scottsDear readers, I went through my in-box and discovered some delicious hate-reading!  Ready? First, from somehow actually hired by Scotts Miracle-Gro to promote them, pasted below with commentary in brackets.

Hi Susan, I’m reaching out on behalf of Scotts Miracle Grow [SIC!] to see if you have 30 minutes to meet with Scotts Miracle-Gro representatives on Nov. 18-19 to talk about some new product offerings for 2015. We will be in New York [sure, because I’m only 200 miles from there] and would love to share three new products in the lawn and garden field that will be available nationwide beginning January: [and sure, I’ll take the time because garden bloggers are so handsomely compensated for sitting through marketing spiels.]

–          [name deleted so as not to promote it] – this new product line was created as an answer to the growing interest in edible and organic gardening.  All products are OMRI certified so we can help consumers enjoy the garden to table lifestyle.

–          [name deleted, ditto] – This new line of ready-to-plant seed pods includes everything needed to start a delicious garden – and are guaranteed to grow! [They] are also great for those with a lack of outdoor spaces – i.e. New Yorkers! [I’m not a seed-pot user but what are the chances those claims aren’t total BS?]

–          [deleted] — The new patented technology of [this product] automatically mixes the right amount of nutrients for feeding – using any watering device – and acts as a reminder for users to feed their lawns and plants. [Great.  Because we all know the same amount of fertilizer is right for every plant and every situation.  Thanks for doing the thinking for us, Scotts!]

That’s all especially funny to me since I’ve bashed the company, its products, its president and its “sustainability officer,” repeatedly on this blog.  Here’s my summary of the case against Scotts Miracle-Gro, where I first used the photo above and used again here to remind us that Scotts was found to have knowingly sold poisonous bird food.

Last week I got another email, this time from Scotts’ own “digital marketing manager,” though sent to me by someone else, a photo researcher.

Since 1982, The Ortho Problem Solver from Scotts Miracle-Gro has been one of the most trusted references for gardening enthusiasts and professionals. With over 2,500 photos of insects, pests, animals, diseases, plants, hosts, and weeds, it is a comprehensive and easy to use resource that helps gardeners:

1) Diagnose lawn and garden problems correctly;

2) Understand what is causing the problem; and

3) Find the right solution for the problem.

We would like to expand our use of and access to the Problem Solver content and we would be honored to have your photo (old link) be a part of our expansion plans.  In addition to continuing to expand the content within the Problem Solver tool, we intend to expand thyme damagedistribution of the content through the internet and through various applications such as mobile apps and future developed technology, and to use the content in other ways to support Scotts Miracle-Gro’s business activities.  In addition, we are partnering with our retailers to build lawn and garden tools of their own using these resources. In conjunction with these initiatives, we would like to request permission to use your image in connection with Scotts Miracle-Gro’s business plans outlined in this letter, including the development of retailer lawn and garden tools.

No, I don’t want you to use my photo – of diseased-looking thyme – but two points about the photo request.  Good that you asked for permission but seriously, you can’t afford to pay for photos? And I was distressed to read how well your “problem-solver” is selling, and that you’re working to spread the information therein to understaffed retailers. Though a defense of the book would surely rely on its inclusion of both “chemical” and organic products, the bottom line is – buy products.  Most gardeners solve garden problems with smart practices and plant choices, not by buying treatments.   orthoThe email did pique my interest in this treasured resource (to read the glowing reviews) and I noticed two things about the book on Amazon.  First, it’s 984 pages!  Second, it costs $5,396.01 (very precise) for a new copy and used ones start at $119.  Wtf??