34 Chapters
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Medium 9780253009319

10. Rain Gardens Cleansing Storm Water With Native Plants

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

When you plant a rain garden in your yard, you mimic some of the benefits of the natural landscape.

—Rusty Schmidt

Rain garden drawing

In a Minnesota Public Radio segment on rain gardens, Stephanie Hemphill noted that a good midwestern summer storm can dump a lot of water in one place, occasionally flooding into sewer lines or even spewing untreated sewage into lakes and rivers. She added, “Cities across the country are spending millions of dollars to solve the problem.”

Especially in urban settings, sunny rain gardens featuring civilized native plants solve problems and make strong statements. Properly engineered and planted, these gardens can be striking, channel roof and driveway runoff to good use, reduce chemical applications and mowing, and break up the monotony of turf landscapes. Progressive municipal governments bent on reducing surges of water and chemicals in storm sewers may offer expertise and even dollars for carrying out your plan. In times of tension between citizens and government, a community of interest is refreshing.

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8: Stock Management

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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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Medium 9780253219763

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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1: Position

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1 

Position

1.1  The Evolution of the Garden Centre

Plants have been an essential component of life throughout human history,

­initially as a food source, but increasingly for their ornamental and aesthetic values. The development of home ownership and single household occupancy dwellings helped create the ornamental horticulture market that is seen today.

While plant nurseries are a long established concept, the use of the term

‘garden centre’ is far more recent and ill defined. Stewarts garden centres in

Dorset are amongst a number of businesses who claim to be the first in the UK, having seen the concept of growing hardy plants in containers for sale in Toronto,

Canada, in the mid-1950s (Stewarts Garden Centres, 2014). An embryonic industry using similar techniques was developing in the USA at this time. Regardless of the precise date, the sector has developed rapidly and has changed in all recognition from the earliest examples.

What have been these drivers for change?

1.1.1  Development of technologies for container plant production

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10: Future Responsibilities

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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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3. Planning a Garden? Start With Trees

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

Trees . . . frame, anchor, and connect all the elements to the sky.

—Ezra Haggard

Trees, regardless of size, come in a variety of shapes, including spreading, rounded, open, pyramidal, or weeping. Trees of any size or shape can provide cool shade, beautiful fall color, bark interest, and even spring flowers. They give shelter to birds, offer larval food and nectar for butterflies, and encourage wildlife to check out your property. Walk through your neighborhood or watch as you drive through suburban areas to determine what sizes and shapes command your attention and might contribute to your overall landscape design.

Tulip Poplar

Is your property brand new with a newly built house and a blank yard just waiting for help? Or does it already have mature trees casting long shadows or creating dancing patterns of light and shade throughout the day? The title of this book is Got Sun? It assumes you do have sun and that you yearn to learn what to plant in those sunny spots.

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7: Managing Safety and Security

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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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6: Developing Staff

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6 

Developing Staff

People are still the driving force behind any organization. Even if a department does not have direct contact with the purchasing customer, they still have a wide range of ‘internal’ customers within the organization with whom they interact.

The efficiency of all these interactions has a dramatic effect upon the success or failure of the business.

The challenge with any form of staff development within a business is calculating the financial benefits. It is easy to define the costs of staff development, through the collation of invoices and measurement of time spent off the job, whereas the improvements to production are less easy to measure. For organizations where there is a pressure on cash flow, the budget for personal development is an easy target as there are fewer directly measurable gains – the Return on

Investment (ROI; Kaufman and Hotchkiss, 2006).

However, lack of skills can bring a number of inefficiencies into an organization; while these are not easily measured, all combine together to prevent the organization from working at its full effectiveness.

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Medium 9780253009067

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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Two Work in Progress

Moya L Andrews Quarry Books ePub

Flower gardens are reflections
of their creators.
A garden, as well as the gardener,
is always a work in progress.

Each garden is unique, and it is never the same—day by day, season by season, year by year. Part of the joy of creating a garden is the continual sense of anticipation that comes as a result of partnering with Mother Nature, who is full of surprises. The process of raising flowers is itself instructive. Claude Monet said that perhaps he owed his becoming a painter to flowers. We expand our perceptions of colors, forms, shapes, perfumes, and permutations and combinations. We keep learning about design and elements of style through the medium of gardening. Change is inevitable. Established trees are uprooted by storms and shade gardens are transformed into sun gardens. Small trees mature and sun gardens are engulfed in shade. Water restrictions force us to investigate drought-tolerant plants. A visit to Vita Sackville-West’s garden at Sissinghurst, in England, moves us to create our own white garden. Whatever shifts in motivation and circumstances occur, there are perennials we can find to create the effects we need. We continually augment our collection, redesign beds to combine plants more effectively, use plants in new ways to avoid or compensate for past mistakes. Since perennials are persistent and forgiving plants, we get not only second chances but innumerable chances. The continuity aspect of working with perennials, in terms of both their lifespan and the recurrence of opportunity, is irresistible.

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9: Productivity

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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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2: Consumer Behaviour

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2 

Consumer Behaviour

It’s a simple question: ‘What does the person need?’ However, answering it is far more complex. The decisions and priorities that an individual places upon the purchase of specific products has been studied at length and help to form a framework within which a retailer may work, but there is a significant number of situations where human behaviour is not rational, too.

2.1 The Buying Process

Probably most fundamental to retailers is the understanding of the stages that surround the selection and purchasing of a product. These stages are often presented in the format shown in Fig. 2.1, all of which may be influenced by the retailer. Success is required in all these stages in order not only for a successful purchase to be made but also for repeat business to follow. It is easy for the retailer to over-complicate the decisions the consumer has to make.

Many garden retailers will pride themselves on the range of garden-care chemicals they stock (as a specialist retailer). However, if the choice of weedkillers

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5: Managing the Team

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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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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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2. Planting Requirements What Is Necessary For Success?

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

The mostly unrecognized truth is that our yards and gardens need to function in much the same way as a wilderness area does.

—Marlene Condon

Wild Petunia

This book is full of specific details about hundreds of native plants. Yet several general considerations pertain to all of them. Success is determined by choosing a site for each plant with proper light, moisture, soil type, and pH. Each plant description includes a segment entitled Plant Requirements. Most are brief and not overly complex. You may wonder, “What is average, well-drained garden soil?” so let’s begin with soil.

Soil is usually sand, silt, clay, or a combination, often referred to as loam. Sandy soil has the largest particles. It is impossible to make a ball out of moistened sandy soil that will hold its shape. Water drains quickly so this type of soil often loses nutrients. Moisture-loving plants need additional water in sandy sites.

Clay has the smallest particles so although it hangs onto nutrients and retains water, it has poor drainage. Plants that enjoy wet or consistently moist sites often thrive in clay soil, but those that require well-drained soil do not. Their roots will rot. All plants need a certain amount of air around their roots. Clay is considered heavy soil and can dry rock hard in drought. Make a ball out of clay soil and it will remain a ball. Some potters make permanent figures or containers with clay soil. I have a small statue of a woman that my son purchased in Haiti. It is as hard as if it had been fired, but was dried naturally in the hot sun.

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