News on the Grow

April 22, 2003 - 11:33

Long before Martha Stewart, there was Betty Crocker.

Betty was created in 1921 after a promotion for Gold Medal
flour flooded Washburn Crosby Co., with questions about baking. To answer
customers in a more personal manner, the company created a fictitious kitchen
expert, pulling the name "Crocker" from a recently retired director
of the company and adding the first name "Betty" because it sounded

Now imagine what that concept could do for gardening.

MasterTag did just that when they created and GPN/Lawn &
Garden Retailer promoted Susan Ward. Many of you will remember Susan Ward from
last year's issues. She wrote a column about her garden center experiences as
an avid gardener.

Susan Ward is a "personality" that was introduced
to the horticultural trade by MasterTag. She is not a celebrity, expert
gardener. She is not a household name with regular appearances on cable
television or in women's home and garden magazines. She is not even real, yet
Susan has a personality that female gardeners can identify with. Susan's age,
home life, career, family income and lifestyle closely match that of the
primary consumer of lawn and garden live goods. In other words, she is an
identifiable trust-worthy personality in an otherwise bland and generic display
of flowering plant material.

What do Betty Crocker and Susan Ward have in common?

* Both provide information, with personality, on topics of
great interest -- cooking and gardening.

* Both provide a name and a face that their core audience
can trust.

* Both deliver tips and help that is based on experience and

* Both have a group of experts behind them providing sound
advice and recommendations.

Using Susan

Articles from Susan Ward appeared in Scranton Gillette
Communications' publications this past year. Both GPN and Lawn & Garden
Retailer featured some of Susan's articles. These articles included
"Susan's" preferences and suggestions and were written from the
consumer's point of view.

Each of the articles was based on the results of consumer
surveys conducted by MasterTag, but instead of showing dry charts and lists of
dull summary research, Susan Ward talked as a consumer about the things that
she (and others) wanted from growers and retailers.

Given that better information is the hallmark of the Susan
Ward program, MasterTag will introduce it as an exclusive program to
independent garden centers. Better information and a unique, personal
presentation are what consumers expect from an independent retailer, and by
using a program such as Susan Ward, or one that you design for yourself, you
can give it to them.

MasterTag and Scranton Gillette wish to thank you for your
good-natured participation in presenting solid consumer information in an easy
to understand way and encourage you to explore marketing ideas that incorporate
people, sensations, destinations or anything else that might increase sales.

--Bridget White

Colorado Drought Adds Some Water

The recent snow may have shut down highways and businesses,
but that did not stop Colorado water officials from enjoying the weather.
Aurora city leaders, who earlier this year had announced that residents would
only be allowed to plant trees, shrubs and perennials until May 3 due to the
severe drought in the state (see News on the Grow in March GPN), said the new
snow may allow them to ease the ban. Aurora received 40 inches of snow during
the storm. Aurora and other cities are waiting until final snow pack numbers
are released before announcing summer watering guidelines. In the meantime,
Colorado State University and Denver Botanic Garden released the 2003
Drought-Tolerant Plant Select Choices: Jamesia americana, Heuchera sanguinea
'Snow Angel', veronica 'Reavis', Gazania krebsiana, Paxistima canbyi, Viola
corsica and geranium 'La Veta Lace', allowing Colorado residents to have
alternative gardening sources.

ANLA Announces Headliners

The American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) has
announced its headliners for the Convention and Learning Retreat in Boston,
July16-20. Retired U.S. Navy Capt. D. Michael Abrashoff, best-selling author
Dan McNichol of The Big Dig and the "Ambassador of Fun" Tony Brigmon
will speak to attendees.

The "Revolutionary Learning Experience" starts
Friday, July 18 with "Big Thoughts Speaker" Abrashoff talking about
grassroots leadership, the process of replacing command and control with
commitment and cohesion by engaging the hearts, minds and loyalties of workers.
Grassroots leadership is a principal that empowers every individual to share
the responsibility of achieving success. On Saturday, July 19, attendees will
listen to McNichol about his role in Boston's Central/Artery Tunnel Project and
also to the self-proclaimed Brigmon.

VIVA Varieties Available in Home Depot Garden Centers

Floragem, a marketing company that develops live good plant
programs for the retail market, recently announced VIVA! Herbs and Veggies are
now available at all Home Depot Garden Centers in California, Arizona, Texas,
Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, and they will be
coming to other states nationwide as the spring planting season commences.

VIVA! Herb and Veggie plants come in decorative pots and are
divided into six color-coded categories based on the primary uses of each group
including culinary herbs, tea herbs, health and beauty herbs, aromatic herbs
and pet herbs, allowing consumers to easily identify the different varieties
and their uses by the associated color and icon on the plant tag.

GPN/MasterTag's Marketing Innovator of 2002, Floragem
designed VIVA! to inspire everyone to become a better gardener and is
distinguishable from other similar plant goods based on its custom-designed
VIVA! POP materials and informative, easy-to-read tags. The VIVA! Program also
includes a wealth of product information and planting ideas at

SAF's 19th Annual Insect and Disease Management Conference

More than 100 attendees graced the Sheraton Safari Hotel in
Orlando, Fla., for the Society of American Florists' (SAF) 19th Annual
Conference on Pest Management of Ornamentals, held February 23-25, 2003.

The three-day event provided attendees with educational
seminars, networking opportunities and greenhouse tours. The tours took the
group to three successful Florida facilities: Jons Nursery, Eustis, Fla., where
attendees were able to see Jons' successful water reclamation system; at
Agri-Starts, Inc., Mount Dora, Fla., where visitors were guided through the
tissue culture process; and Stewart's Greenhouse, Mount Dora, Fla., which demonstrated
application of beneficials for the group.

New this year was a product-roundup-type presentation where
manufactures of pest and disease controls were able to spend about five minutes
talking and discussing their products, which was a big success.

Pest and disease control manufactures were also able to
display their products in the exhibit area, where most of the attendees
gathered to network during seminar breaks. This event is great for networking
as it is pretty small and separate breaks were scheduled to talk with growers,
academics and manufacturers.

Talk amongst the attendees

Big talk among the attendees was aphids and what a problem
they have been lately. SAF and Ann Chase from Chase Research Gardens have
gathered information showing aphid infestation is growers' top pest problem.
Due to the growing problem, many experts, such as Ron Oetting, University of
Georgia, touched on the topic of aphids and treatment, as well as numerous
other pests; leafminers, whiteflies, thrips and mealybugs were just a few.

Weed control was another topic I heard mentioned over and
over at the conference. A pest in itself, weeds have become an annoyance that
growers often have to deal with and can do so now. Because of better research,
more details on weed control is known, so it is easier than before to discuss.

Newer-found diseases, such as daylily rust and Ralstonia,
were also touched on, which eased attendees nerves to hear the experts calmly
talk about the diseases and how they will not become as big of a problem as
some predicted.

Discussing the most current problems and solutions shows
that the conference allows growers to get the best information possible. Don't
miss next year's conference, which will be held in San Jose, Calif., February
22-24, 2004.

-- Carrie Burns

Athens Select Releases Marketing CD-Rom

The Athens Select Marketing Association recently created and
distributed a CD-Rom featuring custom POP cards that provide a simple way for
retail and garden centers to market Athens Select plants.

Each of the 19 POP cards contains a picture, consumer care
information and the Athens Select logo. The cards can easily be customized
without special software. The CD also contains color photos of Athens Select
varieties and instructions for printing and laminating the POP cards.

The CD is currently available through all Athens Select
propagators. Shortly, retailers will also be able to download the POP cards
from the Athens Select Web site at

In other news, the Athens Select and Proven Selections
marketing groups have recently formed a marketing alliance under which the two
organizations will promote a selection of Athens Select varieties under a
co-branded Athens Select/Proven Selections plant tag. This move was prompted by
the recent addition of two Proven Selections propagators -- Four Star
Greenhouse and Pleasant View Gardens -- to the list of licensed Athens Select
propagators. EuroAmerican Propagators has been a licensed Athens Select
propagator for years, as one of its founding members. Proven Selections is a
complementary brand to Proven Winners.

Four Star Greenhouse and Pleasant View Gardens will be
marketing Athens Select varieties under a co-branded plant tag featuring the
recognized Proven Selections tag shape and logo together with the Athens Select
logo. EuroAmerican Propagators will eventually join this marketing approach.
All other Athens Select members will continue to market under the distinguished
Athens Select plant tag. The co-branded plants will reach the market in the
2003/2004 winter and spring growing seasons.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.