The Lowlands Group operates eight multi-level cafés (seven in southeastern Wisconsin and one in Madison). Their goal is to draw customers by branding their cafés as places that make the most of the outdoors, beautify streets and sidewalks of neighborhoods, and really stand out.
To make a statement, a collaborative decision was made to go big, bright, beautiful, and bodacious. Tropical plants were procured from Florida and Texas to complement Wisconsin annuals–something you don’t see too often.
But finding the right combination of plants was easier said than done. Plants had to attract customers but not bees, so annuals needed to consist of colorful foliage that doesn’t attract buzzing stingers. After much trial and error, we discovered which tropical plants could tolerate the Wisconsin outdoors.
Additional experimentation also determined that the tropical annuals had to be acquired early, planted in liners, and nurtured for several weeks before being installed.
To help the client maximize the outdoor season, our crew installed all plants at all eight cafés in one week prior to Memorial Day. Soil, plants, and large wooden planters (to which the pre-planted liners have been added to save time) had to be maneuvered through restaurants and transported to the upper levels early in the morning before each restaurant opens. Over 1,600 plants were installed; some cafés contained nearly 60 planters.
Once the plants were in place, there were a number of maintenance challenges. Rooftop gardens are notoriously tough growing environments because of the heat. Constant attention had to be given to the plants up on top to keep them healthy and alluring. Daily watering—difficult because of plant locations and the fact that water must not get on tables or floors—weekly fertilizing, and continual tweaking of the containers was necessary.
This cornucopia of color has played a major role in attracting customers (and not bees) and successfully branding the company. Everyone knows it’s a Lowlands Group café when they see the plant-filled patios with the unique and amazing Colorscaping!