November 1, 2001
Sarah Willis
Sarah Willis

New plants, and a new chapter

In with the new

Some of you will open our annual New Plants issue with anticipation, while others turn noses up at “more new heucheras and petunias.”

But, whether you like it or not, new sells. In the retail industry, nothing that worked 10 years ago, works as well today, so “New for this year!” is one way to get people through your doors. And if you are selling landscape design, construction or maintenance services, being able to tell your clients about the latest plant trends may help position you as an expert current in your field.

New plants this year include sturdy annuals that will stand up in landscape beds, along with plants that have been introduced to provide colour and texture in small spaces or containers. Plant breeders are also doing their bit to
appeal to the Pinterest and Instagram crowds as well, by selecting fresh and funky colour combinations and textures for their plants.  If that supercool new petunia can catch the eye of a 30-something homeowner and it reminds her of a vignette she saw on Pinterest, she can recreate on her balcony, so much the better. As I keep reminding my husband, we are no longer the target market. So, even though he has a wonderful eye for plants and design, the fact that he doesn’t like a particular new plant, doesn’t mean it won’t sell to his younger, style-conscious customers.  

As I wrote last month, gardening is work, so should we be steering new customers to styling and decorating their homes with plants instead of digging? I asked you to submit your ideas for a new descriptive catchphrase for gardening like ‘Foodie’ is to cooking.  This hit a chord with many of you and I received some great tongue-in-cheek answers, Rod suggested, “Gardening …all the cool kids are doing it!” Leo offered, “Greenie.”  Tim came up with “Lovers of Latin” — what is more sexy than that? And, Gina said “Let’s get down and dirty!” — I think we could have some fun with that one as well!

This is my final Green Pencil for Landscape Trades. After 24 years, it is time for a change.  It is no secret that Landscape Trades is published under the horticultural trade association umbrella — I have been privileged to learn from the entrepreneurial and generous spirits that energize the green trades across Canada. I can assure any non-members reading this: the best investment you can make in your company or career is to join, and participate in, your provincial trade association.

With apologies to Oprah, “What I know for sure,” is that I have been blessed to work in an industry full of creative, inspirational and selfless people. It has been a pleasure.