34 Chapters
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
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Two: Shrubs Attract Wildfile

Moya L. Andrews Quarry Books ePub

Bees and blueberries must make their pollen
deal in May if robins and blueberries
are to make their seed deals in July.

—Sara Stein

Use plants to bring life.

—Douglas Wilson

Like trees, most shrubs are long-lived. However, they mature faster, and in four years or so after planting, they will flower and/or fruit well. When we increase the number and variety of shrubs we grow, our garden becomes more diverse and is better equipped to attract different types of birds, who depend on a diversity of habitats for food, nesting spots, and shelter. Shelter involves having a safe place in which to minimize the effects of excessive wind, sun, rain, snow, and hail. A garden also needs to provide hiding places that screen birds from their predators. For example, predators that pounce on their prey from above cannot see through dense evergreens.

Evergreens, especially dense ones such as yews and spruces and large-leaved rhododendrons, provide excellent cover for mammals and birds during heavy snows and downpours of rain. They also serve as protective roost sites for juncos and other birds in winter. In the summer, deciduous shrubs provide shade from the hot sun. Protection from strong winds is also provided by hedges and hedgerows, and mourning doves and other birds that roost at night in a flock often can be found sheltering in shrubs and trees that form windbreaks. Cardinals and mockingbirds like to nest in shrubs with branching that provides a secure site for their nests. In winter we can see and take note of the deciduous shrubs that birds nested in the previous spring and summer. Diversified planting encourages both migrants and breeding birds to frequent our gardens.

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4: Marketing

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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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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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5. Prolific Perennials Flowers, Flowers, Flowers!

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

More than anything I must have flowers, always, always.

—Claude Monet, French painter

Purple Prairie Clover

Native-plant enthusiasts call them forbs. Plant nurseries and garden centers identify them as perennials. Gardeners refer to them simply as flowers. Whatever you call them, these are the plants that light up the garden, bringing color, fragrance, and beauty to the landscape and earning compliments from passersby.

Gardeners are often surprised to learn how many familiar, gardenworthy plants are native. Coreopsis and Black-eyed Susan have been perennial garden anchors for decades. Recently, gardeners have become excited about the huge flowers of perennial hibiscus that bloom in late summer. Do you grow asters? Or sedum? Or spiderwort? All these familiar plants are native. Let us take time to describe some of them and to add a few more to our repertoire.

Prairie plants are usually what people envision when they hear “native plant.” Unfortunately, their reputation for being weedy is well earned. Many gardeners who yearn to fill their sunny front yards with waving grasses and beautiful flowers believe that if you remove the grass, sprinkle a few seeds on the existing soil, and dampen the ground, nature will do the rest. That is not the case. Rather, the result is an unkempt, terrible looking yard and the natives get a bad rap.

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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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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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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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1: Position

Crafer, K CABI PDF

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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Appendix: Native Plant And Botanical Societies

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

Nature is a good teacher. We can learn many valuable lessons about gardening by observing plants growing in the wild.

—C. Colston Burrell

NATIVE PLANT SOCIETIES

Alabama

Alabama Wildflower Society

271 County Rd. 68

Killen, AL 35645

www.alwildflowers.org

Alaska

Alaska Native Plant Society

P.O. Box 141613

Anchorage, AK 99514-1613

http://AKNPS.org

Arizona

Arizona Native Plant Society

Sun Station, P.O. Box 41206

Tucson, AZ 85717-1206

www.aznps.org

Arkansas

Arkansas Native Plant Society

10145 Dogwood Lane

Dardanelle, AR 72834

www.anps.org

California

California Botanical Society

Jepson Herbarium, University of California

1101 Valley Life Science Building

Berkeley, CA 94720-2465

www.calbotsoc.org

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4. Superb Shrubs Absolute Essentials

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

One of the great pleasures of gardening lies in that basic promise of a garden—that each is its owner’s attempt at creating a personal paradise on earth.

—Allen Paterson

Sweetfern

When homeowners plan their landscapes, they usually begin by creating a want list. As noted in the previous chapter, the first item on that list is a usually a tree. The next item is invariably flowers. But let us not hasten to the consideration of annuals and perennials.

Are trees and flowers important? Of course, but shrubs are even more so. In fact, they may be the main component necessary to unify your home landscape. As the chapter title states, they are absolute essentials. Some will question that statement, so pause for a moment to decide whether you agree. What qualities can a shrub bring to your yard? Do they really serve any function other than to disguise the foundation of the house?

Begin by imagining a typical affordable ranch-style house set on a plot of green grass. The entire street is filled with similar houses planted squarely in the middle of each rectangle of turf grass. Except for the house, the grass stretches nearly unbroken on both sides of the street.

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6. Great Ground Covers Take Care Of Problem Areas

Carolyn A. Harstad Indiana University Press ePub

Ground covers are Nature’s carpets that clothe soil in a variety of green array and make this flowering world all the brighter and more beautiful.

—Daniel Foley

Dwarf Crested Iris

Ground covers are special friends. Most of us have a variety of friends. Each has a distinct personality with character traits and idiosyncrasies that we may like or dislike depending on the timing or our frame of mind. Some are always there, others may move in and out of our circle. But whatever the characteristics, each friend is important to us.

In many ways, the plants in our gardens resemble our human friends. Consider the perennials. These are the bold, colorful friends that brighten your day and can always bring a smile. Shrubs may not be quite as outgoing but are steady and will not disappear when the going gets tough. They lack the innate flashiness of those happy-go-lucky perennials but are probably your “classy friends.” Trees are those incredible friends you realize are above you in so many ways, yet stand tall and firm, ready to protect you in any crisis. Ferns calm and soothe your troubled spirit, bringing softness and serenity. Vines scramble to the heights to please, happily shielding you from unpleasantness as they climb. Grasses change through the seasons, sometimes small and inconspicuous, at other times waving wildly, demanding attention. Sometimes they are just plain, usually unobtrusive green; some of them, given time, become bright and colorful. They may be changeable, but are pleasant to have around. It is good to have variety in our circle of friends. But one friend is missing in this analogy: the one who is never demanding, never asks for extra attention, yet is “always there for you.” In the gardening world, that friend is a ground cover.

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3: Customer Care

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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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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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