They still don't get it.

If you would like to get a taste of how out of touch some of the big growers are a trip to Open Register and Gardening Gone Wild will enlighten you.

The California Pack Trials are an industry event where growers try to entice wholesale buyers with the new introductions of flowers and plants. What caught my eye, as well as others is the new “sexy” ad campaign that one grower used. In a attempt to entice the younger generation into gardening they decided that an Abercrombie & Fitch type ad campaign was the way to go. Check out the photos at Gardening Gone Wild.

What I find interesting is what they think is sexy. There are many types of sexy and for some reason some in the horticulture industry think that a Madison Ave. kind of sexy is the way to go. Naked men curled up in a bed of Ostespermum, two girls about to kiss amongst geraniums. It's phony, and exactly the wrong way to attract younger people who may want to garden. Now I realize that the Pack Trails are not intended for the general public, but so what. Its old media at work.

Hey everybody, before we write off the Baby Boomers and Generation X lets not forget where our largest customer base comes from. Yea, those two demographics! Throw those two demographics off the bus in an attempt to appeal to the younger generation. “Gen Y” would see right through that kind of ad campaign anyway.

As an independent nursery I am going to ignore all these vain attempts to “appeal” to the younger generation. We going to stick with appealing to our core customer base, Generation Gardener. Young and old enjoy gardening, and both can find out in their own way the sex appeal of gardening. A grandmother can find the same joy in gardening that a 20 something can.

This is another great opportunity for the smaller garden center to differentiate themselves from the big boys. Communicate with your customers either in person or via a blog to really find out what they want. Don't listen to the industry “experts” that are constantly telling us to try and start appealing to the younger generation. The younger generation is too adept at sniffing out phoniness and blatant attempts at appealing to them anyway.