GRANDIFLORA WINS BEST THEMED BOOTH AT THE LANDSCAPE SHOW

The Landscape Show’s motif for 2012 was “Where You Are the Star”, and we took the theme very literally. If the customers are the stars, we reasoned, then why not give them the Hollywood star treatment? We set up our display with giant Oscars, lights, a red carpet with velvet ropes, gold drapes and, of course, a horde of Paparazzi to photograph our arriving guests. We were the paparazzi with cameras slung around our necks, but we were nice paparazzi from the golden age of Hollywood, not the pushy obnoxious version of today. In the back of our booth was a huge sign reading “Grandiflorawood”, similar to the famous one you see up in the Hollywood Hills near the observatory. Of course, we stocked the booth with the most exotic and colorful plants that we had in the nursery, big leafy plants like elephant ears, bananas, gingers and ornamental grasses. Apparently the judges liked our booth, and we were pleasantly surprised when FNGLA President Wes Parrish came by later in the day to present us with the award for Best of Show Themed-Booth.

LAURIE FRENCH LEAVING GRANDIFLORA

This is an open letter from Laurie French, who has worked for Grandiflora for eons, and now must leave Florida to relocate to Arizona and care for her ailing mother… 

I have been on a very enlightening journey the past two months. I have traveled over 4,000 miles, over or through 23 states, and have seen many relatives. During this time I have realized how easy it is to get caught up in day to day activities, and before you know it, 19 years have flown by. This is how long I’ve been a part of Grandiflora.

 Back in 1993, Alan gave me the opportunity to be a part of a unique wholesale nursery. I experienced the steady growth of the business from 15 acres to 106, from mainly growing shrubs to a mix of annuals, perennials, trees, vines, topiaries and more. 

I was able to see the metamorphosis from San Felasco Nurseries, Inc to the branding of “Grandiflora Grown…Long Lasting Southern Blooms”. I participated in many events as part of the nursery: FNGLA Frontrunners Chapter meetings, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens Plant Festivals, Morningside Nature Center Native Plant Sales, Lubee Bat Conservancy Open Houses, Life South Blood Drives and United Way Fund Drives.

 My most rewarding experiences were helping design and participate in Grandiflora’s yearly tradeshow displays. I was a part of numerous fun exhibits. You may remember me as an alien from our “Men in Green” booth, a Fembot (female robot) from our Austin Powers themed exhibit, and the Queen of Hearts in our “Alan’s Wonderland” display. I was unable to make it to Orlando this year, but saw pictures of another ingenious booth spoofing the movie business, “Grandiflorawood”, which won a Best of Show Award.

 I will especially miss seeing all our wonderful and friendly customers. These tradeshows were always a great opportunity to see the people who have been so loyaland supportive throughout the years.

 The other event that meant so much to me was the yearly San Felasco Field Days which has now turned into a major Southeastern educational event, the Floriculture Field Days held at EPCOT in spring.  

During my employment I have had the opportunity to experience many aspects of the trade. I was able to incorporate many of my own ideas. I was able to share my knowledge and love of horticulture with so many other plant enthusiasts. There are so many customers I wish I could say thank you to personally. You have helped me to grow as a horticulturist as well as a person. Also I would like to thank Alan and all my fellow Grandiflora employees that have helped me become a better listener, manager and friend. I will greatly miss you all.

 I will be continuing my love of plants in Arizona while caring for my Mother. I am only a phone call, text or email away at hummhaven4@windstream.net, so please stay in touch.

 Your fellow PlantNut,

 Laurie French

MAKE A QUICK $25

If you are a Grandiflora customer and have time to fill out our brief Customer Survey and Account Update, we will send you a $25 coupon that can be used to help pay for your next order over $500. Surveys have been sent out to most of our customers, but if you didn’t get one, ask your favorite Grandiflora salesperson to e-mail or fax you the survey, tell us how we’re doing, and get your $25.

VISIT GRANDIFLORA ON FACEBOOK

“Like” Grandiflora and become our Facebook friend to see beautiful plant pictures and get landscaping ideas from our travels around the globe. Our latest uploads are pictures from a recent trip to Oregon and Northern California – Crater Lake, Redwood Forest and Oregon Dunes – including many different plant habitats, from mountain leas to forests to oceanside cliffs. Log in and help me identify all the beautiful mystery flowers that I photographed. Most helpful collaborator gets a prize!

CHANCE TO WIN $500 SHOPPING SPREE AT GRANDIFLORA

For the next four weeks, with each order over $500, you will earn one chance to win $500 worth of plants in our Fall 500 Sweepstakes. A $1000 order yields 2 chances, $2000 earns 4 tickets, and $5000 nets you 10 chances. Orders must be received by the last day of the Landscape Show in Orlando - Saturday, September 29, 2012. All entries will be placed in a hopper, and we will pick the winner at the show. You will have until Thanksgiving 2012 to use your prize if you are the lucky ticket holder. You do not need to be present to win.

Make sure to place your fall orders now to take advantage of this opportunity. The more you buy, the greater your chance of winning.

SPRING IS WONDERFUL. LET’S HOPE IT LASTS ALL SUMMER.

I don’t remember a spring like this in a long time – started early with a very mild winter, has stayed cool, and we even had some soaking rains! For the last decade, seems like every spring has been droughty, and warm weather set in long before May. People are loving it, getting outside and enjoying nature and outdoor sports like kayaking and hiking. The plants are loving it too. We’re getting luxurious growth on all our crops, they’re finishing quicker, and product is flying out of the nursery.

John Q. Public seems ready to spend money on plants and landscaping again. The drought of confidence in the economy seems to be over.

When we were in the depths of the recession, people put off replacing their old cars or moving into new houses or buying themselves unnecessary extravagances (like plants). We did okay selling edibles, because folks thought they’d save money if they could grow their own food. Atavistic survival instinct kicking in?

The car died and had to be replaced. The refrigerator kicked the bucket and you were forced to buy a new one. Now your garden’s a mess, and you need new plants. After paying for all the things you had to spend money on, is there anything left to pretty up your yard with.

Let’s hope so.

PLANTS THAT HUMMINGBIRDS LOVE

Here is a list I have compiled of plants that hummingbirds love. Many of these are varieties that we carry at Grandiflora.

If you have any suggestions of additions to the list, please let me know.

Egyptian Star Clusters Pentas lanceolata     Annual
Foxglove     Digitalis spp.     Annual
Hollyhock   Alcaea rosea     Annual
Impatiens     Impatiens walleryana   Annual
Larkspur     Delphinium spp.     Annual
Monkey Flower   Mimulus spp.     Annual
Nasturtium   Tropaelum tuberosum   Annual
Standing Cypress   Ipomopsis rubra     Annual
Wild Sage   Salvia coccinea*     Annual
Zinnia     Zinnia spp.     Annual
               
Agave     Agave americana, etc.   Perennial
Geneva Bugleweed   Ajuga reptans     Perennial
Aloe     Aloe maculata, barbadensis, etc. Perennial
Aster     Aster spp.     Perennial
Autumn Sage   Salvia greggii*     Perennial
Bee Balm     Monarda didyma*     Perennial
Beschorneria   Beschorneria yuccoides   Perennial
Blazing Star   Liatris spicata*     Perennial
Blood Flower   Asclepias currasavica   Perennial
Butterfly Bush   Buddleia davidii and weyeriana   Perennial
Butterfly Gingers   Hedychium spp.     Perennial
Canna Lily   Cannas spp.     Perennial
Cape Honeysuckle   Tecomaria capensis     Perennial
Chinese Hibiscus   Hibiscus rosa-sinensis   Perennial
Cigar Plant   Cuphea micropetala     Perennial
Cigarette Plant   Cuphea ignea     Perennial
Columbine   Aquilegia canadensis*   Perennial
Coneflower   Echinacea spp.     Perennial
Coral Bean   Erythrina herbacea*     Perennial
Daylily     Hemerocallis spp.     Perennial
Dwarf Turk’s Cap   Malvaviscus drummondii   Perennial
Elegant Ruellia   Ruellia elegans     Perennial
Firebush     Hamelia patens     Perennial
Firecracker Plant   Russelia equisetiformis   Perennial
Firecracker Plant   Russelia sarmentosa     Perennial
Firespike     Odontonema cuspidatum   Perennial
Four O’Clocks   Mirabilis jalapa     Perennial
Fuchsia     Fuchsia spp.     Perennial
Golden Dewdrop   Duranta erecta     Perennial
Golden Shrimp Plant Pachystachys lutea     Perennial
Hosta     Hosta spp.     Perennial
Hummingbird Plant   Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii Perennial
Hummingbird Plant   Dicliptera suberecta     Perennial
Hummingbird Plant   Sinningia sellovii     Perennial
Hyssop     Agastache     Perennial
Indian Pink   Spigelia marylandica     Perennial
Iris     Iris spp.       Perennial
Lantana     Lantana camara     Perennial
Lily of the Nile   Agapanthus africanus   Perennial
Lion’s Head   Leonotis leonurus     Perennial
Lobelia     Lobelia cardinalis*     Perennial
Mexican Sage   Salvia leucantha     Perennial
Mexican Sunflower   Tithonia diversifolia and rotundifolia Perennial
Montbretia   Crocosmia spp.     Perennial
Night-blooming Jasmine Cestrum nocturnum     Perennial
Obedient Plant   Physostegia     Perennial
Orange Jacobinia   Justicia spicigera     Perennial
Pagoda Plant   Clerodendrum spp.     Perennial
Parlor Maple   Abutilon spp.     Perennial
Penstemon   Penstemon spp.     Perennial
Peruvian Lily   Alstroemeria psitticina   Perennial
Phlox     Phlox spp.     Perennial
Pineapple Sage   Salvia elegans     Perennial
Red Hot Poker   Kniphofia uvaria     Perennial
Red Yucca   Hesperaloe parviflora   Perennial
Sapphire Sage   Salvia guaranitica     Perennial
Shrimp Plant   Justicia brandegeana   Perennial
Sky Flower   Iochroma cyaneum     Perennial
Soapwort   Saponaria officinalis     Perennial
Swamp Mallow   Hibiscus coccineus*     Perennial
Turk’s Cap   Malvaviscus arboreus   Perennial
Verbena     Verbena spp.     Perennial
Yellow Bells   Tecoma stans     Perennial
               
Abelia     Abelia grandiflora     Shrub
Althaea     Hibiscus syriacus     Shrub
Azaleas     Rhododendron spp.     Shrub
Bottlebrush   Callistemon viminalis   Shrub
Buttonbush   Cephalanthus occidentalis*   Shrub
Cardinal Shrub   Weigela florida     Shrub
Coral Tree   Erythrina bidwillii     Shrub
Flowering Quince   Chaenomeles japonica   Shrub
Oleander     Nerium oleander     Shrub
Sasanqua Camellia   Camellia sasanqua     Shrub
Texas Sage   Leucophyllum frutescens   Shrub
Wolfberry   Lycium carolinianum*   Shrub
               
Citrus     Citrus spp.     Tree
Flowering Crabapple Malus baccata     Tree
Horse Chestnut or Buckeye Aesculus pavia*     Tree
Loquat     Eriobotrya japonica     Tree
Mimosa     Albizzia julibrissin     Tree
Pomegranite   Punica granatum     Tree
               
Bird of Paradise   Strelitzia reginae     Tropical
Coral Plant   Jatropha spp.     Tropical
Ixora     Ixora spp.      Tropical
Powder Puff   Calliandra spp.      Tropical
               
Cardinal Climber   Ipomoea multifida     Vine
Cross Vine   Bignonia capreolata*   Vine
Firecracker Vine   Manettia cordifolia     Vine
Firecracker Vine   Manettia inflata     Vine
Mandevilla   Mandevilla spp.     Vine
Mexican Flame Vine Senecio confusus     Vine
Red Honeysuckle   Lonicera sempervirens*   Vine
Red Trumpet Vine   Campsis radicans*     Vine
               
*Native Plants of the Southeastern US      

TRADE SHOW SEASON BEGINS

Grandiflora will be exhibiting three successive weekends at large upcoming trade shows scattered around the southeast. 

First up (next weekend) is the Gulf States Hort Expo in Mobile AL. We love to attend this show because the move-in is fast and easy, the hotel we stay at is within walking distance of the Convention Center, and the fresh seafood at local restaurants is delicious. Also, the Show staff is sooooo friendly. They truly understand hospitality in Alabama. Some years the show coincides with Mardi Gras and there is a huge parade right past our hotel, with people fighting for thrown beads, moon pies and kewpy dolls. Unlike New Orleans, this parade is PG – no women exposing themselves and no obnoxious drunks, so bring the kids along!

The next show is Wintergreen in Atlanta GA. Again, our hotel is nearby, just across the parking lot, restaurants abound nearby, and move-in/move-out is a simple affair. The opening night reception has delicious food, and there is always an interesting speaker. Last year Vince Dooley addressed the gathered crowd and talked about facing the recession and keeping an upbeat attitude. Unfortunately, I slipped in the icy parking lot walking to the show the next morning and spent my time working the booth with a painful back sprain.

Our final spring show is also a fun event, the South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association Show in Myrtle Beach. Some years the weather is blustery and cold, but customers still come in droves to take advantage of low winter-time motel rates, play golf on uncrowded courses, and to see what plants are looking good with spring just around the corner. We always stay at The Breakers, right on the ocean, and Pat jogs along the beach no matter the temperature. We also bring our musical instruments and jam with Laura Lee Rose, a SC County Agent and superb musician.

Please try to attend at least one of these shows to see what Grandiflora will be offering this spring. Stop by the booth and say hello. If you mention that you read this blog, I’ll even give you a 5% discount on your first spring order.

And if you haven’t overdosed on shows by then, you can probably see us the next few weekends walking the aisles at the Tampa and Jacksonville shows where Frank and I go to buy liners, supplies and plants to re-sell closer to home.

Alan

Niceville Garden Center in Florida Panhandle wins Grandiflora’s $500 Shopping Spree

For the second straight year, Grandiflora has held a drawing at the Landscape Show in Orlando FL for a $500 shopping spree at the nursery. To enter, customers must have made at least a $500 purchase from Grandiflora in the past two months. For each $500 spent, a customer received one entry, so the number of chances increased with each order and the size of those orders.

 

This tears’s winner was Tammy from Niceville Garden Center. Grandiflora owner, Alan Shapiro, let his grand-daughter, 3-year old Delaney Kate Anderson, pick the winning ticket on the last day of the show.

Grandiflora Wins Best Themed Exhibit at The Landscape Show

Grandiflora won another award at  The Landscape Show in Orlando at the beginning of October, “Best Themed Exhibit”. We dressed as ship-wrecked sailors on a beach with our sail boat and a background of colorful tropical and blooming plants from the nursery. Our exhibit took the trade show’s optimistic theme of “Full Sail Ahead” and added a twist to reflect the last few year’s struggle with the worsening economy. Our rustic signage had messages  that read “Survived the wreck” and “Weathered the storm” and finally, “Smooth sailing ahead”.

We are optimistic about the coming spring. Hopefully 2012 will mark the beginning of a new era of higher nursery sales.