The Business of Nurseries

Dan Clost, of Connon Nursery in Trenton was the guest speaker at the April meeting of the Tweed and District Horticultural Society. Joan Morton, President of the Tweed Club congratulated Dan on receiving the Garden Communicator of the Year Award for 2012. Dan writes a weekly column in the EMC.

The topic of Dan’s presentation was the operation of garden centres. Dan stated throughout his talk that garden club members are unique individuals “who garden with abandon” which in turn makes garden centres very happy!

Dan explained that the role of staff at any garden centre to to be available to answer customer’s questions…even questions like…..does the red rose come in other colours or how often do I mow my ornamental grasses…. and direct the customers towards purchases that will make them “happy” and want to return to “buy again”!

As Dan stated, being a cashier at a garden centre in the spring is probably one of the most stressful positions. The young staff members need to know location, prices, and names of stock and quickly tally the costs of the goods on a cart jammed pack with plants….and all very quickly! Dan asked the Hort members to be “extra kind and patient” towards these staff members when they visit the nurseries.

Connon Nursery has 300 acres of yard on Highway 2 in Trenton with 6000 plants and 1000 tress in stock waiting for its customers. Even with that many plants and trees on hand, Dan admitted that no nursery can carry “all the plants available…with only so much space and new plants introduced each year,“some plants just have to go!” Demo “beds” are located throughout the nursery to help customers visualize how plants will look later in the season. “Eye candy” displays showcase plants that are presently in bloom to entice customers to purchase them for their gardens. These displays change throughout the season to encourage continual purchases! Connon keeps their plants in the same location in the nursery to ease customer shopping…..with that extra time, Dan explained the customers will have more time to browse and perhaps select a few more items to purchase!

Dan’s talk contained little tidbits of information….for example how many of us knew that when forsythias are in bloom, the soil’s temperature is 12 degrees centigrade!

As Dan concluded his presentation, he admitted to just being able to give the members a “snap shot” into the operation of a garden nursery.

MAY MEETING…Tuesday May 1, 2012


Paul Zammit will be the guest speaker for the meeting. Paul is the Director of Horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Garden. Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to his presentations.



The annual show is April 5-7 at the Evinrude Centre in Peterborough. Admission is $6.00. A group from the Hort Group will be carpooling on Friday April 6th from Quinn’s Parking lot in Tweed at 8:30am.


Meet at the park on Saturday April 14 at 9am to help with the spring clean-up. Please bring your own tools.


The annual plant sale will be held at Tweed Memorial Park on Saturday May 19 starting at 8am. There will be lots of perennials to purchase.

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