Category Archives: family

It’s a whole new year!

Icartoonfile1364Happy New Years from all of us at Gilson Gardens!  As I sit here in my office with the snow falling down and the wind blowing I just keep thinking to myself….spring is coming….2015 is coming and you know what…it is!  Tonight we all celebrate a brand new year…we will make resolutions we won’t keep, we’ll probably drink too much, not feel too good in the morning BUT…at the end of the day….2015 will be here and that is exciting!

We have a brand new set of 365 days to enjoy!  Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter!  We have new plants to put into the earth, gardens to renovate or just prep for the coming of spring.  I know most of us can’t get out there right now but it will be here before you know it so start planning what you would like to do with your outdoor spaces.  Maybe this is the year you put in a small pond, or add to your patio, start container gardening….whatever you dream up you can make happen!

Do you know that ANY time you spend outside, doing ANYTHING with nature, you extend your life?  It’s true….add some years to your life and get outside in 2015!

As for us here at Gilson Gardens, we’re busy planning our year.  What plants to raise, how many of them, should we start with smaller liners to cut our costs but extend our growing season?  We’re constantly re-inventing ourselves to be sure we stay relevant!  It’s a tricky process getting our plants ready for when customers want them and then of course we have to deal with mother nature who we all know can be temperamental! (or just mental!)  I’m not sure which!

So my wish for you all is that you have a wonderful new year…spend those 365 days wisely because they go fast…don’t waste too many of them!  Be safe, stay healthy and keep planting!

Happy New Year!!!

Annette

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Share the Magic of the Holidays with the Gift of Fairies!

A fairy offering wishes, illustration by John ...

Image via Wikipedia

   That’s it, the woman has finally lost it….I know what you’re thinking!  But, NO, truly I haven’t!  This time of year when I just don’t know if I can tolerate one more day of drab skies and rain and the threat of snow, my mind wanders to all that is green…

 You still don’t know where I’m going with this….that’s ok….I’ll share…..

FAIRIES!

     Yup….that’s it!  I’m sure you’ve seen the fairy gardens in the gardening magazines or even in your local garden centers. Some stores have everything for our winged friends, including furniture!  But close your eyes….bear with me here…close em!

     Picture a small, picturesque garden, filled with everything minature….teensy weensy ferns, and succulents and lil’ flowers that only a fairy could pick! Picture sitting in a lil’ bench, waiting for your fairy friends to show up….you can hear them….a distant giggle….off in the greenery, right behind that lil’ plant, hidden from view….a place you would imagine Tinkerbell and her friends….

English: A Fairy Tale by Dorothy M.Wheeler

Image via Wikipedia

       These fairy gardens are so very popular! Great for gifts, great as a project with your kids….imagine their joy while they gaze at the lil’ garden and wait for the elusive lil’ friends to appear…..use your imagination! What items from your own home can you use?  Bottlecaps, pinecones, pebbles, marbles (make great gazing balls for fairy gardens!) the possibilities are endless!  You can use just about anythin for a container as well!

     Fairy gardens can be started inside by a window and then moved to your porch or deck when the weather warms and you and your children can watch it grow and thicken creating so many more hiding places for the fairies!

   You can inspire dreams and stories for generations to come with one little fairy garden, for you, for your children, for your friends and family…..and the love of a garden…..

I can hear Santa….he’s on his way!

       I love this time of year! Christmas lights are popping up in all the dark neighborhoods, people are going around in a “I’ve gotta shop” coma, songs of the holiday are everywhere (literally!) and you can’t help but be sucked in!  This year seems the “sucking” is so much stronger!  Holiday promotions started so early and the push to get it all done was just stacking up! I mean the red kettles are everywhere and I’m going broke!  So…..I succumbed to the coma, shopped till I couldn’t get any more in the car and my credit cards were pretty much on fire (you’re welcome for my share of economic stimulation!)  My house is decorated, my presents are hidden and then….I flip the calendar and it’s only November 30!  What the hell?  How did that happen?  It’s not even December and I’m ready for the holiday to get here already!

    So now…I can sit back and enjoy all the craziness without actually losing my mind in the process.  I thank technology every day for my DVR so I don’t have to watch all those commercials that make me believe if I buy this or that that my life will be the “happily ever after” they are promoting! My answer to the darkness this year is to be at the gym after work so that I’m not in my pajamas watching TV two hours before primetime!  Mental health is a fine line people!  Keep the whole thing in perspective! Holidays are for friends and families (yes, families!) and showing others kindness!

I received this from a friend that read it online at opennhort.com.  It’s fantastic and should make all independent garden centers think about their customers. Also…to those that shop at the big box stores…remember the lil’ guys out there where you will receive the personal assistance and someone WILL remember your name when you walk in but may not have that big parking lot!

 

You know Her: she’s a great customer. She ADORES plants, devours every issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and spends Her winters pining away for the first signs of spring thaw so she can eagerly attack Her garden plans. She drives the nice-but-not-too-nice car, knows your staff by name, and wouldn’t dream of shopping for Her garden anywhere else.

Um, yeah. There aren’t 10% of Her out there anymore.

NewsFlash: She’s already cheating on you. And if she isn’t, she will.

Honestly? She likes you well enough, but she’s gotten bored with you, the spark just isn’t there anymore. She used to be surprised by something new each time she came in, she was inspired by your lush and lavish displays.

The recession-era you: with paint from two seasons ago, staff reductions, and merchandise constriction, well, you’re a little less alluring.

You’ve become predictable, and not in a good way.

She’s already shopping at Nordstrom for Her shoes but Costco for Her paper towels. She’s smart enough to see the grower’s truck when it stops at the Big Box store on Tuesdays with fresh product, which, golly – looks fairly much the same to Her eye.

She’s using more coupons these days, because austerity is ‘in.’ She’s savvy enough to price shop the essentials online. And even if you’re closer… well, your staff are more harried and distracted than ever, your parking lot is tight, she can’t get to your store after work…

Can you make Her feel special again? Can you give Her the thing she values most – Her TIME – back? Can you delight Her? Make Her life easier? If not, then you’re just 5% better than the other guys – and they’re 20% cheaper.

And she’s smart enough to do the math.

The Value of Plants in your Life

The other day I enjoyed listening to a webinar on the value of plants in our      lives.  The experts are working hard on putting a dollar figure to this value…my thoughts is it will be a while before it’s determined.

Plants add value to our homes. A well-landscaped yard will put more dollars in your pocket when it’s time to sell. This has been proven! Never mind the value if you’re not planning to sell but you have to admit that it’s a whole lot nicer hanging out somewhere where they’ve taken the time to add some color and plantings. Think about it, would you prefer to hang in the backyard with your friends surrounded by concrete and wood or flower beds and decks.

Cities are now working on adding green areas to roofs. Green and blue! Gardens, prairies, etc. When it rains, rooftop gardens catch and absorb storm water run-off or at least slows it down. This keeps rain water out of the gutters and hopefully out of the system that will overflow and end up messing with the city drainage! This saves money!

Green roofs and now living walls are being planted to save energy costs. A planted building will keep buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter! Again…saving money!

Hospitals all over the world are using gardens to enhance patient well-being.  How?  It’s been proven that if patients are exposed to gardens, the recovery time is significantly reduced. Wellness centers worldwide are adding herb gardens, flower gardens and water features which in turn the patients and staff are benefiting. Shorter recovery, healthier staff…all equal savings!

So….although there are many more reasons to get a “little green”  in your life, we will all save some green in the process! So get planting and do your part to help the economy recover! Consider planting a vegetable garden if nothing else!

I’m Sorry, Did you say Something?

I attended a presentation last night that a gentleman named Marvin Montgomery gave to our local association. It really made me think about the way I react to people sometimes.

Now my job is to sell, that’s what I do. I sell plants. I am the sales manager. BUT after listening to Marvin….my thinking has been altered a bit. (or a lot!) He says people don’t like to call themselves “salesmen” and I agree. (actually I never had thought about it like that before)  We all know how we cringe inside when we pick up the phone and it’s someone somewhere trying to sell us something and most of us hate it!

“People buy from people they like and trust.” Boy is that ever true! Building relationships….how many times have we heard that when we’re dealing with social media…after all…that’s what we’re all doing out here…we’re building relationships!

LISTEN….one of his biggest suggestions to us was to listen to our customers, listen to our family, listen to our friends…..SHUT UP AND LISTEN!  Think about how many times people are talking to us and we don’t really hear what they say.  You are nodding and portraying all the body language that you’re engaged but are you?  I know I could do a much better job at this!  He said that most of us are just waiting for our turn to talk when were in a conversation with someone instead of really hearing what is being said to us. We’re busy getting ready for “our turn”…very good point! Personally this will be something I really try to improve on, especially with my family and my friends! I think it’s going to take a lot of practice!

Anyways…I just wanted to share what I learned last night and if you ever get a chance to listen to Marvin Montgomery I think you’ll be impressed!  He was just written up in the Cleveland Smart Business magazine (February 2011) and has spoken for the Ohio Landscape Association, Nursery Growers of Lake County Ohio assoc. and many many others!

     Overall, I guess Marvin’s advice is something we’ve heard before but did we really listen and do something about it?  It never hurts to hear how to be a better person, salesmen, friend, spouse, etc. again!

Face to Face isnt’ Dead!

In the nursery industry, January kicks off the trade show season. MANTS is just ending, Mid Am is next and CENTS is at the end of the month. Those are the big three that start the year.

  Although booth space is not inexpensive and the time it takes for travel,  set-up, man, and take-down the booth is great….the time you get with your customers face-to-face….is priceless!

  Back when I first starting attending the trade shows, the floors were a buzz with people taking orders, and deals being made. At night it was all about who could stay out the latest and how many clients you could entertain.

With the times, things have changed. Companies send less representatives, the customers being wined and dined are in smaller groups, many of us are older and out not nearly as late as we used to be. Money is tight and budgets are tighter, salespeople are traveling together.  We’re all being smarter about where our money goes but with that being said….

We are all still there. Year in and year out the nurseries are setting up, putting their best foot forward, forcing plants to be green and blooming in the dead of winter to show our plants to garden centers and landscapers who will be looking for what we sell in the spring. Our key people (many times the owners themselves!) are in their booths, shaking hands, talking about the industry, commiserating over the economy and sharing ideas to get to the other side! This industry shares like I’ve never seen elsewhere. The nurseries come together…we refer customers to each other, we ship together, we share solutions to problems, we even advertise together when possible. (I am so proud to be a part of an industry that works together like a giant team!) 

But the true spirit of the nursery is the customer….for without the customer….well…you know what would happen. Customers become important to you. You work with them each year, selling them what they need and learning who they are and about their families and what’s important to them. You make these “friends” and you miss them during the winter when the phones are quiet! That’s what the trade shows are all about! Bringing people together, to TALK to each other without email or cell phones…just an honest to God conversation! There is no better way to connect with your customers on a cold winter day! Personally, I can’t wait to get this next spring season underway! Hope to see you at the trade shows!