We operate our nursery in a rural area just east of Sacramento. Perhaps because we are set in a rural area we don't have many of the same issues our friends in more urban areas have. Around here a plant being a Proven Winner means very little.Â Having the newest introduction in the plant world just doesn't mean as much here. Deer resistance, drought resistance, speed of growth, etc. seem more important. That being said it's interesting reading the the comments at my last post, What did you learn at the IGC show? One commenter Mj say's, "Iâ€™m all for patent fees, there are some great new plants being developed by breeders, but they are ALL now being funneled through one of these hort companies. You cant get away from it, and they leave you no choice, requiring you to buy their tags and pots if you want their plants. Its almost like there are two products being sold now, the plant and the marketing of the plant. Iâ€™ve sure seen a lot of nurseries fold in the last two years, but I havent seen one of these marketing companies having much of a problem. Coincidence?"
We have been talking for a couple of years about how the horticultural world is splitting into two different industries.Â One side dominated by box stores, chains stores, and their suppliers. The other side is the rest of us, smaller, independent nurseries and their suppliers. It all about efficiency. Why deal with a thousand small businesses with their assorted concerns when you can deal with just a few of the largest suppliers and their concerns. It would not surprise me to see the day when all new introductions are funneled through the box stores by their exclusive suppliers. The major suppliers for these box stores are already headed in that direction. When Hines Nurseries came out of Bankruptcy they said they were going to focus on their core concern, the box stores. It didn't use to be this way.
Sid say's, "I heard today from someone who heard the Garden Rant presentation first hand that a plant brand company basically talked down to them and that was part of the problem. I can 'see' that happening. There are a lot of people in the industry in places where they should know better that just donâ€™t understand the power of whatâ€™s going on online and whose voice is more heard." Excellent point Sid. The larger concerns like Proven Winners, Home Depot, etc. try to use social media, but juts can't quite get the message across. They instead turn to what has always worked for them before, the marketing department. Larger hang tags that focus on lifestyle rather than the plant being sold and it's needs.
If you are a employee of Proven Winners read the comments from my last post. I am sure they are being echoed by independents elsewhere.