I'll be heading to Louisville, Kentucky for the ANLA (American Nursery and LandscapeÂ Association) ClinicÂ this week. Haven't been to an association event in years, so this will be fun. It's a chance to meet in person many of the people I only know from the web. They want me to report on what happens, and enjoy the learning experience.The ANLA and other nursery organizations are looking out on the nursery "industry" and seeing great change and wondering what's next. I can't speak for the ANLA, but local chapters of nursery trade organizations have seen a drop off ofÂ interestÂ and attendance. Meanwhile it seems the gardening public has changed it's habits to the detriment of many garden centers and nurseries.So we find our trade in the midst of great change, without a clear outlook ahead. What worked in the past doesn't seem to work now. So what do we do? I'm not sure. The only thing I am sure of is there are a lot of other nursery people out there who feel the same way. A naturally optimistic group we are all sailing on a ship with no destination mapped in. We are literally building the destination as we speak.
What is the future of the nursery trade? There is a realÂ possibilityÂ that ourÂ businessesÂ will becomeÂ irrelevantÂ to the gardening public. Don't think so? Who, just a few years ago could imagine a time when bookstores would become a dying breed? Books will still be sold, but Amazon.com andÂ massÂ distributors like Walmart and Costco have just about run most independents, as well as places like Border's out of business. It could happen to the local nursery or garden center, too.
Most still want things to be the way they use to be. They wait for "the economy" to "turn around" and everything to be like it was before. Not so fast! Even when the economy does turn around there is something different in the air. Things likely won't be the way they we're before.Â FortunatelyÂ for our trade there are people who see what's happening and want to make a positive change. Some people at the ANLA areÂ forwardÂ thinking enough to take a chance on doing things different this time around. My job is to take part in the clinic and report on the happenings. They wouldn't have asked me to attend if they didn't want an honest reporting of the event. That's a huge thing. Being honest about what needs to be done,Â is exactly what our trade needs most right now. I'll give my review's of the events right here, and on myÂ Facebook page.Â