Marketing — Leveraging resources By Diane Blazek

All-America Selections (AAS) and National Garden Bureau (NGB) are working to help you improve profitability with free marketing programs.

In the midst of the busy season, it’s hard to think of creative and innovative ways to sell more products. But sometimes, the easiest ways to do exactly that are not only free, but also easy to use.

Both All-America Selections (AAS) and National Garden Bureau (NGB) are non-profit organizations with a mission to market the hobby of gardening to the end consumer. Think of us as a mini-marketing and public relations firm working on behalf of the horticulture industry.

We are communicating with consumers about which new AAS Winners they might want to try in their own gardens. We are using social media to inspire interest in new plants and/or plant classes. We are creating programs that educate and inform consumers so they are more successful gardeners or plant lovers.

And now the news gets even better — the information we create exists for you to use at any time, in any way you choose, at no cost.

Here are just a few ideas on how you can use our programs:


“New Plants” Program:

• You’ve seen these plants at various trials across North America, and when the breeders submit their new varieties to this consumer-facing program, you know they are choosing the most popular and interesting varieties. Use this as your own vetting tool for which varieties to add to your product assortment.
• All photography is in one place so you can easily download the low-res images for your own use.
• Consider this a one-stop shop for new varieties that your customers are looking for and asking for.

“Year Of The” Program:

• A great way to jump on a national campaign for popular crop classes (we promote classes, not specific varieties so you can adapt this to your own product assortment).
• An easy resource for newer varieties in each featured plant class.
• You provide the inventory then inform your customer of the opportunities this program provides. It’s a program that can be used throughout the chain of distribution.
• The crops we pick are ones that are of interest to the breeders, which means there is impressive and innovative new breeding work in those plant classes.
• They are also classes that have seen an uptake in consumer interest, thus, why it is good to have these products when the consumers are asking for them.
• You have access to our logos, the images provided and any of the content included in this program. Feel free to use the logos in your catalogs, trade show booth, websites, trial gardens, etc.
• Great fodder for social media posts, especially using some of the pre-written content we provide.

“Combination Ideas” Program:

• The breeders work hard trialing new combinations and they have provided images and details of many of those combinations for our program.
• If you are looking for combination ideas, this is a good place to start.

“Goodness Of Gardening” Program:

• This is an opportunity to share “feel good” messages about the benefits of gardening.
• A national promotional campaign that taps into the many reasons people benefit from gardening.
• Create and promote your own heart-warming messages and stories about how gardening has improved people’s lives.



• This program is a super easy way to talk about what’s new to your customers. There are 90 years of history attached to the AAS trials and subsequent Winners.
• The confidence that comes from knowing the AAS Winners have already been trialed by you or your peers.
• The assurance that the AAS logo instills confidence in plant consumers.
• A good way to make available the varieties consumers are asking for because of our consumer-facing promotion.
• What we offer on the Ambassador Resources page can be very helpful. You can download AAS Winner brochures, signage, bench cards, logos and more.

Introduction Garden Program:

• In this program, you can either be an Introduction Garden or visit an Introduction Garden. We work with respected industry businesses that host summer events where their trials are open to brokers and growers. We send each Introduction Garden the most recent AAS Winners to grow and showcase in their own gardens.

Display Garden Program:

• Opportunities are there for the asking with our Display Gardens. For example, you can partner with a local Display Garden in a number of ways. Include a local retailer (that is a customer of yours) in the partnership and make sure the Display Garden directs their garden visitors to where they can buy the AAS Winners seen there.

Wholesale Sources Page:

• First, if you are looking for seed or young plant sources of AAS Winners, this page is a valuable resource.
• Secondly, if you are a young plant producer and are growing AAS Winners, you should be on here. Please get in touch with us.

We hope the above ideas inspire some new marketing ideas for you and your business. If you would like to become more involved with either of our organizations, we welcome your inquiries. You could become a trial site, introduction garden, board member, NGB member, etc. Just let us know.

For an enhanced reading experience, view this article in our digital edition by clicking here.

Diane Blazek

Diane Blazek is executive director of both All-America Selections and National Garden Bureau. She can be reached at