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Trending Now in Europe

One of the best parts of my job is to track trends, and one of the best shows for trends is the annual IPM Essen show in Germany. Each January, 1,600 exhibitors from 50 nations get together to show off the latest in horticultural everything. It is truly the best horticultural trade show on the planet.

For the first time, I saw packaging geared toward people who know nothing about plants, and products that were completely consumer proof. I’ve been attending this show since 2006, and I have not seen so many innovative ways to sell plants — ever. I’ve been preaching for years that Gen X (my generation), as well as Gen Y and younger — the folks who theoretically have money to buy plants right now — know very little to nothing about gardening. In fact, it has been proven time and time again that they don’t even like the word ‘gardening’ or the term ‘garden center’ because they conjure up images of getting dirty and sweating hard. Gardening is hard work. If most people don’t know how to garden, and many are not wanting to get dirty and sweaty, how the heck will we ever sell them plants? We must approach it in a different way.

plants nouveau, new plants, herbs, trendsTwo of the most innovative products I saw were more about packaging than anything. One was an amaryllis bulb dipped in a special wax that holds in moisture. It holds in moisture so much that whoever buys it never has to water it. Never. Really. It takes all of the guess work out of growing them. It’s foolproof. Grab one, place it on your dining room table and watch it grow.
Another really innovative package was for herb and veggie gardening (pictured). The bareroot plants or seeds were sold in a cardboard package with a picture of a delicious dish on the front, a recipe on the back, and the plants needed for that dish inside. Want to make homemade lasagna? Here’s your tomato, basil, oregano, rosemary and garlic starts; grow them in your garden, follow this recipe and voilá — homemade lasagna. It’s brilliant, and it makes so much sense for people who know nothing about plants. It also ties growing plants to cooking food, and we need to do more of that.

I saw some clever gift plant packaging at the show as well, including bulbs packaged in a way that resembles Lindt Truffle bags. Each one had a special, ruffled, pink tulip inside. One gift plant I found was incredibly clever and targeted perfectly to Gen Y shoppers. Cyclamen were died in pastel shades to match a palette of pastel-colored eye shadow. I know what you’re thinking — no gardener would ever! But these were not for gardeners. They were for people who like makeup and maybe have never put a finger in the soil. They don’t know it’s fake. To them, it’s beautiful. When it dies, they can go buy a new one. The marketing that went along with thesgift plants, cyclamens, make-upz, new plants, plants nouveau, trendse was fabulous. They are called Make-Upz cyclamen (pictured), and they sell them in color-coordinated pots and gift bags. I know my friend, who owns a salon, would be all over these for her spa.

dyed cyclamen, make-upz, new plants, gift plants, trends, plants nouveau

We must focus on new ways to sell plants to people who know nothing about plants. The Europeans finally get it. Will we ever get it?

The most interesting trend

I saw this summer while traveling in Europe to visit trade shows and breeders was the annualizing of perennials. What does that mean? It basically means breeders are selecting perennials that can be planted as a tiny input late in December or at least before the beginning of March, and then sold as a pot full of blooms that same year.

That’s nuts, right? What about plants that need to be vernalized? Apparently, vernalizing perennials takes too long, costs too much money and just isn’t cool anymore. And you guessed it, it absolutely means perennials that need to have a cold winter to bloom are no longer showing up in mass quantities in the marketplace.

Beloved plants like Lobelia cardinalis, some echinaceas, dicentra and others are falling out of favor with growers because they can’t be planted and brought into bloom in a few months.

What’s the good news? The cost of perennials has gone down and the new “annualized” perennials make the greatest displays in retail garden centers. In some cases, perennials like campanulas and anemones (top right) and some succulents are being sold as gift plants.

There were two cool marketing ideas that caught my eye. One was full of emotion and one showed use. I’m learning so much about how little today’s consumers know about plants, and the more I think about it, the more I realize we need to tell people how to use them. more lips, trends, new plants, gift plants, plants nouveau gift plants, more lips, trends, new plants, plants nouveau

These two ideas could help. The More Lips campaign is an overarching POP idea to put emotion into buying common gift plants. More Lips = more love, and more kisses for the person who gave the gift. The campaign was all about love, and the black and white posters had photos of people kissing, children kissing their parents, and even new moms kissing their babies. It was very powerful. There were bench wraps, plastic sleeves and tags to match.

This kind of point-of-purchase marketing grabs the attention of a shopper looking for something to take to their sweetie or maybe someone who just had a new baby. It was well done and I think it would work in grocery stores and in the gift plant section of any garden center or home store. I would buy them. It was like Anthropologie or J. Crew meets Hallmark.

Check out the tags for hedge plants called Privacy Makers (top left). It’s not really showcasing new plants, but new ideas for their use. This booth had everything from beech trees grown to perfection for making a proper hedge, to hydrangeas and common evergreens used to make a hedge around your patio or property. The tags and signage showed couples and families behind the hedges enjoying meals, glasses of wine and play time. It was such a wonderful way to portray how hedges can be used in any garden hedges, new plants, privacy makers, plants nouveau, trendsspace.

The last thing I saw that blew my mind were the fully fruited, probably 20-year-old espaliered pear and apple trees in several displays. For $400 to $500, someone could take one home and plant it without all the hard work of training it for the first five to 10 years. This is a great way to carry on a very specialized gardening skill without having to teach someone how.

Marketers keep talking about the do-it-for-me generation — well, here you go. We do it for them and the art of espaliering a fruit tree is not lost forever. Seems like a win-win situation to me.

Angela founded and co-owns Plants Nouveau, LLC., a company that specializes in introducing and marketing new plants to the nursery industry. angela@plantsnouveau.com

E-Letter, News, Weeding Gnome

A Camellia to Support Cystic Fibrosis

Welcome to The Weeding Gnome Brought to you by Angela Treadwell-Palmer & Plants Nouveau This week’s Garden Notes: A Camellia for Charity — originally published on June 26th, 2014 —

Introducing a Camellia to honor Susy Dirr

Camellia ‘Susy Dirr’ PPAF

No rant today, but I would like to tell you about a very special camellia who’s royalties benefit Cystic Fibrosis. Susy Dirr was bred by famed camellia breeder Bobby Green and named after the daughter of one of Horticulture’s great teachers. Cystic Fibrosis is a debilitating, life-shortening disease that affects your ability to breath. One of the largest expenses someone with Cystic Fibrosis can encounter is a lung transplant.Camellia_Susy_Dirr

The Sweet Melissa Fund collects donations to help CF patients defer some of the cost. Susy Dirr, daughter of Dr. Michael and Bonnie Dirr, was born with Cystic Fibrosis, which makes the act of breathing a life and death struggle.

Dr. Michael Dirr is one of the most famous woody plantsmen in the US. He wrote and published many versions of his Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, a textbook that has been used by horticulture students, master gardeners and plant lovers all over the world.

The original is still sitting on my shelf. It was my one and only college textbook for the Woody Plants 101 course I took while earning my degree in Plant Science at the University of Delaware. I still use it and I believe it’s one of the only text books I still reference from college. If you still use or learned from your copy, you owe it to Dr. Dirr to grow this fabulous plant.susy-dirr-_Michael_dirr

Undaunted by her disease, Susy was valedictorian of her high school class and an honor student at the University of GA, graduating with a degree in advertising a year ahead of her class. Cystic fibrosis did not define Susy as a person. She embraced life with a joyful spirit that was uplifting to everyone around her. She made the world a better place with her compassion for others, her biting wit and brilliant mind. When a soul shines so bright, we see it in all things beautiful.

So, as summer fades and hints of autumn are in the air, reflections of these lovely flowers, graceful in form and with the sweet fragrance of newly opened tea, begin to fill our senses. We reflect on Susy’s life and know that a part of her spirit remains with us in the garden.

Bobby Green, the breeder of this Camellia has generously gifted his portion of the royalties from each plant to the Sweet Melissa Fund, which helps families with cystic fibrosis.Visit http://sweetmelissafund.org for more information.

This new hardy, fall blooming camellia is a robust grower in containers in the nursery and in the garden. It’s a full, bushy plant with a dense habit, and elegant, formal double carmine pink flowers.    Camellia Susy Dirr

For Gardeners

No other species has contributed more to the garden than C. sasanqua, the winter blooming camellia. Attractive all year, and hardier than most of its cousins, these shrubs blend harmoniously with other textures and offer a plethora of flowers in Sept-Oct. Susy Dirr does that and more. The voluptuous, bubble-gum pink blooms put on a show stopping tribute, honoring an exquisite young woman who was the essence of all things beautiful.Camellia Susy Dirr (2)

For Growers

C.sasanqua is fall blooming as well, but more cold hardy than it’s cousin. Some of these new selections have proven hardy in USDA Zone 6, but we are saying zone 7 to be safe. Liners are available to Licensed Growers.

The drawing above of the Camellia ‘Susy Dirr’ flower will appear on all of our promotional pieces for this plant. Our friend and amazing illustrator, Steve Asbell in Florida drew this for us. If you ever need anything drawn, we would highly recommend Steve’s work. Not only is he humble and an incredible artist, he’s easy to work with and a really nice guy.

Happy Weeding!

Archives, E-Letter, News

Their Memories Are Amazing!

Welcome to The Weeding Gnome
By: Angela Treadwell-Palmer & Plants Nouveau

— April 3, 2015 —   IMG_8578

Their Memories are Amazing!

Ella, my 8 year-old daughter had a spa party sleep over with 5 of her friends last Friday night. They were up until 3:30am! I think they all had a great time. They were a little droopy eyed when they went home with their parents.

I noticed a few things watching this group of energetic girls flounce around my house. Keegan, her 12-year old brother volunteered to help me and be the party DJ. He played today’s pop music. They knew every word to every song he played and sang them all with hands on hips like they were backups in a Taylor Swift concert.

I didn’t grow up with pop music. My dad only listened to a few people. My brother and I hated it, but it was what it was.  Pop music was not part of our culture. Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor and Van Morrison were though. When I got to college, I didn’t know much about pop music, so I was kind of out of the loop. Remember those cassette tape and then CD of the month clubs you could join in the late 80’s/90’s? I joined them all. I wanted to have the music everyone else knew because I felt uncool.

I soon found out Jimmy Buffett was way cool and so was I because I knew every word to every dang song he sang – thanks to my dad. Kids would be like, “ How do you know all the words to these songs?”  and I’d be like, “ It’s all I ever heard growing up.  It’s all my dad played.” Kids thought my dad was cool. He was, but I was severely pop deprived.

Not like today’s kids.

Imagine first and second graders singing phrases like this from the most recent Bruno Mars hit, Uptown Funk;

“Stop, wait a minute. Fill my cup, put some liquor in it”

Or this line from I’m So Fancy by Charlie XCX:

“Trash the hotel. Let’s get drunk on the mini bar”

Really makes you feel proud when you’re driving around with a few 8 year olds in the backseat and they belt out these lines. Do they have any idea what they are singing?

Let’s hope the answer is No.

I don’t remember songs having such nasty, inappropriate lyrics when I was growing up.  Songs were nice.  Maybe that’s because I was pop deprived, but I’m thinking times have changed. Although my brother and I did find it super cool to sing Damn, That Traffic Jamby James Taylor.  We would giggle every time. Today, just about every stinking song is about sex, drugs and drinking. Even sappy country hits.

What hasn’t changed?

The fact that a child’s ability to memorize or remember things is amazing.

So why aren’t we capitalizing on this each and every day in schools, in garden center displays and in marketing plants to consumers?

We are trying, but we are not doing a great job. The produce industry is rocking though.  How many kids now call every clementine they see a Cuties™?  Sorry Halo™, you tried, but you were a couple months too late.

They ARE still just clementines people, right?

I worked from the car dealership yesterday while waiting for my Mini Cooper to be serviced. They have a great snack bar there. There’s even fruit. I thought it was so interesting when one of the sales guys walked up to the box of clementines clearly marked Darling Clementines – another brand – and he said, “ A cutie!”

Marketing at it’s finest. Way to go produce marketers. You’ve made Cuties the next Kleenex™.

Here’s my question – what can we come up with to market plants or gardening that every 8 year old will remember and repeat?

Food for thought.

The person or company that gets it right will change history and make gardening as popular as pop music.

A girl can dream, right?

Got any brilliant ideas, email me!

What’s new with Plants Nouveau?

We launched our totally new, very beautiful website this week. Check it out.
www.plantsnouveau.com

We will be adding and updating it regularly. Check back often to see what’s going on. Featured plants, Featured breeders, Travel highlights and always – lots of pictures and plenty of information about each plant we introduce.

If you love it or hate it – let me know. We’d love some constructive feedback because as I’ve learned from many, a website is never finished.  It’s like a garden, you add and rearrange it all the time and you never, ever stop.  When you stop – it dies.

A huge shout out to my former roommate and fellow University of Delaware grad, Hendrik-Jan Franke and his amazing team at Bright Orange Thread in Wilmington, Delaware. They did a fantastic job of bringing my wildest dreams to life in a website that is easy to use and so easily changed, that we will be set for years.

If you need a new website, I highly recommendwww.brightorangethread.com.

In other news, I still have 1 foot of snow in the back yard. It’s so depressing that I went out to a local garden center and bought $103 worth of forced bulbs. A girl has to do what a girl has to do – and my last amaryllis bloomed this week. I was desperate.

Happy Spring and Happy Easter to all who celebrate and of course…

Happy Weeding!

Angela

Angela Treadwell-Palmer
Founder and Co-owner, Strategic plant finder, In Charge of Magic
Plants Nouveau, LLC.


Angela’s Garden Notes
Syringa vulgaris ‘Elsdancer’
Tiny Dancer

With spring quickly approaching in most areas of the country, I long for the scent of lilacs. Do you have a smaller garden , but still long for the scent and blooms of a traditional lilac?Growing only 4′ tall at maturity, Tiny Dancer rarely needs pruning. Found by our good friend and horticultural master, John Elsley, Tiny Dancer is the perfect lilac for smaller gardens.

In the fragrance of Tiny Dancer past meets future with a memorable scent. Too long considered a leggy plant for old-fashioned gardens, this lilac has a compact form, making it ideal anywhere hard-working, low maintenance plants are needed.

In addition to the cold-hardiness expected from a lilac, Tiny Dancer boasts remarkable heat tolerance, growing and blooming where few lilacs have gone before.

Even in Zone 8, violet-purple buds open into lavender flowers, ranking it among the dogwoods and azaleas as a benchmark of spring. Large panicles measure 4 to 5 inches, and the large florets make each cluster appear luxuriously full. Foliage and flowers are in perfect scale, one complementing the other. Re-blooming lilacs just don’t put on the spring show our Tiny Dancer does. The fragrance will knock your socks off. Try it and let us know how you like it.

Want to learn more about Tiny Dancer, use this link.

News

Want More Flowers?

More flowers.  More flowers.

Everyone wants more flowers. 

We pride ourselves in introducing what we call Pots Full Of Flowers

Echinacea Purple Emperor_JDWWhat does that mean?  

New plants with so many blooms on them that they make the perfect end-cap display at a retail garden center and because there’s so many flowers and so much consumer appeal, the plants literally FLY off the shelves.

When we think of Pots Full of Flowers, two series of plants from Plants Nouveau come to mind:Hydrangea Everlasting REvolution pink and blue blooms

The Everlasting® Series of Hydrangea and our Butterfly™ Series of Echinacea.

Both series were bred for the ultimate retail experience.

  • They bloom all summer.
  • Each plant is completely covered in blooms.
  • They are no-brainers; easy to grow for consumers. 
  • They are hardy in most parts of the US and Canada.

Want to learn more about the Everlasting Series of Hydrangeas?  Click HERE.

Want to learn more about the Butterfly Series of Echinacea?  Click HERE.

Want more flowers, plants nouveau, butterfly series, hydrangea everlasting revolution, everlasting, new plants

 

News

My New Job & Lemon-Lime Wins Gold (News)

Welcome to The Weeding Gnome
By: Angela Treadwell-Palmer & Plants Nouveau

— October 16, 2014 —

My New Job & Lemon-Lime Takes the Gold!

SergioDear Reader,

No gnome picture this week because Sergio, my rusty metal chicken, requested a prominent spot. He told me he is tired of being rusty and he demanded a new paint job.

Okay rusty chicken who decorates my garden, I’ll paint you. But…you all know how I struggle with choosing paint colors, so we know this will NOT be an easy decision. Sergio is currently painted in primary colors, green, red, blue and yellow. Those were fun, but we should mix it up a little, don’t you think?

thema-logo.rightHave any ideas for at least 4 colors?

I would prefer they don’t include pink or purple, but I’ll try to keep an open mind. If I choose your combo, you’ll get a present from me. Something really special.

So, where else did I venture to this summer?

Plantarium. Not the Plantetarium where every school kid goes for their fourth grade field trip, but PLANTarium, the largest new plant introduction trade show in The Netherlands. It’s where all the cool plants get introduced. It is a surprisingly small show, but it attracts 17,000 visitors.Nandina Lemon-Lime, Plantarium, Gold Medal, Plants Nouveau

That’s more visitors than our largest plant-focused trade show in the US.

Let’s just say it is a concentration of super trendy ideas, awesome new plants and new ways to present new plants – all tied up in a small package under a few greenhouse roofs. While we were there visiting the show, three of our plants won major awards. Yes, we rock it when it comes to choosing new plants. That’s right…

We rock!

Gold Medal went to Nandina ‘Lemon-Lime’ from one of our plant geek friends, Richard Davis in Virginia.helenium, mariachi siesta, plants nouveau, plantarium
Silver Medal went to Helenium Mariachi™’Siesta’ from AB-Cultivars.

And – as if that wasn’t enough for AB-Cultivars

Bronze Medal went to Helenium Mariachi™’Fuego’ as well.

Want to see more award winners? You can see all of the new plants that won awards here.

Read the full post here…

News

I Wanna B Famous

Purple gnome, weeding gnome, plantsnouveauWelcome to The Weeding Gnome

This week’s Garden Notes: Where in the World was Angela all Summer: Part II

— October 3, 2014 —   

I Wanna B Famous

We pick up where we left off last time – headed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – home to my nemesis in football, the Steelers, for the Annual Garden Writer’s Symposium.  I was asked by the association to give a presentation to the garden writers. The idea was for me to partner with my buddy Lloyd Traven from Peace Tree Farm to talk about how our two little companies managed to stand out in a crowd and appear Awesome!

We decided I would talk about being awesome and how to be real and relevant and then Lloyd would take over and spend some time talking to the garden writers about making their writing relevant for their customers – the people reading their words, and that he would broach the uber- sensitive subject of being (or not being) a shill.  

What an interesting topic and one I think about daily, but have never put into words and certainly not a lecture, and I absolutely had not thought about it in terms of garden writing. Garden writers are where most of the public gets their gardening information, so they need to be credible, believable and real.

Putting on my deep thinking cap, I thought back to the beginning of Plants Nouveau and how I felt like a small fish in a huge ocean. How did I compete? How did I grow the business? How did I stay relevant ? Now, there’s a nice word. We’ll talk about that one a bit more below.  

When I started the business, I wanted to be real, I wanted to be genuine and I wanted to be transparent. I wanted everyone to trust me and trust that I would do a really good, honest job. As I searched for my place in the big world of horticulture, I turned outside of my industry to my favorite companies for guidance. Companies I trusted. Companies who cared. There was a common word in their core values – it was integrity.   

Let’s define Integrity:
Integrity is a personal choice, an uncompromising and predictably consistent commitment to honor moral, ethical, spiritual and artistic values and principles.

That being said, to be able to market plants in this big, stretched out world and keep your integrity while competing with some pretty untrustworthy folks isn’t easy. How would we do it? How would we stand out? 

We had to be Awesome!

Definition #2.
There are many ways to define awesome, here’s three:

  • Excellent – extremely good/outstanding
  • Exciting – causing great enthusiasm
  • Remarkable – worthy of attention

Those are some pretty strong words, right? Sadly, the Urban dictionary says Awesome is something Americans use to describe everything.  In this day and age, where just about anyone can be famous and even people who don’t deserve to be famous OR awesome are getting accolades, how can a little company like Plants Nouveau stand out?

Show people you are real.
Show people you are credible.
Show people you are an expert in your field.

Anyone can be famous in this technologically advanced, Google driven world. There’s even a new term for this generation. It’s Generation Like. Imagine that.  Like doesn’t just mean you think someone is cute or funny or even just okay. Like is the new indicator of how famous you are and how many people “like” you or your content dictates the space you occupy on the internet, and sadly, your fame. Read More…