Spring has arrived here in the mountains of Northern California. The Redbuds have just finished blooming and the native Ceanothus are in full bloom. Customers have returned, and many are anxious to get the garden going. Thank goodness for our trade and our communities that people have taken such an interest in food production. It's a lifeline for some business that had depended on "ornamental" (plants that cannot be consumed) sales in the past.
In my opinion the trend towards bringing food production closer to the end user will intensify. The time will come when even city dwellers will have the option to rent an apartment in a building that, as part of the rental agreement includes a supply of food grown in the building. We could see the roof utilized when the weather is appropriate, and when it's not a floor dedicated to the production of food under lights. Who will operate and grow this food? The next generation of horticulturist.
It's a fantastic time to be involved in horticulture. That may sound odd given the number of closing garden centers and suppliers. Make no doubt that the trade is in the throes of huge change. We know that change often occurs during times of social and economic upheaval when the only choice is to "change or die".
It's a trade that's made for the future, once we "in the trade" see that things have changed and doing business the way we learned may not work in this new environment. We must be open to new ideas, as well as new definitions of what it means to be a "gardener". I think the plant businesses that will flourish will be those who recognize this, and not be held back by what we "think" a garden center should be. The key is to look at the change going on around us, and use it as an opportunity for making things better.