Gardeners’ Expectations

I had a conversation a week ago with some friends and fellow Connecticut Horticulture Society Board Members about gardeners’ expectations.

The conversation began because our newsletter editor had been talking about ideas that one of her writers posed to her for an articles about why the size of the pots in nurseries was increasing and what that meant for the nursery growers.  It meant lower profits for growers but larger profits for retailers.

My take on the grower versus retailer conversation was entirely different.  I said that even six years ago when I was working retail, gardeners wanted large pots for instant color and I was sure, that with the proliferation of the DIY shows that show “instant garden” overnight that the trend was to buy huge pots of everything.

I recounted my days of retail when if we were lucky the customer came in on the Wednesday before a big party (and if we were unlucky it was the Friday before) and said, “I’m having a party on Saturday and I need color–I mean, color!” 

Now that customer wasn’t interested in 6-packs of annuals–or even 4″ pots for that matter.  Nor was she interested in anything she had to plant.  She wanted it done up for her and she wanted to tak it away right that minute!

And they DIY shows that show instant garden and instant landscape–the customer goes away for an after noon and comes back to a finished garden, often with a pond or fountain or other water feature, patio, gazebo, you name it–have only made the problem worse.  No one wants to sit and wait for a plant or shrub to grow–or grow up–they want when they want, when they want it, and when they want it is now!

Granted not everyone is like this.  I went plant shopping with a few friends and the 3 of us were buying the quart-sized perennials because we knew that soon enough they’d grow into big, beautiful plants.  And besides, the smaller a hole I have to dig in my rocky clay, the happier I am.  I know there are others like me or they wouldn’t be selling quart-sized perennials any more.

But for the most part, look around.  Notice all those large pots at the garden center.  And notice what’s in people’s carts–it is usually the bigger pots with the blooms on them.

Unless your party’s on Saturday, that’s not a wise buying strategy.  Let the plant bloom its fool head off in your garden–not in the pot!

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