Plants That Work!

Plants That Work!

by Danny Summers

I must admit, this idea of "Plants That Work" has been building for a number of weeks now. Let's stroll back through a few weeks and experiences that helped me craft this message...

On April 13th, our GROUPtalk LIVE Session featured a number of Group Centers that shared their performances year-to-date and ideas that they felt helped them reach their level of success. There were some common threads of ideas shared such as:

Focus on Value, Features, and Emotional Connections (NOT Price).
Display Plants based on Functions or Themes.
Promoting Plants in which "Our Center" has Confidence.
Focus on Plants in which the Customer will have Success.

We shared details on this GROUPtalk LIVE Session in both the April 17th and April 24th editions of GROUPtalk. Links for both are below for further reading.

And then on June 21st, I had the amazing experience to see three of our Group Centers share their ideas and expertise at the Darwin Perennials Day at Ball Seed. Each of these professionals shared real-world practices that help them make their customers successful.

As I listened to each presentation, I again heard the common threads of ideas. A major thread was...

We present our Customers with Plants That Workin our area!

This concept is in stark contrast to what is available to consumers at "Big Box" Retailers. Often times we see plants offered there that will not survive where they are being sold. And almost all the time, the customers do not have any Plant Professional to ask for advice.

Seeing our Group Centers sharing Plants That Work takes me back to a time and another experience I have been fortunate to witness. Not just me, but also Tom Kegley – our Group Brand-Building Guru.
Beginning in the early 2000's, Tom Kegley was asked to create the brand Plants That Work. The brand was being created for a group of well-known nurseries that would come together to promote a common brand. This collabroative group would be known as Novalis and was created by Carolina Nurseries, The Conard-Pyle Company, Imperial Nurseries and Willoway Nurseries.

A lot has changed since then. Carolina Nurseries is no longer in business. The Conard-Pyle Company we now know as Star Roses & Plants. Imperial Nurseries is part of Monrovia, who along with Willoway Nurseries are both Partners for Success of The Group today.

Last Friday, I called Tom Kegley to discuss the Plants That Work message and how I was seeing its connections to our Group Centers today. Tom said, "The core message behind the original Plants That Work name is still very relevant today. In fact, even more so when you consider what we are seeing and hearing from Group Centers."

Today, the Plants That Work brand and program is offered through Willoway Nurseries. Danny Gouge, Willoway's Director of Marketing, and Tom Kegley both contributed images for my message here (thanks Danny and Tom).

There are a number of ideas here that each Group Center can use and leverage in your messaging to your audience. The idea behind Plants That Work can be...

Plants for Your Success, Our Recommended Plants for You, Our Favorite Plants for You, and on and on. You can most likely create an even better version to fit your audience. If you are in the Willoway coverage area, you certainly need to be carrying Plants That Work as well. Just like programs such as American Beauties by North Creek Nurseries, and Proven Winners, and many more our Partners for Success and Fall Event Sponsors offer, can help you with this real connection with your customers.

The message is the same... you know best what plants grow and prosper in your climate, your community, and your garden. You see what plants thrive where you live and work every day. What better way to help each customer who walks through your gate than share with them... Plants That Work!


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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