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,
    Priscilla
    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,
    Priscilla
    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...
Petal-it-Forward

October 3, 2017

October 11 is Your Chance to Petal it Forward

The Society of American Florists’ “Petal it Forward” campaign returns in 2017. Learn how you can participate in this day of spreading kindness through flowers.

Read More
Micandy Gardens Team

September 17, 2017

4 Ways Micandy Gardens Greenhouses Reaches Out to Millennials

Micandy leverages social media to get the word out about its products and spread the word about how flowers can make a difference in people’s lives.

Read More
Costa Farms Exotic Angel Idea Book

September 12, 2017

Costa Farms’ New Lookbook Offers Consumers Ideas on Best Plants for the Home

The new “Bring Your Home to Life” lookbook is a curated collection of more than 300 unique plant varieties best suited to grow in homes and offices.

Read More
Latest Stories
Petal-it-Forward

October 3, 2017

October 11 is Your Chance to Petal it Forward

The Society of American Florists’ “Petal it Forward” campaign returns in 2017. Learn how you can participate in this day of spreading kindness through flowers.

Read More
Micandy Gardens Team

September 17, 2017

4 Ways Micandy Gardens Greenhouses Reaches Out to Mill…

Micandy leverages social media to get the word out about its products and spread the word about how flowers can make a difference in people’s lives.

Read More
Costa Farms Exotic Angel Idea Book

September 12, 2017

Costa Farms’ New Lookbook Offers Consumers Ideas on Bes…

The new “Bring Your Home to Life” lookbook is a curated collection of more than 300 unique plant varieties best suited to grow in homes and offices.

Read More
Certified American Grown Flowers

September 5, 2017

Certified American Grown Flowers Names New Third-Party …

The organization’s new partnership with Where Food Comes From Inc., an agriculture-focused certification company with more than 20 years of experience, will be launched via video conference on September 14.

Read More
Container Gardening

September 5, 2017

14 Consumer Gardening Trends That Have Stood the Test o…

In early September, the Garden Media Group will unveil its 2018 Garden Trends report. To whet your appetite, here’s a look back at several trends that remain relevant today.

Read More

August 29, 2017

Know Your Grower: New Platform Brings Consumer Transpar…

The new Follow Your Flower or Plant vignette from MPS allows consumers to learn all about the producers of the plants and flowers they see at retail, and how sustainably their products are grown.

Read More
green-plan-it-gardening-outdoor-nature-explore-classroom

August 29, 2017

First-Of-Its-Kind Federal Grant Designed to Stimulate C…

The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture has received a USDA grant to help develop strategies and tactics to grow the practice of gardening 20% by 2025.

Read More
Luxfloraflowerrun17

July 20, 2017

Luxflora Attracted Even More Participation to its Secon…

More than 170 runners kicked off Cultivate'16 on Sunday, July 16, with Luxflora's second annual 5k race. It was a great way to start the week, participants said.

Read More
National Garden Bureau 2018 Year of the Calibrachoa

July 15, 2017

National Garden Bureau Announces Featured Plants for it…

Plant classes recognized include bulb crops (tulip), annuals (calibrachoa), vegetables/edibles (beet), and perennials (coreopsis).

Read More
cut flower arrangement

July 5, 2017

Congress Designates July as American Grown Flowers Mont…

Last week, Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating July as “American Grown Flowers Month.” Co-sponsored by Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (WA-03), Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), Rep. Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Rep. Don Young (AK-1), Rep. Jared Huffman (CA-02), and Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49), House Resolution 413 declares July as the month to celebrate the economic and cultural impact of America’s cut flower and greens farmers and demonstrate Congress’ commitment to support America’s flower farming families. Congressman Carbajal spoke from the House Floor, introducing the legislation and encouraging fellow members of Congress to support American Grown Flowers Month. “I have seen firsthand the value the grown flower industry adds to our economy and communities during my visits with our Central Coast growers,” said Rep. Carbajal. “California produces three quarters of all cut flowers grown in the United States. I am committed to recognizing their contribution […]

Read More
PlantHaven Team 2017

July 2, 2017

PlantHaven Wins Medal of Excellence Award for Marketing

After 20 years of making the world a more vibrant, colorful place, PlantHaven wins Greenhouse Grower’s Medal of Excellence Award for Marketing for its groundbreaking ability to connect breeders, growers, and consumers through personable advertising campaigns.

Read More

June 1, 2017

Reimagining a Brand: How Did We Do With Greenhouse Grow…

Changing the design and content strategy of a brand isn't easy, but we think the new Greenhouse Grower will help carry our innovative industry forward and allow us to better serve your information needs.

Read More
NICH Plants Do That infographic feature

April 11, 2017

New Infographic Highlights Economic Impact of Plants

A new report from the National Institute for Consumer Horticulture shows how horticulture positively affects people’s lives wherever they live, work, shop, and play.

Read More
National Garden Bureau New Website

March 22, 2017

National Garden Bureau’s New Website Features Mobile-Fr…

The new site is designed to serve as a home base to drive traffic from NGB’s social media community to one central location.

Read More

March 7, 2017

Local Florists Celebrate Women’s Day and SAF Prom…

Florists across the U.S. are celebrating International Women's Day, March 8, and raising awareness for non-profit organizations. The Society of American Florists is raising its own awareness of what happens when women receive flowers with a new video for International Women's Day.

Read More
Savor New Website

February 16, 2017

Pleasant View Launches Updated Website for its Savor Ed…

The site is designed to offer a friendly and informative vehicle that delivers product information in an easy-to-navigate format.

Read More

January 24, 2017

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. to Take Over Marketing Sunny Ost…

Beekenkamp Plants B.V. will take over Sunny Holland B.V.'s marketing activities as of July 1, 2017, and begin offering Sunny Osteospermum to the supply chain.

Read More
gg-january-2017-cover-arizonaeast-feature

January 5, 2017

Why ArizonaEast Is Expanding Its Succulent Production T…

In Greenhouse Grower's January cover story, learn how Brian and Joe Vitale of ArizonaEast saw a chance to expand and diversify their New Jersey-based succulent operation, and why they jumped at the opportunity.

Read More