May 3, 2010 Newsletter

In This Issue
West Madison ResearchStation
Late Blight
Garden Phlox
Customer Types
Ball Seed Customer Day
Container Recipes
Preventing Plant Stretch
Spring Trials
Understanding Plant Nutrition
2010 IGC Show
Quick Links
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Eileen Nelson
UW-Madison Department of Horticulture
May your Mother's Day Sales be all you expect - and more.
West Madison Research Station Family Day
 The West Madison Agricultural Research Station will be holding its Family Horticulture Day on Saturday, May 15, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
Commercial Field Days will be held August 5, 2010.
Urban Horticulture Day will be held August 21, 2010.
For information on the specifics of each program link to their website here.
Many of the other Agricultural Research Stations in the University of Wisconsin - Madison system also hold field days later in the summer.  To access information about a specific station's events, check out the ARS website.
Late Blight
For an updated UW Extension Garden Fact Sheet on Late Blight, link here.
 Garden Phlox
 Suggest Phlox when customers ask for . . .
  • Perennials for a butterfly garden
  • Companion plants for coneflowers and daylilies
  • Something fragrant that also makes a good cut flower
  • An old-fashioned favorite
  • Perennials that will grow well in containers
Display and marketing possibilities
  • Conduct a seminar showcasing mildew-resistant phlox cultivars. Share culture tips to keep these perennials in good shape.
  • Encourage "smell tests." Help customers make selections based on fragrance, as well as color and form.
  • Nostalgia is still resonating with consumers this year. Include phlox in a summer sales event touting "Grandma's favorites."
  • Include phlox in "buy 2, get 1 free" specials. It will encourage customers to quickly establish a nice collection
Notable Cultivars per Novalis:
  • 'Baby Face'
  • 'Peppermint Twist'
  • 'Nicky'
  • 'Candy Store Coral Creme Drop'
Source: Garden Center Magazine, 4.26.2010
Customer types
 There are three types of customers:
  • Loyal
  • Neutralizers
  • Diminishers
In which group do the majority of your customers fall?
Loyal Customers:  They drive your business. They are free salesmen.  Their word of mouth advertising is more valuable than gold. Do you and your employees recognize that you need to continue to foster your relationship with these customers?
Neutralizers:  These customers come and go -- they aren't overly excited by your products or your service - but they aren't unhappy either. 
Diminishers:  They are always unhappy and they aren't afraid to tell people.  Their word of mouth advertising is something you want to work at preventing. 
What do you need to be doing to grow your loyal customer segment and reduce your diminisher segment?  How have you empowered your employees to create a positive environment?
Source:  Focus Strategic Solutions, Madison WI.
Ball Seed Customer Day - July 30, 2010
 The day will include:
  • Informative presentations on how to improve your business.
  • A guided or self-guided tour of The Gardens at Ball filled with beautiful plants and breathtaking ideas.
  • Sales-sparking programs from Ball including Wave®, Simply Beautiful®, Burpee Home Gardens® and XP seed quality.
  • Family and refreshment - enjoy food, children's activities and fun for all.
  • Check out the latest and greatest products including Black Velvet petunia, Double Zahara™ zinnia and PowWow™ echinacea.
  • View and compare proven favorites like Shock Wave® petunia and Serena® angelonia.
  • Stroll through our 9 acres of annual and perennial gardens featuring the newest plants from leading breeders.
  • Take in over 3,000 varieties of plants from 90 different breeding companies, displayed in 1,200 mixed and solo containers and beds.
    Container Recipes
     Are you have trouble coming up with combination plantings?
    Ball Horticultural Company's Simplybeautifulgardens.com has recipes for Sun, Sun/Shade and Shade containers that will help you refresh your thinking.
    Preventing Plant Stretch
     A common problem for growers during the spring season is overgrown plants. Some growers lower greenhouse night temperatures to save on energy costs, while daytime temperatures are warm due to sunny days. Cool night temperatures along with warm sunny days often result in plant stretch. The greater the difference between day and night greenhouse temperatures, the more stretch occurs.
    Bedding plants may become too tall if they are started too soon, are spaced too closely, are shaded by overhead hanging baskets, or are grown in low light greenhouses caused by old plastic. Fast growing herbs such as basil, chives and dill and vegetable plants easily become overgrown, especially if started too early. Depending on the extent of these adverse factors, growers can sometimes use cultural practices and chemical growth regulators to salvage plants by reducing stretch. Read more. . . .
    Tina Smith, extension floriculture specialist at the University of Massachusetts offers ideas in the latest issue of GMPromagazine.
    2010 Spring Trials
    Information from the 2010 California trials continues to be posted on the web.  One good source of information is here at the Garden Center magazine site where there are a number of short video clips including the following individual topics. 
    • Color theory: This season's hottest color combinations
    • No full Fertilizer: Osmocote Start
    • Common plants, uncommon designs
    • Customizable snap tags
    • Considering Cyclamen
    • 29 varieties of sweet potao vine
    • Eight new continuous-blooming mniniature roses
    • Vegetables for success in homeowners' gardens
    • Ball's new program and plants for home gardening consumers
    • Two-tone Calibrachoa Punch series
    • Geraniums with firey foliage
    • plus many more
    Understanding Plant Nutrition
    Over a number of months Bill Argo and Paul Fisher authored articles on Understanding Plant Nutrition.  Here is a link to each of the articles from beginning to end.
    • Introduction 
    • Nutrient Sources 
    • Limestone and pH 
    • Limestone, Calcium and Magnesium 
    • Irrigation Water Alkalinity and pH 
    • Irrigation water as a nutrient source
    • Fertilizers and Media pH
    • Fertilizer and Macronutrients
    • Fertilizers and Micronutrients
    • Controlled and Slow-Release Fertilizers
    • Managing media pH
    • Managing Media EC
    • Diagnosing Problems
    • Correcting Low Media pH
    • High pH Problems
    • Low Media - EC
    • Common High Media-EC Problems
    • Environmentally Induced Plants
    • Poinsettia
    • Stock Plant Nutrition
    • Liner Nutrition
    • Calibrachoa
    • Geranium Nutrition
    • Managing Multiple Species
    2010 Independent Garden Center Show
    This year's Independent Garden Center Show, scheduled to run August 17-19 at downtown Chicago's stunning waterfront Navy Pier facility, will present more vendors and new products specifically targeted for the garden center market than any other show in the world.
    Perennial Plant Association Annual Conference
     The 28th Perennial Plant Association Symposium will be held in Portland, Oregon, July 18-24, 2010.  Link here for registration information.
    Please forward this newsletter on to others. 
    Eileen Nelson  (eonelson@wisc.edu)