Good news for independents

Here is some good news for independent garden centers. According to the folks at Open Register the Garden Writers Association , who conduct garden surveys during the year have a new survey which reports, “for the first time in years, more consumers say they plan to shop at garden centers (47%) than mass merchants. Further, according to Open Register “This hasn’t been a neck and neck race. A mere 39% of consumers planned to shop at garden centers in 2006, compared to 52% wanting to shop at mass merchants. The split was similar in 2005, at 40% to 51%. So this year’s turn around is a major shift.”

Whether this benefits a local garden center will ultimately be up to the store and how well run it is. If the store does not offer a better experience than a chain store this study won’t mean much. It is encouraging to see the shift in consumer sentiments however. It appears that quality is one of the main reasons sited for the shift.

We are quickly shifting to spring mode here. Temps today in the high 70’s and 70’s for the rest of the week, at least. Compared to last year when we had 4” of snow on the ground it’s quite a turnaround. While cold weather might still come, “it always snows on the dogwood blossoms” this nice weather and encouraging report is just what nurserypeople in northern California have been waiting to hear.

The picture above is of an old Western Redbud in front of The Vineyard House in Coloma.