Thursday, April 22, 2010

Behind the scenes- Customer Service

Hello everyone! My name is Ashley; I’m the Customer Service Supervisor and the GUEST BLOGGER for this week! This week’s topic is customer service. Customer service, quality plants, reliable shipping, you name it - we care about it - deeply. Logee's takes all feedback very seriously and we are constantly making changes in the way we handle customer service to better fit our customers' needs. Each week, before the phones start ringing, we have an office meeting with all of the customer service staff in which we discuss how we can provide better customer service.

This is me, I'm the Customer Service Supervisor. I also manage the inventory and print out the labels that are included in each pot. My favorite plant is the Colocasia gigantea "Giant Elephant Ear" because of its large size and the unique aspect it adds to container gardening.

Here is Margaret, the customer service representative who answers all of our emails and proofreads the catalogs before we send them to be printed. On average, Margaret answers between 100 to 150 emails during our busy season. Margaret's favorite plant is the Mandevilla laxa "Chilean Jasmine" because of the growth habit and vigor.

This is Kirstin. She is currently processing orders for shipment. This process takes about two days. On the first day, the paperwork is generated. Then, the paperwork is sent to the correct department; the pick tickets go to the picker who will find the plants in the 13 greenhouses, and the shipping department gets packing slips so the order can be shipped. Kirstin's favorite plant is the Begonia 'My Special Angel' because of how easy it is to grow and she likes the spotted leaves.

Sherrie is currently first on the phones. This means that she answers the majority of the phone calls. She also takes turns with Kirstin processing orders. Sherrie's favorite plant is the
Hibiscus 'Bon Temps'
because of the color of the bloom and how easy it was to get it to start blooming!

Donna does the bookkeeping as well as some customer service. Donna's favorite plant is the Hibiscus 'Rumrunner' because of its big, beautiful flowers and how well it blooms.

All of our customer service representatives are trained to provide the best customer service possible, whether it is taking an order, diagnosing plant problems, tracking an order or simply answering a question, they can help you! Our customer service representatives are always ready and willing to help. We have many different resources available to us, we have helpful care sheets that can be sent out upon request (and are also located on our website), we use many reputable gardening websites and we also have an on-site horticulturalist to help us answer any questions you may have! You can call us at any time Monday-Friday from 9 a.m to 5 p.m EST at 1-888-330-8038.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tropical Plants in the Outdoor Garden Waking UP!

Today's blog, although not as colorful with flowers, I hope will be useful for gardener's in the north who crave the beauty and exotic nature of tropicals. Of course, the first plant that I think every outdoor garden should have is the "Hardy Banana" Musa basjoo. Although, bananas are not produced from this variety, the defining tropical look of banana leaves growing in a northern garden is delightful and a mind boggler.

At Logee's our stand is now four years old and every year keeps getting bigger and bigger.
The chicken wire and hay is Hardy Banana's resting place for the winter.
Here is a picture from last summer. At the greenhouses, the "Hardy Banana" (Musa basjoo) gets fed every watering and in one season grows taller than our storage shed (the roof in the upper left corner of the picture).

My banana stand at home is not as large as at Logee's but I only feed my banana twice a week. Plus, this banana is only two years old. Here is my stand of bananas in early April after taking off the hay. Notice how the brown growing tips are starting to unfurl. Soon with the increase of sunlight the stocks will turn green and start shooting straight out of the center.

Another favorite in early spring is watching how our fig plants came through the winter. You can winter over practically any fig with the right procedure. This past winter we left the fig in the ground, cut the fig back to about four feet in height, tied up the branches and then wrapped it in insulation and then a layer of plastic.

To our amazement this fig, one week after being uncovered, is already forming little figs and new leaves. We will most likely get two crops of figs this year. The figs we have in stock right now are Ficus carica 'Petite Negra' and Ficus carica 'Ischia' ( a yellow fig).

Another surprise this past week was how quickly our Hardy Kiwi set (Actinidia arguta 'Anna') is leafing out.

Here we've planted a male and female plant side-by-side for pollination, to insure fruit. We didn't cover the kiwi since it is Zone 4 and we are in Zone 5. We simply have given it good support. These plants are in their second year.

Finally an experiment I'm doing at home is with our Hardy Gardenia (Gardenia jasmenoides 'Frostproof)'. I planted it near my front porch so on summer evenings I can sit outside and breathe in the heady scent of gardenia. 'Frostproof' is a Zone 6 plant so I wasn't sure it would survive the winter. I mulched it with leaves and figured since it was planted near the house it might have a better chance of surviving. Well to my great satisfaction it is sprouting green leaves. Byron has warned me that this may be false hope because he doesn't think I mulched it enough. I'll let you know as the season progresses.
Notice the green leaves at the base of the plant.

The Gardenia is one of my favorites and is a perfectly formed flower with a welcoming sweet fragrance.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Early Spring Blooms at Logee's

Spring is in the air at Logee's especially with this past week of warm weather. Flowering plants in the greenhouses are showing off their brilliant bloom like this Red Stictocardia macalusoi or this "Purple

Horn of Plenty" (Datura metel 'Cornucopaea'). This Datura is in bloom in a 2 1/2 inch pot and is well known for its evening fragrance, often used in moon gardens.

The Thunbergias were also shouting loud and clear with their bold strokes of color. Thunbergia 'Sunlady' with its dark defining eye in the midst of bright sunshine yellow petals and its cousin Thunbergia 'Grandiflora' also known as the "Blue Skyflower of India." Although, I think the color has more of a purple hue than blue. Both of these Thunbergias are great plants for the summer patio or outdoor

garden if you have a trellis, wall or fence for it to climb up and around.

Next, happy trays of the "Chenille Plant" (Acalypha hispida) were boasting their cattails of lipstick red bloom. These full sun plants can be grown in a hanging basket or trained as a standard.

When trained as a standard the catkins get very long and look like a chenille scarf. When put in direct sun the catkins will remain bright red.

And right around the

corner were pots filled with Plumbago auriculata 'Imperial Blue' . These are both full sun plants that are everbloomers. Of course, if given more sun the color
of the blooms become brighter. We had a friend that put Plumbago auriculata in 15 moss hanging baskets and had them placed around her pool for the summer. Stunning doesn't even begin to describe the effect!