CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There are changes in the air in the plant industry.
Danny Takao is pushing for a unified marketing campaign. Takao is a former president of OFA, a national association of floriculture professionals including greenhouse growers, garden center operators, retail and wholesale florists, interior plantscapers, green industry suppliers, students, and educators).
Like many in the industry, Takao is worried that the next generation of gardeners isn't as educated as their forefathers. He's pressing his fellow growers to pull together and fund not just community beautification projects, but education initiatives in the schools.
Greenhouse Grower magazine has identified five priorities to re-energize the plant industry. Calling it "The Grow Initiative," the plan identifies problem-solving ideas.
Bob Barnitz, of Bob's Market and Greenhouse in Mason County, was part of a panel of 19 innovative thinkers representing multiple facets of the ornamentals industry who came up with a five-part plan.
First, there's consumer success. "With innovative genetics, technology and production research, today's growers produce amazing plants. But if the consumer doesn't have a good experience with our products, isn't confident enough to try them, or doesn't even consider us among their options when spending money, it's all for naught."
Local garden center owners often have told me landscaping is the first item to be cut from a homeowner's budget. Money and time are the main factors that lead to this decision. With a tight economy, many folks are looking for ways to stretch the budget, and that's moving toward gardens that produce food, not just beauty. And I know that the No. 1 request I receive when discussing gardens is this: "We want a no-maintenance landscape!"