According to local news station WFAA, North Haven Gardens, a 70-year-old IGC located in Dallas, Texas, experienced a second tornado strike within two years, the first happening in October of 2019. The garden center released video footage of the tornado blowing through the building. Luckily, the tornado was swift and passed through causing minimal damage, per WFAA.
Star Roses and Plants has announced it recently won four awards from The American Rose Trials for Sustainability (A.R.T.S.) program. A.R.T.S. identifies the most sustainable, hardy, pest-resistant, and beautiful rose cultivars for use in American landscapes and gardens.
The winners are as follows:
Brick House is a strong, dark red rose that re-blooms throughout the season with a lot of flower power on each flush. It has excellent disease resistance for the type.
Pinkerbelle is a very unique breakthrough, combining a spicy, verbena scent and superior disease resistance on a Hybrid Tea. It performs very well in climates that are prone to black spot.
Candy Cane Cocktail displays bi-colored blooms of white suffused with deep pink to red edges that stand out in the garden. It features superior disease resistance and impressive re-blooming.
Sweet Spirit is a cherry red rose with a strong, sweet fragrance. It does really well in hot, humid climates. It displays beautiful, disease-resistant foliage, and is a wonderful rose for cutting.
To commemorate 2021 as the “Year of the Sunflower,” the National Garden Bureau and its members are sponsoring a #YearoftheSunflower video contest.
The contest is designed to inspire creative videos from anyone and everyone in the horticulture industry who loves sunflowers.
This year’s video contest is looking for industry experts to give their take on innovative ways to show off sunflowers. From a sea of sunflowers in the field, stunning retail displays, unique container combinations or showcased in the landscape, we want to see how industry members are highlighting this versatile flower.
“Typically, our ‘Year of’ video contests are geared toward home gardeners,” says Diane Blazek, executive director of NGB. “This year we decided to include the horticulture industry. We’ve seen so much creativity and beautiful imagery from breeders, growers, landscape professionals and retailers. We wanted to give them a chance to share their passion for sunflowers.”
There are six different ways to enter, including five social media platforms where all you need to do is use the hashtag #YearOfTheSunflower. You can also send your video via email to email@example.com.
Submissions should be 30-60 second in length. The videos may be skits, animation, testimonials or other types of videos, as long as they feature and promote sunflowers. Click here for complete details.
The top video finalists chosen by a selection committee of National Garden Bureau members will be eligible for a $250 grand prize and two honorable mentions of $100 each.
Submissions for the video contest run from July 1 to Sept. 15, 2021. The official winners will be announced on Oct. 10, 2021.
At the conclusion of the contest, all the finalists’ videos will be posted here and on the National Garden Bureau social channels.
The videos will be used as a part of the #YearOfTheSunflower campaign, which is designed to share the love of gardening by highlighting popular, easy-to-grow, widely adaptable and versatile plants.
Any breeders and sellers who are interested in sunflowers can share and use these videos. If used, please tag National Garden Bureau and use the hashtag #YearOfTheSunflower.
Per a press release, Dümmen Orange has announced two changes within the company’s North American team. Rebecca Lusk, a 19-year Dümmen Orange employee and director of retail accounts, will be joining Vaughan’s Horticulture as part of its key account team. Marta Maria Garcia, an experienced corporate retail marketing executive, is set to become the new retail director of Dümmen Orange North America.
Lusk, per the release was an “instrumental member of the team that built Dümmen Orange North America into a global industry leader.” She was the first employee of Dümmen USA and carried out a “wide range of tasks for the organization as she supported the company’s growth over the past two decades.”
Garcia, per the release, “brings valuable insight to Dümmen Orange gained from her previous management experience at Nature’s Way Farms, Designer Cut Flowers, Costa Farms and Bacardi.” Her track record of creating and launching retail programs has been recognized by many throughout the horticulture industry. Garcia’s marketing acumen includes product categories like tropicals, foliage and cut flowers, all of which complement Dümmen’s success in annuals and perennials. As an industry advocate, she is a board member for the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) center of growing talent and participates on PMA’s floral council and demand creation committees.
"We are so fortunate to have two very skilled industry leaders like Rebecca and Marta Maria planning for our future growth and success," said Perry Wismans, vice president of sales for Dümmen Orange. "After such an amazing leadership tenure here, Rebecca’s career path is shifting while Marta Maria’s career path has now led her here. Our organization, employees, customers and partners have all been and will continue to be the beneficiaries of talented industry leadership at Dümmen Orange North America.”
Lusk and Garcia will be working side by side for the next five months.
As the COVID-19 gardening craze continues to pull in more and sales and customers than in years past, Mother’s Day 2021 was a record-breaker. Heather Pariso, owner of The Garden Gurl Shop in New Philadelphia, Ohio, reported that her sales were up compared to last year, despite the “absolutely treacherous” weather.
“Air plants and houseplants have been the two most popular items this year," she says. "I have gone through more air plants and houseplants than ever before. For Mother's Day, those were just flying out the door, as well as porch pots.”
Pariso created one-of-a-kind succulent arrangements for $10 to $15 apiece. She was able to offer these as gifts for both National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3-7, and Mother’s Day, May 8. She also offered a free paint station for kids, where they could paint pots for their moms on Saturday and Sunday.
The Garden Gurl Shop is situated mostly outdoors, along with an open, indoor garage area and greenhouse where customers can shop and take seasonal classes, since she’s only open for the spring, fall and winter seasons. Her open setup made it easier when COVID hit, and customers could easily follow social distancing rules and other CDC protocols.
Customers started trickling in on Friday, but the garden center was slammed on Saturday. She was also open for three hours on Sunday to catch what she calls the “Last Minute Loueys.” Pariso’s garden center is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. since she runs the shop, about a half-acre in size, by herself. Often, friends and family will jump in and help out.
As the weather was so cold and windy, the expectation of foot traffic wasn’t there, she says. So decided to handle the shop by herself on Mother’s Day, without assistance.
“That was a bad idea,” Pariso laughs. “The kids were coming in, painting the pots and then you had their parents shopping. Sales were almost $800 in three hours.”
For the spring season alone, she notes that her sales doubled last year due to the coronavirus, and this year they’ve jumped even beyond that — nearly up 20% to 30%, every single day.
“I think the biggest thing was just, even with coronavirus and all the stuff going on, I just wanted everybody to be able to come here and chill, laugh and relax. Especially after this long winter we had. People couldn't wait to dig in the dirt,” she says.
At Lichtenfelt Nurseries, located in Greenville, South Carolina, sales were also up 50% over last year, says owner Connor Lichtenfelt, who runs the garden center with his wife, Courtnie.
“The transaction count was almost identical, but our average ticket was almost $40 more net per ticket,” he says.
Color items, roses, hydrangeas and butterfly bush were huge sellers this year. He says their perennial manager created colorful vignettes customers could grab, which were displayed up front. Pottery and indoor container sales were up too.
“We staged some different things inside the containers where we’d stick houseplants that were still in their nursery containers inside the pot. We set it inside and many people bought both as a pairing,” he says.
He says their POS system, Shopify, helped them group and link products together, so they created a link (https://lichtenfelts.com/collections/mom) for their Mother’s Day collection, which they promoted on social media before the holiday.
They also debuted a Mother’s Day video on social media, in which Lichtenfelt walked around the nursery with his mother, who co-founded the business with his father. The video was a nice way to showcase the history of the business, and it didn’t cost a lot of overhead to make, he says.
Customers were out in full force, and he estimates that traffic was the same as last year, due to the large space of their business, which is entirely outdoors.
He notes that supply shortages have been a challenge. They sold a lot of annuals for Mother’s Day, but says they’ve been much harder to come by, along with other in-demand items, like shrubs.
The economic COVID crisis and the winter storms in Texas, which wiped out thousands of crops, have been a challenge for the industry. “A lot of nurseries lost everything due to the Texas freeze, so they're having to buy full new inventories, and that kind of exacerbated the shortages,” he says.
As garden centers and nurseries deal with shortages, there are some tactics they can use to get customers back in the door. “For items that were out of stock, we suggested gift card because then you could make a day trip out of it, come out to the nursery with mom and you can buy something with her,” he says.
As a result, gift card sales were up. He estimates they sold 20 in one day, which is pretty uncommon.
Impact of shortages
Over at Ganim’s Garden Center & Florist in Fairfield, Connecticut, owner Lee Ganim says the weather was cooler than anticipated, but sales were high, and customers were in a stocking frenzy.
“No one thing was popular this year — everything went. They were picking at all the different departments, including tropicals, bedding plants, hanging baskets, vegetables, fertilizer,” he says.
Ganim says they are the only dealer in Fairfield County that sells Bumper Crop products, a Master Nursery brand, which was another popular draw for Mother’s Day.
“People just came out. I think we have a different kind of clientele than most of the box stores do. We always say that they have customers, and we have gardeners. That's been a big promotion item for us,” he says.
As more of the public becomes vaccinated and COVID cases decline, more people are venturing out and starting to safely resume activities. Ganim says there was an increase in foot traffic compared to last year, and there were also fewer restrictions by the state.
They carry a large variety of nursery stock. Like Lichtenfelt’s, he says it has been a challenge to obtain inventory this year.
Ganim believes that many nurseries oversold in the fall due to the explosion of demand, and garden centers in warmer climates were able to obtain more stock than garden centers in colder climates.
“Most people don't realize how long it takes to grow woody plants, trees or shrubs, which can take five to seven years. They think it's like the Amazon effect, where they can click on it and it will be there tomorrow. And it doesn't happen that way in the nursery world,” he says.
Ganim says he was more worried about 2021 than 2020, as he was unsure of how many new gardeners would return. Luckily, the demand remains, but it’s a matter of supply. Truck driver shortages and an overall shortage of labor and high unemployment are additional factors the industry must contend with, he says.
According to a report from Beroe Inc., a provider of procurement intelligence and supplier compliance solutions, 63,000 truck-driving jobs are currently vacant. The report predicts that the global tanker market will need 174,000 new truckers by 2026 — an even higher shortage that will further hike up rates.
“I've been doing this 53 years. This is the most challenging year I've ever had. You have to get your crystal ball out of say, ‘Well, what am I really going to need next week before they run out of it?’ And that's scary because they have such an impulse of material going out in huge numbers that these guys can't even keep up their availability,” he says.
He predicts that next year they’ll have half the amount of nursery stock that they had this year. While he’s grateful for the demand, he says the pandemic will affect the business for a long time.