Monday, April 30, 2007

on the "horticulture industry"

i've been cruising around some gardening blogs just to see what's out there. under one blog's "manifesto" was listed a suspicion of the "horticultural industry." i've been saying horticulture industry for many years now because well, that's what it is. i'm not going to address the bloggers' "suspicions" about the hort industry - i just want to add a few comments about why something as quaint and relaxing and decorative and recreational as gardening can be said to be an industry.

i gave a brief "welcome to spring" lecture to a group of folks who are in the mental health field a few weeks ago. i was talking with the woman in charge of the institute's seminar series about who i could expect to show up and she mentioned the possiblity of some "consumers" coming in. it took me a second to realize in her line of work consumers aren't gardeners but people receiving mental health services. they may be gardeners, too, actually, but gardeners dealing with some mental health issues.

that got me thinking about the blogger's mention of "horticulture industry." industry, producer, vendor, consumer - it's all the language of business. it may strike some as shocking that mental health is an industry, but it is. and so it may strike others as odd that behind the scenes of gardening there is "industry" going on - people harvesting and selling peat moss; people making pots; people exploring jungles or grasslands for new flowers; people breeding plants to make new and better or different plants; and people growing these plants and selling these plants to gardeners.

maybe what ruffles some feathers is the realization that many of the plants sold today started life in a big "manufacturing plant" -type greenhouse. thanks to henry ford, plants are one of a billion things that can be produced more efficiently and more economically if grown in assembly-line fashion. i'm not going to be elitist about how plants are grown (what goes into them, i'm a little more concerned about). if assembly-line production brings more affordable plants to the folks who might not garden otherwise, then great. hopefully that hanging basket of petunias on the front porch will lead the gardener to explore some more about the gardening world and the really cool things it holds. if not, it's still doing some good by beautifying a home, making the homeowner happy when they see the blooms, encouraging neighbors to think about flowers, and so on and so on. those are all great things and potential starting points for other great gardening possibilities.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Giving Some "Ink" to Flowers

flowers. i love 'em. i'm not what you would call a 'plant nut,' though. i'm a generalist - i know what looks good, i know what does well where, and if i don't know all the varieties of salvia or remember the optimum night-time temps for dendrobiums, that's just fine. i know the right questions to ask and where to go for the info. really, that's half the battle right there.

like it says over in my profile, i'll be posting bits of info that i think are interesting for the whole gardening community - from the folks who are developing the plants, growing the plants, and selling the plants, to the folks who are buying and using the plants. it's my attempt to connect the ends of the daisy chain. i'm giving some "ink" to flowers - the entire realm of horticulture, if i can be so bold - so that "gardening" will continue to be a relevant, important, fun, educational (keep adding your own positive adjectives here) activity in our lives.

with that said, i invite you to keep reading future posts. and please, if you have anything to share, let me know.

i'll warn you right now, i may throw in the ocassional post about my beloved red sox, discuss some outdoor grilling adventures, and other mismatched topics, but i'll try to keep that to a minimum.