Greenscape Gardens’ Tammy Behm spoke to an attentive audience during Cultivate ’16 about how their retail store supports and protects local pollinators by selling Pollinator [plant] Palettes and joining forces with local pollinator advocates like the St. Louis Zoo.
St. Louis was the first city to sign National Wildlife Federation’s Monarch Pledge. The pollinator habitat movement began in the city and has spread to St. Louis County she said. There’s even been corporate interest. “We did wildlife habitat pots for Subaru locales in St. Louis.” Subaru’s Subaru Loves the Earth campaign focused on butterfly habitat this year. Other corporate partners have asked Greenscape Gardens to come in and teach Lunch-n-Learns to employees.
In the garden center they use mission-based merchandising by displaying plants based on their purpose: Host plant, nectar source, etc. Last year Greenscape Gardens gave away about 6,000 pollinator plants to customers. “The gal with a petunia or geranium may not buy a plant that’s ‘different.’ They take it and come back and want more.” It’s a way to make traditional gardeners more comfortable with plants they may not know and gardening for wildlife.
In marketing messages, she says they’ve learned they need to be actionable, observable and measurable. When they first launched a Monarch butterfly plant campaign they found out that people “weren’t aware the plant was going to be eaten.”
Some of the ideas that haven’t worked well in promoting pollinator habitat: Seeds. They’re slower for the customer and not as visual. Success is much higher with plants. Another idea that they’ve moved beyond are pollinator classes, which were initially strong she said, but the city has so many groups promoting pollinators with events that class attendance dropped.
Consumer messages that resonate well include health and wellness with strong focus on food. They’re also working to help change yard management habits by sharing city research by the St. Louis University Center for Sustainability on the positive effects of reduced mowing. She said the average lawn in St. Louis is currently mowed 38x/year. By mowing every 3rd week you get a 300% increase in pollinator benefits, she explained.
Next year Greenscape Gardens is extending their wildlife messages to birds.
NewTerrain August 1, 2016.