Michele is concerned about how the slowing economy is going to affect her gardening budget. We in the garden center business are also concerned. We know when money is tight, or it seems tight that the first place we cut back on is what we consider extras. These non-essentials of course vary from one person to another. While I might think of the garden as an essential, others consider it a luxury. Now is the time for people to make some choices. What is worthy of spending your hard earned money on, and what really isn't. Should you buy and plant those cherry trees, or put gas in the fuel tank. Should you spend more time in the garden, sunshine, and fresh air, or is it time to hunker down in the house reading the latest depressing economic news.

Choice about how to spend you money and time are even more important during economic down times. Yea, the housing market is down. That house you we're going to “flip” and make a bundle on is now what it should have been thought of as all along, a home. It's time to put some thought into our gardens, and design ones that bring joy and nourishment, rather than just heighten “curb appeal”. Get rid of the front lawn and put it in the back, where the kids can actually play on it. Turn the front yard into the envy of the neighborhood. I remember just having moved out of my parents house into a duplex with a small front yard. My room mate and I turned it into a vegetable garden. We had lots of fun hanging out there talking to people walking by. We need more of that stuff.

Time to learn how to grow you own vegetables. Not because it's cheaper than buying them at the store, it's not! It's because growing your own food brings you closer to the essence of life. Invite the neighbors over for a dinner party held in the garden, using food that you have grown in that very garden. Fruit trees, berries, and vegetables can be incorporated into almost any garden plan.

I think this will be the “trendy” thing coming down the garden pipeline. To entertain, have fun, and serve the freshest food, all the while living the “good” life in our own yards will be where it's at. The ability to enjoy life and spread that joy to our friends and family during the good and rough times is the true measure of success.