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June 2016
A Handful of Trends By Abby Kleckler

In April, I had my first chance to attend California Spring Trials. Team L&GR and Team GPN headed down the coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles with lots of stops in between.

To set the stage a bit, that’s six of us in one van with a lot of luggage, multiple cameras, a handful of notebooks and an enthusiasm to see what’s new.

As a Spring Trials amateur, I had my eyes on three things in particular: 1) great display and merchandising ideas, which you can find some highlights of on page 12; 2) varieties with the “new” or “improved” tag, many of which we’ll show you in the July issue; and 3) concepts that kept showing up stop after stop. Trends shall we say?

Breeders are placing a lot of emphasis on the things that fall into this third category. I want to mention a handful that are already showing up at retail and have the potential to continue gaining ground in the coming years.

First, there were a lot of pinks. The color commanded attention at our first stop Proven Winners with its 2017 Plant of the Year, Supertunia ‘Vista Bubblegum’. Bold hues as well as softer shades were on display throughout the whole trip even more so than I expected for the popular color.

Second, first-year flowering perennials gained a lot of attention. Consumers want color and impact right away, and breeders are listening.

Third, we always discuss edibles as a gateway to gardening for many Millennials, and now breeders are coming up with creative materials like cookbooks and mixology cards to give consumers ideas.

Fourth, the fact we were in drought- ridden California had little to do with the large amount of succulents. These easy-to-care for plants were on display in innovative applications as well as combinations.

And fifth is combinations themselves. All the rules have been thrown out the window — except the one where varieties need to grow well together. On page 20, Christina Salwitz has some ideas for creating combinations that customers can only find at your garden center.

Take a Shot (Or Two or Three)

Let’s say it’s June 1, which makes sense since this is the June issue. This means you have 10 days left to enter Lawn & Garden Retailer’s Merchandiser of the Year competition. Ten days!

I know you’ve done a lot of new things this spring and that’s exactly what the judges want to see.

Last year’s winner, Molbak’s Garden + Home, took a huge risk by moving its veggies and herbs into a space traditionally for annuals. Visual merchandising manager Debi Colton and her team designed big, and it resulted in a 20 percent increase in vegetable sales.

What’s your display story? Have you gotten lots of customer feedback? Have you moved more product than ever expected?

Turn to page 49 for all the details on how to enter. All you need is a trusty old camera or smartphone. Page 49 is also where you can read about the more than $3,000 in prizes the winner receives.

And most importantly, you could win the prestigious title and bragging rights as Merchandiser of the Year.

Abby Kleckler

Abby is the managing editor of Lawn & Garden Retailer. Contact her at [email protected]


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