It all starts with the design. A landscape designer or architect specifies a species, maybe a specific cultivar of a plant. Then they attach three specs to it - caliper, height and spread. Then maybe a few notes to further narrow their specifications such as 'container-grown', 'multi-trunk', 'full', 'straight trunk', 'well-rooted' or simply 'specimen'. Ok... this is all fine... but what does it actually look like? The designer has one image in their mind birthed by an image from a book, magazine or website. The contractor has an image in their mind consistent with product they've installed before. And the owner has another idea of what it would look like probably based on renderings from the designer and maybe also images from other media. To Local Plant Source this is like hiring someone to help hire someone else to order a new live-in boyfriend or girlfriend sight-unseen... The owner hires the architect to determine the necessary specifications of his or her new lover and to assist in hiring the contractor to select and move their new lover in. I don't know anyone who would be OK with that. Sure, folks have their preference on height, weight, hair color, nationality, hobbies, style, interests, etc. etc. But WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? How can you assure yourself of a perfect match with such limited information? You can't.
Ok, so this all sounds very shallow but back to why we're here - plants & trees. Nobody takes a cedar elm out for dinner and wine, and nobody snuggles up to a warm one gallon bulbine to watch the latest Kate Hudson movie. Trees and plants do wonders for the environment, they help keep the eco-system balanced and they MAKE outdoor spaces what they are for their LOOKS.
Plants and trees are living things with their own unique genetics, just like people. Even within the average designer's set of specs there is a tremendously HUGE margin of potential variation. We live in a day and age where people are meeting and getting married through the internet. Why is our industry not taking advantage of this technology to accurately spec plant material. You can find the exact look desired and exactly illustrate it to the contractor. Everybody wins.
If you're a grower or supplier, don't just take that photo for one of your current customers, take it for ALL your current customers plus thousands of designers, architects and other contractors that aren't current customers.
Remember, a picture says a thousand words!