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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

U.S. Postal Service Celebrates Beauty of American Gardens

For more than 100 years, the U.S. Postal Service has been issuing special stamps to commemorate positive contributions to America’s history, culture, environment and way of life. To our delight here at Swan, it’s now chosen to celebrate the natural beauty of our country’s gardens with the American Gardens Forever stamp collection.


This beautiful stamp collection, designed by U.S. Postal Service art director Ethel Kessler and shot by photographer Allen Rokach, features an evocative area from 10 of the most extraordinary public gardens in the United States. These include:

1. Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park in Florida;

2. Biltmore Estate Gardens in North Carolina;

3. Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York;

4. Chicago Botanic Garden in Illinois;

5. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Maine;

6. Dumbarton Oaks Garden in Washington, D.C.;

7. Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia;

8. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Ohio;

9. The Huntington Botanical Gardens in California; and

10. Winterthur Garden in Delaware.

To describe just a few, the stamp for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden highlights its semiformal Osborne Garden. Featuring an Italianate design that evokes the Art Moderne period of the 1930s when it was built, the Osborne Garden is at its most colorful and dynamic in spring. This is when wisteria-draped pergolas frame its central emerald lawn, and cherry trees, crab apple trees and azaleas bloom in succession. Architectural features include two sets of elegant, fluted stone columns and curved, acoustic “whispering” benches.

The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden is the subject of the stamp honoring the Chicago Botanic Garden. This garden was designed by Dr. Koichi Kawana, who pioneered the design of traditional Japanese gardens that utilize plants native to the area of the garden. In this case, hardy Midwestern plants such as Scotch pine trees are pruned and trained to control their size and scale, and thus give the illusion of age. Also featured is a “snow-viewing lantern,” customarily placed near the water.

The Winterthur Garden is the vision of founder Henry Francis du Pont, who carefully orchestrated a naturalistic garden. One of the few remaining wild gardens in America, the Winterthur Garden features a reflecting pool designed by renowned American landscape architect Marian Cruger Coffin.

The stamp for The Huntington Botanical Gardens, meanwhile, gives us a glimpse of the Desert Garden, the oldest, largest and most diverse collection of cacti and succulents from around the world. Similarly, the stamp for the Norfolk Botanical Garden shows off the Bicentennial Rose Garden, one of the largest rose gardens on the East Coast. It contains more than 2,155 rose plants representing 299 varieties. At the height of their bloom, there can be as many as 250,000 roses in the garden.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, a love of gardening that stretches back to the earliest years of our country when George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers planted some of America’s most iconic colonial-era gardens, helped inspire the American Gardens Forever stamp collection.

“From the 19th century to today, landscape designers have continued that tradition. Conceived for many years—for food or pleasure, as places of education and scientific study, as an expression of the owners’ artistic sensibilities, as spaces for the public to commune with nature, or simply for the love of gardening—American gardens capture our imagination and satisfy a yearning for beauty and order,” the U.S. Postal Service said in a press release.

The 10 gardens featured in the American Gardens Forever stamp collection were chosen  primarily on which gardens the photographer had already shot and how well the images worked together visually to tell a story. The stamp collection is available for purchase here.

Looking ahead, the U.S. Postal Service will debut its Fruits and Vegetables Forever stamp collection on July 17, 2020. This collection features 10 stunning portraits of fruits and vegetables that capture the classic beauty of still-life paintings.

So tell us: What do you think of the American Gardens Forever stamp collection? Has it inspired you to visit these magnificent gardens (many now have limited openings as restrictions lift from the coronavirus pandemic), or perhaps grow some of the plants and flowers you see in your own backyard paradise? Remember, Swan has an extensive line of residential garden hoses and accessories to help make all of your garden dreams possible. Shop for them today at https://www.swanhose.com/residential-s/1864.htm.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

How Swan Is Responding to the Coronavirus


The dramatic spread of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the newly discovered coronavirus, has devastated lives and livelihoods worldwide. At the time of this writing, there are nearly 90,000 deaths in the United States alone, and layoffs have pushed unemployment to levels unseen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

During this unprecedented time, SwanThe Watering Company has taken extraordinary measures to manage the crisis throughout our organization. We’ve implemented new systems to protect the health and wellbeing of our employees and their families, while at the same time, limiting disruptions to our product supply to best serve our customers.

One of our initial steps was to close all of our offices and make arrangements for most of our employees to work from home to prevent the further spread of the virus. We also distributed face masks to our employees to help them reduce their exposure to the virus whether at work or in their daily lives.

We also closed our manufacturing plants in Waco, Texas, and Sparks, Nevada, for three weeks. Employees at these locations were sent home with pay while we converted their workstations to accommodate social distancing requirements and use of personal protective equipment (or PPE).

“The overwhelming focus at Swan when this pandemic hit was the health and safety of our employees and their families,” says Ben Williams, vice president of product development at Swan. “We immediately began shutting down offices and plants to convert them to operate in a safe and healthy manner.” 

To avoid laying off any employees while the plants were closed, Swan decided instead to reduce their pay by 5 percent to 15 percent for about five weeks, depending on their earnings. We’re happy to report that we’ve since returned all of our employees to their regular pay, with the exception of our chief executive officer and senior staff.

Similarly, we reopened our manufacturing plants on May 4 with PPE for all employees, as well as workstations spaced at least six feet apart in accordance with guidelines administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to Williams, Swan is proud to be a company in the garden hose industry that took such dramatic, decisive action in the face of the pandemic.

“We ignored the financial cost to the business and focused solely on our employees’ wellbeing,” Williams says.

Interestingly, national stay-at-home orders have created a surge in e-commerce for Swan. Online orders of garden hoses and accessories have doubled compared with the same time last year, with soaker hoses and accessories as the most popular items.

According to a May 13 article on the Good Housekeeping magazine website, gardening has exploded in recent months because of increasing anxiety over food supply due to the coronavirus. In late March, “interest in gardening hit an all-time high,” says Google Trends, while searches for “growing vegetables from scraps” was up 4,650 percent from year’s past.


Meanwhile, George Ball, chairman of the long-standing Burpee Seeds, told Reuters they’ve sold more seeds in March 2020 than in any time in their 144-year history.

Have you been gardening more because of the coronavirus? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear about it! And remember to stay safe and shop at Swan for all of your garden’s watering needs!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Swan Announces New Licensing Partnership with John Deere




Swan has partnered with distinguished American brand John Deere in creating a line of licensed garden hoses that are best in class.

As the leading manufacturer of the highest-quality, best-performing garden hoses on the market, Swan felt it was the perfect fit for the top global brand in the agricultural and industrial space and its devoted customers.

The initial results are two garden hose lines that showcase the core values that both companies share. The JohnDeere Garden Hose with CoreFUSION™ Technology, for instance, is a heavy-duty PVC garden hose that represents the innovation and quality at the heart of both brands. Designed in the iconic green and yellow colors of the John Deere brand, the garden hose is one of the first to feature Swan’s new CoreFUSION™ technology, a major advancement in garden hose functionality that makes a garden hose kink-free.

CoreFUSION™ technology uses Swan’s patent-pending co-extrusion process to add strong rods of a unique compound throughout the entire length of a garden hose’s interior wall for reinforcement. These proprietary rods cause the garden hose to bend only so far in any direction, eliminating the kinks that cut off water flow. These rods also increase the garden hose’s strength up to 35 percent compared with other garden hoses. This significantly improves the ability of the John Deere Garden Hose to resist damage under tension and therefore makes it one of the longest-lasting garden hoses on the market.

Another great feature of the John Deere Garden Hose with CoreFUSION™ Technology is Swan’s new Ergonomic Female Grip at the female coupling. The grip—featuring John Deere’s well-known leaping-deer trademark—turns with the coupling to allow for an easy and tight attachment to the water source. The garden hose also has a powerful burst strength of 500 PSI.


A second hose in the PVC line is the heavy-duty John Deere Garden Hose with Lay-Flat Technology®. At the core of the garden hose is a proprietary compound along with Swan’s exclusive Lay-Flat Technology®. This technology allows the garden hose to uncoil and lay flat as soon as first use and to Snap Back Into Shape!® to fight kinks as you drag it across the lawn. Together these features provide not only additional durability, but also the highest achievement in garden hose flexibility and kink-resistance. The John Deere Garden Hose with Lay-Flat Technology® also has a powerful 500 PSI burst strength, oversized crush-proof couplings and an abrasion-resistant jacket in the iconic green and yellow colors of the John Deere brand.


The second garden hose line features a premium rubber hose based on Swan’s innovative MAXLite technology. The JohnDeere Rubber Hose has a powerful 500 PSI burst strength as well as an exclusive rubber formula that makes it twice as strong and 40 percent lighter than standard rubber hoses. It can also expertly handle a wide range of temperatures, remaining flexible down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The John Deere Rubber Hose also has a 30 percent longer lifespan from sun exposure due to better UV performance. Designed as a black hose with a yellow stripe in the iconic yellow of the John Deere brand, it also features Swan’s new Ergonomic Female Grip at the female coupling complete with John Deere trademark.

Both the PVC and rubber garden hose lines will be available in various diameters and lengths. Several sizes are already available in local and regional retailers in the Midwest, with this expected to expand to select nationwide retailers in the coming months. John Deere garden hoses will also be available to authorized John Deere dealers, as well as on Swan’s website, www.swanhose.com.

Swan, in keeping with its mission of enriching lives by bringing Earth’s most essential resource—water—to where it’s needed most, hopes that its John Deere-branded garden hoses will expose the company to a larger global audience and resonate with consumers across the country and beyond. Swan is confident that in partnering with John Deere, its garden hoses will have high appeal in the marketplace.

Let us know what you think about our partnership with John Deere and the John Deere garden hose lines in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you!
Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Swan Celebrates Earth Day Every Day



According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United States generated nearly 270 million tons of municipal solid waste—more commonly known as trash or garbage—in 2017, or 4.51 pounds per person per day. 

Of that total, more than 139 million tons of trash was landfilled. Landfilled trash includes such things as food, paper, plastic and rubber, which can release toxic substances into the environment as they decompose, polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil in which we grow. 
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, Swan–The Watering Company also has something to celebrate. For more than 25 years, we’ve been helping to preserve the environment, using recycled materials in our garden hoses that re-purpose more than 60 million pounds of plastic, rubber and other potential garbage each year, keeping it from landfills.

In fact, 90 percent of the garden hoses Swan manufactures each year utilize recycled materials. That’s equivalent to more than 100,000 miles of garden hose—enough to wrap around the Earth more than 4.5 times! To break it down even further, each of our PVC and rubber hoses contain 90 percent recycled materials, while our soaker hoses contain 65 percent. That makes us the proud leader in our industry for how extensively we use recycled materials in our products.

Swan’s PVC garden hoses, for example, include about 250 different hoses made with recycled materials. You can find many of them by clicking here. These hoses include a thick core layer of recycled PVC composed mainly of recycled plastic wire coating and pool liners, wrapped with another layer of recycled materials. These recycled layers are then sandwiched between two layers of virgin material: one forms the inner water barrier to protect the water from coming into contact with the recycled materials. The other forms the outer jacket to protect the user’s hands from the same. This is illustrated nicely in the following diagram:



We source the raw materials from various suppliers nationwide, but mainly from those close to Swan’s plant locations in Texas and Nevada. The raw materials typically go through a shredding process and are then separated to isolate the materials we’re interested in. These materials are then blended and pelletized to homogenize the mixture. The result is a high-quality recycled material, equal in terms of performance to non-recycled hoses.

Swan’s rubber hoses, meanwhile, contain 90 percent recycled materials such as recycled tires, while our popular soaker hose line found here contains 65 percent. We also recycle what we call our “scrap hoses” that are made with manufacturing defects during our production process.

Swan’s Viper hose, hot water rubber hoses and Element line, in contrast, do not contain recycled materials. Our Element hoses, for instance, found here can only use virgin material because they’re built to be drinking-water-safe, and thus free from lead, zinc and phthalates.

According to Swan Vice President of Product Development Ben Williams, the use of recycled materials has given the company a double benefit over the years.

“[Recycled materials] allow us to manufacture the highest-quality products in the world at prices our consumers are very happy with, while at the same time allowing us to consume scrap material that otherwise would have gone into a landfill potentially,” Williams says.

Just as importantly, the use of recycled materials maintains Swan’s commitment to making the world better and more sustainable through the experience, knowledge and creativity that flows through every hose it makes.

Says Williams, “[Using recycled materials] supports our corporate mission to be the leader in innovative and environmentally-friendly watering solution systems.”

So tell us: What do you think of Swan’s recycling efforts, and what will you do for Earth Day 2020? The theme this year is “Climate Action.” According to Earthday.org, climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. Join us, then, as a new generation of environmental activists. Tune into Earth Day online here on April 22 as the event goes digital for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic. And check here for environmental activities you can do at home!
Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Flower Show Takes Visitors on a ‘Riviera Holiday’

With citrus trees and sweeps of lavender, the world’s leading floral and garden designers delighted visitors at the 2020 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show with a “Riviera Holiday,” immersing them in the sights, scents and tastes of the Mediterranean coastal region known for its beauty, climate and resorts.

The show, held Feb. 29–March 8 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, featured lush garden landscapes and exquisite floral displays highlighting a variety of Mediterranean plants. The Entrance Garden, for instance, set the stage with its use of specimen trees, including olive, cypress, citrus, mimosa and palm. Regional motifs in materials such as stucco, stone, tile and terracotta added to the effect, while “intimate environments” evoked the romance and allure of the Riviera.




Other exhibits included “Reflection” by Mark Cook Landscape & Contracting LLC in Doylestown, Pa., which won Best in Show for landscape design. Inspired by the Riviera, the display featured an alley of arbors, a soothing fountain and colorful plantings leading to a unique walled room for individual reflection.



Best in Show winner for floral design went to Schaffer Designs in Philadelphia for “Le Strade Delle Cinque Terre” (“The Streets of the Five Lands”). Using color-blocked rectangular panels adorned with bright blooms, Schaffer brought to life the homes of Italy’s ancient fisherman, who painted their houses in bold and pastel colors so they could easily spot them as they returned from sea.





Other honorees included Arrange LLC, silver trophy winner for its floral design “On the Sea,” which used white-fabric sails and an array of tranquil colors to depict sailing, one of the most illustrious Riviera pastimes. Stoney Bank Nurseries in Glen Mills, Pa., also a silver trophy winner but in the landscape category, won for “Paraíso de Andalucía.” The display centered on a meditative garden nestled among the remnants of an old olive orchard in the Andalusia region of Spain. Waldor Orchids in Linwood, N.J., meanwhile, won a PHS Gold Medal – Display Garden for “Rest.” The exhibit conveyed the need to take time to relax in an era of instant gratification, with plants purposely chosen for their ability to grow with very little maintenance.



In addition to the landscape and floral exhibits, there were many opportunities for guests to learn about the importance of connecting with one another through horticulture to create beautiful, healthy and sustainable communities, a key mission of PHS Philadelphia Flower Show organizer, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). The Home Gardening Hub, for example, was an interactive section featuring today’s garden trends, chats with experts and hands-on learning sessions. Potting Parties, meanwhile, was a container-gardening workshop hosted by acclaimed floral designer Tu Bloom, where attendees made their own vibrant container display. And Make & Take allowed
attendees to take home their own handmade plant crafts, such as a recycled-material container with a succulent.



As the kickoff to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show, the Bloom Philly Festival is an annual tradition that encourages everyone in the Philadelphia region to break out of the winter doldrums with a variety of special spring-celebration events such as the Bloom Philly Window & Lobby Decorating Contest. The competition invites businesses in the Greater Philadelphia area and beyond to transform their businesses’ window or lobby displays into festive flowery scenes inspired by the show’s theme. This year, a panel of expert judges voted the ARTrageous Brush & Flow art studio in Philadelphia as both the Grand Prize Winner and the winner of the “Best Representation of the Flower Show Theme.” P.J. Clarke’s restaurant in Philadelphia won “Most Instagrammable” and Philadelphia’s Milica in the Hat Millinery won “Fan Favorite.”



The PHS Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s largest and longest-running
horticultural event. The International Festivals & Events Association has honored it as the best event in the world, competing with events such as the Kentucky Derby Festival,Tournament of Roses Parade, Indianapolis 500 Festival and other international celebrations. The PHS, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization founded in 1827, plays an essential role in the vitality of the Philadelphia region by creating healthier living environments, increasing access to fresh food, growing economic opportunity and building deeper social connections between people.
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Swan Hose Is Expanding!


Last year was a big year for SwanThe Watering Company. Not only did we debut a brand-new website, we greatly expanded our manufacturing plant in Waco, Texas, to better serve our customers and our community.

Swan purchased the Waco manufacturing plant at 700 Jewell Drive in 1986. It was 103,000 square feet of space and primarily responsible for garden hose manufacturing. While the plant served the manufacturing aspect of our business well, it didn’t have the space needed to warehouse the raw materials to make our products, as well as the finished goods once manufactured. The limited amount of space also forced us to hire more temporary workers rather than permanent employees.

Fast-forward to Sept. 20, 2018: Swan broke ground on a 300,000 square foot expansion. The additional square footage was allocated to two large warehouses that essentially bookend the existing manufacturing plant—one for raw materials; the other, for finished goods. Both of these new warehouses opened in September 2019, expanding our Waco facility to a total of approximately 400,000 square feet.


This new layout maximizes Swan’s flow-through manufacturing efforts. Now raw materials can be stored in the new warehouse on one end and brought into the original plant as needed where they’re manufactured into our garden hoses. The finished garden hoses are then moved into the new warehouse on the other end where they’re stored for trucks to load and deliver to our various sales outlets. Currently, these include stores across the United States and Canada including Ace Hardware, The Home Depot, True Value and Walmart, as well as most regional hardware chains.

Bringing all aspects of our manufacturing process under one roof gives Swan a quicker time to market for our customers, especially during our busy season and periods of extreme heat and weather. The expansion also allows us to create more quality, local jobs in Waco, something we’re especially proud of.

Prior to the expansion, Swan needed to employ temporary workers during our busy season, but then had to let many of them go during our off-season. This new warehousing space now allows us to shift temporary workers into roles in our warehouses during the off-season, which dramatically increases our permanent full-time employee base while relying less on temporary workers. Swan projects the expansion will create 60 new permanent positions in Waco by 2021!


Headquartered in Atlanta, Swan also has another strategically located manufacturing plant in Sparks, Nevada, where it manufactures and warehouses garden hoses. Our expanded plant in Waco now falls in line with our Sparks manufacturing plant.

Keep checking back with our blog to find out other exciting developments happening at Swan this year. We’re soon to debut our new SoftTOUCH garden hose! 
 

The SoftTOUCH PVC garden hose is appropriately named because it has the look and feel of rubber, so it’s soft to the touch and easy to hold as you do your watering tasks. It also showcases two new features: Swan’s SpinMALE technology and Ergonomic Female Grip. SpinMALE Technology causes the male coupling to spin so you can attach watering accessories such as nozzles without turning the hose! The Ergonomic Female Grip turns with the female coupling to allow for an easy and tight attachment to the water source.
Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A Brand-New Look for Swanhose.com


As part of our commitment to being the leader in our industry, we’ve spent the last several months creating a new website design that better aligns with our core value: to enrich lives by delivering Earth’s most essential resource—water—to where it’s needed most. This translates into a greatly improved educational and e-commerce experience to assist you, our valued customers, in making the best purchasing decisions on your watering needs.


For starters, we’re presenting our entire product catalog online for the very first time. That’s more than 50 hoses and watering accessories! We’re also offering exclusive “how-to” articles and more in-depth information to assist you with your watering needs. Simply click the new Inside SWAN tab at the top of the site’s pages. Here, you’ll find an Articles link leading to our monthly posts on a wide range of topics such as a buying guide for garden hoses and how to install a soaker hose.


You’ll also find that our products are now organized into six categories—Professional, Residential, Rubber, Soaker/Sprinkler, RV Marine and Accessories—to better match market needs, whether you’re a hardworking farmer or contractor, proud homeowner, passionate gardener or RV/boat enthusiast. Simply click the new SHOP tab at the top of the site’s pages to find them.


Each of these product categories is then broken down into several subcategories to help you target your search efforts further and easily find what you need. For instance, are you looking for the best garden hose to water your lawn? Check out Residential and then Gardening/Lawncare. How about a rubber water hose that’s rated for hot water? You’ll find those in the Hot Water Rubber subcategory under Rubber Hose, and so on.


We’ve also added a new Sale category, so check here for great deals on clearance items. And of course, if you’d rather search by our great brands, simply click their corresponding tabs across the very top of the site’s pages: Swan, Element and Goodyear.


You’ll also notice that we’ve complemented our products with all-inclusive descriptions. These give you the nitty-gritty on every product detail, along with a bulleted list of special features. In addition, we’re now featuring beautiful lifestyle photography of each hose and water accessory, so you can see them at work in real-life situations. We’re proud of what we create and want you to see the knowledge, experience and creativity that flow through each product so you’re 100 percent satisfied with your purchase.



As an added bonus, for those of our products that come in different lengths or sizes (such as hoses and clamps), we’ve now created one main product page with an easy-to-use drop-down menu featuring each choice. Now you simply have to scroll through the menu, find the size or length you need and click. Then add to cart and you’re done! Our new website is also optimized for smart phones, tablets and desktop computers to offer the highest level of convenience no matter how you shop.


We’re also introducing this blog, which offers information in a more conversational format on related topics such as gardening. We invite you to engage with us here and become part of our community. Let us know what watering topics you’re interested in discussing, what watering-related projects you’re working on, what you love about our hoses and watering accessories, as well as ways we can improve to serve you better.


So, take a look around and discover the new swanhose.com today. And be sure to check back soon. There’s more in store!