34 Chapters
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8: Stock Management

Crafer, K CABI PDF

8 

Stock Management

Stock or inventory management is a vital part of the success of a business; without close control, a business may suffer significant cash-flow problems even though immensely popular and attaining a high gross margin. Despite being so important to the success of a business, it is not a topic that typically gets the average garden centre manager particularly excited, until of course there is an inability to purchase the stock that is needed for a seasonal opportunity because the business has locked up its financial resources in other items.

In addition to the financial implications of effective stock management, there are many other hidden benefits. While it has been estimated that poor stock control systems may mean a loss on sales of 2–3% due to lines being out of stock, there are also effects on staff morale if they are commonly having to address customer frustrations when in-demand products are out of stock.

However, probably the more far-reaching effect is the impact upon the customer.

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7: Managing Safety and Security

Crafer, K CABI PDF

7 

Managing Safety and Security

7.1  Introduction

Reading most garden centre-related articles in trade magazines, visiting trade shows or interactions with supplier representatives, the focus is primarily on the development of profit. For any business this is indeed a primary consideration as without this the business will fail.

The business owner does have other social and ethical responsibilities which are implicit within the running of the business. These are not divorced from the focus upon profit but are intertwined with it. Indeed the success of the retailer will have a significant effect on the local community in terms of employment as well as the beneficial effect on manufacturing and service and service sectors that support it and help it to develop. From this standpoint, the owner or manager has a mandate to ensure the business is as successful as possible, albeit balanced with appropriate care and consideration for other partners and colleagues.

Each business will work within the context of the legal constraints of the country within which they are based, but in addition will be pressured by acceptable cultural norms; examples being the hours of opening, observance of cultural events such as a minute’s silence on Armistice Day (11 November), or the way it advertises products. In this latter case there may be a community backlash if the attempt to be clever and noticeable is deemed to be insensitive or vulgar.

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4: Marketing

Crafer, K CABI PDF

4 

Marketing

4.1  Introduction

Whilst everyone uses the word, trying to define what marketing actually is proves to be more complex. Some will cite ‘advertising’, others ‘promotion’ or ‘display’. In many ways it is all these things and far more. The Chartered Institute of Marketing offers this definition:

Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

In other words, by studying and evaluating the market forces and factors affecting a business, the business is able to put itself into a position whereby it may optimize the benefit of its position.

Without good marketing, it is extremely difficult for a business to understand and meet the needs of its customers; with a potential gap between their needs and what the business has to offer, there is the opportunity for another competing business to meet their needs more closely.

While the focus is often on advertising or selling, marketing is a key process that in effect starts with the development and procurement of goods and services to meet the needs or wants of the customer. Interpretation of this may be very important, as the customer is not always aware of these themselves, and often the development of a product meets a need that thus far has not been recognized.

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9: Productivity

Crafer, K CABI PDF

9 

Productivity

Productivity management, in essence the optimal use of resources in meeting the needs of the customer, is a preoccupation of all managers. The outcomes of this optimization should result in a surplus or profit for the business. In whatever sphere, although a loss may be sustainable in the short term, a continuing reduction in capital will put the whole business or initiative in jeopardy.

However, the obvious challenge for many garden centres is to understand how well they are doing. Clearly turnover can be measured against projections, but as these were defined by the business itself, this becomes an exercise in identifying how well the retailer is performing against their own estimates.

Other sources monitoring the retailer’s performance, such as the bank, are again only measuring against the business’s own projections, potentially against a business case that was presented in order to secure the loan or overdraft.

What would be more useful, therefore, would be to evaluate performance against others in the sector, thus giving a better understanding of where the business has the potential to improve significantly – changing the focus of management time and effort.

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7. Fantastic Ferns Bring Softness Into The Garden

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

Nature was surely in a gentle mood when she created the ferns.

—Henry and Rebecca Northern

Ostrich Fern

Most gardeners assume that ferns require shade. True, most of them do. But sun-worshipping gardeners will be pleased to learn that several ferns grow well in sun. There is one overriding caveat: they all require a consistently moist planting site. Only then are they able to provide an airy, feathery texture to your sun garden.

On the popular website davesgarden. com, there is a 2008 article detailing ferns that can tolerate sun. In it Todd Boland, research horticulturist at the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden, explains that ferns have had a rather checkered history. They were in high demand during the Victorian era, especially in the United Kingdom, and then became favored only by specialty gardeners. Thanks to colorful Asian Painted Fern availability, ferns are once again sought after. They are recommended as companion plants for hostas and have become a staple for the shade garden. Ferns are used as focal points, planted in a mass to create textural interest, employed as a ground cover, and incorporated in sunny perennial gardens.

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3: Customer Care

Crafer, K CABI PDF

3 

Customer Care

The purpose of a retail organization is to offer goods and services for the customer to use in a manner that is profitable to both parties. Fundamental to this is the understanding of what a customer actually wants. This is often dependent upon knowledge of likely consumer behaviour (Chapter 2) and then presenting the product offer in a way that will be attractive to them. This is commonly known as marketing (Chapter 4).

Between these two stages the manager has to evaluate and identify the method and level at which their organization will provide products and services.

These decisions will affect the way a potential customer will view that garden centre’s ‘offer’ and help shape their view as to its position within the marketplace.

3.1  Customer Motivation

According to consumer behaviourists, a successful transaction will only take place if the garden retailer is able to match a suitable product to the wants or needs of the customer.

Understanding the motivation of the customer is the key to making an effective match. However, this may become muddled in many retailers’ minds as there may be a mixing of needs and solutions. The perception, for example, that

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Appendices

Moya L Andrews Quarry Books ePub

BOTANICAL NAME

COMMON NAME

Aruncus

goat’s beard

Astilbe

hybrids

Bergenia

hybrids pigsqueak

Chelone

turtle-head

Cimicifuga species

bugbane, snakeroot

Eupatorium fistulosum

joe-pye weed

Filipendula rubra

queen-of-the-prairie

Hibiscus moscheutos

swamp mallow

Iris ensata

Japanese iris

Iris pseudacorus

yellow flag iris

Iris versicolor

blue flag iris

Lobellia cardinalis

red cardinal flower

Myosotis sylvatica

woodland forget-me-not

Tradescantia

spiderwort

Trollius europaeus

globeflower

BOTANICAL NAME

COMMON NAME

Achillea

yarrow

Amsonia tabernaemontana

eastern bluestar

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10: Future Responsibilities

Crafer, K CABI PDF

10 

Future Responsibilities

10.1  Introduction

The future influences the present just as much as the past.

Fredrich Neitzsche

Attempting to look ahead within any business is fraught with difficulty as it is truly a trip into the unknown. That said, the manager needs to be trying to interpret trends and fashions in order to stay ahead of competitors and to meet the future demands of their customers. As identified in the very first chapter, McNair’s Wheel of Retailing theory identifies that retailing does not remain constant. Only those businesses that innovate, adapting to changes within the marketplace, will survive. Sometime this means radical overhauls of practices and product offers.

This is not a new phenomenon, even in horticulture. Many of those businesses with a long horticultural pedigree have only been garden centre retailers for a matter of a few decades – their earlier fame founded on the supply of seeds, bulbs or as growers of nursery stock. As highlighted in Chapter 1, the size, style and ambience of garden centres has also changed rapidly, and there is no reason to perceive that in its current format it is indeed the finished article.

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Six Summer

Moya L Andrews Quarry Books ePub

Pronounced:

jer-AY-nee-um

Also known as:

cranesbill, true geranium, hardy or wild geranium

Family:

Geraniaceae

Colors:

magenta, pink, purple, violet-blue, white

Zones:

4–8

Height:

up to 2 feet

Description: These are mostly short-statured, long-lived perennials with mounds of palmate (hand-like) leaves that are often toothed or lobed. Some species have colorful fall foliage. Blooms are simple cups with five petals. Members of the species may be tender or hardy and some may be evergreen in mild areas. Native to Europe, they are sometimes confused with the annual pelargoniums from South Africa which are also referred to as geraniums and are grown in pots during the summer. All are easy-care and pest-free.

Cultivation: They thrive in full sun or partial shade, though in hot summers they enjoy more protection from the sun. After the first flush of bloom (usually spring) is past, cut them back to an inch from the ground, and new leaves will grow and some varieties will re-bloom. Divide them in spring or fall. Useful as ground cover to discourage weeds, they combine well with dicentra, pulmonaria, celandine poppy, and coral bells in light shade. They are staples in cottage gardens and are pass-along plants.

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One: Shrubs Are Versatile

Moya L. Andrews Quarry Books ePub

No two gardens are the same.
No two days are the same in one garden.

—Hugh Johnson

Shrubs, and for that matter all plants, are characterized by their form, their texture, and their color. Form and color change with time and seasons, and while texture may become more apparent as a plant grows, its defining attributes are usually consistent. The weight or mass of shrubs in a landscape is always greater than that of herbaceous perennials and annuals, but less than that of trees. The outline or silhouette is related to the shrub’s form, but it will change with growth and also will be seen differently depending on the perspective from which it is viewed. The light conditions and the amount of obstruction presented by neighboring hardscape and buildings, as well as other plants, will also contribute to the way a shrub’s silhouette is perceived by a viewer. At different times of day shadows will also be cast by garden shrubbery, and every shrub will, of course, be seen differently in various seasons. In winter when there is snow cover, the silhouette of a deciduous shrub will be quite different from the one the shrub presents with its summer or fall foliage intact.

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11. Final Thoughts Can We Make A Difference?

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

The earth is a house that belongs to us all.

—Cheryl Piperberg

Royal Catchfly

Gardening with native plants is becoming popular for good reason. Planting natives makes constant watering and fertilizing unnecessary. These plants know how to deal with weather patterns, how to survive the feast and famine of moisture, and how to put down deep roots to gather the last vestiges of food hidden in those tiny particles of soil. Leave for a vacation during a drought and return home to find your natives blooming their heads off, while the nonnatives sulk on the ground—or worse.

There are plants to avoid and plants to encourage for good and sound reasons. We can avoid planting those exotic plants that are known escape artists. Wouldn’t you like to get your hands on the individuals who brought Dandelions and Garlic Mustard to the Western Hemisphere? Some may ask, “Does it really matter what I plant on my private property?” You bet it does! Exotic Norway Maples are displacing native Sugar Maples. Amur Maples and supposedly infertile Bradford Pear seedlings are popping up in wild spaces. What I call the Terrible Three ground covers—Myrtle (Vinca minor), Purple Wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei ‘Coloratus’), and Ivy (Hedera spp.)—have each been found carpeting woodlands. Commonly used Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus), Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii), and Japanese Spiraea (Spiraea japonica) have escaped to the wild, displacing native species and destroying habitat. Essential food and nesting sites for wildlife are disappearing. Some native plants are even threatened with extinction.

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9. Graceful Grasses Listen To Them Sing

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

Of all the world’s flowering plants, the grasses are undoubtedly the most important to man.

—R. W. Pohl

Prairie Cordgrass

Grasses are the mainstay of our native tallgrass prairies, which once covered 170 million acres beginning at the Indiana/Illinois border where natural woodlands gradually melded into vast native grasslands. They stretched from eastern Illinois to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and covered land from the northern border of our country just below Saskatchewan all the way south to Texas. Iowa had the largest unbroken stretch of prairie, covering over 30 million acres. Only small remnants of this incredible ecosystem have survived. Yet rich deep soil still exists in testament to the deep roots and humus of those incredible grasses.

Early travelers referred to the prairies as “a sea of grass” where myriads of flowers in all colors of the rainbow bloomed. Pioneer diarists crossing the plains in their covered wagons extolled the glories of the seasons. Now only about 4 percent of our industrialized nation consists of native prairies, most of those restored remnants here and there. Yet recent sources still list over 800 species of non-woody flowering plants existing in these areas. Imagine how many more have been lost through development.

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Four Displaying Flowers

Moya L Andrews Quarry Books ePub

A house with daffodils in it
is a house lit up,
Whether or not the sun
be shining outside.
Daffodils in a green bowl—
and let it snow if it will.

—A. A. Milne

One of the benefits of growing perennials is the continual supply of cut flowers for the home and for sharing with neighbors and friends. Flowers, ideally already arranged in a container, are a hostess gift that is usually welcome. The busy hostess does not have to worry about finding a vase, cutting the stems, and putting them in water. Hopefully, the water will never spill in your car en route. If you transport a lot of flowers, keep a few bricks in your car to pack around flower containers. Small containers sometimes can be anchored in cup-holders, if your car has them, or in small cardboard boxes with crushed-up newspaper packed around them. Some passengers in cars will even willingly hold a vase full of flowers en route to an event. Should you be lucky enough to persuade a passenger in your car to cooperate in this way, be sure to put only a small amount of water in the flower container before you hand it over. Seat the person first, of course, and then place the vase either between the passenger’s feet on the floor, or into the person’s hands. I may be belaboring this point a bit here, but caution is important, for if a passenger arrives with wet clothes it is embarrassing to say the least.

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Appendixes

Moya L. Andrews Quarry Books ePub

 

 

 

Shrubs that bear their flowers on new growth (commonly referred to as new wood) in spring or summer can be cut down in late fall, winter, or very early spring. Since the new buds do not occur on the old branches, pruning before any new growth has begun will not affect the new season’s bloom. Note that hydrangeas used to all bloom on old wood that wintered over from the previous year. Nowadays, there are new varieties that bloom on new wood as well as old wood. For that reason, gardeners need to ascertain the bloom pattern of hydrangeas by researching carefully before taking up the pruning shears.

 

 

BLOOM ON NEW GROWTH

Abelia

Hypericum

Rosa spp.

Barberry (Berberis)

Indigofera

Willow (Salix)

Butterfly bush (Buddleia)

Kerria

Meadowsweet (Spiraea)

Beautyberry (Callicarpa)

Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia)

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5: Managing the Team

Crafer, K CABI PDF

5

Managing the Team

The success of many start-up businesses in the early years is due to the entrepreneurial ability of the individual. Growth in the next phase of development is sometimes stunted because even though the founder is good at exploiting new ideas, they are less able to manage a team and help others reach their full potential. Often the skills that enabled the business to become a success in the early phase can be a barrier to future growth.

A study at the University of Cambridge (Hughes, 1998) looked at a real-time comparison of small- and medium-sized enterprises as they developed in international markets over 10 years. It was discovered that those businesses that stalled or faltered in their growth, when compared to those in the study with steady growth, were characterized by:

ill-defined strategic direction with regard to product and market development; poorly specified (or frequently changed) managerial responsibilities; inadequate devolution of managerial tasks and hence over-burdening of directors who may or may not hold the positions they do by design; and inadequately supported or poorly implemented management training programmes and management information systems.

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