bwisegardening

Cultivating a Culture of Gardening™

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Why I Let Myself Go To Pot

It actually started as something akin to love at first sight. 






There I was mid-May of 2015, blithely working the manic world of a landscaper, juggling 350+ clients, 7 company branches, 5 subcontractors simultaneously as twice a year we changed out seasonal flower beds within a 6-8 week period. In-between those install times was the maintenance, schedule building, special projects, client meetings, ordering, plant disease issues, landscape designs, a few garden-related writing and speaking gigs, and every once in while I’d get to focus on what first directed me into this line of work - container gardening. 

In May of 2015 I took a few days to visit with some garden-writer friends at P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm. And that’s when I saw them - the garden planters, the decorative pots, that were the culmination of all that I’d been looking for as a gardener and as a landscaper. Yep, kind of melodramatic, I know. But let me help you understand a little bit of why finding exceptional containers had such an impact on me. During a most of my landscaping career, I averaged putting together up to 1200 container plantings a year. Shoot, I even wrote a book about  container gardening! And I loved the challenge of creating a planter display that made my clients feel like their personality, preferences, and passion were reflected in those pots. 

But the job wasn’t always just about the planting. Sometimes I would have folks tell me they wanted a plant combo they’d seen in Southern Living magazine that included a 3 gallon rose and 6 different plants, and they wanted it planted in pots they found on sale at some designer store, they’d have no drainage hole, and would hold about one cup of potting soil. Then there would be the install issues of the client who’d ordered those gorgeous antique-looking 350 pound cast stone or clay planters that they wanted on the back porch which could only be accessed by going up 3 flight of stairs. Folks, I’m not making this up! 

So, back to that love at first sight, I’ve found the containers of my dreams scenario: as I wandered around P. Allen Smith farm, I kept seeing these beautiful planters. Yes, the flowers in them were very pretty, but the planters themselves were unique and absorbed my attention. A couple of the planters I had to thunk with my fingers because I didn’t believe they were actually made of resin as I had been told. 

I started quizzing my garden friends, “Who made these planters?” 


Then I started learning more about them: 
*many of the styles are double walled to protect the plant roots against heat or freezing. I have been advocating for years that with iron, stone, or glazed clay that absorb so much heat or cold, it is important to create some type of layer (pot within a pot) to protect plant roots from extreme temperature.
*they had a ten year warranty against fading or cracking. 
*even the larger planters were manageable for the average gardener
*the taller planters have a “gravity cavity” that can be filled with sand to stabilize them in windy conditions. 
*and then there is the story of the young Miami couple (the owners of the company) with a dream of selling pots that were attractive and affordable and met the needs of gardeners and landscapers, who loaded up their van and went from nursery to nursery. Learning as they went along from the feedback of those they met to create an even better container. 
*Crescent Garden teaming with Four Star Nursery, an industry leader in growing ornamental plants, and testing for 3 years to create a “self-watering” planter - the TruDot Self-watering system with Patent Pending Water Level Indicator. I’ve tried my hand at many a self-watering planter and this one finally gets it right. 

Over the next few months after that first introduction to Crescent Garden planters, I realized that I’d actually been promoting these containers for years. If anyone has ever heard me speak, I have included for years the photos of planters I’ve seen along Michigan Ave in Chicago over the years, exhorting the virtues of adding large planters in streetscapes to enhance the beauty of a city. Guess whose planters those are? 

Crescent Garden's 

So I introduced these planters to my co-workers and clients. Over a few months I chatted with Crescent about my writing a little for them and helping with their social media. Then when life pointed to making some changes in my life, I made the choice to let myself go to pot. Well, technically go to pots, but by leaving off the “s” it sounds so much more dramatic. I started my new career in sales and marketing with Crescent Garden. 

Now, in letting myself go to pot, my days are filled with helping landscapers and garden centers learn the benefits of these planters that adeptly address so many container gardening issues that stifle new gardeners, maintenance crews, and landscape installers. We even have a landscape direct program that allows landscaper to order planters directly to the install location, with set pricing that already includes shipping costs so no need to call around for freight costs. 

Yep, whatever I want to call it: Pot Peddler (that raises some eyebrows), Purveyor of pots, Pot Salesman (more raised eyebrows), Container Connoisseur, it’s a job I relish in as I just let myself go to pot. 


Post Script - About 10 years ago I started changing out the clay and stone planters at my own house to double-walled rotational molded planters like Crescent carries so that I could move them around on my own (my boys were going off to college/getting married and not there to help me) and I could keep them throughout the winter. It's nice to now have an option for some better looking rotational molded planters here in Tennessee!

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2 Comments:

At November 19, 2015 at 11:31 PM , Blogger Helen said...

These are excellent pots, Barbara. They have great pot-ential! And you can become the Grand Pot-entate (although never autocratic). I wish you every success in your new adventure! I know you'll be pot-icularly potent.

 
At November 19, 2015 at 11:51 PM , Blogger barbara wise said...

Helen, I do adore you and your pot-pourri of puns!!

 

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