June July 2018

7 colorad o nga.org LooseLeaf June/July 2018 By Will Knowles, CCNP, General Manager, Creek Side Gardens The end of the summer is a time of transition for garden centers. Getting customers to visit your garden center is hard. It’s hot, and people don’t want to come out of the confines of their air-conditioned homes. Then, in August, the days start getting shorter, kids go back to school, and fall is in the air. Though the height of planting season is over, customers still need fresh flowers after May and June. Some people are hosting special events like family reunions and weddings. Here at Creek Side, we schedule crops for that transition period. We grow a crop of six-inch annuals and large pots of annuals, with a different color palette from the spring. We promote our big summer color to let people know about our fresh annuals, which they can use to spruce up their landscapes and homes. We offer nice fresh summer crops, not just leftovers from spring but warm-temperature tolerant annuals. We may have some geraniums and petunias around, or zinnias, abutilon or angelonia. We sell big pots of zinnias, dahlia and lantana, as well as heat- tolerant, colorful pentas (though they’re not as popular). We continue to sell perennials all year round, so we are making sure they still look great in July and August. We encourage people to keep up with fertilization. People are shopping for a little bit of pottery—a lot less than spring but attractive pots inspire replanting. The number one rule: you’ve got to be prepared with products to fill customer needs. Then, get out there and wave your flag to show people what you have. Create eye- catching displays and have your staff talking with customers about ideas for how to use those products to decorate their homes. The people who come in at that time of the year are regular customers; people who understand what flowers and decorating is all about. They want plants and color all around them, to make their places look special. In springtime, we get everybody and anyone interested in growing plants—newbies to the seasoned gardeners. Once midsummer comes, people who are not as dedicated to gardens are done with shopping for them, which is unfortunate because our staff has more time to spend helping them learn plant care. Since it is a little harder to take care of newly transplanted plants when it’s hot out, experienced growers do better, or the novices with a little extra guidance from our staff. Creek Side Gardens doesn’t use that season to put everything on sale. We are not discount oriented as a company philosophy. We limit our discounting to some of the remaining summer stock and a few select hard goods, just to reduce inventory going into the winter months. But, we are a year-round garden center so we are not looking to fully deplete inventory at the end of the year. If stuff is left over, we take care of it all winter, and it’s ready to sell the following year. Ways to Attract Customers  after Peak Season Lavender Festival at Creek Side Gardens continues »