Greenhouse Canada

Day 3 of the California Spring Trials

April 5, 2017  By Dave Harrison

April 3, 2017, San Luis Obispo, CA – The California Spring Trials is deep in new varieties and production expertise. What it’s also known for is marketing and promotion.

‘If It’s Monday, It Must be San Luis Obispo’

Breeding, growing and shipping need that fourth component – connecting with customers. It’s often the weakest link in the chain. Promotion prompts existing customers to buy more plants and encourages others to get their hands dirty.


Signage alone isn’t enough to sell plants. You’ve got to create a reason for shoppers to buy them. Set the wheels in motion to get customers thinking about new uses for existing plants, and considering other plants for new gardening/landscaping projects around the property.

Take the Dümmen Orange site for example, the focus of today’s visit. They devoted a large section of their display area to end user sales programs.
And they did it well.
PHOTO ONE: Savor the Flavor – Show how versatile herbs can be. It all begins with an effective, easy-to-follow display.

PHOTO TWO: Effortless Autumn – Design displays to show customers that autumn is much more than garden mums. The showcase products would include a mix of traditional autumn crops and season extenders. One target audience is Baby Boomers seeking easy décor solutions. Use premium containers to complete the display…and get customers thinking outside the box.

PHOTO THREE: Kinder Garden – Want more family fun time, and with educational and environmental components? That’s the focus of the Kinder Garden promotion. The showcase products include pollinator-attracting plants. The target audience members are children ages 3-10 and their parents. (Hey and grandparents, too!)

PHOTO FOUR: Grab&Gro –Targeting renters and homeowners with limited outdoor space, Grab&Go breaks gardening down into five, extremely well illustrated steps. Signage and bench tape is used to clearly illustrate the steps towards planting up a balanced container. “Continuous colour is as easy as A, B, C – grab your Accent, Base and Cascading plan and get Gro-ing.”

PHOTO FIVE: Diane Surette, sales manager for Canada, with ‘Starship’ is among three additions to the popular Potunia petunia line of Dümmen Orange. Potunias are “perfectly mounding bubbles of colour,” notes a sales brochure, with “bright and bold flowers that are always ready to sell.” They are truly daylength neutral.
PHOTO SIX: Kalanchoes may traditionally be seen as only houseplants, but there’s a lot more to them as seen with select varieties. The Calanday series is well suited for outdoor display.

On the Move Again

There is an old romantic comedy movie “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969).” It starred Suzanne Pleshette, Michael Constantine, Norman Fell, Peggy Cass and Marty Ingels, among others, and their experiences on a chaotic, whirlwind, city-a-day European bus tour. No, it didn’t generate Oscar buzz, it was just campy, light-hearted fun.

I can relate. I’ve now moved into the Northern section of the Trials. So far I’ve been through Los Angeles (airport arrival), Santa Paula, Oxnard and San Luis Obispo, and it’s only the end of Day 3. Still on my itinerary are Salinas, Gilroy and Watsonville, oh, and San Jose (departure). Outside of hotel rooms, restaurants and greenhouses, I haven’t really seen much of these towns and cities.

But I’m having fun. Maybe not as much fun as Pleshette, Constantine, Fell, Cass and Engels had on their 1969 tour…but pretty close.

Print this page


Stories continue below