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Deer-Leerious Plants of The Perennial Farm:

US: Maryland grower thrives with innovative concept

Deer-Leerious Plants were introduced at the MANTS trade show this past year and have proven to be a success with over 100 garden centers embracing the program in its first year. This innovative concept is the 'brainchild' of the folks at The Perennial Farm. It introduces plants and informational signage that are useful for those consumers where deer present a problem in their gardens.

"Deer are a big problem in many areas in the US, so we came up with the idea of creating solutions to this age old problem. In essence, we are selling a solution to a problem instead of just selling plants", says Ed Kiley, General Manager of The Perennial Farm.

Creating the Program
"We started off by looking at 11 competitor's lists of deer resistant plants to see what information was out there. We were horrified to discover that most of the lists were highly inaccurate. A couple of lists even had hosta on them. Next we got together with our staff of horticulturalist folks here at The Perennial Farm and invited acclaimed Horticulturist, Dr. Allan Armitage to join us. Over the course of 2 months we talked with dozens of landscapers, mapped our own experiences, and refined a grouping of plants and their characteristics which became the nucleus for our Deer-Leerious Plants Program."

Mark Huber of The Perennial Farm at the Cultivate'16. In the one hand, he is holding a deer resistant plant and in the other specialized plant tags. "At this show, we wanted to hear some feedback of our customers", says Kiley.

Three categories
The concept currently consists of approximately 350 deer resistant varieties that are first distinguished by Sun or Shade with yellow and green tag backgrounds. These are further divided into three categories or codings; 1,2 and 3.
• 1 means that the plant has the highest deer resistance
• 2 means very high deer resistance
• 3 means medium to high deer resistance
In addition every pot has a color label attached to the side of the pot showing a picture of the plant along with plant care instructions. This specialized tagging makes it easy for a plant lover to shop at a garden center. "So if the customer enters the garden center, they first choose if they want a sun or shade plant and then the level of deer resistance. In the future, I envisage that people, instead of looking for a particular plant, will search for a sun or shade plant with a 1,2 or 3 deer resistance"

Display at different garden centers. Click here to view the video in which Allen Armitage introduces the Deer-Leerious concept.

POS Material
The concept not only contains a plant and tag, it has its own POS material. "Nowadays, retailers want 'retail ready' products. So, we decided to create and supply banners, tags, flags, information cards and so on to create a finished display for the garden center", says Kiley.

The Perennial Farm
The Perennial Farm is based in Glen Arm, Maryland, and supplies all kind of perennials -also perennials that are not included in the Deer-Leerious Plants concept- from Main to North Carolina up to Ohio. "We were originally a landscape design and installation company. These valuable landscape roots have given us valuable insight into the needs of garden centers and landscapers."

For more information
The Perennial Farm
Ed Kiley
Email: [email protected]