Do You Just Hate It When . . .

Don’t you just hate it when your mum cuttings get here a week early? I sure do. It just ruins my whole day. As usual, Yoder Brothers yanks us around and instead of shipping our mum cuttings next week as requested, they arrived today. So instead of having a moderately busy day shipping, we have had to cram in disinfecting our plug house (where we root the cuttings), putting shade cloth on the plug house, setting up the line for planting, testing the AC in the plug house (the cuttings hold best in cool temperatures) and several other details that have to be done before we can start. Last year they delivered them on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, and we spent Saturday morning sticking mum cuttings. I didn’t get any Best Boss awards that week. So enough of my griping. Starting tomorrow I will begin the riveting blog series “The Mum Chronicles” that will show an intimate peek into the details and the every day life of garden mums from unpacking and sticking to flowering and final sales so check back often and catch the drama.

Sales are slow this week. I hope things pick up next week. We still have plenty of availability on popular summer annuals like sweet potato vine, purslane, vinca (some colors), gazanias, zinnias and lantana. The problem we are running into is that the blooms are starting to go down on some of these items, and it becomes a catch-22 to either clean them up, incur more labor and hope to sell them or trash them. Some items like lantana and purslane will hold a long time but other items will only make it another week or two. Unfortunately from what I am hearing, a lot of the landscapers and home owners have not planted yet which means when they start, there will probably not be enough plant material available.

On a separate but similar note, one customer was complaining today that due to their practice of buying in discounted plants late in the season and selling them at a discount, they have conditioned their customer to wait until the discounts kick in before they start buying. That seems to be a prevalent problem. I have retail customers here that drive all the way out to our location, look around then ask, “When will you put stuff on sale?” This emphasizes two problems our industry has. The first is that consumers view our products as cheap commodities. And the second is that our prices are too low. We have all been selling at rock bottom prices for so long that any price increase is viewed as temporary. All the consumer has to do is wait for the discount.

Finally, here is the latest availabilitymay29.

Don’t forget to check back for (in that movie announcers voice) “The Mum Chronicles”.

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