Hort-Tech 2013

The following is a blog post from board member Bill Calkins.

An industry veteran once told me at Pack Trials about a decade ago that new varieties are the horticulture industry’s version of new technology. He used the analogy that running a greenhouse using old genetics was like running a business on a 486 computer. This has always stuck with me. Every year, thousands of new varieties are released into the industry causing excitement and definitely some confusion. There’s the challenge – how much is too much? The answer… The more the merrier – but you need to carefully choose what works best for you and your unique customer base.

One way to break through all of the clutter and get a glimpse of the best of the best new intros is to attend innovative industry events like the National Green Centre, local field and university trials and to study the post-Spring Trials reports in our awesome industry trade magazines (as well as “live” online coverage).

At National Green Centre, the plant fashion show has been a major hit for a couple years. Part of the excitement comes from a “runway show” venue with models and a DJ but the true excitement comes from the cutting-edge new intros that come down the runway. From statement-making trees, shrubs and perennials to big-color annuals and great-tasting veggies, the Green Centre fashion show has brought top-notch new varieties to the forefront. With promotion in trade and consumer magazines, these are some of the rock star plants all of our customers will be looking for and the 2013 National Green Centre Fashion Show has more than ever before!

How are we going to attract new shoppers to our stores and get them excited about digging in the dirt? New products are one of the keys to our future! Plants with functions and added benefits; wow color varieties that can transform a porch or patio; tasty herbs and veggies that enhance a meal… These are the messages that will help sustain us in the future. Find the best new plants to fill tomorrow’s gardens at the National Green Centre in 2013!

Bill Calkins
WNLA Board Member
IGC Business Manager, Ball Horticultural Co.

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2 Responses to Hort-Tech 2013

  1. Hi Bill,
    So true! The topics and themes you mention are just a few of what’s possible and with the online and offline methods for reaching new shoppers, I don’t think there can be too much. The styles, trends, and personal tastes of new and existing gardeners, plus new products and services makes for a never-ending supply of content. Shows like the National Green Centre, Independent Garden Centers in Chicago and so many more offer plenty of opportunity to learn, discover, write and share.

    I’ll be at the National Green Centre trade show in January. This year was my first and the plant fashion show, the tradeshow and the opportunity to meet others was fun and inspiring. Also, I enjoyed your recent presentation at the LNASTL earlier this month–thanks!

    Kristen McLain
    Kris the Scribbler

  2. National Green Centre says:

    So excited to hear you’ll be at the show this January Kris! I’d love to meet you. Thanks also for the comment. Have a great weekend!
    ~Katie Ketelsen

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