Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Visit Our New Blog

We are excited to share that our blog has moved to www.eberlycollardpr.blogspot.com in conjunction with our new company name:

Same great information on all things home, garden, design, and agribusiness, but with a new look. We invite you to visit our new ECPR blog, and we look forward to hearing from you!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Day in the Life…

The 2008 GWA Symposium in Portland was truly a memorable experience. Great weather, great plants, and great friends is a tough combination to top. I especially enjoyed my visit to Terra Nova Nurseries. What a treat it was to spend the afternoon amidst the horticultural wonders of Terra Nova Nurseries and Dan Heims. The gardens and greenhouses were filled with so many delightful plants; I do not know where to begin.

I was particularly impressed with Terra Nova Nurseries' vast collection of heuchera. Shade or sun, purple or chartreuse, 'Southern Comfort' or 'Peach FlambĂ©,' there was certainly a heuchera for every taste. Thanks to the folks at Terra Nova Nurseries, gardeners are no longer limited by zone to enjoy these diverse beauties because many heuchera from Terra Nova are now bred to thrive in the heat and humidity – a very unique quality in these good-looking foliage plants. My favorite heuchera had to be the 'Amethyst Myst,' which I can now happily grow in my home city of Atlanta.

Check out the purple metallic tones of the 'Amethyst Mist'

Heuchera may have stolen the show but another somewhat
"aristocratic" plant stood its ground. The fiery red, green-veined Begonia 'Madame Queen' was a marvelous new variety. What’s a queen without a poodle? I am not sure but, the Echinacea 'Pink Poodle' was quite stunning with double blooms that make it a first of its kind.

Terra Nova Nurseries is a magical place, and I am looking forward to my next visit.

With all the breakthroughs in tissue culture and breeding; what will Terra Nova Nurseries think of next?


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Inspirational Color

Delilah Onofrey, an editor with Meister Media Worldwide, and a horticulture lover, was honored recently with “Best Use of Color” in the seventh annual Westlake In Bloom competition. With her family, she planted flower beds with lively color varieties such as petunia Easy Wave 'Blue,’ gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun,’ Disco marigolds, verbena ‘Aztec Red’ and purple perennial salvia for height.

Westlake, Ohio, was one of the first cities to participate in America In Bloom in 2002 and won its population category that year. The city enjoyed the program so much that it has grown its local program seven fold in seven years from 38 to 300 entries, including 224 raised flower beds.

The value of this vibrant program isn’t lost on anyone in the Westlake community including their mayor, Dennis Clough. “We knew Westlake In Bloom would be a great idea because so many in the community enjoy getting involved,” he said. “It has enhanced the quality of life we all enjoy in the city of Westlake.”

What an inspiring and creative way to brighten a community and garden. Congratulations to Delilah, her family, and Westlake, Ohio!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Greenhouse Grower Sports New Online Look

Greenhouse Grower, a much-admired Meister Media publication, recently upgraded its Web site to provide readers a fresh, user-friendly, and interactive news source on all things relevant to horticulturists, greenhouse growers, and members of the industry.

The new Web site contains many helpful features to assist garden centers, growers and other agribusiness professionals access the “Whats?”, “Hows?” and “Whys?” of the Green Industry - quickly and easily. The site includes:

· The latest news and trends in the greenhouse world

· Informative viewpoints from industry professionals, gathered and written by Delilah Onofrey, Sara Tambascio and others at Meister.

· Special reports section on topics like “Top 100 Growers” and sustainability

· “Ask the Experts” section where greenhouse and nursery professionals can interact with OHP experts

· An archive of articles providing the green industry a multitude of resource materials and information on many important and helpful topics of interest…including article contributions from our own Don Eberly and Jeff Collard.

Good job, Sara and Delilah…as always.

Check out the great new site at www.greenhousegrower.com

- Adam

Friday, July 25, 2008

Some Things I picked Up on at OFA 2008

I feel so fortunate to be in a position where I am able to interface with so many of the “movers and shakers” in this industry. In spite of some of the national media's coverage of economic forecasts—our industry is committed to move forward and is refreshingly optimistic.

Below are a few highlights of things that were shared with us and our own observations at OFA 2008:

  • Almost all of you with whom we spoke said that sales were forecasted to meet or exceed the numbers from the previous year.

  • It appears that the new trend of the “staycation” could certainly help the industry, as people reduce summer travel and stay home, thus increasing the nesting process, which creates a process of the consumer enhancing his / her surroundings by purchasing home and garden products.

  • J Guy, Manager and Founder of Novalis® Plants that Work® and Plants that Work by Color™ met with an economist form Wachovia Bank and he stated that “Oil is [estimated] expected to come down to $126 per barrel in the first quarter of 2009, therefore decreasing the price of gas which will allow the consumer to have some discretionary income to do things like gardening.”


Sustainability is HIP at OFA

It appears sustainability was a huge hit at OFA this year with a significant share of the exhibitors at the tradeshow displaying eco-friendly plants, products and ideas.

Horticultural Identification Products (HIP) and several other companies were showcased at OFA’s sustainability exhibit. While some companies at OFA are relatively new to the sustainability movement, HIP has been a leader in introducing sustainable tag products for some time, including its EcoTag (a degradable alternative to plastic nursery tags), BioTag (a bio-degradable nursery tag) and Repel (a paper substrate for nursery tags).

HIP announced at OFA that it has met the standard specification set by ASTM International for its sustainable BioTag labeling products.

The ASTM specification establishes if products made from plastics will compost satisfactorily, including biodegrading at a rate comparable to known compostable materials. Meeting this specification is a sustainability breakthrough for HIP because it means the company’s BioTag product can be officially considered fully “compostable” based upon the composition of the product.

Side note: As HIP continues to ramp up its line of sustainable products, the company has freshened up its logo using a cool palette of blues and greens.

~ Audrey

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Schmoozing with Raw Fish

Some of my absolute favorite (yes, it deserves the bold!) hours during our trip to OFA were spent in an adorable little sushi restaurant named Haiku where Eberly PR hosted a media dinner for a few of our clients and some of our favorite members of the industry media!

I’m telling you; it’s hard to go wrong when you combine awesome people with delicious food and a few drinks. :)

What a blast! We were able to enjoy a lovely evening with industry leaders such as Dan Heims, Ken Brown and Dave Doolittle from Terra Nova Nurseries, Bob Lovejoy from Horticultural Identification Products (HIP), and Tom Kegley and Kim Cameron from Novalis Plants that Work / Plants that Work by Color.

Several of our trade media friends also attended such as Delilah Onofrey, Kevin Yanik and Sue Distaulo from Meister Media Worldwide, Ellen Wells and Jen White from Ball Publishing, Paige Worthy, Jasmina Radjevic and Darhiana Mateo from Scranton Gillette, and Meshele Conley from Garden Design!

What I learned at dinner:

  • We can all eat way, WAY too much food when we aren’t paying attention. I really don’t know where we fit it all.
  • Sue, Don, Jen, and Jasmina don’t like to wait for their dessert! They went straight for the Key-lime martinis.
  • Paige and Dan knew each other in a different life. Nothing else explains all the uncanny similarities!
  • We know how to close down a restaurant!

And, remember everyone – this is an annual event, so keep your calendars open for next year! For those clients and media members who did not join us, we hope you can make it next time.


And, the Award Goes to…

Meister Media’s Medal of Excellence Awards event at OFA 2008 was its usual success…and very much the buzz of Short Course. After all, who wouldn’t have fun surrounded by the awesome folks from Meister and beautiful award-winning plants!?

First, I think the Meister folks deserve a big award for hosting the Medal of Excellence each year and being such tireless industry supporters! On behalf of EPR and our clients, many thanks to Delilah Onofrey, Sue Distaulo, Bob West, Richard Jones, Sara Tambascio, Ann-Marie Conroy, Laura Drotleff, Joe Monahan, Jeff Fenner and all the others from Meister…for always putting the rest of us first!

Second, there were several excited and well-deserving winners. Check out Meister’s “On Location at Short Course” blog to read about them and other people and happenings from OFA this year!

My personal favorite winner of this year’s award ceremony was the Reader’s Choice for Breeding, the new Rudbeckia ‘TigerEye’™ from Goldsmith Seeds. It is the first and only FI hybrid Rudbeckia with a never-before-seen uniformity on the bench and strength in the garden. Its long-lasting flowers are a rich yellow-gold featuring brown centers that will catch your own eye from a distance.

Some of its benefits include:

  • Uniformity formerly unknown in Rudbeckia
  • Excellent basal development
  • Incredible PGR response
  • Vigorous root development
  • Dense flower canopy
  • Reduced sensitivity to powdery mildew

‘TigerEye’™ offers retailers a compact habit and durable, eye-catching flowers…and is sure to be a hit for 2009.

Also, if you haven’t seen Goldsmith’s 2008-2009 catalog, check it out as soon as you can. The photography alone is enough to almost use it as a coffee table book, in addition to being a stylish sales and marketing tool. To learn more, log onto www.goldsmithseeds.com.

~ Don

The Time Warp with Terra Nova Nurseries!

So, for those of you who passed by the Terra Nova Nurseries booth, you may have noticed a couple of themes – the past and the future!

Revealing a unique marketing spin with cleverly-edited, 70’s album covers on their catalog and bright shag carpets throughout their booth, Terra Nova Nurseries showed off their newest plant introductions for 2009.

Some of the plants to look forward to in the upcoming year from Terra Nova and their grower- and garden center customers:

  • Agastache ‘Cotton Candy’
  • Begonia ‘Curly Fireflush’
  • Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’
  • Echinacea ‘Mac ‘n’ Cheese’
  • Echinacea ‘Pink Poodle’
  • Heuchera ‘Plum Royale’
  • Heucherella ‘Tapestry’
  • Tiarella ‘Mystic Mist’

Just goes to show you – Without fun, inspirational pasts, we have nothing to build the industry innovations of the future!

What inspires you?


Top Attention-grabbers…

At OFA this year, Novalis announced two new and very cool 2009 exclusive plants that were supplied by network grower Bailey Nurseries.

Officially, the names of the plants are: Hydrangea paniculata ‘HYPMADI’ (PPAF) White Diamonds™ and Diervilla sessilifolia ‘LPDC Podaras’ (PPAF) Cool Splash™ Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle. - I call them, Gorgeous!

Bailey Nurseries joined the Novalis grower network in 2007. Since then, Linda Guy, director of new product development for Novalis and Jonathan Pedersen, brand and business development manager for Bailey Nurseries, have worked closely to facilitate the introduction of White Diamonds™ and Cool Splash™.

The plants will serve as two of the top exclusives for Novalis® Plants that Work® growers nationwide and will be available to local independent garden centers and professional landscape companies beginning spring 2009.

Developed by the Landscape Plant Development Center, Cool Splash is the first variegated bush honeysuckle and is a colonizing shrub ideal for mass plantings.

White Diamonds™ is a new hydrangea with glistening-white panicles showcasing in summer and fall. Smaller and more manageable than most hydrangea paniculatas, it boasts dark-green, leathery foliage that provides increased heat and drought tolerance.

The image is of Cool Splash…and I am sure it’ll make for a BIG Splash with IGCs and homeowners this spring.

Learn more about what’s coming in 2009 from Novalis Plants that Work and Plants that Work by Color at www.novalis.com / www.plantsthatwork.com.

~ Don

Ever so Striking - Ball Horticultural Company at OFA

Ball Horticultural Company highlighted their newest varieties from Ball and PanAmerican Seed at the OFA Short Course with a striking display of beds in realistic garden displays.

Using a faux walkway and large, wooden product islands, people were able to visualize various combination concepts they could utilize in their own gardens – or, more importantly, sell to their customers.

Just a few of their newest, must-see varieties include:

  • A wide range of new Coleus – ‘Dark Chocolate’, ‘Henna’, ‘Indian Summer’, and the Kong Series.
  • The intense Landmark™ Lantana ‘Pink Glow’
  • New Pansy varieties introduced in the Matrix® series – ‘Raspberry Sundae Mix’, ‘Rose’, and ‘Rose Wing’.
  • Ornamental peppers – ‘Calico’ and ‘Purple Flash’

For more on their newest varieties, visit www.ballhort.com.


Novalis Announces NEW Plants that Work …at OFA 2008!

And, wow, did they ever!

Novalis leaders, interns, sales staff members, marketing / admin managers, and network growers outdid themselves with one of the most beautiful exhibits at OFA Short Course this year! – Good job, Novalis.

It never ceases to amaze me how talented and passionate are the members of the grower consortium. They continue to cultivate gorgeous perennials, woody ornamentals, grasses, bamboos and annuals that are easy to love!

The plant palette they showcased in their booth at the show was diverse, colorful and insightful. The display maximized a winning expression of outdoor living at its best – from premium plant material in a variety of programs and selections to outdoor furniture and kitchen appliances.

Just some of the new exclusive Plants that Work highlights include the following:

  • Hydrangea paniculata ‘HYPMADI’ (PPAF) White Diamonds™
  • Diervilla sessilifolia ‘LPDC Podaras’ (PPAF) Cool Splash™ Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle.
  • Bletilla Ochracea ‘Chinese Butterfly’
  • Agave ‘Kissho Kan
  • Thuja occidentalis ‘Fire Chief’™
  • Myrica cerifera ‘Arista’
  • Hydrangea ‘Mystical™ Opal’
  • Aloe Humilis ‘Hedgehog’
  • Phlox Candy Store™ Series
A few color beauties from Plants that Work by Color include:

  • Diascia Breezee™ ‘Appleblossom’
  • Diascia Breezee™ ‘Apricot’
  • Nemesia Bedazzle™ ‘Rose Quartz’
  • Nemesia Bedazzle™ ‘Topaz’
  • Nemesia Bedazzle™ ‘Citrine’
  • Nemesia Bedazzle™ ‘Sunstone’

Check out their site for information about these and many other programs and varieties: www.novalis.com / www.plantsthatwork.com

~ Don

Going Container Crazy

Dan Heims, Terra Nova Nurseries president and co-owner, treated OFA attendees to an early morning, information-packed presentation titled Container Crazy (and Plants for Small-Space Gardens) on July 13. There were a lot of workshop participants (including myself) taking plenty of notes as Dan breezed through a selection of photos that showed how cool and creative container plants can be when you add a healthy dose of imagination to the plan. A few highlights from his presentation:

  • The new trend: there might not be a set trend; if it looks good to you, do it.
  • Container plants don’t have to reside in traditional-looking ceramic pots; think outside the norm and consider troughs, cupcake pans (yes!), picture frames and funky metal sculptures.
  • Dan reminded us there are still three key ingredients in the recipe for a good container planting: the thriller, the spiller and the filler.
  • Euro-style containers often offer a smooth, architectural presentation.
  • When selecting plants for a container, remember to pick plants that play well with others.

While Dan took us through a good number of plants during his slide show, there were several plants that I absolutely loved including the Begonia ‘Madam Queen’ (Pictured), Corydalis ‘Berry Exciting’, Eucomis ‘Oakhurst’, and Tricyrtis ‘Gilty Pleasure’. You can check out each of these plants on the Terra Nova Nurseries Web site at www.terranovanurseries.com.

We thought we’d share a photo of some of us from EPR with Dan following the session – from R to L: Dan, Leslie, Don, Jeff, and me.

Do you have a favorite container plant or a unique container idea? Feel free to post your comments below and let us know!

~ Audrey

STEPABLES® Leads the Way

Under A Foot Plant Company™ and its national plant brand of creeping perennials, STEPABLES®, announced today the launch of an innovative marketing campaign designed to utilize new media, such as an interactive Web site design, instructional videos and informative blogs, to build brand recognition among its growers, garden centers and consumers.

As an award-winning marketing leader in the horticulture industry, STEPABLES® has designed the Web site to serve as the core of the new media campaign. The site now includes:

  • Hundreds of new images to show consumers and landscapers the most creative ways to use STEPABLES
  • Multiple forums for open discussion about anything the site visitors would like to discuss
  • Several instructional, how-to videos
  • A new blog written by Frances Hopkins, founder and president of Under A Foot Plant Company™
  • “Meet Fran” section that personalized the brand with a family behind the name
  • New media center with all current press releases
  • A help desk available to consumers, garden centers and landscapers
  • Design center with printable garden layouts
  • A STEPABLES® Fun Club to receive discounts on plants and merchandise

“I wanted to create a marketing campaign that reflected my enthusiasm for gardening and hopefully inspire those visiting the STEPABLES® site to try something new,” said Frances Hopkins, founder and president of Under A Foot Plant Company™. “I look forward to interacting more personally with anyone who visits www.stepables.com.”

Hopkins will be updating her blog regularly as a new medium for communicating upcoming STEPABLES® news and responding to commonly asked questions from homeowners and landscapers. The site also has a new guest blog where horticulturalists and experts are invited to offer advice and knowledge about their experiences with STEPABLES® plants.

Brief instructional videos are featured on the new STEPABLES® site for a quick look at how STEPABLES® can spruce up any landscape. In less than five minutes apiece, these four videos show imaginative possibilities with the STEPABLES® line such as learning the basics of container gardening, planting combination sensations with flower bulbs, creating accents with steps and benches, and replacing a lawn with these low-maintenance plants. Hopkins produced and starred in each of the videos to further personify the brand and educate her audience with these how-to STEPABLES® tips. Take a look at one of the videos, posted below, to see how you can plant STEPABLES® around benches or between steps.

Click on the links and video to see how this plant brand plans to remain at the forefront of marketing with the newest technologies in communication!


Monday, July 07, 2008

HIP Meets Global Standard Specification for BioTag

First thing is first…. the basics.

HIP is at the forefront of the “green” revolution in the Horticulture industry and was among the first to produce earth-friendly labeling solutions. See who they are by visiting their Web site and looking around. Talk about innovative plant tags!

BioTag is a horticultural labeling product that is made of 100% biodegradable plastic. The tag material is produced using a state-of-the-art polymer technology that relies on bio-based products such as corn, soybeans, starches, wheat, and sugarcane, rather than fossil fuel-based resins. The end-product has a natural composition that is totally biodegradable. The commercial compost process takes less than 180 days, and the full degradation process takes approximately one year.

NOW… onto the newest development!

Horticultural Identification Products (HIP) announced today that it has met the standard specification set by ASTM International for its sustainable BioTag labeling products.

The ASTM specification establishes if products made from plastics will compost satisfactorily, including biodegrading at a rate comparable to known compostable materials. Meeting this specification is a sustainability breakthrough for HIP because it means BioTag can be officially considered fully “compostable” based upon the composition of the product.

“Meeting ASTM’s standard specification criteria further emphasizes HIP’s commitment to conservation and environmental awareness,” says Bob Lovejoy, president / CEO of HIP. “We understand the critical need for businesses to have a positive environmental impact and offering BioTag is a way for us to support growers in their sustainability efforts.”

Very cool! Just goes to show you that companies of ANY type can help contribute to a healthier environment.