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Thursday, May 23, 2013

#Plant Strong


Does part of your Memorial Day weekend include a visit to a nearby garden center? If so, I'll take a guess. You might be over 40 and part of a dying breed. Do you experience the plant world firsthand? On a scale of 1 through 10, are you #Plant Strong?

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Ellen Wells, the editor at Large, Green Profit regarding Gen Y’s favorite stores with her thoughts summarizing some insightful research from the Urban Land Institute.

“Hold on to your seats for some shocking news: Despite their reputation, Gen Y consumers actually enjoy shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. That’s from research conducted by the Urban Land Institute. And some of their favorite stores are JCPenney, Target, Walmart, Kohl’s and Kmart.

A few more results of the 1,200 Gen Yers surveyed:

37% love to shop, 48% enjoy it, 12% find it a chore and 4% hate it
70% of women and 50% of men find shopping to be entertainment, expect novel options to keep it fresh, and say it’s an important way for them to spend time with friends and family
91% had made an online purchase within the previous six months
45% spend an hour a day looking at shopping websites

The Urban Land Institute recommends that retail centers constantly reinvent themselves to “keep it fresh” and present “novel options”—such as creating pop-up shops, changing d├ęcor, adding a variety of specialty foods, and increase the options for in-store pick up of online orders. Also important are pedestrian-friendly options, as many Gen Yers prefer to walk or bike to where they are going. The report also suggests that Gen Yers like “third places” where they can linger and meet friends, go online and network, places like Starbucks or juice bars at gyms, lobbies of office buildings. It even mentions gardens with seating!”

Just this past year, two of my favorite specialty nurseries, Seawright Gardens and Blanchette Gardens, both in Carlisle, MA and open to the general public threw in the trowel. Both decided it was time to retire. Their garden destinations were perfect for those who had an obsession for Daylilies, Hostas, Astilbes and so much more. While these retirements may have nothing to do with this constant ‘reinventing’ and ‘keeping it fresh’, who shall be next in line to fill these big plant shoes? Who can keep those rooted connections to the plant lover’s world? As you can see from the above research, while it is doable, it takes constant inspiration to connect those less tuned in to this tangible exterior world. The plant journey is ultimately leading someone to experience it in person.  

So to wrap up this Thursday thought process that weaves its way into today’s images, it’s a quote from C. JoyBell C. accompanied by this potted Amaryllis sprouting different blossoms in the same pot. “We fool ourselves and cheat ourselves when we say that all of us are the same. We should not want to be the same as others and we should not want others to be the same as us. Rather, we ought to glory and shine in all of our differences, flaunting them fabulously for all to see! It is never a conformity that we need! We need not to conform! What we need is to burst out into all these beautiful colors!”

Thursday's message - Reinvent, keep it fresh and just like Boston and Oklahoma, garden and nursery centers, be # plant strong.  For everyone else, have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. And if you can, make a visit to your local nursery and experience firsthand the great 'green' world of plants.

All images by Ann Bilowz ©

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)