De-Emphasize Gardening?

Just read a report by Lawn and Garden Retailer on “The changing Face of a Maturing Industry.” They divide the report into segment for Retailers (Me), Growers and suppliers, and Landscape and Lawn Maintenance. The trends are shown and the best response for each of the professions given.

One of the trends listed is “The locally owned garden center must redefine its value proposition”. Another trend is “The product perception of locally owned garden centers is too narrow.” Listed in bullet fashion are the responses for action.

· De-emphasize gardening.

· Emphasize exterior home improvement.

· Adopt a more youthful and contemporary positioning to attract new customers.

· Emphasize product categories outside plant material.

· Emphasize convenience.

· Be at the forefront in promoting new and innovative products offered by suppliers.

While I can get behind most of these suggestions two are a little harder to embrace. Emphasize product categories outside plant material, and de-emphasize gardening.

Products outside of traditional plant categories are lawn furniture, outside grills, wine, clothing, and anything else inventive nursery people can come up with. There are garden centers that do well with these categories I suppose, but I worry about becoming too involved with categories outside my expertise. We do have a 500sq.ft. Gift shop, but most everything is garden oriented.

De-emphasizing gardening worries me more. I am afraid that with the push to appeal to the masses the joys of gardening are being ignored for the sake of “exterior home improvement”. With the declining home values I believe more and more people are looking to their homes as places to live as opposed to an “investment”. Gardening in and of itself is a therapeutic way to connect to the natural world. Perhaps instead of de-emphasizing gardening we should instead reinvigorate the idea of gardening as a way to keep active while changing your immediate surroundings for the better. Take action and change your world through gardening!