Aquatic Plants

Updated 6/06/12

Deletions for consideration by manager
Updates

This job description should be read in conjunction with:
(a) Guidelines for staff in charge of a section
(b) Guidelines for buyers

Introduction

Baag’s aim is to educate customers that we are their local nursery for all their pond needs.
The Aquatic section of the nursery is mainly a summer section that has good turn over between October and March, but you can still stock majority of plants over the winter months, except a few varieties like tropical lilies and certain marginal plants that may die back a little. The section has its permanent position at the rear of the nursery and does require regular maintenance to keep it looking good.

Display

The display at the rear of the nursery is to help provide inspiration to our customers. It is important that working displays are looking their best. That means pumps cleaned, water clear and free of gravel and leaves, the whole area raked and the area looking immaculate.

Our current pond plant supplier, Bell’s Water Gardens, supplies the stock ponds which incorporate dividers for each species. Each plant is individually labelled, priced, and positioned in the ponds by the supplier. Waterlilies should have the colour indicated on the label and be grouped according to colour. Maintain the bench talkers (information signs) to their appropriate positions. Ensure that each species is in their appropriate row and correctly priced.

Richard and his team will restock straight into the tubs and if asked, will also price them for you. He is an aquatic plant expert and so if you want to learn a bit more, ask him to give you a run down every so often. Spread this knowledge amongst your collegues so they too can help customers with inquiries.

Always remember to check to make sure none of the plants are on the noxious weeds list.

YOU MUST NEVER STOCK THE FOLLOWING VICTORIAN NOXIOUS WEEDS
alligatorweed : Alternanthera philoxeroides.
Salvinia molesta
Water Hyacinth: Eichhornia crassipes
Lagarosiphon major.
Iris pseudoacorus, keep an eye on stock as this has worked it’s way in recently.
Water Lettuce.

Not only is it unethical to stock such plants, our position next to the Yarra makes it absolutely crucial that we do not stock them. You must understand how easy it would be for ponds to overflow and seed spore or cuttings to be carried into the Yarra.

Information in this area should cover construction and maintenance of water gardens.
Large signs were erected years ago, and have recently been taken away. This information was well written and informative and should be re-displayed at some point.
Perhaps some more inspirational signage is needed too.

Flora for Fauna

Our main reason for encouraging backyard ponds is for wildlife. It’s good to have this in the back of your mind when working in the area. Incorporate small changing displays at peak times which will inspire and educate customers on how to build a suitable fauna attracting pond. www.baag.com.au also has a few factsheets on different pond topics. These may need reviewing and additional sheets created in quieter times.

Customer safety.
Be aware at all times of the attraction small children have towards water and set up the section accordingly. As you are responsible for the section, you will also be responsible for accidents. Take absolutely no risks as young children can drown in unprotected water. This includes large pots as well as ponds. It is critical that there is never any water at ground level which a toddler could drown in, it only needs a few inches of water. Carelessness or thoughtlessness in this area is an issue that we are prepared to dismiss staff over.
Never use multiple electrical adaptor boards outside. Do not install any fountains without timers.

Should promote in the aquatic section:
Ratio of plants per m2 to create a healthy ecosystem, algae products, pumps and other products stocked in the shop.
Our advice/consultancies for water gardens
Construction service (recommended installers)
Promote wetlands in home garden. (Pictures or displays should illustrate the sort of effect customers can get.
The range of pumps, both solar and electric that are stocked at BAAG.
A list of noxious aquatic weeds that should be avoided.

Associated products and their suppliers

Pool moulds
Pool moulds can generate significant sales and the good range and options we offer is a point of difference. It’s vital that we have a good range at all times.
Suppliers we currently use for our range are Clearpond, and Akline.
Clearpond stock a fantastic range that’s well priced and good quality stock that turns over reasonably well. This includes the informal plastic ozponds, as well as formal shaped plastic and fibreglass too.
Akline have a smaller range and currently are only used for there wine barrel inserts.
We aim to have a small but excellent quality range, no thin plastic moulds, and ensure they come with a warranty. Also make sure depths aren’t too shallow, as most customers want to include plants, so the deeper the pond the more plant choice they’ll have.
Before ordering any ponds, check that there is sufficient space in the pond racking for them. And when they arrive have them neatly put into stock with a clear price written in permanent white marker on the outside of them.

Pond Liner
We also sell several lines of pond liner available by the metre.
Clearpond are our only supplier of this product and will be whilst the racking is in place, as they have supplied this for us.
We provide two types of liner, pvc and proliner. Refer to the clearpond catalogue for differences.
Monitor the cutting of pond liner to ensure that extra length is not given out by staff. We lose money on sales when we give a little bit extra. Do not store scissors in this area. There should be a sign at all times clearly stating that this is not a self service area. All customers should be instructed to obtain staff assistance to cut pond liner, including tradies. This is to stop theft by over generous cutting or misquoting a cheaper liner.

Past products that haven’t moved well at all, are what’s known as Billabong Rock. They are lightweight, fake rock, expensive ponds, and aren’t required in our range. If people see them on Clearponds website, we can order in with pre-payment.
Universal rock was the original supplier of this sort of thing.

Pumps
Buying pumps can seem quite daunting as can trying to sell them. However with some basic knowledge shared, you will soon understand what does what.
The pump section in the shop is to be well stocked. But being a fairly slow turnover area, it doesn’t mean ordering more than a couple of each pump at a time.
When you take over buying, it’s a good idea to have a meeting with the previous buyer to get informed on what has been ordered and what its main function is, other than just pumping water.
Sales reps are also there to help, but beware that they don’t talk you into buying a ridiculously expensive pump or filter.
Catalogues are also a good reference.
As ranges change regularly, it’s not feasible to say exactly what pumps to stock, but here is a rough guide of what you should be including in the Bulleen range,
-Solar Pumps, Akline
-Low voltage Feature pumps, Akline
-Well priced, low wattage, quality made Feature Pumps, Akline
-Pond pumps for filtration, Akline or Clearpond
Also keep in mind retail prices when purchasing and consider first how likely it’s going to sell. Keep away from Chinese made pumps, and steer towards European made pumps, which have better quality parts and tend to not come back as often.

Filters
Pond filters are often not thought of until staff bring them to the customers attention. They are what’s going to give your pump longevity and actually help to clean the water, along with the right ratio of plants and regular maintenance.
They are kept with the pumps and should be an add on sale. As the buyer you should only be purchasing filters that are compatible with our pump range at the time.

Treatments and other miscellaneous pond products
You are also responsible for stocking pond treatments and what ever else might be required for suburban backyard ponds in the shop section. If it’s something you would only get asked for once a year however, it’s not worth stocking.
Treatments are very popular sellers. They are however what we call band-aids and when selling, you should try to get to the source of the problem and help the customer fix it long-term.

Water Features and Water Bowls
Buying water features does not come under your buying umbrella. The Gallery-Gifts buyer has this responsibility. If you feel your section is in need of something or see a product that would fit with our range, speak to them for advice and approval first. The same goes with Water Bowls. The pot buyer is responsible for this. Although as it’s a shared area, you must communicate about merchandising and so on before any changes are made.
If it’s not being maintained to your standards, mention this to the pot buyer and work out a solution.

Maintenance

Aphids can become a problem, especially on waterlilies. In these instances I fill the tubs until they begin to overflow, this causes the aphids to run off the top and out of the pond (be careful when the tubs are full of tadpoles though). Covering the ponds with an old sheet or hessian at night can also control this (I’ve tried this but the label handles get in the way, so wouldn’t highly recommend. Probably more suited to the backyard pond). By the next morning the aphids will have drowned and the covers can be removed. A weak pyrethrum solution has been used in the past, at half strength, though I haven’t ever tried this myself.

Regularly check plants for spent or tired foliage and remove. Remember that Bell’s Water Gardens will replace any poor quality stock if you indicate it on the order. It is also in the trading agreement that Richard or his staff at Bell’s Water Gardens will maintain their stock ponds when they deliver. If you find that they are not doing it frequently or to a poor standard tell them it needs more attention.
Algae outbreaks are also going to occur at times, and can be mentioned to Richard for his professional advice. Certain algacides will be ok, but I suggest you speak with Richard before doing so, as he may have a better idea of why it’s happening. And using them can slow down the growth of plants we are trying to sell.

Sweep or rake surrounding area regularly for good presentation. If there are no tadpoles, the addition of a few small cold water fish will take care of mosquito larvae, which Richard can take care of too, but they will need waterlily leaf cover on the water surface to protect them from fishing bird predators (ie. Herons/Kookaburras etc.)

Keep maximum water level at all times as lower levels warm up and encourage algae.

Continually check for duckweed and azola, these floating weeds spread quickly and are undesirable. These have been problem weeds in the nursery under benches and in wet areas and are labour intensive to control. This is one of the reasons the aquatic section is now at the rear of the nursery.

Buying
We now fill out an order form on the computer and email Richard Bell our weekly order, this gets done on a Tuesday or Wednesday and he delivers Fridays. To get to this form you go, – Public – Nursery – Aquatic Plants – Plant order form – (Delete last weeks numbers) -Fill in what’s needed this week– click Save – go to your baag email – Compose – Addresses (Bells) – Attach -Browse – Click until nursery – Aquatic – Plant order form – Add – Send!!! Done!!!

Always reorder to full capacity as our trading agreement allows for returns.

Aim to stock the widest range available. Richard will bring what is ordered, however it’s worth asking every so often if there are any new varieties or plants that are looking particularly good, and get him to supply us with what is going to sell, rather than just sticking to the same list over and over. He will only bring what’s in season.

Tips for Buying from Past Experience

Bulk buying maintains good public relations with suppliers. So if one week you only have a dozen gaps to fill, email Bells a courtesy email, explaining we will be okay for a week, if he is happy to let it pass.
All plants must be labelled. Likewise you must insist that all stock is free of duck weed, azola and leaches before delivery. If plants lose there label, mention this to Bells and he will resolve the problem next time he’s in.

The water gardens section must be a functional area, which has all the products necessary to build a water garden.

A product review was done with Paul, Jo and Richard Bell late 2005, where we added and deleted certain pond moulds, started stocking Clearponds brand of Pond liner and PROliner, and looked at the way the section was set up and made any changes that needed to happen.

Suppliers

1.*** Bell’s Water Gardens (Richard and Sally Bell) Current supplier with agreement.
Mobile 0418567195 or Phone or Fax 03 5345 7050
bellswatergarden@bigpond.com

Only Bells Water Gardens plants are to be bought, as we have a very good long term relationship with him. The tanks are also his, and therefore only allow his stock to be put in them. Richard also does the right thing by us and doesn’t supply to any nurseries close by.

Previous Suppliers

2. Ranchu Aquatics (Barbara & Neville Smith)
Lot 5 Clintons Road, Smiths Gully Phone: 9710 1395
(no answering service) Currently not supplying 2001, due to GST.
3. The Coolabah Nursery., prefer to buy stock from Wetland eco sys.
Darryl 9737 9663

4. Triffid Park
9769 1663

Product range

Also in the past year, we have added Indigenous Aquatic Tubes to the section and 3” tubes. They both are really good sellers. So you might like to co-ordinate with the buyer of those sections if stock needs topping up, in warmer months especially.

See Bulleen Art and Garden’s Environmental Weed Policy in the policies section of the Job descriptions folder.

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