Everything That’s New Remains the Biggest Pull

July 26, 2007
Written by Carla Allen
Scott’s Nursery, a growing concern in Lincoln, N.B., with five acres of greenhouses, covers all the bases when it comes to tracking down the latest trendy products and plants.
21Scott’s Nursery, a growing concern in Lincoln, N.B., with five acres of greenhouses, covers all the bases when it comes to tracking down the latest trendy products and plants.

Their staff works with trade organizations and seed companies, plus other Nurseries and suppliers. They also visit trade shows, watch gardening shows and browse magazines and the Internet for what will be popular in the next season.

Family member George Scott says outdoor “living” continues to be a goal for consumers. “The patio is becoming an extension of the living room and people are even bringing some indoor plants out. This requires, with some of the new decorative pots, the ability to move them in and out to acclimatize them, and perhaps lift them back in for a cold evening or storm forecast,” he suggests.
Scott advises customers to arrange their pots and planters full of new annuals such that they bring colour and points of interest to the patio or deck all summer long.

For full sun areas, geraniums, Double Wave petunias, Suncatcher petunias, Calibrachoa and sun-loving Coleus are favourites. “Many of these bloom like you never thought possible,” said Scott.
“Each year we choose new selections and the colours that are available to keep up with what’s in for the season. You can never beat begonias and impatiens for containers in the shade but trailing Coleus, Bacopa, Dahlietta can bring new interest and texture to deck planters,” he added.

Scott says employees feel comfortable recommending the Proven Winner series because they have been chosen by the world’s best propagators and perform well for growers and consumers alike. Some to watch for are  ‘My Monet’, a new Wiegela; ‘Blondy’, a bright yellow-green Euonymus; and ‘Summer Wine’, a new ninebark.

Off the deck and into the beds nearby, the seating area of the garden is the ideal place for the sound of running water.

Scott says ponds, portable fountains and waterfalls are experiencing another swing-around in popularity and that supplies (pumps, liner, filters, and accessories) are more easily found instock.
Last but not least, the value of makeovers for homes is becoming an easier sell.

“In the garden centre we often talk to home owners who have a home needing a facelift. In some cases it’s new owners of an older home, or perhaps their shrubs have overgrown their locations. The reason for the pruning, removal or new planting has to be carefully considered. It takes years to grow a tree and in some cases pruning or moving may be a way to save a specimen,” he said.
The styles have changed, however, and today there are ways of making a landscape far more interesting. The home owner who considers selling in a  few years could add thousands to the value or to the sales appeal by carefully updating the landscape.

“In past years the home owners who fix up and sell then move to a new home have been some of our best customers and if the tree is new and beautiful they want it. They know if the landscape is attractive and well maintained the prospective buyer is more likely to consider the property. Add to that the bonus of living in a beautiful garden and it’s a win-win situation,” says Scott.

John Barrett is the director of sales and marketing for Veseys, one of the most successful seed companies in Canada. The business sends out 1.5 million catalogues across North America and now prints specialty issues featuring roses and both spring and fall bulbs.

In addition to its catalogue and website sales, the company also has a retail garden shop located at its home base in York, a 10-minute drive from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

“We always see that there is great interest in anything new,” says Barrett. “Whether that be flower seed, vegetable seed or any living product such as roses, shrubs or perennials. We do carry a rather substantial line of tools and accessories, and since we have the benefit of attending a number of shows in Europe for the mail order side of the business, we frequently pick up items that you won’t see at other garden centres.”

Barrett says tub trugs are one of those items, but also notes their complete line of Wolfgarten tools are admired by many.

Ivan Higgins, owner of Cosby’s Garden Centre in Liverpool, N.S., is renowned for his creative concrete sculptures. Customers come for those but also to sign up in the off season for classes on how to make them.

“Gardeners are less inhibited and more adventurous with their landscapes,” observes Higgins. “They also tend to embrace all four seasons in their planning.”

“Forever there have been gardeners but a lot of them have had hidden little properties here and there and now everyone is really out front with it. It’s quite all right to brag about their gardens and do crazy things with their gardens and try different things.  A lot of landscapers are having fun with it and the customers are letting them have fun. You’re finding some really different things happening in gardens,” he said.

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