Here is some good news for independent garden centers. According to the folks at Open Register the Garden Writers Association , who conduct garden surveys during the year have a new survey which reports, â€œfor the first time in years, more consumers say they plan to shop at garden centers (47%) than mass merchants. Further, according to Open Register â€œThis hasnâ€™t been a neck and neck race. A mere 39% of consumers planned to shop at garden centers in 2006, compared to 52% wanting to shop at mass merchants. The split was similar in 2005, at 40% to 51%. So this yearâ€™s turn around is a major shift.â€
Whether this benefits a local garden center will ultimately be up to the store and how well run it is. If the store does not offer a better experience than a chain store this study wonâ€™t mean much. It is encouraging to see the shift in consumer sentiments however. It appears that quality is one of the main reasons sited for the shift.
We are quickly shifting to spring mode here. Temps today in the high 70â€™s and 70â€™s for the rest of the week, at least. Compared to last year when we had 4â€ of snow on the ground itâ€™s quite a turnaround. While cold weather might still come, â€œit always snows on the dogwood blossomsâ€ this nice weather and encouraging report is just what nurserypeople in northern California have been waiting to hear.
The picture above is of an old Western Redbud in front of The Vineyard House in Coloma.