Trying to please everyone. It can’t be done!

It’s going to be another day in the 100° F. Our saving grace is the low humidity, around 5 to 10%. On days like this we just can’t expect too much in the way of customer action. We just try to keep everything watered and stay as cool as possible.

Walking around the nursery on days like this I realize just how many plants we have on the ground. I would like to have moved more of them this spring, yet we don’t want to appear empty this time of the year. Just like we talked about earlier concerning the inside store we need to fine tune what we carry. I think we are trying to please too many people by trying to carry a little of everything.

It’s easy to find yourself with too many different types of plants to sell. The instant someone comes in and asks for a Mr. Lincoln Rose you start to think maybe we should carry more roses. Next thing you know you have 100’s of roses for sale. My problem with most of the hybrid roses is the care that is involved with them at the nursery. Sure a little mildew or aphis on you rose at home is o.k. but if our roses don’t look perfect, folks won’t buy them. So I would end up on a spray program every week just to keep the diseases and insects down. It’s the only category where I have to do that much maintenance and I got tired of it. We are also in deer country so roses are not as popular here as other places. We have dropped the rose selection and never looked back. Need a large selection of hybrid roses to choose from? Our neighboring nursery Eisley’s has thousands to choose from and you might check there.

What we have to decide is where to increase our selection and where to decrease or eliminate it. We have increased our selection of 4” size perennials over the last couple of years. We sell lots of them and you can fit $45 dollars worth of perennials in a flat. Now do we increase our total selection of species and varieties? Or would it be better to increase the popular species and varieties? Rudbeckia, or Black Eyed Susan’s are very popular since they are deer resistant and like the heat. So we now carry about 10 varieties of those flowers. Now what we have to figure out is if we should pare down the number of varieties and concentrate on the two or three varieties that sell best.

I actually find this process fun but challenging. I think we in the nursery business want to please all the people all the time, but it’s just not possible. It goes against our natural instinct to reduce the selection, but I think that it’s the way for the smaller operations to be. Focus on our core abilities so we can become the best at what we do.

We just came back from a couple of days off so I will be going into the nursery with an eye on the plants. Which ones are where the money is for us and which ones are just taking up time and water because we “think” we need to carry them? By the way no plants will be harmed in this exercise. We put the discontinued items at half off and of course they fly out of here.

I’ll let you know what we decide about the plants at a later post.