A Nature Store?

A Nature Store?

by Danny Summers

Have you ever considered calling your Garden Center... A Nature Store?

I'm not suggesting changing your Center's name, but just in describing what you do, what you offer... A Nature Store.

There is a fine line between the Plant and Animal Kingdoms.

I must admit, the idea for this blog message has been building for weeks. It really began back in November when I visited Hotels and Garden Centers in Cincinnati for initial work of The Fall Event 2023. In just a few early conversations the idea of taking our Fall Event 2023 Tour Day to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens became prominent.

There are a number of wonderful Zoos and Botanical Gardens in North America. We have visited a number of Botanical Gardens on our previous Tour Days. But the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens is a unique combination of both. To give you an idea of its position in both the Plant and Animal World, it was named: the Best Zoo in the nation in 2021 and also ranked as one of the 10 best Botanical Gardens in the country. It is currently in its 150th year of operations (founded in 1873 and opened in 1875) making it the 5th oldest Zoo in the United States. The Plant and Animal Kingdoms are closely aligned and they as interdependent on each other.

For years, Steve Foltz, Director of Horticulture for Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens has been an important resource for our industry education. Steve joined us at our Group gathering at the MANTS show this past January to give a few comments about our plans to visit The Gardens (and Zoo) this September. We will be working with Steve as we plan our time there.

If you don't already know, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens has been an important new plant trial garden for a number of years. Many of our Partner for Success and Fall Event Sponsors have been working with them to help recognize the best new plants becoming available.

Move over Fiona!
In recent years, the face of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens has become Fiona, now a six-year-old Hippopotamus that was born at the Zoo. Having been born 6 weeks early, she gained wide notoriety as she became a real survivor.

When I visited with Steve in November, he showed me the extensive expansion of their Plant Trials throughout the grounds as well as new exhibits in the Zoo, including a new Elephant Trek (shown above right illustration). It is the biggest habitat addition in the Zoo's history. In the announcement for the project Francie Hiltz, Board Chair said, "By creating a BIGGER space for a BIGGER herd of elephants to thrive, we are making a BIG commitment to Asian elephant breeding and conservation that will demonstrate to our visitors the power and beauty of co-existence for animals and humans.” We will see the project under construction when we are there on September 27 as its completion date is projected to be next year.

I hope you see what an opportunity this will be for us to see an amazing combination of the Horticultural and Zoological Worlds. We will be sharing more details of our visit, including a visit to The Zoo/Botanical Garden's amazing community garden project at a local school a few blocks away in coming weeks. I told Steve during our visit I think we should refer to them as the Cincinnati Botanical Gardens & Zoo!

I can't wait for all of us to experience the Cincinnati Botanical Gardens & Zoo!

There is a fine line between the Plant and Animal Kingdoms and its all interconnected. Consider how important your work is for the Plant Kingdom. Contributing to the need for more green space, more need and wants for family gardens and plants in our everyday lives, and how all this is interconnected.

Trivia Question: What kind of frog is in the photo above? (see answer below near Quote of the Week)

Is your Center - A Nature Store?

Sharing is at the heart of The Group and your ideas are very important. If you have any trouble logging into The Group WebSystem, please let me know. Are you and your staff all subscribed to our eLists such as GroupEs, Retail-Grower, Retail-Landscape, Owners-Only, and a number of others? Need help subscribing? Let me know so I can show you how you can sign up.

Thanks for sharing!

Danny Summers
[email protected]
Tel: 678-909-7770
Cell: 678-761-7145

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Tim Quebedeaux, Sid Raisch, John Kennedy, Jean Seawright, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!

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