Would new terms help us better sell our plants?

HW asked growers what they think about the ongoing debate.

ark Taylor, business development manager, Kernock Park Plants

"I take issue with the continual sectorisation of the industry. We seem to persist in sending out a confusing message to the consumer.

"If you compartmentalise plants into 'nursery stock' (a name that explains nothing), 'bedding' (what does that mean?) and 'herbaceous perennial' (may as well be in a foreign language), the customer is intimidated and bewildered.

"We could go with the suggestion to have 'seasonal plants' or 'plants', which hopefully doesn't narrow the opportunity for sales and the consumer isn't under pressure to choose the right plant."

Trevor Peacock, owner, Cranbrook Plants

"I don't think we dare change the term 'bedding' because I still think it has got some value. There has been a lot of discussion about terms. The problem is, what would you use instead?

"Even now the weather forecaster tells you to cover up your bedding plants. But I don't like 'perennials' because that confuses people. I would much rather call them 'herbaceous', but then you learn how ignorant the majority of the public are.

"The grow-your-own boom has shown how little a lot of people know about gardening, so we have to work to educate the public without confusing them."

Trevor Peacock, owner, Cranbrook Plants

"You could say it conjures up a bad image, but the fact is that there are a lot of customers who relate it to something.

"If we could go back 20 years, maybe we could change it. The older generation recognises it as 'bedding' but the main consumer demographic now is 25-55-year-old women and they just think of bedding as summer colour.

"But we shouldn't get hung up on it too much. We should just put more effort into marketing the products."

Stuart Lowen, marketing manager, Ball Colegrave.

"I think the public recognises 'bedding' as a product and they go to the garden centre to look for it, so that's embedded in their minds.

"As professionals, we have to look for opportunities to offer the widest range of products. The public just want instant colour and what we call it is irrelevant, so I wouldn't get too hung up on it.

"We just have to make it easy for gardeners to shop. But as an industry we do have to educate the public about whether a plant is hardy, but keep it simple enough so they don't get hung up on the terminology."

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