The nurseryperson as entertainer

Hanna at This Garden is Illegal says “I know why gardening shows fail”. She compares the popular cooking shows to the not as popular garden shows. This isn't the first time this stuff has been talked about in the blogosphere. We have all asked why most garden shows don't hold a candle to the popular cooking shows. Hanna nails it when she says, “Gardening should be fun but most of the time… on the TV… it just looks like work. Who wants to watch that?” I found this post interesting since we have been talking about having fun at the nursery.

When Emeril Lagasse's show was first conceived and someone said, “why don't you have a live band in the kitchen” people would have thought the idea CRAZY! Yet the band is a big part of the show now. Its taken the time between dishes and turned it into a party. The whole show is a party! Audience members are given food and wine to nibble on while Emeril entertains. Notice I say entertains, not cooks. Sure Emeril is a chef, but he's really an entertainer.

When I fill out an application and it asks “occupation” I usually either write “nurseryperson” or “business owner”. Maybe next time I'll write “entertainer”. That will get some attention! When I think about what the most important thing I do at work its entertaining people. Every store needs to have people who can “entertain”. Sure we sell plants, water plants, and do all sorts of gardening activities, but the area where we make our money is in the entertaining of our guests. They have taken the time to enter our world and we need to make sure that visit is “entertaining”. Entertaining does not mean having to be “on” all the time, its more about being aware of the “vibe” your business has and being able to enhance the positives to the benefit of the our guests.

Our business, like gourmet cooking is a luxury that people choose to enjoy, not because they have to. There was a time when the knowledge of how to garden was a life or death concern. Didn't grow enough root crops to make it through winter? The family might go hungry. Not anymore.

We need to show people that gardening is not a “serious” business. Its the exact opposite, or should be. It should be the antidote for a world that tends to see everything as “serious”. Experimentation should be encouraged, and a sense of playfulness maintained. The impression that our customers have of us should be anything but serious. I generally don't like hanging with serious people unless the situation calls for it. Gardening shouldn't.