Two Inspiring Florida IGCs

Ellen C. Wells

GrowerTalks editor Chris Beytes and I (with his wife Laurie) hit the Florida highways prior to the Tropical Plant International Expo back in January to tour a few IGCs. What we found was inspirational and shareworthy, for sure.

Pinder’s in Palm City

The IGC’s full name is The Community Garden Center at Pinder’s Nursery. And talking with Terri and Kenleigh Pinder (mother and daughter), they really do emphasize the community aspect of their establishment. We got a chance to step inside their store’s classroom building. It’s where many of the community-building activities take place—garden classes, cooking classes, healthy living classes, yoga, indoor exercise, reiki—you name it.

The classroom is a portable building that was previously leased by a school district. Terri estimates that they spent $10,000 for building and another $4,000 to plumb it, run the electric, paint and add some new flooring. A 24 ft. x 36 ft. air conditioned space for just that! Building a sense of community doesn’t require anything new and fancy. If you offer it, customers will come—it could be on your sales floor or in a separate building, they’re just looking to gather together and find community.

Getting an Idea

Customers are also looking for new ideas of what to do in their gardens. How about giving them some? Again, you can be as simple or as complex as you’d like—your customers will appreciate any level of effort.

The Pinders installed a few gardens—sun, shade, pollinator, etc.—around their pavilion as inspiration. You could dig the plants in for a season or two, or make it more temporary by arranging the pots and piling some mulch around the base. What I like about their Idea Garden is that it’s around back, so the signage for it draws you further into the garden center and through all their product.

Next Stop: Giverny Gardens

Giverny Gardens in Jupiter is a cute and tidy shop. We spotted two display ideas you could replicate at your own store in less than a day.

I liked this arrangement of round tables within the structure of the long pergola. It naturally highlighted the plants within each section. I wasn’t the only one who liked it—Laurie, a garden center aficionado, thought it was a nice idea, too.

Going Formal

I also liked the way the store had created a somewhat formal garden with the arrangement of pots.

It’s a smart way to showcase the plants and inspire your customers to buy more than just one or two. Look at what you can do with so many! Plus, it’s a smart way to stock plants in a store with such a small footprint. GP