About a year ago, I signed up to receive a trade industry publication called GARDENCHIC inspired retailing for independents. I did so in order to have another tool I could use that might provide me with a few ideas for future columns and blog posts. This is one of those times.
On Page 3 (“You Can Be GARDENCHIC”) of the March, 2009 issue, I read the following (“Solutions, Solutions”): “Today’s young gardener wants ready-made solutions, and it’s your job to deliver them.” An image of fast food joint drive-thru gardening immediately came to mind. That rather odd image (picture a McGarden’s center with large green vining arches on the roof) was made even more bold when I continued reading: “Think of it as the Rachael Ray style of gardening. Ingredients 1-2-3, here’s the sheet of directions. Get out your credit card, and pow – you’re out of here!”
At the McGarden’s drive-thru, there’s a large menu where you can order Double Deluxe Dahlias, Zany Zesty Zinnias, and there’d be things besides plants: Six-Pax-Pots, GroMaculous MilkShake, you get the idea. What are we coming to folks? Or perhaps the question is what have we bred into our kids?
In one section of the trade publication – “Garden Chic Life: Adventures in IGC Entrepreneurial Retailing,” Dave Bosco, Vice President of Bosco’s Garden Center in Vermont, is profiled. Mr. Bosco said in the piece, “If you’re not on the ball and coming up with new ideas and new products, customers get bored. They want something new.” If new means fast food gardening at McGarden’s, then I’m opting out.
The author goes on to say, “They [Generation X and Y homeowners] come in with their iPhones loaded with photos of their yards, along with measurements, and the staff lays it all out, suggesting what to plant where.” Mr. Bosco reiterates this when he says, “They don’t want to trim it, they don’t really want to take care of it – they just want to be able to enjoy it.”
I suppose all of this ties in with the declining do-it-yourself crowd – what’s emerging now is a you-do-it-for-me populace. Which, when you come to think about it, is conducive to capitalism. I wonder if I can get a small business loan for my McGarden’s idea?
Lastly, and in a slight nod of approval for GARDENCHIC, they have good writers that offer advice to regular gardeners like you and me. Amy Stewart did a very informative article about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which is what Penn State Master Gardeners are required to suggest to consumers when asked about pesticide use. Maureen Gilmore wrote a piece on using native plants that is worthy of any major gardening publication (and we all should use more native plants). So, even though GARDENCHIC is geared toward young, sexy, independent retail garden center owners and seems to ignore those owned by my generation, their staff would be welcome at my McGarden’s.
And now for your listening pleasure, a recent practice session at Phil’s Woodshed, featuring The Doghouse Three.