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Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

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.


Grandiflora Wins Best Themed Exhibit at The Landscape Show

Friday, December 30th, 2011

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.


Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

…at least when my college football team is winning.

No, just kidding – fall is my favorite gardening time of the year in spite of a few Gator losses.

A Saturday morning in the garden can be wonderfully chilly and brisk and breezy. You’re not dripping with sweat or scratching mosquito bites after a half hour’s digging. The weeds have slowed down and you can finally keep up with them, pulling escapees as you come across ’em. Spring is a time of drought, but fall usually brings regular rains as the first winter cold fronts roll through. Plants can develop roots all winter even though the tops are dormant or even totally brown.

I lived in South Florida until I was eighteen. There was no change of season, so our tropical landscapes looked pretty much the same year round. Now I live in northern Florida, and am amzed that the tree leaves change color with the first frost, ornamental grasses turn brown and make crackly noises as they blow and rub in the wind, fall-blooming perennials show off with bursts of oranges, yellows and reds.

My favorite fall-blooming perennials are Odontonema (Firespike), Russelia (Firecracker Plant), Tecoma Stans (Yellow Bells), Senna bicapsilaris (Cassia), Clerodendrum paniculatum (Pagoda Plant), and Asters like ‘English Countryside’. Cool season annuals like Violas and Snaps are popular, but more people should try Nemesia, Diascia, and Erysimum. They take the cold as well and make a bigger splash as they grow, spread, and bloom continuously.

So remember that the old slogan “Fall is for planting” is really quite true. You’ll feel wonderful just being outside exercising your muscles. In this less hectic time of year, the landscape dons its spectacular autumnal hues, flowers produce fireworks and then go to seed, and the cooler nights harden the plants and prepare them for a winter’s rest. 

Anyone for a cup of cocoa?


Friday, October 1st, 2010

Grandiflora has won another major booth award at the FNGLA’s annual trade show in Orlando, The Landscpae Show, formerly known as the Florida Nursery and Allied Trade Show (FNATS).

We took second prize in the Large Island category with our four spaces filled with blooming plants and old car parts. The deconstructed pickup truck fit in well with the show’s theme, “Shifting Gears”, and our sign proclaimed “Get your sales in gear with Grandiflora”.

Garnering alot of attention (and photos) was our 6′ tall pyramid of tires painted green and crowned with a shiny wheel to resemble a Xmas tree. This idea was shamelessly stolen from a similar “tree” in Felder Rushing’s yard in Jackson MS. (Thanks, Felder, for the idea). A bench seat from an old Ford gave us a comfy place to sit and shmooze with customers. Hoods and doors and radiators also littered – oops, I mean, classed up our booth.

To stay in theme, the salespeople wore mechanic’s overalls, complete with greasy rags. This was a very practical choice, with lots of pockets in the overalls for cards, glasses, pens, candy, etc. They also kept us warm in spite of the fact that most trade show halls are kept at or near freezing.

Anyone placing a $500 order at the show got one last chance to enter the drawing for a $500 shopping spree. The winning ticket, pulled at the conclusion of the show, belonged to Greenery Construction in Hardeeville. Congratulations, Greenery!

This ends the fall trade shows. Next up – January/February spring shows in Myrtle Beach SC, Atlanta GA and Mobile AL. Maybe we’ll see you there.


Friday, October 1st, 2010

The winning ticket of our first $500 Sweepstakes was drawn at The Landscape Show in Orlando and it belongs to… Greenery Construction of Hardeeville SC!

They have won $500 of free plants. We had over 350 entry coupons in the pot for the drawing, one for each $500 of plants purchased from Grandiflora during August and September.

This promotion was so successful that our staff has decided to do it again for the fall/early winter season. Starting on October 1, 2010, any purchase of $500 of plants will earn a shot at the grand prize of another $500 shopping spree, with the contest ending and the winning ticket drawn on December 24, 2010.

A few simple rules:
The $500 minimum is just for plants purchased, and does not include freight or sales tax. Customer’s account must be current.
Employees of Grandiflora and their families are ineligible. You need not be present to win. We will contact you.
The $500 Shopping Spree certificate must be used fully by February 15, 2011. Call the nursery for more details.


Friday, May 28th, 2010

Because we carry about 2300 varieties of plants in multiple pot sizes, ordering from Grandiflora can be a long and involved task. Our Availability Sheet runs 10 pages with three columns of tiny print. The situation eased a bit a year ago when we started e-mailing the Availability. Receiving the file by e-mail rather than fax has saved many customers paper as well as their eyesight (since the document can be blown up to many times its size on their computer screens).

But then there’s the issue of placing the order. Some folks just mark up the already crowded Availability Sheet, fax it back and hope we can decipher it. Others create a separate list and fax or e-mail it back. Some prefer to give the order by phone directly to a salesperson. Those conversations often run over an hour, tying up the customer’s valuable time as well as that of our staff.

A New Way of Ordering

Now we have a new way to order that we think will speed up the process and eliminate errors. Instead of receiving our old Availability Sheet, we can now e-mail you an Excel version listing all of our highest grade material, the number in stock, and even comments about size and grade. There is an empty box next to each listing where you type in the number needed. When you e-mail this sheet back to us as an attachment, it automatically uploads into an invoice without having to re-key the data. Then our salespeople will call you back to discuss any shortages and possible substitutions.

To download the XL spreadsheet directly from our web site, after you have logged on, click on “Products”, then “Prices and Availability”, and then scroll down to the bottom of the list and click “Excel Availability and Order Form”. When it opens, just fill in the quantity column (Qty) marked with the red arrow. Save the document on your computer with your company name and the date and put it somewhere you can easily find it. It might be best to create a folder “Grandiflora Orders” to store these in. Last step is to send an e-mail to your favorite salesperson and attach the spreadsheet.

Open. Fill in. Save. Attach. Send. It’s just that easy. Give it a try.


Thursday, January 14th, 2010

We registered 12 degrees at the nursery Monday morning at 6 a.m. The nursery was covered with frost blanket for two solid weeks. We finally uncovered yesterday.

For the first time in a number of years, cold protection techniques were not adequate, and we suffered defoliation and damage to tops of many normally hardy plants. There’s nothing more disheartening than seeing a bunch of wilty plants on a frosty morning. We’ll be spending a lot of time cutting back damaged crops come spring. This will delay their saleability in a year when it would be nice to have everything looking good earlier.

My home garden, filled with hardy perennials, faired better. I expect plants to freeze down there, and I am used to the routine of hacking everything back to the ground each winter, using either gas-powered shears or a small chain saw. Gotta love the power tools – I have too much to cut to do it any other way. The St. Augustine grass in my yard has turned brown in spite of the canopy of pine shade that normally protects it.. One of the pleasures of living in Gainesville is watching all the dormant plants spring into bloom come March. And, despite the brownness of much of the landscape, we still have camellias flowering their little heads off.

The strangest effect of all this cold was seeing frozen sap exuded from the split bark at the base of salvias on the earliest cold mornings. Looked and felt exactly like snow. Who said it never snows here?

Drift Roses

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Red Drift Rose flower cluster

Red Drift Rose flower cluster

If you liked Knockouts, but were looking for something that stays more compact and lower-growing, you’ll love Drift Roses.

Rarely growing over 2′ tall, Drifts will spread 2-3′ across, constantly blooming on the new growth with numerous clusters of small flowers in red, coral, peach, or pink. These are tough, vigorous, disease-resistant plants that need no dead-heading or other special care. Of course, like all roses they will do best in full sun with good air circulation, but Drifts will also tolerate less than a full day’s sun and even a partially shaded environment. Expect shaded plants to be much lankier and not bloom as heavily.

Trimming plants can be done with hand pruners or even hedge shears. No need to worry about cutting above an outward-facing five or seven-leaflet. Just prune to shape, and flower buds will quickly re-appear on the tips of the new growth.

Hello world!

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
Alan espaliered

Alan espaliered

Welcome to Alan’s Blog at Grandiflora. From here, we will explore beautiful gardens, unusual plants and nursery happenings. Hope to hear from y’all.