Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who Are You?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Morning greetings from the mountain where it's 35° in the sun but 16° in the shade. This is why I always have a couple thermometers at the house to track "the real" temperature.The sun is bright and the promise that today will bring temperatures into the high forties/maybe low fifties makes us happy. 2011 is so different a year than 2010!

Today I plan to teach Alex more about growing willows and I want to get some more hosta seeds planted too. I have had this thought about getting Alex started in his own willow business and since he has some interest, I'm moving along. The curly willows I cut at the nursery a few weeks back are well rooted now so we'll transfer them to bigger containers after we cut off the tops and get those in clear glass containers in the sun for rooting. Willows have become well used in America by the floral industry, especially the curly willow, the flat stemmed, fasciated willows, and of course the springtime favorites with nice white, pink or yellow catkins or brown, black, or yellow stems. Besides what we know as traditional uses, many in North America are promoting what the English have done for a long, long time. We are seeing more and more willow furniture, potted, woven willows with manicured tops grown topiary-like in big containers, woven fence wattles....the list goes on and on.

This time of year, post income taxes, mid-website rebuild for me, is still a busy time. The snow is so deep that there's little outside work that I can do so inside tasks continue. Today I should finish up adding all the new daylilies to the website and then I'll move on to the astilbes. Gail continues to tweak the plant orders based on delivery confirmations and I'll place the order this afternoon for a truck load of potting mix.

One of the things businesses often forget to do in the fury of preseason activity is remember to tell potential customers who they are. Putting out your name is a start but showing your face through pictures or videos is critical to building confidence for your product. It's an important part of branding your business but for some reason some folks are reluctant to post a picture.

If you haven't visited Vermont Flower Farm over the years, the picture up top will show you who the real George and Gail are. The picture was taken last year by East Montpelier photographer Ricka McNaughton. She was doing a piece on our business for The Bridge, a Montpelier newspaper.

Couple things about the picture. First, anyone can take a picture now days but a skilled photographer is one who can listen to a brief conversation with the client and capture them in a setting that makes the viewer know what the person is all about. Ricka does a super job and I would favorably recommend her if you have some photography needs.

Secondly, pictures in newspaper ads and on websites, Facebook, other social media, need to be current. I learned this so well recently when I attended the flower show in Burlington. I had plans to meet a speaker/writer for the first time prior to his presentation. I had not met him before but we shared a mutual interest in the topic of his presentation. As we met in the convention room, his very first comments were that I sure didn't look like my pictures. I was surprised by the comments but couldn't agree more. Most of the pictures I use of myself are from a series Alex took of me when we climbed Owls Head mountain when he was ten or eleven. Time has passed and more than my gray hair and beard have changed. A new picture is in order and I'll get to all those changes soon. In the meantime, here's a renewed picture of me and Gail and a kokopelli friend last summer. The kokopelli is providing "pretend" background flute music. If you didn't know us before, now you do. And if you get a chance this summer, stop by and say hello. We always offer warm welcomes, no matter now much we change from year to year!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where sunshine has already raised the temperature to 46.5° in the sun and has brought out 12 mourning doves that are competing with jays, grosbeaks and two red squirrels for black oil sunflower.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
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1 comment:

Salix said...

That is sound advice, George - it is nice to "put a face to a name".
Good luck to Alex and you with the willow business.