New Product Filtering Tool Helps You with Decision Making
Trying to plan a new garden or attempting to find a few just right plants to mix into an established garden can be tiring and time consuming. At first, you may have a general hazy daydream in mind of color combinations or garden styles ranging from formal, geometric raised beds to windswept, naturalistic landscapes.
Then you remember all the necessary factors that require consideration before the daydream can become reality. Sometimes the array of characteristics to consider may seem exhaustingly long and mind-boggling, such as: Soil quality; local seasonal rainfall and water supply; sun and shade areas in your yard; amount of growing space available; length of growing season; winter chill; and summer heat.
It may feel like you are lost in a confusing maze of information. However, when you organize all that information in a tidy matrix, it becomes easier to sort and identify choices that meet most of the needs in your garden. Computer technology is great for rapidly sorting information. So at Flowers by the Sea, we now offer online product filtering to make it easier for you to select plants and for us to provide advice.
Product Filtering Defined
Product filtering is a way to narrow an online search within a website for merchandise intended to meet a specific set of needs. For example, if you are searching for clothing at a major department store website, you begin by selecting from a category such as men or women. This choice is further broken down into groupings such as size groups. Then these category breakdowns are eventually narrowed further through product filters.
For example, information about dresses in petite proportions might eventually narrow to a list of filters including brand, color, length, specific sizes and style. Within a filter such as size, you would be able to see how many petite dresses are available in each size. Or you might simply enter a phrase such as women's dresses in the searchbox and then refine your search using the more detailed filters.
Similarly, Flowers by the Sea offers opportunities to access product filters by category or by a simple search to narrow your choices among the hundreds of plants we sell.
Flowers by the Sea Product Filtering
When you search for plants in the FBTS catalog to meet particular landscaping needs, our product filtering tool allows plant identification by the following traits:
- Winter coldness of your zone
- Sun exposure of the site where you want to plant
- Mature plant height and width desired,
- Type of soil in your growing area and
- Water requirements, such as whether you need drought tolerant plants.
- The stocking status: In stock, Out of Stock and Ready to Ship Now
Each trait filter offers a variety of selections, such as multiple kinds of soil from which to choose in the soil-type filter.
Here are the steps for using our product filters:
- There are two main ways to search our website: The first is by entering a phrase summing up what you want, such as red Salvia greggii in the search window. This leads to a page offering a queue of plants meeting the search term. If you look at the left side of this page under the green Plant Category Index, you'll notice the product-filter list, which begins with Coldest Zone
- The second main way to find what you need is to do a category search. This requires selecting a category, such as Salvias by Color, from the green Plant Category Index. When a new page opens, a further breakdown of the category appears. The Salvias by Color category opens to a page letting you pick among seven color groups. After you choose a color, such as purple, another page opens on which the product filter list appears.
- Please note that for some categories, such as Hummingbird Plants, the product filter list appears as soon as you open the category page due to no further breakdown of the category.
- If you look at the number in parentheses that follows each selection in a trait filter, you’ll see how many plants meet that criterion. For example, if you search in the Salvias by Use category for the option of Great Foliage, the Water Needs filter will show you that the majority of our plants with handsome foliage need average watering.
- The next step is to narrow your search by selecting perhaps two filters and clicking on a choice in each that matches your growing conditions. If this results in a short enough queue, such as 20 plants or less, then you begin clicking on the individual plants and carefully read their descriptions before choosing ones to add to your shopping cart.
- You can clear the filters at any time by clicking on the Remove Filters button at the top of your plant queue. The list of filters and the queue of plants reset so you can search again from a different perspective.
A Plant-Selection Scenario
Suppose that you live in USDA Zone 8 and you would like to find a short Salvia groundcover that is drought resistant and has purple flowers. You could enter the search phrase purple Salvia in the search window and then use the product filters on the subsequent page to narrow your search. Or you could start your search at the Plant Category Index, choose Salvias by Color and then select purple.
A page containing the product filters as well as a queue of purple Salvias would open. Your next step would be to click on the number 8 in the Coldest Zone filter. Then you might choose Drought resistant in the Water Needs filter.
Finally, you would click on 1 foot or less in the Mature Height filter. If a large number of plants appear in the queue, you could activate another trait in an additional filter, such as checking for sizes of Mature Spread.
When you think that you have narrowed down the choices sufficiently, it’s time to carefully read the plant descriptions in the queue before making a choice. You may also decide to clear your search and start over with different choices, such as selecting a somewhat taller plant for your groundcover.
Open Lines of Communication
Our do-it-yourself product-filtering tool is intended to help you save time and energy in locating Salvias and companion plants that meet your gardening needs. However, you don't always have to do it yourself when gathering information for decision making. Keep in mind that you are always welcome to ask us questions by calling or writing. We're glad to offer help in as many ways as possible.