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Garden Centers of America:
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This Year's All-America Selections Winners

This Month's GCA Member Profile

GCA Summer Tour 2017 Full Lineup & Host Hotel Announced - Newport News, VA, Here We Come!

Next year's GCA Summer Tour is headed to Virginia, June 25-28, for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at garden centers' operations from Richmond to Newport News to Virginia Beach. Be sure to pack your notebook and camera to capture all the merchandising and indie retailing inspirations!

Registration for the 2017 GCA Summer Tour Newport News/Virginia Beach is now open with Early Bird Savings in full effect! 

Behind-the-Scenes @ These Top Garden Centers!

  • Anderson's Newport News, Newport News
  • Anderson's Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach
  • Atlantic Garden Center, Virginia Beach
  • Cross Creek Nursery & Landscaping, Richmond
  • The Great Big Greenhouse & Meadows Farms Nurseries, Richmond
  • Ken Matthews Garden Center, Yorktown
  • McDonald Garden Center, Virginia Beach
  • McDonald Garden Market, Williamsburg's Monticello site
  • Sneed's Nursery & Garden Center, Richmond
  • White's Nursery & Garden Center, Chesapeake
Plus These Local Interest Stops
  • American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Yorktown
  • Colonial Williamsburg's Merchants Square, Williamsburg
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk
  • ViBe Creative District, Virginia Beach

GCA Tour organizers are also excited to unveil the GCA Summer Tour 2017 host hotel is the Newport News Marriott at City Center. This hotel is located in the new downtown neighborhood in Newport News, just steps away from dining, shopping and entertainment. To reserve your room, click here or call the hotel at 757-873-9229. Be sure to tell them you are booking for the Garden Centers of America event.

2016 GCA Summer Tour Social Media Recap

In case you missed all of the coverage of this year's GCA Summer Tour in Portland, OR, here are some of the highlights from social media:

"Opening night festivities were in high gear as the 2016 GCA Summer Tour in Portland kicked off Sunday with a lively discussion on hot IGC retailing topics, including the importance of IGCs receiving early market rights to new plant introductions from growers. Owner of Mesquite Valley Growers Nursery, Thomas Birt, known for his ever-present white cowboy hat and a regular GCA Tour attendee, was among those taking place in the multi-topic discussion led by Tour Director Robert Hendrickson. The room traded insights on Internet sales, and those garden centers on the tour who are having great success with them shared their strategies. The three-day tour of Portland-area garden centers starts early Monday."

"Yesterday [Monday], GCA Summer Tour buses hit the Portland area under glorious, bright, sunny blue skies for a robust first day that took them to five leading garden centers. An amazing lunch was featured on the grounds of grower Sester Farms in Gresham, OR, who - along with the delicious mid-day meal - gave a tour of its growing grounds, a hands-on session on how to refresh tired plant material that's still in your sales area and a raffle with a grand prize of $3500 of delivered wholesale-valued plants from the grower, won by Sandi Hillermann of Hillermann Nursery & Florist in Washington, MO. Sester Farms generously provided all retailers on the GCA Tour with a $1000 certificate for free plants on any Fall 2016 orders. Two more busy days lie ahead, and weather reports call for a bright day, and spirits are sky high. For those who are missing this great networking experience among 120+ IGC retailers, make plans now to attend the 2017 GCA Summer Tour, just announced to take place in Norfolk/Virginia Beach!"

"First stop for Tuesday on the GCA Summer Tour Portland was Gardener’s Choice in Tigard, OR. One of the intriguing highlights from this stop includes these display units that are actually built on repurposed pallets. The overall concept for these is that when store management wants to rearrange display units, a forklift can easily be brought in to pick up and relocate the entire unit. It’s an experiment in progress for the store, but certainly an interesting concept - just another example of the insights you get by attending the GCA Summer Tour."

"On Tuesday night, the GCA Summer Tour Portland dined in the historic setting of McMenamins Edgefield - a renovated turn-of-the-century "poor house" that is now a restaurant, bar and entertainment center on the outskirts of the Portland metro area. Our special guest after dinner was Jeff Stone, Executive Director and CEO of the Oregon Association of Nurseries, (pictured with GCA Executive Director Jeff Morey). Stone spoke on the unique implications of the recent laws in the state of Oregon that legislated minimum wage on both growers and what the end effects will impose on finished plant prices from Oregon to retailers across the country, as well as the forced wage minimums on local Oregon garden center retailers. A lively discussion ensued for nearly an hour between the 120+ attending IGC retailers on the tour and Stone. This dinner and discussion followed a day of garden center stops that earned rave reviews from all. By every measure, there seems little doubt that this is the best GCA Summer Tour in many, many years!"


June 25, 2017 5:00 PM • Newport News, VA
August 15, 2017 • Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
August 15, 2017 10:00 AM • Room 324, Navy, Pier, Chicago, IL
August 16, 2017 11:30 AM • Room 324, IGC Show, Chicago, IL


Randall Archie, Owner
Archie's Gardenland, Fort Worth, TX

Fourth-Generation Owner Finds Modern Ways to Improve His Family's 80-Year-Old IGC Business

Family-owned Archie’s Gardenland has served the Fort Worth, TX, community for all of its landscaping needs since 1934. Now, more than eight decades later, the independent garden retailer has grown to include planting and maintenance services for large trees, residential and commercial landscaping, and a full-scale retail operation with top-quality plant material.

The retailer’s current owner – the fourth generation of the Archie family – Randall Archie has been involved in his family’s business his whole life. He says he spent many weekends and summers at the garden center growing up.

“Something that encouraged me to grow in this industry is the thought of how hard the generations before me worked to build our family’s business,” Randall says.

Randall carries on his family’s vision by staying active in the community and continuing to improve the store’s retail presentation.

“Each day, we try to improve,” he says. “We focus intensely on our retail presentation since our customers expect it. We also work very hard on consistently finding unique indoor and outdoor decor items that our market hasn’t seen before to bring in business during the off seasons. We have partnered with local community gardens and supported our local schools and many other organizations around our city.”

Randall got to witness firsthand the best of the best in garden retailing when he attended the GCA Summer Tour to Portland last summer, which was his very first GCA Tour.

“We were so inspired by the tour and we wanted to share all the ideas we found with our staff, so we made a slideshow of all the photos we took to let our staff virtually go through each store, taking some moments to talk on key points of what we’d like to incorporate in our own store,” he says.

One idea that Randall liked in particular – with plans are in the works – is a small cafe that serves locally-grown food.

“After the GCA Summer Tour, we came back not only motivated and inspired, but packed with ideas of projects to incorporate on our first day back,” Randall says.

Another key piece of Randall’s GCA membership that he finds valuable is the monthly Garden Retail Trends Report. “I read through my copy every month, and each time, I find some motivational piece of advice for myself or an employee,” he says.”

Recently, Randall made improvements to the Archie’s in-store shopping experience, adding a kid’s play area that features comfortable patio furniture and fun outdoor activities to inspire both kids and adults to get creative in the garden.

“The kid’s play area is set in the middle of our outdoor retail space, giving parents the ability to wander while keeping an eye on the kids,” Randall says. “It is also close to where local food trucks park at our side gate, so customers can enjoy some fresh food in the shade.”

Randall and his staff are also working on redesigning the store’s outdoor destination signage, which is something he suggests every garden center re-evaluate seasonally. Plans are also in the works to move an existing growing space and add another climate-controlled retail sales area.

Right now, Archie’s has two main entryways – one into their newly remodeled indoor retail sales area and another to their outdoor area. The indoor retail space is attached to an indoor houseplant and tropical greenhouse and pottery area. The outdoor retail space includes a shaded sales area, three retail greenhouses and a plethora of inspiring seasonal displays.

Archie’s grows nursery stock out of 14 greenhouses and buys in some of it from local and nationwide growers.

Randall says, “Annual color is what we sell the most, however, we excel at maintaining a huge selection of plant material, and having a year-round staff who is knowledgeable and educated to guide our customers to success.”

Click here to read more Member Profiles.

All-America Selections Introduces Nine Exciting AAS Winners for the 2016 Garden Season

Anyone watching the movements of All-America Selections lately will notice an ever-increasing number of exciting and wonderful plants that are being named AAS Winners. This announcement is no different with nine new plants that have been trialed by horticulture experts throughout North America and deemed worthy of the All-America Selections® brand.
All of the following new varieties were trialed during the 2015 growing season and exhibited outstanding garden performance as noted in each of the following descriptions.
This grouping of AAS Winners for 2016 includes:
Geranium Brocade Cherry Night (National)
Geranium Brocade Fire (National)
Pepper Cornito Giallo F1 (National)
Pepper Escamillo F1 (National)
Pumpkin Super Moon F1 (Regional: Southeast and Great Lakes)
Salvia Summer Jewel™ Lavender (Regional: Southeast, Heartland, Great Lakes)
Strawberry Delizz® F1 (National)
Tomato Candyland Red (National)
Tomato Chef’s Choice Green F1 (National)
With this announcement, these varieties become available for immediate sale to the commercial market. Brokers and growers can purchase these varieties immediately. Retailers and consumers will find these Winners for sale for the 2016 gardening season as supply gradually becomes available throughout the chain of distribution. Garden communicators are free to begin writing about these varieties now, in preparation for next year’s gardens.
The first group of AAS Winners for 2016 was announced in July 2015 and are also interesting additions for the consumer’s gardens and table:
Bunching Onion Warrior (Regional Winner: Southeast, Mountain/Southwest)
Mizuna Red Kingdom F1 (National Winner)
Radish Sweet Baby F1 (Regional Winner: Southeast, Great Lakes)
A complete list of trial grounds and the judges behind our awards can be found here.
A complete list of all AAS Winners since 1932 can be found here. Note that this list of AAS Winners can be sorted by Flowers from Seed, Flowers from Cuttings, and Vegetables.

Geranium Brocade Cherry Night
AAS 2016 Ornamental Vegetative Winner
National Winner

Striking foliage with large double blooms of cherry pink make Geranium Brocade Cherry Night an AAS Winner this year.  Gardeners looking for unique and distinct foliage to accent their containers and gardens will be delighted with Brocade Cherry Night.  The bronze leaves with green margins are a remarkable and unusual addition to any design.  Add the double bright cherry blooms and this heat tolerant geranium is your winner for any planter, container or garden!  More Info...  Bred by Dummen Orange

Geranium Brocade Fire
AAS 2016 Ornamental Vegetative Winner
National Winner

This 2016 AAS Winner, Geranium Brocade Fire, has unique bi-color foliage with a nonstop display of orange flowers that gives it an exceptional look in any garden.  Geranium Brocade Fire is ideal for combination planters, landscapes and garden beds. This robust plant keeps its distinguishing foliage color and brilliant blooms throughout the hot summers then becomes a fantastic transitional flower going into fall.  The orange flowers contrast with the striking foliage making this geranium a much appreciated and talked about new annual winner. More info...  Bred by Dummen Orange

Pepper Cornito Giallo F1
AAS 2016 Edible Winner
National Winner

“DOUBLE YUM” was one judge’s response to our new AAS Winner Cornito Giallo F1 pepper, “The flavor on this one is totally a winner!”  Starting as small green fruits, this AAS Winner develops into bright yellow jewels with a delicious sweet and fruity flavor.  The peppers themselves are plentiful and durable, yet easy to eat fresh. Being an early bloomer, you will be able to enjoy these peppers throughout the growing season and well into the fall.  Plant Cornito Giallo F1 in your garden this year and you can join our judges in exclaiming “YUM!” More info...  Bred by Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Pepper Escamillo F1
AAS 2016 Edible Winner
National Winner

A wonderful sweet taste on a golden yellow pepper makes Pepper Escamillo F1, one of our 2016 AAS Winners.  An early bearing pepper plant with a compact habit makes it an ideal choice for any home garden. Gardeners will be captivated with the high yield of peppers per plant and how the fruit itself is held off the ground for easy picking and less rotting. This plant is a winner with its all around qualities of excellent taste either raw, cooked or fire roasted; its compact size and high yield. More info...  Bred by Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Pumpkin Super Moon F1
AAS 2016 Edible Winner
Regional Winner: Great Lakes and Southeast

Love the look of white pumpkins for your fall holiday decor?  Then you will love our first-ever white pumpkin AAS Regional Winner Super Moon F1.  Our judges loved the nice, eye-appealing ghostly white coloration on the large, blemish-free round pumpkins.  Grown for their size, up to 50 lbs, and their clean white color, these hardy plants are known for their early fruit development and vigorous growth. Their stems are tough, hardy, disease-resistant and unstoppable!  When done decorating with these beauties, consider trying the yellow flesh for roasting or in your fall harvest soups.  More info...  Bred by Seeds By Design Inc.

Salvia Summer Jewel™ Lavender
AAS 2016 Ornamental Seed Winner
Regional Winner: Southeast, Heartland, Great Lakes

The fourth AAS Winner in the Summer Jewel™ series of popular AAS Salvia Winners is the newest in color, Summer Jewel™ Lavender.  The unique flower color of dusty lavender purple is a delight in the garden and flower containers as well as a major attractor of pollinators including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. An extra bonus is how much the Goldfinch loves these flower seeds in the fall.  It’s a photo-ready moment when these complementary colors of gold and lavender connect!  The early blooming, stable, compact uniform growth, and continuous flowering of this plant are additional positives to this plant.  More info...  Bred by Takii & Co. Ltd

Strawberry Delizz®  F1
AAS 2016 Edible Winner
National Winner

What’s not to like about our first ever AAS strawberry winner Strawberry Delizz® F1?  These vigorous strawberry plants are easy to grow, from seed or transplant, and produce an abundant harvest throughout the growing season.  The best part though is the wonderful sweet strawberry burst of flavor from every handpicked berry. To enjoy fresh home-grown strawberries throughout the season, even in hot summer heat, look to Strawberry Delizz® F1.  These plants have a nice uniform and compact size making them perfect for containers, hanging baskets or garden plots. The hardest part of Strawberry Delizz® F1 won’t be the growing but having some strawberries left for anyone else to enjoy!  More info... Bred by ABZ Seeds

Tomato Candyland Red
AAS 2016 Edible Winner
National Winner

Tomato Candyland Red is the only AAS award winning currant-type tomato. Currant tomatoes are smaller in size than cherry-type and are ready to “pop” in your mouth straight from the garden.  Gardeners will appreciate the dark red, sweet flavored fruit that can be enjoyed throughout the season.  The tomato plant itself has a nice tidier habit than other currant-type plants with the fruit tending to form on the outside of the plant making them easier to harvest. More info...  Bred by PanAmerican Seed Company
Tomato Chef’s Choice Green F1
AAS 2016 Edible Winner
National Winner

Looking for a uniquely colored yet delicious tomato with which to impress your foodie friends?  Then look no further than this AAS Winner, Tomato Chef’s Choice Green F1. The newest addition to the Chef’s Choice series produces beautiful green colored fruits with subtle yellow stripes and a wonderful citrus-like flavor and perfect tomato texture. You’ll enjoy this disease free plant throughout the season with its dark green leaves and well-behaved form. You’ll be the envy of all your tomato loving friends! More info...  Bred by Seeds By Design Inc.
All-America Selections® was founded in 1932 and continues as the oldest independent testing organization in North America. Every year, new, never-before-sold varieties are trialed in our Trial Grounds and professional horticulturists determine which varieties will be deemed winners based on their garden performance. AAS relies upon a public relations program to inform gardeners about AAS National and Regional Winners that are announced three times each year.
©2016 Garden Centers of America
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Clearwater, FL  33759


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