Listening To Gardeners On Pinterest

Trash can container on Pinterest
Pinterest users are interested in container gardening — and not just in traditional pottery.

Photography and social media go hand in hand these days. Not only are photo-based sites like Pinterest and Instagram the fastest growing, but the traditional social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are increasing their focus on photographs.

Thankfully, photography and floriculture also go hand in hand. But marketers aren’t the only ones using the beauty of floriculture to color their social media accounts. Every day, consumers share their likes, dislikes and questions through photo sharing sites like Pinterest. I did an analysis of 371 pins in Pinterest’s gardening category to determine if our perceptions of gardeners meet their aspirations. What do their pins tell us? Here’s what I found.

Of the 371 pins, 15.4 percent were wide-angle photos of gardens and landscapes, showing what many people may think of as a typical garden. One that requires digging and sweating.

Another 14 percent of the images were closeups or specimen images of ornamental plants. Although many photos go viral on Pinterest, and some even become recognizable as popular on Pinterest, the variety of different plants and flowers pinned was amazing.

Roses and peonies were the most popular plants in these photos, followed by tulips. This seems to reflect the popularity of the use of Pinterest for wedding planning. From there, there were sunflowers, magnolias, lilies, hostas, hydrangeas, orchids, campanulas and many more.

So landscapes and beauty shots of ornamentals accounted for 30 percent of the gardening pictures on Pinterest. What else is there?

Landscapes Versus Containers. Accounting for 16 percent of images, container gardens were seen in 62 of 371 images. Pinners are interested in using all kinds of objects as containers: self-watering planters made from old two-liter soda bottles, whiskey barrels, metal garbage cans, recycled tires and PVC pipes.

Vegetables, But Not Just Tomatoes. Of the 41 pictures of vegetables I found, how many would you guess were tomatoes? Thirty? In fact, there were just a handful of tomatoes among a huge assortment of other vegetables and edibles: Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, ginger, potatoes, strawberries, herbs, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, raspberries and asparagus. Pinterest gardeners are looking for a challenge when it comes to edibles gardening.

When it comes to the numbers, the photos also fell into a few other categories: garden art (38 photos), outdoor rooms (16), succulents (10), water features (9), growing structures (8) and raised beds (7).

The How-To Advice Behind The Pins

Overarching all these categories was one defining theme. Many of the pins I saw shared advice on gardening. Photos linked to articles on how to:

• Kill weeds with a recipe of vinegar, liquid soap and salt

• Build a classy garden bench

• Set up a square foot garden

• Get rid of aphids

Overall, I found 47 examples of how-to articles, which pinners saved for future reference or shared to help out their followers with gardening projects.

This statistic tells me several things: There are many people out there on Pinterest who are looking for information and inspiration on how to become gardeners, whether it’s in a big garden, a small one or an edible one.

There are also a lot of people who look for great content and like to share it to become authorities among their social sphere. My computer was having a hard time pulling up all the collections of photos users created called, “Garden How To,” and I stopped counting at 800.

So an extremely effective one-two punch for Pinterest is beautiful photography plus great content. The article behind a pin could be the greatest gardening information ever, but without a fantastic photo, it won’t make the cut on Pinterest.

This analysis took place in mid-January. The results are sure to be much different this spring. If you get a chance this April or May, head over to Pinterest.com/all/gardening to see what garden trends you can pick out direct from the Pinterest boards of consumers. And while you’re there, what can you share?

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