View: The Gardening Boom Of 2009

View: The Gardening Boom Of 2009

In case you haven’t heard, according to CNBC and other media sources, we are in the middle of a gardening boom.

Scares from salmonella, a return to an organic lifestyle, a way to save money on the grocery bills and gardening as an alternative to exotic, pricey vacation are some of the reasons media sources claim gardening is experiencing a surge in popularity. But as a garden center owner, I wonder, could it be more than that? Could it be something as simple as a longing to return to something easier to understand than today’s crazy world?

Consider for a moment the frantic pace at which most of us live. Electronically, we are totally wired with everything from iPods to iPhones, Blackberries to laptops, Tweeting to Facebook. Does anyone even remember that a blackberry originally was something you eat, not a device on which you receive your e-mail?

Maybe the gardening boom is about more than growing your own food. Maybe it’s also about the satisfaction of producing something viable at the end of the day. The United States has slowly moved away from its agricultural roots to a society that, to a large extent, doesn’t really produce anything. If you spend your days working in an office, many times what is there to show at the end of the day? In a world gone electronically amok, gardening is a simpler alternative and provides a sense of accomplishment. At the end of the day, there’s something there to see.

Then, consider lifestyle. Over the past few decades, practically everything has become easily and readily available at the local grocery store. So how many of today’s homeowners have ever had to actually grow anything in order to feed their families? Aside from simple seed sprouting experiments in elementary school science class, I’d venture a guess to say many post boomers never had the experience of planting something and watching it grow to harvest. Some of us remember planting a garden in our backyard as children, but for many urban or blanket community dwellers, that experience never happened.

Gardening is, quite literally, a way to return to your roots, as well as a way to pass techniques down from generation to generation. One of my fondest memories in the garden center last year was when a set of grandparents came in with their grandkids and said, “I haven’t planted a garden in 20 years, but I am going to do it this year and I’m going to teach my grandkids how to garden too.”
In a world where parents are often too busy to take the time or don’t know how to pass those instructions along themselves, grandparents are a golden answer. What a simple, wonderful way to reconnect the family.

There are other factors spurring the resurgence in gardening, as well. Gardening offers a way to slow down in a life that sometimes moves at the speed of sound. You can’t plant at the speed at which you type on a keyboard. Hoeing, weeding and picking can only be done at a certain pace. And, along with the novelty of producing one’s own food, there is the rediscovery of how good fresh from-the-garden produce really tastes. I’ll take a homegrown tomato any day over the hard, tasteless hoodles the grocery store passes off as fresh.

Gardening may be the simple answer in an all too complex world. Think about the old man in your neighborhood when you were growing up who sat around watching his garden grow. Everyone understands the simplicity of planting a seed and watching it sprout. Even those of us that are technologically challenged understand that when you plant a seed, there are no buttons to push, no programs to learn, no incompatible printers to connect. Aside from the question of which fertilizer or pest control product to choose, gardening can be pretty simple and basic.

We did a focus group over the winter in our town and when we asked the simple question, “Why do you garden?” we were fairly surprised by the answers. “As a way to provide food,” was the very last answer given. “For the creative process… as therapy… to improve the landscape… because I’m eternally optimistic… it’s my obsession… as a way to reconnect with the earth… and for more color,” were some of the answers we heard. My favorite one, however, was, “because it’s the one constant in my life. The stock market is all over the place but gardening is one thing that never changes.” In a world where so much is out of our control, it’s one way to regain some semblance of order. And that’s something I believe many people are striving for once again.

So when you see the novice gardener wander into a store with that deer-in-the-headlights look this year, take a moment, remember the last time you tried something truly new, then talk–really talk–to them. You’ll make a friend for life.

Although some of the naysayers have predicted this gardening boom won’t last long once consumers figure out it takes a lot of work to have a great garden, the resurgence we are experiencing this year may turn out to last a little longer than we believe.

No matter what their motivation was to get into gardening, consumers are willing to try, and walking in our doors is a powerful first step. It’s a commitment–and for some non-commitment-type folks, that’s a huge step in their lives. Our challenge is to forget about sales for one brief moment and remember why we got into this industry in the first place. Then, take that reason, no matter what it is–because you love gardening, because you love retailing, because you like people–and make it infectious for your staff and customers.

Do I think that’s the magical answer? Of course not. But I do believe lots of people are craving a return to an easier time or way of life, and gardening might be one part of the answer that may last.

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “View: The Gardening Boom Of 2009

  1. While I live in Florida, Gail’s words ring just as true here as in Colorado. We all need something to help us survive the times ahead, and gardening does that.

    It’s multiple benefit: provides a secure food supply; gives peace to the soul with beauty; lets a person have a sense of accomplishment.

    I thank you, Gail, for providing words we needed, to help us think about “why”.

    Grits and Grunts,
    Palm Bay, FL

  2. Good article. As a retailer, take your eye off the money for a moment and find out why that potential customer walked into your business. You may rediscover why you do what you do.

  3. While I live in Florida, Gail’s words ring just as true here as in Colorado. We all need something to help us survive the times ahead, and gardening does that.

    It’s multiple benefit: provides a secure food supply; gives peace to the soul with beauty; lets a person have a sense of accomplishment.

    I thank you, Gail, for providing words we needed, to help us think about “why”.

    Grits and Grunts,
    Palm Bay, FL

  4. Good article. As a retailer, take your eye off the money for a moment and find out why that potential customer walked into your business. You may rediscover why you do what you do.

More From Marketing...

April 1, 2015

Philadelphia Flower Show Draws More Than 250,000 Attendees With Disney Pixar Movie Theme

With more than 250,000 consumers attending the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show in March each year, it's a great opportunity to get flowers and gardening products into the public eye. This year's show displays took on family favorites at the movies, with a focus on Disney and Pixar films. Check out some of the highlights in our slideshow.

Read More

April 1, 2015

Peace Tree Farms Grows Its Customer Base

Over the past five years, Peace Tree Farms in Kintnersville, Pa., has concentrated on growing its business by providing plant material for the displays at the illustrious Philadelphia Flower Show. We caught up with Peace Tree Farms’ Lloyd Traven to ask about how the Flower Show figures into his business plan.

Read More
protecting bees and pollinators video

March 31, 2015

New Video On Protecting Bees And Pollinators Educates Horticulture Industry Professionals

A new educational video that provides information on the horticultural industry’s essential role in bee and pollinator stewardship is one result of industry collaboration by the Horticultural Research Institute, AmericanHort, Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment. “Protecting Bees & Pollinators: What Horticulture Needs to Know,” narrates the current state of bee and pollinator health, provides information on factors that impact pollinators and the environment and underscores the beneficial role horticulture plays in providing healthy pollinator ecosystems.

Read More
Latest Stories
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Hor…

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
National Floriculture Forum 2015 029

March 18, 2015

2015 National Floriculture Forum Focuses On Marketing I…

The 2015 National Floriculture Forum, held March 6 to 7 in Minneapolis, Minn., zeroed in on the topic of marketing in horticulture and included visits to Gertens Greenhouses and Garden Center, Bailey Nurseries, Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and Tangletown Gardens. The annual meeting allows greenhouse and floriculture faculty, graduate students and industry partners to meet and share updates on current research, issues and initiatives.

Read More

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes and learn where changes are needed.

Read More
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More