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May/June 2011 • Volume 29 • Number 3

Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association • Serving Colorado, New Mexico, & Wyoming

Value Recognizing & Maintaining Value 8 Consumer Perceptions of Value 12 Landscape Architects Value Consistent Quality 18 CNGA Annual Banquet and Awards 23 Member Profile: Highlands Garden Center

Our Mission Professionals growing for a better tomorrow... your growing resource. Cover Photo Courtesy of Gail Barry, Land Mark Design, Denver, Colo.

In This Issue 5

Calendar, New Members, & Classified Ads


CNGA – A Member-Driven Organization: Web Video Training and More


Message from the Board: Value



Three Industry Perspectives on Determining, Maintaining and Communicating Value

18 2011 CNGA Annual Banquet & Awards

Consumer Perceptions of Value Will Drive Future Nursery and Greenhouse Sales

20 CSU Update: Weed Control Options 21 Safety Corner: Pinnacol Assurance Expands 2011 Policyholder Training 22 Display Advertisers List


Landscape Architects Value Consistency and Quality

Board Of Directors Kent Broome, President Bailey Nurseries, Inc. 303.823.5093 Dan Gerace, Vice President Welby Gardens Company, Inc. 303.288.3398 Bill Kluth, Secretary/Treasurer Tagawa Greenhouse Enterprises, LLC 303.659.1260 x205

22 N.M. Chapter News: 16th Water Conservation/ Xeriscape Conference a Success! 23 Member Profile: Highlands Garden Center Offers Selection and Service at a Great Price

Matt Edmundson Arbor Valley Nursery 303.654.1682

Davey Rock Picadilly Nursery 303.659.2382

Tom Halverstadt Country Lane Wholesale Nursery 303.688.2442

Terry Shaw Harding Nursery, Inc. 719.596.6281

Bob Heath RRH, Inc. 303.904.3330

Dr. James Klett, Ex-Officio Member CSU Dept. of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture 970.491.7179

Warren Jordan Jordan’s Greenhouse 970.482.4471

Les Ratekin, Past President Ratekin Enterprises 303.670.1499

Bob Lefevre Advanced Green Solutions 303.916.0609

Stan Brown Alameda Wholesale Nursery 303.761.6131

Monica Phelan Phelan Gardens 719.574.8058

Publishing Info


Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association 959 S. Kipling Pkwy., Ste 200 Lakewood, CO 80226 303.758.6672 or 888.758.6672 Fax: 303.758.6805 The LooseLeaf is produced by CNGA and Millbrook Printing Company 3540 West Jefferson Hwy Grand Ledge, MI 48837-9750 Fax: 517.627.4201 www.colorado

Sharon R. Harris Executive Director Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association 303.758.6672 The LooseLeaf feature writer and editor is Tanya Ishikawa of Buffalo Trails Multimedia Communications Visit for classified advertisements, plant publications, upcoming events, a member directory, and much more!

N.M. Chapter Senator, Mike Erickson 877.905.6432 Wyo. Chapter Senator, Griff Sprout 307.332.3572 Sharon R. Harris, Executive Director Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association 303.758.6672


Sharon R. Harris

Tanya Ishikawa

Dr. Jim Klett

Les Ratekin

Amy Statkevicus

Ronda Koski

George Radnovich

Scott Varner

ADVERTISING INFO Rick Haverdink 3540 West Jefferson Hwy Grand Ledge, MI 48837-9750 Fax: 517.627.4201


From specific need to general purpose, we’ve been complimenting sustainable horticulture practices since 1990.

Flowering Shrubs • Junipers Ornamental Grasses • Vines • Perennials Container-Grown Shade & Fruit Trees since 1957

Represented by Les Ratekin 303-670-1499 • 303-670-1133 fax

Hardy, Colorado-Grown



The market has changed...our trees haven’t Quality specimen trees

2224 North Shields Street Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 970-484-1289 | fax 970-484-1386 availability password: hotwings


evergreen | Flowering shade


Wholesale Nursery

888-777-8199 Our quality is your success


Emmett, Idaho |

LooseLeaf May/June 2011



Outreach and Member BBQs

CNREF & CFF Golf Tournament

CNGA will be doing member BBQs around the region again this summer. Look for dates, locations, and details in an upcoming E-Leaf and on the website. Thank you to our sponsors: Wells Fargo Insurance Services, Pinnacol Assurance, and Richards, Seeley & Schaefer

Monday, Sept. 26

Colorado Certified Nursery Professional (CCNP) Seminars

Owners and Managers Meeting

Tentative dates: July 19 & 26; August 2, 9, & 30.

Friday & Saturday, Nov. 4 & 5

9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Fort Collins Area (locations to be determined)

Vail Marriott Resort & Spa, Vail, Colo.

Noon shot gun start. Location to be determined. The early bird deadline is Sept. 2. Sponsorships are available; sign up now to maximize your sponsorship dollars.

$99 room rates. $55 to register for program. Thank you to our sponsors: Pinnacol Assurance, Wells Fargo Insurance Services, and Plant Select.

Plant Walk Wednesday, Sept. 7 Thank you to our sponsor, Plant Select.

Register for Calendar events with CNGA unless otherwise noted.

Women in Horticulture Luncheon

Tel: 303.758.6672 or 888.758.6672 Fax: 303.758.6805

3 p.m., Northern Water’s Conservation Gardens, Berthoud, Colo.

Thursday, Sept. 15 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m., Lakewood Country Club, Lakewood, Colo. Enjoy a guest speaker, lunch, wine, and dessert. The fee is $25 per person. Thank you to our sponsors: Pinnacol Assurance, Richards, Seeley & Schaefer, and Wells Fargo Insurance Services!

new Advanced Green Solutions 12494 Kalamath Ct. Westminster, CO 80234 Tel: 303.916.0609 Robert Lefevre, Owner Founded in 2011

Eagle Springs Organic 5454 A County Rd. 346 Silt, CO 81652 Tel: 970.876.2856 Fax: 970.876.2906 Bryan Reed, General Manager Founded in 2010

CNGA is the host of Calendar events unless otherwise noted. For more information, registration forms, and directions to programs, go to the Industry Professional site on and open the Calendar under the Events tab.

MEMBERS E-Trees 17280 County Rd. 30 Stratton, CO 80836 Tel: 719.348.4682 Fred Erbert Down to Earth Designs LLC 963 Logan St. #7 Denver, CO 80203 Tel: 303.862.9984 Drew Rini, Owner Founded in 2010


Fred C. Gloeckner & Co. 600 Mamaroneck Ave. Harrison, NY 10528-1631 Tel: 914.698.2300 Fax: 914.698.0848 Steve Anderson, Area Representative

Alex Quarnberg Student - CSU 1118 City Park Ave. Apt. 226 Fort Collins, CO 80521 Tel: 303.886.8529

Christie Callahan Hale Individual member 298 S. 14th Ave. Brighton, CO 80601 Tel: 720.447.4023


CNGA offers free posts and searches of our online classified ads, including items for sale or lease and job openings. For more information and to see current postings, visit the Industry Professional side of and click on Classifieds under the Resources tab.

HELP WANTED: (see job descriptions and contact information on the Industry Professional side of by clicking on Classifieds under the Resources tab.) Weekend Sales People


Silver Sage Garden Center in Littleton is looking to add to their retail sales staff by hiring a few part-time “weekend warriors” this spring. Positions available for one or both weekend days. Check us out online at www.silversageco. com. Please e-mail resume to

Gardening company in the metro Denver area seeks experienced professional gardeners, able to garden 6-9 hours per day, lift 50 lbs. with ease, and identify plants/weeds of the Rocky Mountain Region. Please send resumes to: tess@; 303.550.4310.


Seasonal Forestry/ Horticulture Laborer South Suburban Parks and Recreation at Willow Spring Service Center, 7100 South Holly Street, Centennial, Colo. 80112-1555, is hiring seasonal help for Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Apply at:

Full-Time Nursery Salesperson Must be experienced and knowledgable about trees, shrubs, vines, evergreens, small fruits, plant care, planting, insect control, cultural needs, and so on. Please contact Timberline Gardens for an application at 11700 W. 58th Ave., Arvada, Colo. 80002, call 303-420-4060, or e-mail timberlinegardens@



by Sharon R. Harris CNGA Executive Director

Members Gain Access to Web Video Training, Promotional Tools, and More We hope you are enjoying the print edition of our updated, improved LooseLeaf magazine. You can enjoy it online as well by going to to read current and back issues. Share the link with your employees and spread the news and professional development tips. People who attended the 2010 Owners and Managers Meeting and the 2011 ProGreen Expo provided clear direction for outcomes they wanted to see from CNGA: • Pre-season employee training

We’re always

• Access to distance learning • Information on branding and marketing

looking out

• The return of the Grown N Colorado® program

for services

• An increase in public awareness of CNGA members as experts

that will make or save money for you.

Your wish is our command and I’m pleased to tell you what has been done so far. The spring Learning Center program was held on March 15 at The Tree Farm in Longmont, Colo. The two-part session addressed “cultivating the culture of your company” and “maximizing the potential and effectiveness of your employees.” To begin meeting your request for access to distance learning, the program was video-taped. The video is available on the CNGA website under Members Only, where members can purchase access for 30 days at a time for one low price of $45.

and expertise, as well as other topics. Also covered is the level of knowledge it takes to become a Colorado Certified Nursery Professional (CCNP) or Certified Greenhouse Grower (CGG), and how their knowledge benefits the customer. To take full advantage of this information, we encourage you to promote your certified employees to your customers. An ad hoc committee has begun discussing standards for the re-establishment of the Grown N Colorado® trademark. Look for more information and discussions following the season. We’re always on the look-out for a service that we think will make or save money for you. The newest addition is apparel and promotional items with your logo, offered by CNGA preferred provider Blue Leaf Promotional Products. You will receive a members-only discount on all your purchases. Information on Blue Leaf is on the CNGA website under Members Only on the Business Services page, or you can reach Blue Leaf at 800-527-1916. Remember to tell the representative that you are a CNGA member. As we went to press on this issue in midMarch there were promising signs that 2011 spring would be a much more positive season than 2010. I so hope that trend has held as you are reading this. I’d like to know what’s on your mind, so please call or e-mail me anytime.

The CNGA video library will be an ever expanding member benefit with live webinars, taped seminars, and other training videos to support your professional development. We have also been working on web videos with educational vignettes for the general public side of the website. Your customers will get a quick overview on what to look for when buying a tree, what Xeriscape® means, and why an independent nursery or garden center provides the best plant material, information,


LooseLeaf May/June 2011

Value: Recognizing and Maintaining Value


by Les Ratekin CNGA Board Member

If I were queen for a day, I would want people waiting and fussing over me all the time. I would want to be made to feel special, like I was getting just a little bit more than I expected. Price + Product Quality + Service = Value. All too often these days in our fast-paced, discount world, retailers are just looking to stack it deep and sell it cheap. Our industry is a bit more complicated than a pallet of toilet paper. The customers shopping at an independent nursery or garden center are looking for more than just vanilla. They are looking for variety, quality, problem solving, personal attention, and professional customer service. Your customers are probably coming to your store because they want something more. They have already been to one of the big retailers and are looking for more value. It is likely that we will find it hard to buy at the same price as the box store, but we have ways to balance the scales. Customer service is one place where we can excel. Greet every customer when they enter your store and offer them your personal attention. Make sure that your employees are adequately trained and represent the philosophies of your business. Put your best people out front and make sure they conduct themselves in a professional manner. Shop your competition to see what they are doing right and wrong, not just other stores that look like you but also stores that are quite a bit different than yours, and yes, even the box stores.

Post Script from Board President Kent Broome: Thanks Les. Great message, and it is great you are feeling better. Les is CNGA’s current Past President and is all about serving this industry. His volunteer capacities are: CNGA representative for GreenCO, ProGreen management board member, CNREF board member, and committee chair for the Bowlathon, Trees for Education, and the Golf Tournament. So, if you’re thinking about volunteering but don’t know if you have the time, just ask Les. Les is correct, of course, when he talks about value. Value is what sets CNGA members apart from their competition. We may not always be able to compete on price, but we can compete on quality, service, and knowledge. Branded products are more readily available to the trade, and in this industry, most brands are not governed by the big box stores but are geared more for independents. You can be a small garden center but compete by carrying the same brand as a larger competitor, or set yourself apart and carry niche products that are found locally and generally do not find their way to a big box. CNGA offers many programs and services to add value to your company. Certification programs let consumers know you have an educated staff. Are you advertising that service? The big boxes advertise their work force. Why wouldn’t you?

CNGA Board President Kent Broome

Value is what sets CNGA members apart from their competition

The association also offers many opportunities for education, networking, and business services that will all allow you to better present the value of your company. Call CNGA today. If you don’t, you might be missing the whole reason you are a member.

Incorporate the things that work for your business and be watchful of the things that you think could be a problem for you. Make the buying experience fun and easy for your customer. We are problem solvers.



Consumer Perceptions of Value Will Drive Future Nursery and Greenhouse Sales To ensure profitability and sustainability, greenhouses and nurseries need to help the public understand the value of gardening and green landscapes, according to industry experts.

Photo Courtesy of Charlie Hall, Texas A&M University

demand for our products and services, that lasted for 50 years, said Robert J. Dolibois, the executive vice president of the American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA). As a result, the green industry has not had to market itself.

Charlie Hall Ellison Chair in Int’l Floriculture

Bob Dolibois ANLA Executive Director

“Over the course of time, our industry has naturally progressed through its lifecycle. We’ve gone through our introductory phase, grown, continued growing in spite of ourselves early on, and now that growth has slowed. We’re a maturing marketplace,” said Dr. Charlie Hall, a professor at Texas A&M University and a popular speaker at national and regional conferences such as ProGreen. “In the past, we were able to sell just on the fact that we made things more pretty. When we were experiencing double digit growth rates, you could be successful without being the best marketer or financial planner.” The large population of Baby Boomers created an active residential and commercial development market with a built-in

“The demographics of the marketplace have grown with only limited marketing,” Dolibois explained. “To increase market share in the past, the message was ‘Come to my place, instead of his.’ It wasn’t ‘Do landscaping, rather than something else.’” Though many in the industry blame only the poor economy of recent years for customers turning away from garden and landscape purchases, Dolibois and Hall point to changing attitudes about gardening and landscaping. Hall noted, economic statistics show that consumers are starting to spend more than they have in the past few years, but revenues at nurseries and greenhouses aren’t increasing at the same rate. Hall supports his idea about the need for marketing with two findings from social research. One shows that even though people today are generally frugal, “People afford what they want.” In other words, they will spend money on certain products and services over others if they really desire it. The other finding shows that “Expenditures rise to meet income,” or as income rises so does spending. So, he concludes, because analysis shows that income and spending have increased over

The Value of the Green Industry Benefits to Share with your Customers through Everyday Marketing As the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture at Texas A&M University, Dr. Charlie Hall conducts major research and teaches in areas including strategic management, market outlook, cost accounting, and financial analysis for Green Industry firms. As part of this work, Hall compiled the following list of benefits of the products and services offered by nurseries and greenhouses. This information on benefits can be integrated in various ways into your customer communications. Train your staff to know and share this information with customers on a daily basis. Develop articles for your newsletters and other print and online publications. Put up signs in noticeable locations around your facility with brief mentions of these benefits, such as the phrase “Planting a tree on the western side of your home can result in great dollar savings on heating and cooling costs!” Place highlighted text boxes throughout your plant catalogs with the same information. The benefits are categorized by the different types: social, environmental, and health. However, they are not organized by the significance of each benefit, because different customers place different values on each benefit, depending on many factors such as their ages, financial situations, and experiences. You can find more detailed descriptions and sources, available for your use, at the Ellison Chair in International Floriculture website. The link to this site is at useful-links under Education & Research Links.


Economic benefits of plants Beautification Draws Customers, Reduces Shopper Stress, and Enhances Store Appeal. Trees and other ornamental plants help create a positive aesthetic environment that attracts and welcomes customers. This translates into expanded sales resulting from longer shopping occasions and to stores’ abilities to charge slightly higher prices due to the increase in the perceived store quality. Boost Occupancy Rates. Landscape amenities and ornamental plants have a high correlation with occupancy rates of apartments, municipal, and business buildings. People are much more likely to want to live and work in an area that is landscaped than one that is sparse. Increased Contracted Services. Landscaping contributes to the economy of a local community through the employment of contracted services. In turn, these services indirectly impact the economy through secondary consumption of products such as lumber and other supplies. Cost-effective Method for Changing Perception. Landscaping is one of the most cost-effective methods for changing a community’s perception of land areas. Simply by landscaping a formerly crime-ridden park, a neighborhood can be transformed into a safe and friendly environment. Savings from Direct Use. People save money when using free recreation services offered by a park and other landscaped areas. In turn, the money that local and tourist users of these free amenities save can be spent on other businesses, further contributing to the local economy.


Perception the last year, the only obstacle standing between green businesses and consumer purchases is the desire for their products and services.

“Every green industry business needs to ask themselves, ‘Why are my year-to-date sales of December 2010 not greater than December 2007, when consumers are spending more?’ Obviously they are shifting money away to other things. Why? You have to sell what they want,” he answered.

Hall and Dolibois warn that the historic view of landscaping and gardens as ornamental and nonessential devalues it. This limited perspective will no longer support sustainable sales. “We need to go away from ornamental and nonessential to essential horticulture, the value of which is both economic and environmental,” Dolibois said. “I believe that if the value of the managed landscape is framed in terms of the economic and environmental contributions it makes, it will be a whole lot easier for a landscape professional to convince customers to invest in landscaping.”

Ecotourism Revenue. Beautiful parks and landscaping provide an opportunity for communities to reap the benefits from ecotourism. Ecotourism programs provide funds for conservation, directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, and foster respect for different cultures, among other benefits. Recreational Tourism. Parks and botanical gardens often bring visitors to cities, who in turn spend a great deal of money in the community and at the park. Separate and distinct from ecotourism, recreational tourism revenue represents another way that parks can benefit the local economy of a city. Green Industry Jobs. The upkeep and preservation of urban green habitats requires the creation of new jobs, which will boost the local economy and add to the financial prosperity of the community. Green Roofs. Green roofs on public buildings greatly add to the aesthetic beauty of an area and also moderate the temperature on the rooftops. This can significantly reduce heat loads, thereby lowering energy costs and saving building occupants money. Reduced Health Care Costs. Residents of an area with parks and landscaped areas save money through recreation, which improves their physical fitness and helps to lower their health care costs. Increased Property Value. Landscaping yields a greater than one dollar return on every dollar invested, meaning that real and perceived property value is significantly increased. Loss of Biodiversity = Depletion of Resources. Natural urban areas that are not sustained risk the loss of biodiversity. This could adversely affect local ecosystems and lead to a depletion of resources which would harm the local economy. Revenue from Retirement Relocation. With the emergence of an expanding retirement-aged population, communities benefit from beautifying urban areas with landscaping to attract relocating retirees. Their wealth, in turn, contributes to community development and the local economy. Sell Homes Faster. Homes with large landscaped areas are proven to sell in less time, due to the fact that the home is perceived to be more valuable and desirable to homebuyers. Tax Revenue Generation. By increasing the property value of homes around them, urban spaces also bring in a significant amount of tax revenue to the city. Property tax income can be so great that most urban parks pay for themselves. Reduced Street Repairs. Tree shade along paved roadways reduces the temperature of the street asphalt, which reduces the amount of


He points out that the green industry is competing not only against rough economies and tendencies toward frugality, but also against public and political perceptions of the value of gardens and landscaped areas. Businesses need to show customers that the benefits go beyond aesthetics, and that any perceived drawbacks such as consumption of water and soil or use of fertilizers or pesticides are worth it. “The ultimate determination of the amount of money that homeowners, building owners, or developers spend on landscapes has to be influenced by their perceptions of what a quality landscape is, versus a mediocre landscape,” Dolibois added. “If it’s all about pretty, the same water is in demand for other, more valuable things.” Hall agreed. Gardens and plants should not be considered luxury items, but as necessities with important social, environmental, and health benefits. “There is great value in the way products function, the experience of when they are consumed, how easy they are to

maintenance and increases the longevity of asphalt. Paved roads and sidewalks where trees are present are more enjoyable for pedestrians, due to the significantly reduced temperature.

Eco-systems services benefits of plants Carbon Sequestration, Improved Air Quality. Trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere which improves air quality and helps to reduce our carbon footprint. Moreover, trees and landscaping help to absorb pollutants and particles in the air, improving overall air quality. Attract Wildlife and Promote Biodiversity. Parks and urban green spaces attract wildlife, which both increases the natural beauty of an area and contributes to biodiversity. Energy Savings. Planting a tree on the western side of a building can greatly reduce the amount of money spent on heating and cooling the building. Saving energy helps to save the environment by reducing demand on electrical grids. Offset Heat Islands. Green spaces offset the heat islands that often occur in cities comprised mainly of cement and asphalt. This creates a more enjoyable urban environment and reduces cooling costs. Reduce Noise Pollution. Trees and urban green spaces help reduce the amount of noise in a neighborhood. By absorbing noise pollution they improve the quality of life in the community for humans and wildlife alike. Reduce Soil Erosion. Trees and urban green spaces reduce the amount of soil lost due to erosion from rainwater. This helps to preserve landscaped areas and keep the ground healthy. Reduce Heating/Cooling Costs. Trees moderate the average temperature of an urban area by absorbing heat waves and cold air, thus reducing the cost of heating and cooling a building. Reduce Storm Water Runoff / Improved Water Quality. Urban green spaces create a natural way to absorb storm water, thus reducing the amount of runoff that the city has to deal with. This also helps to improve current water purification methods by reducing the amount of dirty water going into the system. Reduce Urban Glare. Green spaces reduce the “urban glare” effect by absorbing heat and light. This improves overall quality of life and is beneficial to the environment. Windbreak. Urban green spaces help to block and absorb wind, which helps preserve natural environments, reduce wind-related erosion, and reduces the need for expensive heating/cooling.

LooseLeaf May/June 2011

of Value get ahold of, and their symbolism,” Hall said. “Value is much more complex than simply worth.”

Value goes beyond price, and demand is built when customers are given a compelling reason to select that product or company. Every green business needs to create powerful marketing messages about the value of their products and services, Hall believes, backing his words up with an example of a Florida grower who successfully developed customer demand.

The Florida company used its website and Facebook to communicate the benefits of Florida-friendly plants. Even though the company sold all its products to one national chain, the owner concentrated on building customer demand. As a result, customers came into the chain specifically asking for that grower’s plants, were even willing to pay more for them, and the chain picked up on the Florida-friendly campaign, posting its own signs and flyers, even further promoting the grower and expanding his sales.

Health and well-being benefits of plants Concentration and Memory. Being around plants helps people concentrate better. Studies show that tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy, yielding a higher quality result. Moreover, being outside in a natural environment can improve memory performance and attention span by 20 percent. Educational Programs / Special Events. Parks and botanical gardens often play host to educational programs and special events, which contribute to the cultural awareness and education of the community (children especially). This raises environmental consciousness and appreciation. Flowers Generate Happiness. Having flowers around the home and office greatly improves people’s moods and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression. Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed. Health and Recreation. Access to parks and recreational activities is positively correlated with rates of physical activity, which improves mood and contributes to overall healthiness. Health care costs are subsequently reduced. Accelerates Healing Process. The presence of plants in hospital recovery rooms and/or views of aesthetically-pleasing gardens help patients to heal faster, due to the soothing affects of ornamental horticulture.

Hall and Dolibois also agree that this type of marketing may not come naturally for many in the industry, who often see it as an extra expense in already tight budgets. “For (nurseries and greenhouses), it becomes a question of what am I spending a dollar on right now that I won’t anymore so I can spend it on marketing. They see it as further hacking away at their profitability,” Dolibois acknowledged. “The solution to making it work is to include the price of marketing in the product. Still, some find it difficult to do that, due to the competition of offering plants for the bottom dollar.” But, he concludes, to continue to be successful, we are going to need to speak eloquently and market effectively, so the public knows why quality landscaping is a good investment and is worth spending serious money on.

Perceived Quality of Life. People associate beautifully landscaped areas with a higher quality of life. This is important in attracting businesses and sustaining growth in the community. Reduce Community Crime / Community Cohesion. Neighborhoods with beautiful parks tend to have less crime, in part because parks give people a reason to come together and become a tight-knit community. Reduce Stress. Studies show that people who spend time cultivating plants have less stress in their lives. Plants soothe human beings and provide a positive way for people to channel their stress into nurturing. Therapeutic Effects of Gardening. Gardening can act as therapy for people who have undergone trauma. The act of nurturing something is a way for people to work through the issues surrounding traumatic events and improve their mental health. Traffic Safety / Driver Satisfaction. Beautifying roadways can have the dual effect of increasing driver satisfaction with the roadside landscape and creating a natural median. Drivers are much less likely to accidentally drive over a median if there is a landscaped area between traffic lanes. Upgrade Effect. As parts of the community begin to improve their urban green spaces, other areas will be forced to stay competitive and beautify their areas as well.

Improves Relationships/Compassion. Research shows that people who spend extended lengths of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others. This is due to measurable increases in feelings of compassion, another effect of exposure to ornamental plants. Improved Human Performance/Energy. Spending time in natural environments makes people better at doing their jobs. It also increases energy levels and feelings of vitality. Learning. Research shows that children who spend time around plants learn better. In addition, being around natural environments improves the ability of children with Attention Deficit Disorder to focus, concentrate, and engage more with their surrounding environment. Medicinal Properties. Cultivating plants is beneficial to humankind because of the many medicinal properties of trees and foliage plants. Mental Health. Studies have proven that people who spend more time outside in nature have better mental health and a more positive outlook on life.


Photo Courtesy of Kankakee Nursery Co., Aroma Park, Ill.


Landscape Architects

Value Consistency & Quality Customer Demands Shape Other Photos Courtesy of Gail Barry, Land Mark Design

Valued Priorities

Photos Courtesy of David Flaig, City of Littleton


LooseLeaf May/June 2011

Producing healthy, attractive plants is a common goal for growers. According to two landscape architects, who are frequent customers of CNGA’s members, the most valuable service a greenhouse or nursery can give them is to provide healthy, attractive plants. They value the quality and aesthetics of their plant purchases above all other factors including price and diversity. “To me, price is not that big of an issue. I think prices are fairly standard. The quality of plants and consistency determines their value to me,” said David Flaig, the senior landscape architect, city arborist, and landscape manager for Littleton, Colo. “Price plays a small part, because I do have to bid things out. But, price comes after quality.” Gail Barry, owner of Land Mark Design in Denver, agreed that though price is a main factor for some clients like developers, plant health and looks are the most important for her. She and Flaig are licensed landscape architects, who recently volunteered on CNGA’s Front Range Tree Recommendation Committee. “The plant has to look good, be healthy, have good root development, all that kind of stuff. That’s probably the most important part to me,” Barry explained. “Usually in design work, hardscape is so expensive that the shocker for customers is the price of hardscape, not plants.” Flaig also pays attention to the roots, even more than the tops, he said. He doesn’t want a two-year-old plant in a 5-gallon pot that is root-bound. He likes young, healthy plants. “I would pick a smaller plant that looked healthier, rather than a bigger rangy looking plant,” he added. Flaig believes growers should cull out the poor quality plants so they are not even presented as an option to buyers. His philosophy is: if you are rate your plants on a scale of 1 to 10, don’t show him anything below 8. He runs into trouble with his clients, which are the city government and taxpayers, when he can’t get the large number of trees he needs for his large public projects. So, he considers it a disservice when a supplier tells him they have, for example, 85 trees, but when the architect goes out to pick them, only 12 are high enough quality to buy for his project. Honesty and a trustworthy relationship with growers and suppliers are also highly valued by Flaig. “Time is money. I like to go out and pick plants, but if can’t, I need to trust the guy to get me the right stuff. I appreciate them telling me if it is poorly branched or has other flaws,” he said. He has a “pretty particular” plant list, and tries to use mostly xeric and native. So, he relies on nurseries and greenhouses, which can supply him with those types of plants. Due to the nature of his work for public landscapes, he focuses on the longevity of plants, more than the looks. Of the city and citizens, he said, “In general, they usually want things to look good when they go in, and survive and look good all along. I want to make sure it will look good as it continues to grow. For them, it’s about aesthetics and not wasting money, being efficient with tax dollars.” In trying to communicate the value of quality plants to his clients, Flaig said he often has to explain that bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to buying and planting trees. “I try to talk about the value of plants and how they will grow if started off correctly,” he noted. “I grow in tough environments and areas that take a lot of abuse, like medians. I need to help people understand how only healthy plants, suited to tougher environments, can grow well.” www.colorado

Barry, who designs landscapes for various clientele from private residences to libraries, schools, and subdivisions, said her customers rely on her to know which plants are healthy and to select them for their projects. She often uses low water-using plants and depends on finding hardy plants. She is always on the look out for more variety and stock from greenhouses and nurseries. “Occasionally, I’ll have a client who wants an exotic plant or a plant that comes from the area they just moved from,” she said. “I have an occasional customer who wants the biggest plant they can find. Clients have all types of interests in what plant they want.” Though some clients want to visit the plant suppliers with Barry, she relies on her personal interviews with most clients to pick out the best plants to meet their demands. She commented that on these visits, “It would be nice if you had more than three plants to see. It would be nice to pick out one from a half dozen. Or if picking out 10, I would like to have 100 to choose from.” When either she or a client does find and tag plants at nurseries and greenhouses, they expect that plant to be saved for them. Barry said this can be a problem at some locations, where the tagged plants disappear if she doesn’t return the same day. She appreciates suppliers who have “good control of all their processes” to ensure she gets her tagged plants, and would prefer a call from them to check if she still wants those plants, before selling them to someone else. In her customer consultations, Barry has found that customers value being able to pick specific colors, getting beautiful plants, and having some variety. She helps educate them on what mix of plants will bring new color in every season. For the customers not into gardening, she guides their selections, and tailors each landscape to each gardening interest. Since showing customers photos of trees helps them to visualize her designs, she often uses nursery catalogs and pictures from the Internet and books as guides. She commented that standardization of plant catalogs from the different suppliers would add value for her. “I do always wish the various catalogs would be organized the same way,” said Barry, adding that some categories are hard to find in some catalogs. Though she said she is knowledgable about plant types and plant growth, she would still appreciate good photos and descriptions of all the plants, both botanical and common names, whether they need protection, best growing locations, and details somewhat similar to the Front Range Tree Recommendation List (readers can see and download a copy of the list on the Resources page of the Industry Professional side of www. She noted that some catalogs describe the same plants with totally different sizes, asking, “How is anyone to know what is correct if a plant is described as growing 3-feet by 5-feet in one catalog and 5-feet by 6-feet in the next one? Consistency would be helpful.” She added that descriptions correct for Colorado growth patterns would also be useful, and avoid misconceptions about how the plants will grow in this state. This attention to detail in catalogs would help not only her but also her customers or newer landscape architects with less expertise, she said.


Three Industry Perspectives on


Managers from three types of companies in the nursery industry – wholesale, wholesale/retail, and retail – shared their philosophies and ideas about the concept of value and how they work with it in their businesses. The

three nurserymen agreed that value is partly derived from good pricing and customer perceptions, but the most important factors are the quality of plants including health, beauty, and selection, as well as high standards for customer service. Keep reading to learn more from each of these experienced leaders.

Photo Courtesy of Fossil Creek Nursery, Fort Colllins, Colo.


LooseLeaf May/June 2011


Determining, Maintaining Communicating Comments by Wholesaler Steve Worth, sales vice president and part owner of Kankakee Nursery Co. in Aroma Park, Ill. Wholesaler/Retailer Jack Fetig, co-owner of Fossil Creek Nursery in Fort Collins, Colo. and Retailer Don Anderson, president and CCNP, Garden Country Nursery in Broomfield, Colo.

How do you establish the value of your products/services? Worth (wholesaler): Using the market price as a baseline, we adjust upward to include the costs or advantages specific to our company, such as our expertise and excellent customer service. But, the pricing of any supplier is tempered by the realities of the marketplace and the level of demand. We maintain value by staying current with changing demands for different plants, staying in contact, by understanding what was in demand three years ago isn’t in demand now, and trying to adjust and adapt to different plant requirements. Fetig (wholesaler/retailer): I’m not sure that we create the value; the customer creates it. They have to want it. What I perceive as value may not be seen as valuable by my average customer. How do they know the real value of certain unique plants, unless they are hobbyists? Value is established by customers. I can enhance it by how I display plants and how I put signs around them. Fort Collins is an area that has an awful lot of nurseries, and we have to watch what each other charges. People are mostly aware of what the market prices are. It’s market driven, we know what we have to have for that plant. The last two years, it’s been a little bit tighter. Anderson (retailer): We try to keep products that you can find in big box stores to a minimum, so we’re not competing on pricing at that level. I’m more price conscious on more unique items; I do a visual evaluation and think about what we would pay. It’s very subjective, based on the value that we add.

How do you stop yourself and others from undervaluing nursery products/services? Worth (wholesaler): We just pay real strict attention to details, listening to our customers, helping them solve their problems, and remaining consistent in all we do. Consistency really is key in any growing operation. Customers don’t like surprises; they want to know what to expect year after year. It’s a challenge in any growing operation. www.colorado


We also avoid undervaluing our stock by staying positive in our approach. It’s been challenging the last three years with the great recession, but we just really try to stay with our vision and our longterm approach with things that we do. We try to avoid the “herd” mentality, stay true to what we know from going through these situations in the past, not listen to too much news, and be realistic about what’s happening out there. Fetig (wholesaler/retailer): The problem is that our inventory of plant material is perishable. It doesn’t have an infinite shelf life. If those plants don’t move, we stand at risk to not get a profit from it, and possibly not even get our costs back. Also, if we keep plants too long, the quality begins to decline. If you are really bullheaded and don’t discount anything, pretty soon you’ll have more old, poorer quality plant material than good quality plant material. So, after a certain point you have to face the realization: they can put it in your grave with you or sell it for a reduced price. Anderson (retailer): It’s difficult. I have to deal with people who are real discount shoppers, and they sometimes ask me, “Why do you charge so much?” We try to carry stuff that other places don’t have, so we don’t have to worry so much about price competition. Even with myself, especially with the leaner economy, sometimes I’ll just want to get cash flow. I fight with myself sometimes to say ‘No, no.’ I have to remind myself that it doesn’t help to give it away.

What are your policies on selling plants that are the same type but different qualities? Worth (wholesaler): We will not tag or ship a plant that does not meet certain quality standards. If it doesn’t meet our standards, generally it gets discarded, burned, or chipped. In the very rare situation, if we’re sold-out of something and all we have left are seconds and that’s communicated to the buyer, there may be an exception to that rule, but not without a lot of communication. We don’t price a plant according to the quality of the plant. We try to be very consistent about growing. Theoretically we would like all plants to be specimen grade. In the real world there will be a spectrum from good to specimen. Generally, if you order 20 trees, you will get trees in that spectrum. We don’t ship anything below that level, and you don’t gouge anyone for that plant either. continued on next page


watch; customers’ views of what makes the best plant may be different than ours. Anderson (retailer): With plant material, we try to do uniform pricing. For example, if we have a number five container tree, we try to make prices where we can charge the same for all number fives. Sometimes, we make a little less, some a little more. We do it for the sake of ease for customers and staff. We try to keep that pricing scale with 90 percent of items, but we definitely have items we have to charge a premium for. Certain things we bring in are not normal everyday items, so those are priced accordingly. Photo Courtesy of Garden Country Nursery, Broomfield, Colo.

Fetig (wholesaler/retailer): For plants that don’t meet our standards, we start with marking them down. We tag them differently and put them in a special section way in back, not mixed in with other plant materials. We really don’t try to sell them during the year much. If we have customers that just have to have cheap trees, we sell them that. For shrubs and container trees, we have a garage sale each spring, actually advertised in the garage sale section of the newspaper, and sell them for garage sale prices. We also find people who need wind breaks, people with acreage that need a numbers of plants. They come in and give us a certain amount and we deliver the trees to them. We also try to donate them to cities, universities or someone with background areas that could use plant material. As far as highest quality trees, we don’t price them differently. The best one today sells, and then the next best sells. We sell by size, and let customers pick for quality. It’s interesting to

Sometimes, we run a sale on certain items that I get for a bargain. If plants are not up to par, I ask for a credit from the grower, and they may give a discount. We try to police quality as plants come in. We try to deal with growers who grow specific plants better.

How do you maintain value while establishing a good rapport between suppliers and buyers? Worth (wholesaler): A lot of it is open communication. Realistically, a buyer has to insist on a fair price. I don’t know that fair price means the absolute lowest price out there. It has to be within the market range. The buyer has to be aware of other factors besides price, like company strength, track record, and consistency — not just in quality but in supply going forward, which is going to be important in coming years as less plants have been produced. Buyers should look for somebody that has remained steadfast in their business model, and the ability for a supplier to deliver on time and in a reasonable

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“Professional Insurance Service with a Personal Touch” 16

LooseLeaf May/June 2011

fashion. They should look for fairness when dealing with problems, someone who is easy to deal with. Fetig (wholesaler/retailer): We’ve tried to stay with the same vendors and not jump around. We have longtime relationships. We rarely go outside of that, because a lot of times you get stung. Once that plant comes in and it doesn’t meet your quality standards, what do you do with it? Even if you end up getting your money back for it, you still paid for freight. We certainly buy specials but don’t jump all over the place. We have vendors with consistent quality and we try to stay with them. Anderson (retailer): I’m not a price shopper, but if some of my existing guys give good prices, I’ll take advantage of it. I have to have a rapport with the growers. The plant quality will be who knows what if you’re always chasing the cheapest price. You can always find someone cheaper, but quality and consistency will suffer, and that’s not acceptable to me. If someone comes in with good prices and quality, we won’t turn them down, but we won’t search for new suppliers with deals.

those kind of plant qualities. Quality plants are promoted by planting some on your business property in prominent places, and really showing people what they can be like. You make sure you have great pictures on your website and promote in your newsletter. Anderson (retailer): Talking with customers about value can be really important, before they are ready to spend money on the actual value you are providing to them. I will get customers who come in and ask how one of our plants is different than something at Home Depot. My number one answer is: we deal with quality growers; we know we get good products in. We’re taking care of it better than other places. We have variety; we have a much wider selection of plants that big boxes don’t have. Sometimes those stores will bring in stuff that’s not even hardy here, and people come in and say I bought such and such somewhere else, but it didn’t grow back. We have a better plant to begin with, and we care for them better. A lot of times the big box doesn’t even have some bigger sizes we have. We have people here too that can answer questions.

How do you communicate the value of your products to customers? Worth (wholesaler): We’ve really gotten serious about weekly e-mails, and staying in touch that way. We highlight a certain plant, and show photos of it. Having that ability to send out good information with pricing and availability on a real regular basis is a way to get that in front of people every week, reinforcing the relationships we have and making new ones. We have salesmen on the road so we do a lot of face-to-face time. Fetig (wholesaler/retailer): You can communicate value to customers through seminars and presentations that focus on

Photo Courtesy of Kankakee Nursery Co., Aroma Park, Ill.

Clayton Tree Farm Specimen Trees for Color and Comfort

Shade and Ornamental B&B and Container Trees Growing Grounds Nampa and Wilder, Idaho Office 208.482.6600 www.colorado



CNGA Annual

Frank Yantorno, a Hall of Fame Honorary Life Member, shared a few words here, during the awards ceremony. Yantorno has spent his career and life at Center Greenhouse in Denver, Colo.


Horizon Award winner Michelle Heronema, pictured here with Kevin Laman of Bath Garden Center, is Bath’s nursery manager in Fort Collins, Colo. She is a former Colorado Nursery Research and Education Foundation scholarship recipient and a Colorado Certified Nursery Professional.

Supporting future scholarship fundraising efforts, the infamous CNREF gnome made an appearance in a live auction, where it was sold for $1,000. Pictured here, Stan Brown from Alameda Wholesale Nursery and Dan Wise from Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery fight over the popular garden dwarf.

Kelly Grummons, founder and owner of Timberline Gardens in Arvada, Colo., speaks after being honored as CNGA Person of the Year, for making a positive impact on Colorado’s horticulture industry.

Horizon Award winner Ann Carlson, honored for her high standards in her first few years in the industry, has been with Echter’s Greenhouses in Arvada, Colo. since April 2008, and is the assistant foliage and annuals buyer.

The six winners of scholarships from the Colorado Nursery Research & Education Foundation (CNREF) were recognized. Together they will receive a total of $10,000 towards their education as horticulture majors at Colorado State University. Standing with CSU Horticultural Professor Dr. James E. Klett, at center, are: Elisa Reihing, Nathan Fetig, Erin McDonald, Matthew Cunningham, Mark Frey, and Bradley Meyer.


LooseLeaf May/June 2011

& Awards The Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association honored more than a dozen people for their contributions and accomplishments to the industry at the 2011 CNGA Annual Banquet, held in February during ProGreen. CNGA members shared congratulations, memories, and good times at this year’s happy hour, dinner celebration, and awards ceremony.


Growers of Quality Specimen Conifers Selected Seed Sources of Pine, Fir & Spruce

877--875--8733 1199 Bear Creek Road Princeton, ID 83857

Fax: E--Mail: Web:


Standing with her certificate and Board Member Dan Gerace is new Certified Greenhouse Grower (CGG) Kathryn Wilcox from Denver Botanic Gardens. Not pictured are Marjorie Sutter from Phelan Gardens in Colorado Springs and Aaron Brown from Brown’s Greenhouse in Arvada.

Hall of Fame Honorary Life Member Mike Jeronimus stands here, fourth from the right, with his family and coworkers. Jeronimus has contributed to the nursery industry for more than 30 years, most recently at Boxelder Creek Nurseries in Hudson, Colo.

Also honored were newly certified members in the Colorado Certified Nursery Professional (CCNP). Standing with CNGA Board Member Davey Rock, on right, are new CCNPs, left to right: Luke Larralde, an employee from Heritage Eagle Bend in Aurora; Jason Ryan from Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery in Fort Collins; Esther Langley from Britton Nursery in Colorado Springs; and Khanh Tran from Picadilly Nursery in Brighton. Not pictured are Brandon Fish and Bonnie Parker-Taylor, both from Phelan Gardens in Colorado Springs.




Weed Control Options in Container-Grown Herbaceous Ornamentals By Ronda Koski, Research Associate, and James E. Klett, Professor & Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist, Colorado State University

CSU Professor James E. Klett

Research Assiociate Ronda Koski

Pre-emergent herbicides can be effective for weed control in herbaceous perennial production. Application rates can affect the growth of some crop species, and can significantly impact weed control efficacy.

Drop’). In a related study, Biathlon™ at the three rates evaluated did not adversely affect the dry mass of Erigeron speciosus ‘Pink Jewel’, Penstemon strictus, and Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’.

In a study conducted at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colo.) in 2010, four pre-emergent herbicides (Biathlon™, Freehand™, Gallery®, and Snapshot®) were tested at three rates (1X, 2X, and 4X) on 15 species of herbaceous ornamentals grown in number one containers. Each of the four preemergent herbicides were not tested on all of the 15 species. To determine herbicide weed control efficacy, seeds of weedy plant species (two broadleaves, three grasses, and one sedge) were sown in the containers scheduled to receive the herbicide treatments; no weed seeds were sown in the control containers.

Freehand™ at all rates reduced the dry mass on both Marguerite Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas ‘Marguerite’), and Golden Fleece Autumn Goldenrod (Solidago sphacelata ‘Golden Fleece’).

In general, weed control efficacy improved with all tested herbicides.

The experiment was conducted twice with two weeks between the first applications (June 10 and June 22). Containers were irrigated via a drip irrigation system with increasing frequencies and duration as plants grew. A slow release fertilizer (Osmocote 15-9-12) was applied to each container at the recommended rate in early July. Overall growth of the species evaluated was determined by the weight of the dried harvested plants (a.k.a. dry mass). When applied at all rates evaluated (1X, 2X, and 4X), Biathlon™, Freehand™, Galley®, and Snapshot® did not result in any phytotoxic symptoms on any of the plant taxa evaluated. In general, weed control efficacy improved when Biathlon™, Freehand™, Gallery®, and Snapshot® were applied at rates higher than the labeled 1X rate. Biathlon™ at all rates reduced the size and dry mass of Lemon Drop Lantana (Lantana camara ‘Lemon


Gallery® at all rates did not affect the dry mass of Blaze Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium ‘Blaze’), but the 1X rate reduced the dry mass of Blue-leaf Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia caulescens). Snapshot® at all rates did not adversely affect the dry mass of Red Sun Rose (Helianthemum species), Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani), Summer Sun False Sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides ‘Summer Sun’), Pawnee big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii ‘Pawnee’), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), Needle Grass (Stipa capillata), and Sea Foam Artemisia (Artemisia versicolor ‘Sea Foam’). However, Snapshot® at the 1X rate reduced the dry mass of Zing Rose Maiden Pink (Dianthus deltoids ‘Zing Rose’) and Karmina Geranium (Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Karmina’). Snaphot® at all rates produced mixed responses when applied to Guardian Blue Delphinium (Delphinium x ‘Guardian Blue’). This research was supported by the IR-4 Project’s Ornamental Horticulture Program ( The focus of the IR-4 Project’s Ornamental Horticulture Program is to evaluate the effects of selected pest control products on selected ornamental plants. The label of an evaluated pest control product can then be modified to approve (or not approve) the use of that product on particular species and/or cultivars of ornamental plants. Growers are reminded to carefully read the herbicide label before applying any weed control product to an ornamental crop.

LooseLeaf May/June 2011

Pinnacol Assurance Expands 2011 Policyholder Training


From Pinnacol Assurance

Risk management is essential for keeping workers’ compensation premiums low. As a policyholder, you have access to many of Pinnacol’s free risk management training opportunities throughout the year. Our 2011 training schedule features a variety of topics, dates, and locations to best suit your needs. This year’s schedule includes Policyholder Seminars, Risk Management Symposiums, and OSHA 10-Hour Training Classes.

Policyholder Seminars Pinnacol has conducted policyholder seminars in Denver and Grand Junction for more than 10 years. We continue this tradition with the following free seminars: • Focus Four Hazards: General Industry – July 21 (Grand Junction)

attended our symposiums in Denver and Grand Junction. They provided us with great feedback, and we look forward to seeing how we can raise the bar to provide the very best training experience possible,” said James McMillen, Pinnacol’s director of safety services. For detailed information about these training opportunities, or to register, go to www. You can also contact your Pinnacol marketing representative if you have questions.. Please note: Dates and course selections are subject to change.

Our 2011 training schedule features a variety of topics, dates, and locations to best suit your needs.

• Slips, Trips and Falls Prevention – August 24 (Denver) • Safety Program Development – September 13 (Grand Junction) • Back and Materials Handling – September 21 (Denver) • Defensive Driving – October 20 (Denver) • Claims Management and Return-to-Work – October 25 (Denver) • Modified Duty – October 27 (Grand Junction)

OSHA 10-Hour Training Pinnacol’s safety services team will host OSHA 10-Hour Training classes in May, November, and December. These classes will provide a variety of construction safety and health standards, and participants will receive their OHSA 10-hour card.

Risk Management Symposiums The 2010 Risk Management Symposiums were an overwhelming success. Pinnacol will offer this training opportunity on June 8 and 9 (Denver) and June 29 (Grand Junction) — mark your calendars! “In 2010 more than 550 policyholders




Approximately 10,000 people attended the Water Conservation/Xeriscape Expo in New Mexico in late February.

16th Water Conservation/ Xeriscape Conference a Success! Americans are staying inside in record numbers, whether they are on their computers, in front of their televisions, or engaged in other indoor activities. Consequently, our society is paying less and less attention to our outside environments. This situation does very little to educate the public about the way the natural world works and how important water is, especially to those of us in arid lands. Those of us who understand the principles of XeriscapeTM believe we need to get people out into their landscapes and public lands, we need to instill the wonder of looking at a flower into our children, and we need to re-energize our connection to the environment and water use. The Xeriscape Council of New Mexico sees this as part of its mission, so “Re-Connect: People, Nature and Environment” was the theme of this year’s Water Conservation/Xeriscape Conference, presented by the council in Albuquerque on February 24 and 25. This year’s conference concentrated on the nexus of getting people outside to learn about watersheds, landscapes, and water use. Meanwhile, new ideas and concepts for water conservation, policy, and related design methodologies were presented to the approximately 200 attendees from 12 states. Though the turnout was smaller than the previous year, the event remains one of the country’s largest national conferences devoted to outdoor water conservation.

Pat Mulroy, the general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, was the keynote speaker. Her leadership in Nevada has brought water and drought issues to the forefront. Mitchell Joachim, an architect with decidedly different ideas about urban development, discussed the nexus of architecture and biology. Fran Mainella, the former director of the National Park Service, also spoke. Many speakers addressed the importance of wild and public lands and how to protect and enjoy them. On February 26 and 27 following the conference, the Water Conservation/Xeriscape Expo featured exhibits by nurseries, irrigation companies, landscape designers, and landscape architects. The expo also promoted local food products, as well as offering free educational water conservation and related seminars for no admission charge, thanks to sponsors and donors. A total of 225 exhibit spaces were filled, and approximately 10,000 people attended. See for more information on speakers and exhibitors, and updates on next year’s conference planned again for the last week of February. Editor’s note: Xeriscape is a registered trademark of Denver Water, Denver, Colo., and is used here with permission.



Alpha One Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Hash Tree Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

American Clay Works & Supply Company . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Jayker Wholesale Nursery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Baxter Wholesale Nursery, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Master Nursery Garden Centers, Inc. . . . . . Inside Front Cover

Clayton Tree Farm LLC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Oregon Association of Nurseries . . . . . . . . . . . Back Cover

Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

RatekinEnterprises/Hollandia Nursery. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Harding Nursery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Richard, Seeley & Schaefer, Inc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

LooseLeaf May/June 2011

Highlands Garden Center Offers Selection and Service at a Great Price How did your business develop into what it is today? Highlands Garden Center was originally New Leaf Nursery. New Leaf was a nursery and landscape company, started in the 1970s to accommodate the housing boom in south metro Denver. When the present owners took over, they expanded the business to include Big Tool Box hardware store, small engine repair shop, lawn sprinkler center, and equipment rental facility. We feel the diversity of our business plan has allowed us to prosper, even with the onslaught of the “big box” stores and uncertain economy. Today, the business consists of a 20,000-square-foot store plus four retail greenhouses on eight acres of property, surrounded by mostly residential housing.

Tell us a bit about the management team and staff of your business. Cindy Wheeler worked for New Leaf Nursery while paying her way through college where she earned a degree in geology. After working several years in the oil business, she came back to her love of roots in the nursery business. Bob Wheeler is one of the original partners in Highlands Garden Center. His entrepreneurial spirit is what helped make the many changes and additions to the current business. His good-natured attitude is what helps to make this business successful. Dan Warner came on board in 1990, after he sold his family wholesale plumbing and heating business, The Warner Company. He is the financial backbone of the corporation, and handles all the day-to-day, behind-the-scenes end of the business. The nursery staff includes eight year-round staff members and increases to 40 employees during the spring/summer season. Storewide, we go from 50 year-round to 100 employees between the slow and busy seasons.

Describe the range of plant products you offer. The bread and butter of the garden center are annuals and perennials. We offer design services, www.colorado

but cater our business more to the do-it-yourself gardener. Smaller container trees and shrubs are still a nice compliment. In the greenhouse, we offer a nice selection of garden gifts, pots, and houseplants. Our pond department continues to expand, and is a very busy addition to our garden center.

What do longtime customers tell you is the reason they return to your business? Our longtime customers applaud us on customer service. We try to go above and beyond as much as possible. They also appreciate the longevity and knowledge of our staff.

When and why did you become a CNGA member?


Highlands Garden Center/ Big Tool Box 8080 S. Holly St. Centennial, CO 80122 Tel: 303.220.5856 Fax: 303.770.8084

We have been a member of CNGA for as long as I can remember. We like to belong to an organization which helps us in the many ways of running our business. One of the better benefits of CNGA is getting informed with current goings on in the industry.

How do you create and maintain value? Value to us is a great product at a reasonable price. To communicate that value, staff needs to have essential product knowledge and the ability to give guidance to customers. If your staff can make your customer happy and satisfy them, then we have added value to our products. The market shouldn’t reflect on value if you buy right. And, our services should always be consistent.

The management team of Highlands Garden Center and Big Tool Box hardware store: (left to right) Dan Warner, Cindy Wheeler, and Bob Wheeler.


Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association 959 S. Kipling Pky, #200 Lakewood, CO 80226

Get Ahead. Stay Ahead. In the nursery community, there’s one thing we can always count on: change. And with change comes infinite possibility. Join your friends and fellow green industry professionals at the 2011 Farwest Show, where we’re tackling the evolving wholesale and retail environment head-on with scores of new ideas and innovative solutions. With hundreds of exhibitors, mindopening seminars and networking opportunities, you’ll be sure to return home inspired and ready for action.

Save the dates!


August 25-27, 2011 PRODUCED BY:

For the Success of the Industry™

MAY JUN 2011  

The theme of the May/June 2011 issue of the LooseLeaf is Value: Recognizing and Maintaining Value. This month’s features include fresh persp...

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