How does one explain the intense emotions that this post stirred up? It's clear that when we broached the subject of horticultural companies using social media, it hit a nerve. That was the question I was asking. Is this particular strategy of using garden bloggers to get your message out a good one? What happened is it quickly turned into something else. Sort of a cathartic explosion of pent of feelings that had been simmering just below the surface. Wow! What passion! All those people who "just want to write about the garden and their gardening", apparently don't. They also have some very intense feelings about the direction that gardening, and garden media is taking.
Gardening is not a community of like minded individuals. Everyone has their own idea of what gardening is. "Gardening should be fun". We hear that often. Really? If your livelihood dependes on it is it still fun? Of course it would be nice if it was, but farming has always been a "tough row to hoe". As more and more people try to make a living from gardening, you'll naturally find different communities of people arising to meet and talk. Your community of gardeners may not agree with the other community of gardeners. Someone who depends on their crop to feed their family has a different set of priorities than some one who just wishes to dabble in the dirt. We need to drop the whole, "gardening should be fun" thing. If you want to have fun in the garden, that's great. If you want to make money from the garden, fine. It's up to you. But it's not always fun. It's a garden.
When you align yourself with one, two, or more horticultural corporations you can't say, "I just want to garden and write about it". Guess what? That company you just aligned yourself with is working against the best interests of someone else. One side or the other is not wrong or bad, unless your on the other side. The idea that you can support a corporation, and not expect someone from the other side to speak up is over. You might wish people who disagree with you would just hang out in their own "garden community". They don't. They like to get out and see what's going on in other communities.
I am a part of the "horticultural industry". Now that "industry" has fragmented into many different industries, each with it's own set of goals. I am aligned with the IGC (Independent Garden Center) industry, yet I think that side of the industry has it's own set of issues. There are some real crappy IGC's out there. That's why it's sometimes hard to say, "support you local indie garden center". Sometimes you can't. What I am trying to accomplish is more along the lines of "give your local indie a chance". You'll soon find out if they are worth your time. Our goal is to make sure at least people know we exist. After that it's up to each locally owned indie to do something remarkable for their customers. If it doesn't they will eventually be gone, customers first, then the store. You gave them a chance and that's all we could ask. There are some really cool indie garden centers and nurseries. I think the prospects for these types of places are very good. The prospects for the whole nursery industry is less certain. I think it's going to get a whole lot smaller, which likely is a good thing, in the long run. In the short run it's going to get very interesting. It's hard to turn away, and not watch.