Pallets Are Popular with the Younger Crowd at McDonald Garden Center

From: IGC Retailer, November/December, 2013

 
Pallets Are Popular with the Younger Crowd at McDonald Garden Center
McDonald Garden Center, Virginia

McDonald Garden Center is inspiring customers to take their first steps into vertical gardening with wood pallets planted up with unusual combinations, such as strawberries with violas. “Our goal is to get people to use plants in a new way, and the pallet gardens have caught a lot of people’s imaginations,” says Owner Eddie McDonald.

The projects appeal especially to younger shoppers, McDonald says, who appreciate the idea of repurposing the pallets. What’s more, customers with limited space like that you can grow a lot of plants in a condensed way.

In more standard combinations, the garden center has found longevity with decorative foliage pallets, which last through the summer. Marigolds, begonias and diamond-frost euphorbias are good options as well. “You can use any of the spring bedding plants,” McDonald says. “Ferns are fabulous.”

At first, the garden center salvaged old pallets, but soon discovered it was more cost-effective to build new ones from scratch. By producing its own pallets, it was able to offer a smaller, more manageable 24"x20" version. “We have many people buying those half-pallets,” McDonald says.

To help customers plant their own pallets, the store offers workshops. Each participant is presented with a half-pallet with three openings for plants, a bag of soil and plants of their choice. Under the guidance of McDonald’s staff, the customers put the soil in the pallet, add the plants and get instructions on how to care for their pallets after they bring them home.

The garden center has had such “excellent results” with the trend, McDonald says pallet planters will continue to be a focus this spring. “It creates excitement, it generates buzz and it gives people another way to have success in their gardens,” he says.

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