Friday, May 27, 2016


Hi ...its obviously been a long time between posts.

Unfortunately the motivation to write another post is riddled with disappointment at the behavior of others in a position of trust.

I was reading an article in the Sydney Morning Herald Business Day online about an accountant by the name of "Pullen Pillay" and I credit him with the motivation to write this Blog Post.  Its really the only credit he deserves.

What this article goes on to demonstrate is that an accountant, whom people had been going to for years to do there Tax Returns and TRUSTED would end running seminars (marketed to his client base) that recommended high risk products from pine plantation operator Willmott Forests, pearl spruiker Arafura Pearls and timber and horticulture business Rewards Group...whilst earning millions in commissions even whilst these businesses were failing.

When things started to go wrong (as is the likely hood in high risk products) he was no where to be found.  Sounds like the communicative habit of every snake oil salesman i have ever met.

People lost millions and now they seriously in trouble with their retirement income and i would envisage that many would go from planning to be self-funded to being on the outcome that effects all tax payers.

Dont ever get me started as too how the regulators allow this type of theft to continue...i probably would never stop typing in my disdain for the toothless tigers of governance.

Now before all two of you that read my blog jump up and down and say that with all investment returns comes risk...bear in mind that these people were not stock market traders or analysts of any sort.  They trusted there accountant to help them plan for their retirement.  What Pullen Pillay did was take this trust, use everyone's fear of being able to retire comfortably and flush their life savings down the toilet...all whilst earning millions !!!

I know there are many more stories of financial malpractice and the heartache this creates in peoples lives.

The full article referenced above can be read here.

I hate the idea that someone could go to a supposed expert in their field and have their hard earned savings misappropriated to benefit the adviser wholly and solely.

I suppose the article really affected me greatly because i too have been the victim of snake oil salespeople - twice !!!
And they were supposedly friends...has it stopped me TRUSTING.  NO but i am certainly more weary and my bullshit radar has become finely honed.

This sort of corrupt behaviour comes down to a question of personal ethics or lack thereof...I as someone who has run my business consecutively for 15 years could not imagine consciously trying to do the wrong by our customers.  These are people who with their hard earned disposable income entrust me to supply a quality, reliable product that suits there garden space.  As i like to ask a lot of questions before we recommend a product, 99 times out of a 100, we get it right.  Where we don't supply what was desired, we fix it.  By being communicative and having procedures in place that assist our clients with there return or swap in a timely manner.

When I first started this business, I genuinely believed that overall most gardeners were a lovely bunch...I still do.

Why would anyone try to ripoff or misadvise their clients is beyond saddens my heart.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Good Advice...where can I get some ?

Most people think that if you went to a large Hardware store rhyming with "Lemmings" - you would get some good advice.

In some cases you might - but how do you recognise it ?

Really this is a conundrum because staff can come across as really confident as they've been repeating the same answers to there customers queries for a long time, so they can sound quite knowledgeable.

I'm going to give you a couple of examples that might highlight what I'm talking about and the difficulty in finding genuinely good advice.

 For sometime now I have been renovating a place in the weekends (which is nearly finished) so I decided to build a fence.There I was happily digging fence post holes when of-course by the innate laws of renovating, I burst the mains water pipe. Naturally this is the pipe that also supplies the 2 units behind ours so I've turned the water off, informed the neighbours and gone off to the plumbing store.

Whilst at the plumbing store (a nationwide chain) I have explained to the chap behind the counter my problem and he has preceded to advise me to buy a joiner. Of Course a joiner, "great advise", couldn't be simpler. What a load of crap this advice turns out to be - having gone back i receive another part which i am suppose to use to fix my plumbing nightmare. 4 visits to the store later - I still have have a damaged mains water pipe.

Anyway the problem was fixed when i went to a different store and got the CORRECT ADVICE on how to fix my ruptured pipes - 5 hours later !!!

Who would have thought the customer service guy in the above example did not have a clue what he was talking about. Im sure that he even believed his own advice BECAUSE  (my point I wish to share is coming)
he had never actually followed his own advice, to repair a burst water main.
If he had, he would have known that his supposedly helpful advice cannot work. He was incapable of fixing my specific problem, although he worked in a store that sold the parts to fix it because he had no experience.

Lets get back to the reason i started writing this blog.

A customer just came in and said I've just been to "Lemmings",  they've said I need a large pot for my Yucca which i'm going to have in my office.

So I start to dig a little further...
Q: will the plant be near natural light in you office.
A: no

Q: what were you after.
A: something low maintenance that will survive indoors.

A couple more questions I knew from EXPERIENCE that he had been advised incorrectly for his requirements..

We recommended that he purchase a Raphis Palm and come back and see us for the pot.

Buying an Indoor plant should be simple - but only if you get good advice.

The normal chain of events,  should he have listened to "Lemmings" would be that he buys an inappropriate plant, it would have died because it was not the right product (for his particular requirements) and he would have wasted his money.

I don't like to waste my money or others to do the same - that is why we always strive to offer the correct advice, learnt through our own gardening and design experience's.

Good knowledgeable advice is hard to come by.

Happy gardening

Saturday, August 25, 2012

CRAP online experience - always leaves me disappointed !

Here's the scenario - we're getting ourselves organised to do a tradeshow and we need some plants - to best show off our beautiful pots.

Every year - we have bought heaps of plants , Lilies, Clivias, Buxus balls and Ficus trees to best show off our merchandise and unfortunately, in our stampede to dismantle the stand get out of there when the shows done, we have often damaged plants beyond salvage or it is just not economically viable to transport them back to our warehouse from where ever we are.

This year was going to be different - I had a light bulb moment...
    " Why not use Artificial Plants ?"

Brillant idea I hear you murmur - so one may think BUT like all good Lessons on Life, my downfall was in the execution of my brillant idea.

O.k - i am getting carried away with my own use the written word so i better cut to the chase ...
     ORDERED some fake buxus balls off an OVERSEAS WEBSITE  ($800.oo worth) because yes i'll admit it they were the CHEAPEST OPTION. 

Needless to say - I'm sure you can guess the end result...they were CRAP and the Buxus Balls came FLATPACKED.

I was really disappointed ... again !!!

IMPOSSIBLE to pack a round object FLATLY i hear you scream - please refer photo.

Not only Flat Packed but self assembly as well.
Sometimes it is difficult to listen to your own advise, we always try to offer the BEST VALUE on Garden Pots &  Water-features but we get customers that cannot immediately recognise the differing quality of goods between stores so they buy the cheapest - only to find that the item barely retains its material & aesthetic properties after 12 months.

I tell them..." when we sell something, I want it to look good in your garden for years to come. That's why we sell quality products so you'll be happy and keep coming back to us."

So my tips for successful online shopping are:
 - buy off a business with a proper warehouse or shop address IN AUSTRALIA that you can return goods to if you are disappointed.
- an eBay store is not a physical store.
- buy off people that have a history and reputation in that field, that they do not want tarnished.
- cheapest in most instances is often the crappiest.
- use PayPal to try to protect yourself from fraud.
- don't buy the hype (reviews & ratings can be doctored)

As a side note - we do a huge amount of our business online and if anyone of our customers are not happy with there purchase, don't hesitate, call me so we can fix it - mob: 0457 988 808.

In 8 years and over 40,000 orders, we've only had to refund 6 people so yes I'm pretty proud of our product range and the exceptional value we offer.

Save Money - Buy Quality !

This post is not a paid advertisement by Gerry Harvey.

A Simple Tasteful Solution

Up the road from our Shop in sunny Hawthorn resides a lovely couple with a couple of young kids and a beautiful home - double fronted Edwardian with a modern extension at the rear.

We could describe them as an archetypal Hawthorn young family who were enjoying there everyday lives when they came to us with a problem that just had to be addressed.

" Help us Sheraz - We need some urns at the bottom of the steps for the front door that don't clash with the house ? "

Lucky for us - solving problems is second nature...

Yes we could have suggested Metal Urns BUT most plants do not do well in Iron or Metal  planters as the metal reacts very badly with the soil medium over time.

Our Solution was to recommend one of our MARBLE URNS (which are a mixture of concrete and crushed Marble) from our Marble & Sandstone Collection and... PAINT them the same color as the house.

Hey Presto - a simple, tasteful solution that is a fun weekend project for the whole family.

Simple , tasteful and it didn't blow the budget.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


"a figure of speech which produces an incongruous self contradictory effect"


Is there such a beast - NO !!!

Here I was coming back from a clients job where they used some of our oversized planters to break up the very linear appearance of the front of there extremely large contemporary home... When I was magnetically drawn to a hand painted sign on the side of the road..."CHEAP POTS" followed by another that read, "QUALITY - best price".

OK I can hear you all yelling where is this holy grail of garden pots - unfortunately folks it doesn't exist.

There is no such thing as a CHEAP QUALITY garden pot.

Having parked the Roller, I was busy perusing the choices at this quality establishment, noticing that most of it was CRAP and definitively second grade pottery - yet they were trying to sell goods at the same price if not more than what our retail prices are. I'm sure with a little bit of haggling you would find the price DRAMATICALLY REDUCED because they offer a CASH / WHOLESALE DISCOUNT of 50% or just because you're the lucky 13th customer for the day.

Guess what guys, I hate to tell you but in these sorts of instances, the RRP really has no bearing as to the costs of supplying that item to market and under no circumstances, should be used as an indicator of the quality of the item.
No one in AUSTRALIA can continuously offer ridiculous discounts upto and over 50% without either BULL SHITTING you about the RRP or being a FAKARI RUG Salesman.

When items on our website go ON SALE - the RRP prices displayed are the genuine prices that we have sold our products for since day 1.
When these prices are slashed dramatically, these are either our clearance items or samples with very limited availability (a true bargain) - after all who can operate a business that sells everything at a 50% discount.

So as the World gets faster, somethings never change. BEWARE of snake oil salesmen selling CHEAP QUALITY Pots.

Happy Gardening

Monday, July 2, 2012

Saving MONEY in Sydney

Hi there... hopefully a short and incisive post today.

It was our first trading day of the 2012 - 2013 fin year and we managed to get a reasonable sized order from a Sydney customer online today.

Before you ask "why a Sydney resident would buy garden pots from a Melbourne company" when surely there are pot retailers close by, I'm going to share my theories on Internet shopping and how this rapidly growing phenomena encourages this outcome.

I'm pretty mainstream in my views and the main reasons why I purchase online is price, range & convenience - i assume, much like our customer from Sydney.

PRICE - has to be the big one. No one wants to pay more for something than the shop next door. The internet allows you to compare prices without leaving the comfort of your home.

RANGE - imagine if you were very fond of wearing wooden clogs and you lived in Townsville. Beautiful town but not a great range of clogs for sale. Online shopping allows you to view a much greater range than what you could find locally.

CONVENIENCE - and to top it all off, you can have your clogs delivered to your door.

So...our Sydney customers get to save substantial money by purchasing from our online store: and they get to view our great range from the comfort of there sun lounge and have it efficiently delivered to there home. Now that's something to celebrate with a Chardy.

The crux of it is - our fixed overheads are lower than those in Sydney (i.e/ rents, freight, utilities) so everything else being equal, we should be able to sell comparable goods for less than our competitors in Sydney.

Of course if your local nurseryman or pot retailer gives you great advice and happy service, buy something & support him because they are part of your immediate community and the World would be a far less interesting place if it was left to the mass chain stores.

In summary, where possible try to buy locally BUT if you don't want to "smash the piggy bank" to purchase QUALITY pots & planters, contact us to see if we can help.

Happy gardening

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Water-features I'm still angry. Not sure why but it could have something to do with the fact that it's end of financial year and this is the second time I'm writing this post because it did not save whilst I was trying to add photos.

So now I'm really pissed. STAND ASIDE Tony Abbot - my rant today is going to be NEGATIVE and I'm going to bag the opposition.

As everyone knows the last fin year has not been particularly kind to retailers based in the discretionary sector of the market. In order to counter this, we have decided to launch a new range of Water-features (coming shortly).

So in my spare time I've been doing a bit of research as to what is currently available in the market place...and I have to say most of what I have seen is CRAP !!!

Come on people - if you are going to put a feature in your garden, make sure it's not plain ugly. I have shown a few examples (below) to highlight what I mean.

Seriously - if you cannot see the problem in using any of the examples shown, you really need to consult our experienced team before you get anywhere near purchasing a Water-feature.

In the end we might not have exactly what you're looking for but we promise to not sell you an ugly duckling !!! When you're spending $500. upwards on a water-feature, I believe HONEST ADVICE MATTERS.

Happy gardening.