Friday, November 12, 2010

New 'Polar Bear' Pointsettia Launch

Paul Ecke had a daunting objective in the 1960s when he started breeding pointsettias. He wanted to take a tall, gangly mexican shrub and turn it into a potted plant. Then he had another daunting objective: how to position a plant no one ever seen before into a staple of Christmas celebrations.
Ecke was able to breed poinsettias and went on to create the best selling pot plant in the world today, The Paul Ecke Ranch has 70% market share of rooted cuttings in the US AND 50 % market share worldwide. Talk about market dominance.
The next step Ecke faced was how to position the new plant as a part of family Christmas celebrations. And his solution was absolutely brilliant. The location of the ranch in Encintas, CA was close to Hollywood. He decided to offer free plants to decorate the set of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Local stations were overwhelmed with inquiries about the beautiful red plants displayed on the Tonight Show. And the rest is history.
This year's introduction from The Paul Ecke Ranch is 'Polar Bear'. They claim it is the whitest white introduced to date. For each plant sold, Ecke will make a donation to Polar Bears International, a group dedicated to the conservation of this beautiful animal. Part of the PR campaign included this display at a greenhouse grower tradeshow in Las Vegas constructed of 10,000 poinsettias. One more brilliant tactic from the third generation of the Eckes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Patrick's Picks: More Gifts for Gardeners

Checkout my gardening gifts column in this month's Kansas City Gardener.
For the newbie and experienced gardener, the award winning Veggie Gardener Answer Book could be very useful. The book is organized by crop to make for easy usage as a reference. At a little over $10, it would make a great gift or even a stocking stuffer.

The next book is Best Garden Plants for Kansas. A Wichita Master Gardener is a co-author making the recommendations very valid for our area. As an introduction to gardening or an idea starter for garden designing, this book delivers on both accords at a reasonable price of $12.71. As part of a series, there is also Best Garden Plants for Missouri

For veggie or flower gardeners, the themed seed packet collections from Renee's Garden would also make a great gift. The distinctive watercolor packets only add to the charm of such a gift. I really like the Hummingbird and Butterfly, Children's and Container Vegatable selections.
Logees Tropical Plants is the premiere choice for hard to find plants. You can find the Tri-Color Hanging Bromeliad Wreath on the homepage for $29.95.

Another company favorite is Gardener's Supply. Check out their deep-seated garden kneelers. This ingenious product serves as support to lower yourself down to weed and then push down to raise yourself up without needless straining. Family Tree Nursery and Garden Center also nominated a similar product While you're there also check out the Balsam Peace Sign Wreath from $34.95 to $44.95.

If the recession isn't impacting your budget I have two other companies. Charleston Gardens is well known for thrir upsca;le gifts. But Iliked the more practical ergonomic canvas for $95.00. Check it out just for fun.

If you've seen enough poinsettias and amaryllis, then check out the jasmine at White Flower Farm. Not for the faint of heart or nose, the rich, sweet perfume can carry through the house. They are running "a special" of three delivered to three addresses for $99.00.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Best of Proven Winners Combos

I'm working on an advertising project and asked the marketing team at PW what do they consider to be their best combos? Picture above are three of those combos.

From top:
Purple Haze

Supertunia 'Boudeaux' x 1
Supertunia 'Royal Velvet x 1
Superbena Large Lilac Blue x 1

Picasso's Fantasy
Alyssum 'Snow Princess' x 2
Sweet Potato 'Sweet Caroline Light Green' x 1
Supertunia 'Pretty Much Picasso' x 2

Freedom Rings
Superbena Dark Blue x 1
Verbena Tukana Scarlet Star x 1
Verbena Tukana White x 1