The garden industry blogs!

Greenhouse Grower magazine is now hosting several blogs about the horticulture industry. Right on, y’all! Welcome to the blogosphere! I’m thrilled to hear growers talking. Your customers are talking too–are you listening?

Now, a few quick blog tips:

1. Allow comments. Come on, let’s chat! It’s sort of a basic blog concept that people will read your posts and comment on them. Well, that’s OK–I’ll just comment here.

2. Use hyperlinks to link to the websites you talk about, rather than spelling out the address on screen. See that little button with a picture of the world and a chain link? That’s so you can insert a hyperlink. Linking to other sites and blogs is also a really great part of blogging. Just a tip.

3. Site feeds, blogroll…oh, never mind. This is really a great start.

What you guys are doing right is that you are TALKING about your business in a really interesting and uncensored way! Now, that’s what blogs are all about, baby! From the Greenhouse Grower blog on the annual Pack Trials, (that’s where they see all the new plants of the season) we learn about:

Gardening for Dummies at Wal-Mart.

That’s right. You can get your very own Dummy plants at America’s favorite big box retailer.

There is so much wrong with this, starting with the notion that anybody would get excited about gardening by buying a plant designed for Dummies, but will I let this news discourage me? Will I sit in the corner and rock back and forth all day? No. I’ll read bravely on. First we learn that:

“This Wal-Mart is just six months old, has a supermarket and a place for family haircuts, along with McDonald’s. But the difference is you can now order your burgers in the checkout line at Wal-Mart and walk over and pick them up.”

Oh, that dark little quiet corner is looking so attractive right now, but no, I must keep going. We learn that ” I was disappointed to see the products displayed like the rest of plants in the store…Marigolds were in the plastic terracotta colored ones and impatiens were in the gray ones for shade. The garden center was tidy and well-maintained…Product was fresh. But I still feel Wal-Mart missed an opportunity to really differentiate with this exclusive program.”

Well, I don’t think Wal-Mart’s missing much. Y’all keep selling dummy plants and Big Macs, and I’ll go crawl under my desk.

And this about a new electric blue viola: “I will confess that when I saw ‘Blueberry Thrill,’ I screamed like a groupie because I was so taken by surprise. Kind of silly, but this is how female consumers react to cool plants. “

Yeah, those silly female customers! You’re all silly girls! Try to contain yourselves, will you?

And a big HIGH FIVE to Laurie Scullin’s Rants & Raves. Hey, anybody who wants to rant and rave about the horticulture industry is all right by me. Scullin weighs in on the debate over whether the industry is growing or shrinking (see, we talk about whether gardening is on the decline as an activity, and the industry talks about whether it’s shrinking as a business) and he points out that most data comes from surveys, which could have all kinds of flaws, but draws this conclusion:

“All this makes my head hurt – and while I remain skeptical that it’s as gloomy as some pundits suggest – we are all faced with a market at least in flux – and at worst shrinking a bunch. SO – I think the answer to this ponder is:

1) Look again at your product offering – do you have products and services that fit for today – not 1980’s – but 2006.

2) CAN you turn a shifting population into cash? – What product/service do you have for aging boomers? How about the growing Hispanic market with their different color pallet and holidays? What about the Gen X and Y kids and their different lifestyle needs?

3) Are we selling plants or decorator products (running debate with many) – and if we are selling decorator products are we staying up on those trends? “

Ah, those Latinos and their pallets. That’s OK–the spell-checker can’t do everything.

Anyway, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that growers and industry insiders are talking about this stuff online! And Laurie, if you want the opinion of this Gen-Xer–pleeeeze don’t sell me a Decorator Product, and don’t come near me with that Gardening for Dummies shit.

Sell me a plant, that fascinating, gorgeous, ever-changing, mysterious object of lust. Sell me dozens of them. I can’t resist them. I’m ready to buy–what have you got for sale?