Check out this post from Amy Stewart at her blog Dirt: The garden industry blogs! Some interesting insights on blogs by greenhouse growers, and the Gardening for Dummies at Wal Mart.
I guess worrying about demographics, and the so called shrinking market share that gardening is suffering is the job for the big growers and marketers. I find we are as busy as ever, with both young and old enjoying the garden. When your business involves shareholders, and the need for constant growth, you worry about those things. We would love to have ever increasing sales, every year, but the weather and other factors sometimes put a crimp in things.
This is not a job for get rich quick thinking. You have to believe that what you are doing is worthwhile, and have the ability to stay positive, even as it rains on your parade.
So far the few industry blogs I have seen seem to be a little less interesting than I would like. They almost seem like slick advertising. Yes it is nice to see the growers talking, but where is the back and forth form readers? Amy is right, allow comments.
Wal Mart is just like Home Depot or any where else where plants are commodities and the goal is to push material out the door. This is a great thing for the small, independent garden center. It allows us to provide what is so lacking in the chain stores, the ability to express your individuality. If you want your garden to look just like the one next door, then Wal Mart and The Depot are just for you. I get a sense of bland uniformity in these stores. It's the same felling I get when I drive through some of the new subdivisions that are sprouting up around the greater Sacramento Region. The front yards look the same, grass, a tree, and some common shrubs planted around. In a word, bland. No originality. That's what you get when "The Corporate Office" decides what will be sold in their stores. Bougainvillea for the foothills? Of course, The Corporate Office bought how many gazillions of them and by goodness you will sell them. Does it mater that they won't make it through the winter here? Is there a sign placed by the plant that mentions they might make a wonderful annual, but don't count on them as the privacy vine you wanted? Of course not. This is gardening for dummies, and if the plant fails you must have done something wrong. Just dig it up, bring it to them, and they will replace it for you. No one to tell you that you should try a hardier vine more appropriate for our region, or discuss how to prevent future problems.
If you want to be successful as a garden center owner just supply what the customer is not getting at the chains. Information on local gardening conditions, superior quality and a wider selection of interesting plants, as well as service. This means loading the bags in the back of the car for the customer or delivering them. You won't here us say "this is not my department" and then walk away.
Well, now that I got that out of my system its time to open the gates for what looks like a beautiful Mothers Day weekend. Let's thank Mom this Sunday for not raising any "dummies".