I operate a small nursery in Voorheesville, NY (near Albany) that grows mostly old roses, classic lilacs, native azaleas and rhododendrons for sale during our plant sale. We only sell plants after they have flowered at least once (verifying to me the variety).
I number each pot with a 5 digit inventory number and show that number in my on-line catalog. When I sell the plant I erase the corresponding number. An entry might be as follows; 'Fru Dagmar Hastrup' Hybrid Rugosa Rose, Zones 3 thru 9, 3'x3', recurrent, X, 10-234, 10-235, 10-236. Each of the 5 digit numbers represent one rose in a large pot for sale. As I sell the roses I erase the corresponding number. the black X indicates I had plants for sale during the previous Plant Sale and if there are no numbers it means I've sold out. A red X indicates I plan to have more for sale by the next Plant Sale.
You can go to one of my on-line catalogs, linked from my web page at http://www.floweringshrubfarm.com and click on the name of a variety you are interested in (take note if it has 5 digit numbers indicating plants for sale). If I have a quality picture of the flower (with the correct tint) it will be posted on the page that opens. Sometimes there are links to further pictures of the bud, leaf and a mature shrub picture (each picture has a caption that includes; name, date introduced, type, hardiness, size, if it's recurrent or not and the web page address).
So many sites tell customers that pictures are copyrighted, I tell them that the caption fulfills the requirements posed by copyright laws requiring that credit be given to the author. Please, you would be doing me a favor if you used my pictures unedited and you'd also be advertising my web site.
Customers interested in a variety can email me asking for more information, I often respond by taking a picture of an available numbered plant and emailing it back. They send me their telephone number so I can call them back to make arrangements for picking it up during our plant sale or if possible to order it using my restricted form of mail order.
I believe in the personal touch, I dont manufacture plants from a factory. When you order from me its a lot like buying from me directly. There is no middle man and though I sometimes respond by sending a customer a link to one of my web pages that answers their question, it is me sending that link not a direct marketing employee.
We have never sold more than a thousand plants in a year and we mailorder only the largest plants we have. If you want to pick something up at the nursery during our plant sale, we only hold plants for customers who have previously purchased gift certificates.
I am partially disabled in both arms and hands so I have had to find alternative ways of running a nursery that dont require heavy lifting, writing, or other things that are just to difficult to do. So I have help for several weeks a couple times of the year for those jobs I can't perform.
Andrew Van Cleve; Chief Grower at Azalea House Flowering Shrub FarmOn October 11th, 2006, jollygreen changed the rating from to positive and added the following:
On December 17th, 2006, jollygreen added the following:
I have a picture newsletter provided to all my customers. When plants start to flower I take a digital picture of it and send a link to the newsletter page on which I post it, to everybody who has subscribed by providing an email. This allows customers to purchase plants when they are in bloom.
I surf the web looking at garden forums everywhere, providing input but more importantly researching ways I can better provide superior customer service. If you wish to google some of my inputs try searching for me as andyvancleve.On February 13th, 2007, jollygreen added the following:
Our primary sales of plants is during the Plant Sale (May 15 to July 4; 10 AM to 2 PM or by appointment).
We do mail order but only those plants that have outgrown the 7 gallon pot we usually sell them in. If we sell out of a variety during the Plant Sale we wont have any of that plant for mail order.
Because the cost to send our large plants usually doubles the price most people will arrange to come to our plant sale. Most of my customers travel over a hundred miles.
First thing subscribe to the picture-newsletter. During winter I post all sorts of pictures there but as pllants start flowering; blooming roses, lilacs and azaleas take center stage. By watching the picture-newsletter my customers insure they can come and buy it in bloom.
You think this is an unusual way to sell plants? If I lose my love of growing and selling plants there just wont be any reason to do it.