June 15, 2009
Pathways to Perennials in Kettleby is a top ten winner in the 2008 Perennials Marketing Contest, sponsored by Plant Publicity Holland and the Perennial Plant Association.

Each year the organization opens the contest to North America garden centres who sell perennials. The other nine winners are from the U.S.

“Pathways’ perennial display, entitled Combo Crazy, was created out of necessity,” admitted garden centre co-owner Lorraine Mennen, “as we are constantly challenged to find space to house, care for and properly display all our plant material. Being plant lovers first and stylists second, we have a million plant favourites that we just can’t do without, as well as wanting to try out all of the hot, new things.”

A cedar shelter not only provided shade for perennials that needed it, but also showed customers how to incorporate architecture into their gardens.

For the past couple of years, the LO member has tried something different with displays. “Instead of the same, old, traditional row layouts in alphabetical order or by botanical name, blah, blah, blah, inspired by garden centres overseas, we started classifying our plants by their specific uses, such as: butterfly magnets, hummingbird attracters, simple, quick groundcovers, drought tolerant plants, shade lovers and collections categorized by blooming season,” said Mennen.

Planting diagrams/maps were given out to those who wanted them. “This procedure silently sold the package and educated the gardener, encouraging them to buy entire collections of plants, rather than just one or two,” Mennen continued. “The result was great success!  We had customers buying more shrubs and perennials than ever before, as, they had plants for different purposes and could be assured that they would have colour and interest year-round.”

“This display technique increased our average sale from $55 to $85, with many customers coming back weekly to see what collection would be featured next.”