then vote on their favorite. There are three ways to vote: (1) By texting a given code to a polling number; (2) by going to the website and clicking on the voting button; (3) by using postage-paid voting postcards located at most participating gardens. Voting runs until August 31. Winners are announced in September.
New iPhone app recognizes leaves
Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app (available in the iTunes app store) uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. Leafsnap contains beautiful high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruit, petiole, seeds and bark. Leafsnap currently includes the trees of New York City and Washington, D.C., and will soon grow to include the trees of the entire continental United States. The makers say apps for the iPad and Android are coming soon.
Neighbors’ landscapes affect your home’s value
Your customers may have a lush landscape, but their neighbor with dead grass, spindly trash trees and mounds of dirt is bringing down their home value. An unkempt yard in close proximity may reduce the value of a home by as much as 15 percent, according to the Appraisal Institute. In terms of value, bad landscapes rank up there with sex offenders, landfills or power plants in or near a neighborhood.
Plants Nouveau announces new partnership
Plants Nouveau, www.plantsnouveau.com, a company specializing in plant introductions and marketing, recently announced a new partnership with Linda Guy, former managing director of Novalis. “Plants Nouveau has always been a company about plants, fueled by the introduction of novel, innovative selections from real plant people,” said Angela Treadwell-Palmer, founder of Plants Nouveau. “Adding the expertise of Linda Guy and her genuine love for new plants as well as her breeder relationships into our mix gives us amazing credibility, an amazing new plant inventory and an even more amazing addition to my innovative vision and plans for the future.”
Endless Summer launches Display Promotion
Showing off display skills could pay off this season for one lucky garden center employee. Endless Summer Collection launched its World’s Easiest Display Promotion, with the grand prize of a 2011 Ford Fiesta. The contest is exclusively for independent garden center employees. Simply set up a creative display using Endless Summer Collection corex and bench tape, then take pictures and upload them to the contest page. The promotion runs through July 30, 2011. Visit www.endlesssummerblooms.com for details.
Recent research questions women’s buying power
From The Wall Street Journal: A longstanding marketing adage is women control 80 percent or more of household spending. But several recent surveys suggest that men have nearly equal say on spending, and that when men and women live together, both participate in spending decisions. In a survey conducted last year of nearly 4,000 Americans 16 and older by Futures Co., a London consulting firm, just 37 percent of women said they have primary responsibility for shopping decisions in their household, while 85 percent said they have primary or shared responsibility. The respective figures for men were similar: 31 percent and 84 percent.