This is a year when speculation about the future underlies almost everything we do. When will we be able to see children/grandchildren/siblings who live in another state or country? When can we take that vacation? Will the kids be able to go trick-or-treating? When will it be okay to eat inside a restaurant without worry?
The statistics have not yet been compiled, but from my observations and reading, easily thousands of new gardeners turned to something that would bring results, no matter what happened in the world. Or so they thought. Not all the early spring seed orders yielded substantial harvests, but I am also noting that the failures aren’t necessarily stopping first-timers from trying again. Throughout Western New York, garden centers and nurseries, not knowing what to expect, were happily surprised when they were bombarded with online orders for pickup and shopping appointments last spring. They’re still seeing good business as the season slows down. Anecdotal reports estimate that garden supply sales have increased by maybe 300% or better. And, of course, the houseplant craze was already in place.
I put in my bulb order in August and am so glad I did. At this time, most bulb supplies are completely depleted and the sales I usually expect at this time have slim pickings. Once again, Brent and Beckys has temporarily stopped taking orders (just as Burpee had to do in the spring).
I have questions.
Will this surge of interest help our remaining gardening magazines survive?
Will it lead to more and better gardening shows on American TV, along the lines of Gardener’s World?
Will newbie gardeners learn to accept failure and rejoice in partial success, rather than worrying about every little brown leaf or weird bug (there are so many of them). I think we’re so used to living in an increasingly dangerous world that we overestimate the dangers of mildly toxic plants, unfamiliar insects, and common plant diseases.
There are so many sectors of our economy in danger now, but I am selfishly glad if all this means survival, even growth, for garden-related businesses.
Gardening brings joy and frustration. Most of all, the businesses that provide seeds and plants are doing fine.
It’s a win win.
Well I for one have to say I have not enjoyed the empty tables and shopping competition at the nurseries. It makes things more difficult for regular shoppers.
Strangely, for no good reason, I did more online plant ordering this year and bought big from the local botanical gardens sale; this was in February. It made things easier in May and June, which is the crazy time here and which was ten times crazier, thanks COVID.
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