Allan Armitage: Why Simplicity Rules for Younger Homeowners

Mother and Daughter gardeningI had an interesting conversation recently with Jeff Beasley. He and his wife Lisa owned and operated Transplant Nursery in Lavonia, GA, one of the finest woody plant nurseries in the land. Jeff has been in the business for many years, but I soon discovered he has other interests besides watching plants grow.

Jeff told me his hobby has always been construction, and he builds high-quality spec houses in his fast-growing community. My wife Susan and I had just been talking about what people were looking for in new homes, so this was a timely conversation, if somewhat out of the blue.

I said, “I bet people are looking for single-level homes with big kitchens.”

“Not even close,” he replied. “All anyone wants are multi-level homes with an outsized television room, large bathrooms, some useable bedrooms, and walk-in closets. No one asks about the kitchen; heck, nobody cooks anymore.”

I replied, “Wow, that is not what I see on HGTV. Those couples are always looking to add on to the kitchen and want the shiniest stainless-steel appliances on the market. They are always going outside and checking the garden space, as well.”

Jeff continued, “The landscape/garden is also far down on homeowner’s lists. We are dealing with young people looking for starter homes. They want comfort, practical cost, and no maintenance.”

Gardeners Want Things Uncomplicated

I thought about this the next few days and realized there are a number of similarities in our business to the comments Jeff made.

Most starter gardeners are not looking for a kitchen; that is, they don’t want to buy the ingredients to make a combination planter or basket. They want the pre-cooked meal — no muss, no fuss.

Most starter gardeners treat their deck as a walk-in closet where they can place their containers and hang their baskets. The deck is also the extension of their television room. In many cases, it is their summer sports bar, barbeque shack, and television room.

The garden is simply an extension of the house, as a place with practical, low-maintenance plants. Turf is always the first plant of choice, with a few low-maintenance shrubs in the front and back, all of which the builder has installed.

Simplicity Caters to Need

That is our challenge. We need to be credible, not only to the Master Gardener crowd, but also to the 40-somethings who are seeing the light beyond the laundry and soccer games. And equally important, if not more so, we must cater to Jeff’s clientele, who just want simplicity.
• The first group wants solution plants, for deer, low maintenance, and pollinators. They still love trying the new and different and are our biggest fans.
• The second group wants to try everything. They are excited about new plants, but are still a little frightened of the garden thing. However, they, too, want to be part of the green movement and pollinator discussions.
• Jeff’s group wants ready-made beauty and plants, requiring nothing more than a lawn mower and occasional trimming.

I believe this has always been our challenge. However, my kitchen discussion with Jeff opened my eyes once again.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

More From Armitage On Plants...

November 20, 2017

2017 Colorado State University Field Trial Results

Check out the 2017 field trial results for Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.

Read More

November 19, 2017

2017 Green Leaf Plants Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trials results for Green Leaf Plants in Lancaster, PA.

Read More

November 18, 2017

2017 Cornell University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2017 field trials results for Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

Read More
Latest Stories
Allan Armitage San Marzano tomato plant feature

October 26, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why Simplicity Rules for Younger Homeow…

Most starter gardeners are not looking to buy the ingredients to make a combination planter or basket. They want it made for them — no muss, no fuss.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

October 2, 2017

Hear Classic Plant Stories From Allan Armitage in an Up…

Greenhouse Grower’s resident Contributing Editor and “Dr. A. Unchained” scribe Allan Armitage will be the guest speaker on gardening author and speaker Kerry Ann Mendez’s national gardening Webinar series.

Read More
Armitage GWA Buffalo Tour 5

September 21, 2017

Tour of Buffalo Gardens Reveals Hidden Gems And Communi…

This past August, Allan Armitage joined the Association for Garden Communicators on a tour of Buffalo. It was a reminder that that we can make a difference in neighborhoods, in cities, and in people’s lives.

Read More
Bidens Popstar (Kientzler)

August 31, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why I’ve Become a Fan of Bidens

The rather boring plant with mundane daisy-yellow flowers has morphed into a vigorous plant carrying colorful flowers that seems to be comfortable in most of the country.

Read More
Van Wilgens Garden Center Customer Appreciation Day

July 26, 2017

Allan Armitage: How Interacting With Your Customers Can…

Plants are our common denominator, but trust and positive interaction with our customers and each other is truly what keeps us in the plant business.

Read More
Allan Armitage Citizenship

June 26, 2017

Allan Armitage Describes His Path to Citizenship

In between offering his take on new varieties and gardening trends, Allan Armitage and his wife Susan recently became proud citizens of the U.S.

Read More
Tyler Beasley and Allan Armitage

May 25, 2017

Allan Armitage: Two Great Examples of Young People Movi…

In his latest column, Allan Armitage says perhaps we should, as an industry, extend our hands to our youngest members. We might be pleasantly surprised what happens.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

May 2, 2017

Allan Armitage: How Growers Can Be Creative to Take Gar…

Our industry does a good job of making things convenient for our customers. It’s time to take it a step further.

Read More

April 5, 2017

Dr. A’s Day Four Top Varieties for CAST 2017

Check out Dr. Allan Armitage's top five picks from visits to Dummen Orange, Chisan Orchids, and Windmill Nursery during day four of California Spring Trials 2017.

Read More

April 4, 2017

Dr. A’s Day Three Picks for CAST 2017

Take a look at Dr. Allan Armitage’s top five favorites from the American Takii, Sakata, and Floricultura stops during the 2017 California Spring Trials.

Read More

April 3, 2017

CAST 2017, Day 2: Dr A’s Eye Catchers

Today I wanted to share some exciting programs that were on display on Day 2 at CAST. There are always new plants to chat up, which I will do tomorrow, but here are a few interesting lineups to think about.

Read More

April 2, 2017

CAST 2017: Dr. A’s Top 5 Picks From Danziger, Syngenta …

On day one of California Spring Trials 2017, Dr. Allan Armitage reveals the five plants that most caught his attention.

Read More
Allan Armitage Of Naked Ladies and Forget Me Nots

March 28, 2017

New Book From Allan Armitage Features Stories of Plant …

“Of Naked Ladies and Forget-Me-Nots” offers Allan’s recollections of the origins of unique plant names, as well as how many plants factored into historical events.

Read More
Bee on Lavender feature

March 23, 2017

Allan Armitage: Plant Consumers Don’t Talk About …

Allan Armitage says it's time to get in touch with our true audience and market plant solutions, not plant products.

Read More
Butterfly on a Pollinator Plant Feature

March 7, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why You Should Focus on the Functionali…

New crops are great, but Armitage says selling plants by function makes more sense.

Read More
Allan Armitage San Marzano tomato plant feature

January 25, 2017

Allan Armitage Describes Veggies, Shade Plants, and Cli…

Here's a look at plants that could help you with successful growing in 2017.

Read More

December 30, 2016

Allan Armitage: Plants That Can Bring Success in the Ne…

Are you wondering which plants to grow? Here are some perennials, annuals, and herbs that are gaining popularity.

Read More

November 23, 2016

Allan Armitage: Relax, There Are More Plant Enthusiasts…

When times get tough, we would do well to remember that there are people of all types still interested in plants.

Read More