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Re: Mail Order Nurseries/ plants

Well, Gene, what you say is certainly true of the nursery business
and IMO, is generally true for all businesses.  Unless someone is
actually involved in any trade or business, they can't and don't know
what it really entails.  Educating the client is a big part of any
business and not always a successful part because many people just
aren't interested enough to learn:-)

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
Current Article: Spring Peepers
Complete Index of Articles by Category and Date
All garden topics :

> From: Gene Bush <>
> Marge & Others on this line of thought...
>     One of the things I bump into as a seller of a product.. called
> plants... is the lack of understanding from the buyer. That is ok
in some
> ways, they have no reason to know my business in detail. That is my
> However, plants are not widgets that are manufactured, stored on
shelves and
> comes down a conveyer belt to be dropped in a box an shipped. They
> living dynamic entities that have to be cared for at all times.
>     Example... say my catalog inventory is 300 plants for sale. If
. just a
> number... I carry 50 each that is 15,000 pots that have to be cared
for and
> literally watched over each day. That is the current inventory..
there also
> has to be plants coming on to take their place, so essentially
their is
> another nursery in the background being grown on. Also the
seedlings that
> were sown, some that do not germinate for two years. Bit like an
> only the tip is seen as it appears to glide by.
>     The average time just to pull and prep and ship and order is
about 20 to
> 25 minutes. The paper work is done later in the evening when we
come in from
> the packing and shipping. Multiply that toward the number of orders
to be
> shipped on Monday and Tuesday only........
>     Not whining or complaining... just "talking trade"
>     Gene E. Bush
> Munchkin Nursery & Gardens, llc
> Zone 6/5  Southern Indiana
> ----- Original Message -----
> > From the little I know, you're right on, Donna.  When you talk
> > wholesale growers, they are actually farmers; the green industry
> > often refers to the plants as "crops".  They grow in quantity to
> > up for the really small individual plant price when sold
wholesale -
> > the only way they could survive.  When you grow in vast quantity,
> > grow the tried and true and don't experiment with off the wall,
> > difficult or rare plants.  Volume makes a huge difference - which
> > why Walmart, Lowes and Home Despot sell plants cheaper than
> > garden centers or specialist nurseries - they get deals for
> > volume - numbers that boggle my mind, like tens of thousands of
> > one plant.  Of course, they don't know squat about the plants;
> > take care of them and sell a lot of mislabeled stuff, but, it's
> > cheap.
> >
> > Now, when a smaller nursery buys wholesale plants, they are often
> > plugs that are grown on for, as Gene said, 6 months to a couple
> > years.  To the cost of the plugs, the nursery has to add
> > for the labor involved in growing them; the cost of potting soil,
> > pots, water, etc. and the cost of pulling, inspecting, sorting,
> > boxing, and paper work, not to mention other overhead items like
> > catalogs, which cost a bundle to produce and mail.  When you
> > an individual plant's price, you gotta wonder sometimes how
> > nurseries make it.  Part of how they make it is that all the work
> > done by one or two people working really long hours and not
> > squat for their labor.
> >
> > With the big wholesalers, all the costs of production are
> > covered by their plant price - which is substantially lower than
> > retail - and volume makes it possible.....just like corn,
soybeans or
> > wheat.
> >
> > Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
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