Friday, October 31, 2008

Garden Gold

So, what gives with all the doom and gloom about garden retail sinking?
Over at Rant, Allan Armitage has posted his first contributing article - about the state of the retail plant industry.

Back in March, I blogged about (Gardening Decline) an article by Bonnie Blodgett: "This may come as news to you, but gardening is on the decline nationally. Quite a surprise to the soothsayers who were predicting just the opposite only five years ago."

Seriously, everywhere you look there are huge vibes of doom-n-gloom.
It's fear mongering, I say! (wow, that doesn't work as well without tone of voice)

Plants, and the people that buy them, aren't going anywhere. They'll simply change their buying tactics and habits.
It'll be seeds instead of transplants, the big box instead of the local nursery (unfortunately), waiting for those sales to hit, practicing patience by buying smaller sized perennials instead of the larger, more expensive, already blooming sizes and passing over annuals they would normally buy as well as replacing them with veg instead.

Personally, I think gardening is going to take a swing upwards. In a big way.
Here's a case in point: Swayed By A Shopping Trip?
And another (ABC news video): Back (And Front) Yard Gardeners

People are simply sick of it all.

Unless you're shopping at the big box, or find a freaky-deaky sale at the local nursery, most of these newer plants are out of reach for the ordinary gardener.
Times have turned from drooling over a plant pic and pushing the buy button because it's 'wanted', to thinking 'can I really afford it' before pushing that button. The times of people wandering the aisles of the local nursery and throwing plants in the cart willy-nilly, without a thought for the cost, are just about gone.

Maybe impulse buying is dying, but that urge to grow things will never go away - it will just get finagled into better and cheaper ways to get what they want.
And there will be more of them. Much more. Think 'Victory Garden'.

I think nurseries are going to have to start ramping up on the veg side and down on the inventory of those silly plants. (Silly is my interpretation of those fussy, trussy, frilly, expensive, water-hog, good for nothing but being eye-candy plants. Of which there are many even I love!)

Seriously, who wants to fill a backyard full of plants that look great but serve no useful purpose if they have a limited budget? They'll be ripping up lawns and buying vegetable transplants. Really.

It's not so much that the buyers are going away, but that the plant business needs to change their tactics around to suit the new ways buyers are thinking. It's not the instant gratification that will get the business anymore, but will be much more about 'what can this plant do for me'.

I see new gardeners popping up everywhere that wonder how they can get what they want on a very tight budget. They've been fed this useless dream of a Martha Stewart vision, or that instant 30 minute makeover TV, that just doesn't work.

That's right - these aren't reality, people! They may be some warped version of reality TV, but ninety-nine percent of what you're seeing in magazines and on TV are no more than an unattainable dream for people with ordinary incomes (I wonder if Joe six-pack gardens? lol). Seriously, they should name these shows and articles "How deep are your pockets?".
In times like these, you can't demand prices that the market won't bear.

So, put your seat belts on, it's definitely going to be a bumpy ride. But the car? - it ain't gonna crash! Who's going to survive this ride? The sellers and nurseries that 'Get It'. They need to make people fall in love all over again with doing it themselves, and helping them do it. There's garden gold in them-thar hills, the retailers just need to find it.
Good luck with that . . .

No comments: