Here we sit at the dawn of a new gardening age. It must be so since The New York Times and other main stream media tell us it's so. Of course, we have been talking about this here and other blogs for years. They miss all the real goings on in the blogosphere, since the blogosphere is now more influential than they are, and they don't like to admit it. Let's remember how most of the gardening magazines we're telling us that DIFM (do it for me) was the wave of the future. Wrong! We we're also told that young people had no interest in gardening. Wrong! We have been told in the garden center trade to keep it simple and not confuse new gardeners with to much information. Wrong! People are dying for information on gardening, and don't want is sugar coated.
It snowed here yesterday, and this morning it was 27 degrees F. I wonder how those Bonnie tomatoes are doing at Home Depot in Placerville. I wonder if the people that planted them are staring at little brown plants this morning? They had a special the other day, Buy 3-4â€pots of color for $1. I wonder how those little marigolds and petunias are doing this morning? Of course it's buyer beware when it comes to the garden department at Home Depot. I have no problem with selling tomatoes now, as long as you provide people with the information they need to be successful. Our average last day of frost is the end of April, and tomatoes and other warm season vegetables always perform better when planted after Mothers Day. Oh well, what can a small garden center like us do except tell people we don't have tomatoes for sale until April. All last week we had people asking where our tomatoes where. Why? Because they see them for sale at places like Home Depot, where they are left on a rack, uncovered and exposed to the elements.
I believe that for a small garden center to be successful you have to gain the trust of the customer. I have to believe that some of the people we told last week about waiting to plant warm season vegetables now know why. Perhaps we have gained some trust on their part, and will be a regular source of information in the future. It takes time to gain the trust of the neighborhood. Sometimes years. We have been in business now for five years, and am just now starting to see the hard work paying off.
Â Gardening is the same way. It sometimes takes years for the results to manifest themselves. Gardening can be hard work, and time consuming. Do most people have the will power to keep at it? I doubt it. It doesn't help that the new gardener is confronted with businesses that purposefully sell plants out of season, just to make an extra buck or two. This is not about giving the customer the information they need, and then letting them decide. It's about selling plants out of season with no information about local climate conditions here in the mountains. It's about having no responsibility when the dead plants will just be returned to the grower for credit (pay at scan).
Â As gardening starts to become the â€œINâ€ thing, watch as the main stream media and various celebrities play catch up, and try to profit from the boom. There is one place that doesn't play catch up, and starts the trends we are seeing now. The Blogospehere. It's at garden blogs around the world that the foundation for the current interest in gardening continues to take root. It's real people, writing about real experiences that are making the difference. I really don't care to hear about Oprah, The White House Garden, or any other celebrity garden. Much more fun to hear from real people and their experiences. That's where the real action is.