Archive for June 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

On The Hunt For Next Year's Proven Winners!

It's that time of year again.   All of us here at Darvonda are out searching for next year's PROVEN WINNER's for Spring 2012.  Some of us have attended the California Pack trials while other's of us are attending the Ohio Short Course this coming July.  We search high and low every year to make sure we get the best of the best varieties for our customers and this year is no exception.

We will go to great lengths to find the latest plant breeding, even going as far as searching the thick jungles of South America via MULE.....

which is the only way to access the deepest recesses of the forests......

where we hope to find undiscovered floral treasures that will thrill our customers in the coming Spring season.  Giddap little donkey!

Now, our style of product development is not for the faint of heart.  You see, in order to find THIS beauty......

we have to step out of your comfort zone......

to really find what we're looking!

Yup, the Big Guy and I searched HIGH......

very, VERY HIGH.....

and LOW.....

very, very......


Nothing THIS GOOD......

will ever come without a whole lot of searching!

But, the best part of this search is that we get to do it together, the Big Guy and I.

I especially LOVE it that, even though my main squeeze has begun to have his doubts that he should be strapping himself into a flimsy little harness and race across deep valley's on a thin rope....

or that he thinks there may be less heart thumping ways to find product for next year that do not involve rapelling down the side of a waterfall.......

He does it anyway, just because I asked him to!

Really, it just doesn't get better than being in a partnership like ours.   Racing together to the next adventure is the most fun you can ever imagine!


To my dear sister and travel agent Lisa;

As I stood at the top of a very high platform, looking down at the enormous drop which I was about to take, stepping blindly off to my possible gruesome death........I thought of YOU!  I imagined you standing right there beside me and heard you say "Are you NUTS?!  There is NO WAY you are getting me to do that!  Not on your LIFE!"

I smiled at the sound of your voice and then I..........


How else was I going to get home to tell you how much FUN I had?!  


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wish You Were All Here!

It has been an enormous challenge for me to get messages out to my favorite peeps lately.  After a series of unfortunate events, I have not been able to really keep everyone informed as to our comings and goings of late.  For this I am greatly apologetic.

Some of you may be aware that my place of residence is no longer within the confines of North America.  I am currently lazing about on the beautiful beaches of Mexico, drinking tequila and slathering on the sun screen......

Wait a minute.

I'm not actually on the beach right now.  I am sitting on a chair in the hotel lobby where there is some WiFi accessibillity.

Also, I am not drinking tequila.  I prefer Mudslides.

And last but not least, I try to use as little sunscreen as possible as I firmly believe my indoor lifestyle up in the Great White North keeps me from accumulating sufficient vitamin D to get me through the winter.  So, no sunscreen.  Please don't hate me for not using my Copper Tone!  I'm just being honest here. 

Another one of the obstacles which keeps me from updating my favorite peeps on my activities is the EXORBITANT amount of money I am being charged to use my blackberry here!  Junior tells me that I'm on a PLAN but I just keep getting notifications that say.....

"You have just exceeded $50 dollars on your blackberry"

and then a few hours later......

"You have just exceeded $100 dollars on your blackberry"

How on earth this is all happening, I have no idea.  All I did was update my Facebook status and talk to Junior for 30 minutes.  How can THAT cost so much?! I have decided to turn my phone OFF! If you need to contact me, call the Big Guy.  No one complains when HIS phone bill his high. 

Oh, the inequality and injustice of it all.  One step back for women's liberation, I say.

And the FINAL issue that is holding me back from keeping my nearest and dearest informed is the fact that SOMEONE lost the charger for my favorite LUMIX digital camera.  I had to take a replacement camera with me instead.  I have since found out that THIS camera does not like my laptop and REFUSES to download my photos.

MESSAGE TO MY CHILDREN:  Whoever used my LUMIX camera LAST, would you PLEASE find my charger and return it to me ASAP?!  Should you FAIL in finding the aforesaid piece of essential equipment, I may have to ground you for the remainder of your teeenage lives.

SERIOUSLY!  You know I will.

And in summation, I hope that with my current savings which have accumulated since I turned my phone off a few days ago, I will be going out this evening to share in a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir with the Big Guy while I think about all my favorite peeps who can no longer keep in touch as we normally would.

I love you all but.......I love my Pinot Noir even more!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Darvonda is Expanding!

Photo courtesy of Fifi - Head Office Construction 2008
We are off on another great ADVENTURE this summer here at Darvonda.  Believe it or not, we are back into expansion mode.  The plans have been in the works for 6 months or so but now we have finally begun to get to the actual job of building......

We've dug out the  ASHPHALT......


There is NO GOING BACK!  Hopefully there will be 8 acres of brand new greenhouse standing ready for production by January 2012.   I can hardly believe it but we DESPERATELY need the room.  We have been renting a 5 acre greenhouse for over a year now and it is just too expensive to manage at a distance.  So, the decision was made to stop renting..........and start building.

Now, with all that extra square footage of production, we will definitely need more help around here.  It is a good thing that we have Fifi around to help us with our expanding employee labor needs.......

Although she and her hubby have already has contributed 4 extra very helpful members to our team, she has been so very generous to volunteer her services and augment our labor requirements with ANOTHER ADDITION to the Darvonda Team.

Yup, you heard me right.  Fifi will be welcoming a brand new addition to the crew some time in December.  Just in time for the opening of our new facility!  We are all SO VERY EXCITED!

Thanks for taking one for the team, Fifi.  You are a real trooper, that is for sure.

Oh, and by the way, CONGRATULATIONS to you all!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Mentoring Young Entrepreneur's

Last week our largest client invited us to attend the GRAND OPENING of one of their new locations.  Of course, it's important for us to attend so we can show our support and appreciation for this very momentous occasion.  Not EVERY business is opening new stores these days.  Most of us are feeling the pinch of these tough economic times.

So, we took this opportunity to hop on a BC Ferry and head out to Vancouver Island with the youngest member of our team.

It is our FIRM OPINION that if you want to be successful in the business, you've got to build a good team and start training them YOUNG!

Lesson Number 1:  you must first begin by teaching your young entrepreneur how to balance WORK with PLEASURE.  It's probably one of the toughest thing to do in life, keeping things balanced.  When you are committed to offering your customer's the VERY BEST, it's easy to take every minute of your time and throw it in to your work. 

I should know.

I struggle with this one.

So, make sure they understand that they need to take time to just relax once in a while.....

Of course, if you pick the biggest bed in the hotel room for yourself, you'll get a really good sleep as well ensuring a very RESTED and BALANCED life.

Lesson Number 2:   Teach them to build a really strong MANAGEMENT TEAM.  No one person can be everything to everybody so you need to seek out different personality types....

each member should balance out the weaknesses of the other members.  Right, Wee One?!

Once you've chosen a really strong TEAM you will have more time to do your "big picture" thinking.  Of course, "big picture" thinking can best be done when you are relaxed and in a place where there are NO DISTRACTIONS........

HOT BATHS and SPA DAYS come highly recommended!

Lesson Number 3:  Teach your protege SCHMOOZING and the art of INTERESTING SMALL TALK.  Topics for discussion when mingling at industry or client functions should always be interesting and engaging........

but if you just happen to have some very CUTE ARM CANDY, you are sure to break the ice immediately with even the grumpiest attendee!

Lesson Number 4:  Remember to always be on the lookout for new ideas because......

You never know what opportunities lay around the next corner.

 Lesson Number 5:  An Entrepreneur should never be afraid to try new things.  Encourage them to open every door, push every button they see, and investigate anything they find intriguing.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  My apologies to my darling daughter, who now must deal with a Wee One who has been encouraged to do all of the above.  One day you'll was well worth all the trouble she gets herself into while "investigating", I PROMISE! 

Lesson Number 6:  Encourage your young entrepreneur to seek advice from other entrepreneurs who have already gone through all the challenges, trials and triumphs she or he might encounter.

It's always good to have someone who understands you, a person to confide in or share the joys and sorrows with.

So there you have it.  Mentoring is a life long process.  Passing on what you know is a precious gift for the next generation.   What are you waiting for?!  Look around you and find someone YOU can MENTOR and get started right away.

Do YOU know someone who was a great MENTOR to YOU?    Please leave me a comment or recommend someone's blog about MENTORING in the comment section below.  I'd love to hear your stories!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Worst Spring in 50 Years - Metro Vancouver

Does it seem like a never ending RAIN has descended on the Fraser Valley?  How's a woman to sell bedding plants with WEATHER like THIS?!  Would you look at this recent TWEET by our local News Station.......

Video Lousy stinking spring - Thu, May 26: It's official: Metro Vancouver has had its worst spring in 50 years.

Man, this weather is hard on us growers and garden centers, not to mention golf courses and other weather dependant businesses.  But there is a bright light for us here at Darvonda.  We have one of the BEST customers around.  They are ensuring that our Spring 2011 is not a wash out.  As a matter of fact, we may even see some sales increases this year.  What a blessing!

If you have been down to my favorite Big Box store in Western Canada lately you may have noticed they have a fantastic Garden Center set up outside.

People tend to flock to the stores for giant sized peanut butter tubs and even larger Pickle Jars during the year.  But when they open the garden center out here, 100's of people can be seen waiting at the front doors for the store to open.

There's not a lot of GARDEN CENTERS that can boast that many customers waiting in line to buy plants, that's for sure.  And that is why we are so excited to be partnered with this great place.  From here to Winnipeg, people are scooping up plants by the cart load.....

It's very hard for my garden center peeps to keep the shelves stocked full!

Here's is my soon-to-be son-in-law, working away at one of the locations to keep the plants watered and sorted.

He's just a GREAT guy!  When he's not here in the garden center, he's off making deliveries to other garden centers in the surrounding areas.  We hear good things from our customers about his pleasant way and super nice personality!  I'm a lucky mom to have this young man join my family, that's for sure.

Then there are these 2 ladies who stuck it out in the rain at another location in Alberta last week, keeping the plants happy and healthy regardless of the weather.

Now this week I've sent my daughter (mother of the Wee One) and her husband to look after things at the stores so that I can get a little caught up on all my............ "paper work".

Yup, there sure is a LOT of "paper work" for me to catch up on.......

They may have to stay out there longer than expected so I can get it all done!