BOARD MESSAGE: Fall is in the Air – Buying is on our Minds

Board President Kerri Dantino

After the insane heat and smokey skies we’ve had in the west this summer, I’m ready to head towards fall! I look forward to the plants requiring less watering, the cooler daytime and nighttime temps, and maybe even throwing on a sweatshirt again. You can almost hear the plants breathe a sigh of relief when the daytime temperatures get back to the 60s and 70s again!

As a buyer, my office has been a revolving door for industry colleagues over the past few weeks. I sometimes forget how much I enjoy talking with so many of these people. When I was doing sales with Plants for Today and Tomorrow, I remember how hard it was to get away from the office and get out to see our customers. Almost every time I left a visit, however, I remember feeling so encouraged by the conversation and thinking about how I really need to try extra hard to make that happen more often. 

We hope that many of you were able to attend the Fall Buyer’s Expo in August and that you enjoyed seeing some familiar faces again! On behalf of the board members and the association, I want to make sure that you know that we are constantly striving to create events that are meaningful and helpful for our members. We hope that you enjoy the BBQs, Plant Walks, Happy Hours and Expos, but we’re always open to new ideas and suggestions. One thing that we know for sure is that in-person connectivity is vital to our industry. Neither zoom, nor phone calls, nor emails can replace the connection that you make when you see someone face to face. The fall and winter months can be the perfect time to strengthen your existing relationships and establish new ones!

Fall is also the perfect time to plan for the coming year. I’m sure that many of you are seeking orders from your customers, and many of you are placing orders for next year, much like I am. Shrub and perennial availability seem to be improving in recent weeks and hopefully that is an indication that numbers will be strong for the spring months. 

One of the biggest challenges that Colorado faces is that our up and down temperature swings mean that many of us don’t stock up on perennials and shrubs until April. This can be a challenge during a time when inventory is low and demand exceeds supply. Oftentimes, the southern and coastal states get priority for shipping long before we even think about bringing in nursery stock (unless you bring in dormant loads before things start to wake up in warmer climates). In a time when holding plants for the colder states means waiting to make money that could be made when the plants can ship sooner, many growers are choosing to release stock for sale rather than hold items for an extra month or two. Like many things in our industry, developing strong relationships with your suppliers can significantly ease this burden!

I look forward to seeing many of you at the Horticulture Leadership Retreat in November. If you haven’t attended this event in the past, we encourage you to join us. It’s a great chance to see some friendly faces and gain relevant knowledge and insight that is specific to our industry. We’ve started a new approach with the roundtable topics and it has been very well received. The event is open to all members so we hope you will attend and even bring a staff member or two with you!

Happy fall, all!