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Modern Garden Marketing

News, ideas and opinion on marketing in the 21st Century for the Australian garden industry

Older news

Previous news items related to the benefits of gardening and landscapes to the community have been archived at which may still be of interest at Benefits of Gardens and Gardening. Below are a some other old news items which may still be of interest.

Biodegradable pots research
An American study which looked at strength, water loss and decomposition of plant containers made from various types of biodegradable materials shows that for successful use in nursery production, choice of pot will depend on the type of plants and conditions under which they are being grown. Media release including link to the HortTechnology journal article here: New information provides sustainable options for greenhouse operations (April 2011)

U.S. survey predicts spring gardening trends
The Garden Writers Association Foundation have released their "2011 Early Spring Gardening Trends Research Report" tracking the preferences of U.S. consumers. An brief overview is available here: Garden Spending Drops But Retailers Maintain Head-to-Head Competition. Findings include a predicted drop in garden spending compared to 2009, and the interest in growing vegetables remains strong.

UK consumer survey
The UK's Horticultural Trades Association have produced a market research report of consumer habits and attitudes. An brief summary is available at their website: Unveiling The Great British Gardener (February 2011). The good news is that there does appear to be increasing interest in gardening. Lack of knowledge among younger garden owners could be a marketing opportunity.

Yet another benefit of gardening
A survey of adults 50 years and older suggests that gardeners eat more vegetables than non-gardeners. The number of years they have been gardening, the amount of time per week they spend gardening or their motives for gardening did not seem to make a difference. Encouraging older people to paarticipate in gardening activities may therefore be a way to improve their diet. Media release including a link to the original HortTechnology research article here: Gardening linked to increased vegetable consumption in older adults

Congratulations, Queensland Garden Expo
The Queensland Garden Expo, which is held annually in Nambour, has won the Festivals and Events category at the 2010 Queensland Tourism Awards. It will progress to judging for a national award, to be announced in March next year. (November 2010)

Grow and glow
In a Netherlands study that compared allotment gardeners with neighbours of a similar age, older gardeners with an allotment scored better in a variety of health and well-being indicators. Whether cause or effect, the relationship was not apparent among younger participants. Results published in Environmental Health: Allotment gardening and health: a comparative study among allotment gardeners and their neighbors without an allotment (November 2010)

Can trees fight crime?
A study in Portland, Oregon has investigated the relationship between urban trees and crime. While numerous small trees were found to be associated with increased crime rates (possibly by blocking views), large trees were associated with reduced crime. The researchers speculate that large trees suggest that a neighbourhood is well looked after and that criminals are more likely to be caught as a consequence. Read more at the USDA Forest Service website: Some city trees may discourage 'shady' behavior (November 2010)

UK report on garden centre outlook released
Garden Centre Futures - Opportunities for Growth is a report prepared for the UK industry. The full report can be purchased, but some of the key findings are outlined at the The Horticultural Trades Association website here: The future is bright for Garden Centres according to latest HTA research (October 2010)

Planting scents make sense
Even though 63% of people in the United Kingdom buy herbal and floral scented products, only 32% realise that they can derive these benefits from garden plants, according to research conducted for the Horticultural Trades Association. Their PlantforLife consumer campaign, which will be encouraging the planting and using of such plants, has enlisted the assistance of an "aromacologist" to explain the effects of floral and herbal scents on health and well being. Source: PlantforLife reveals the scentsational benefits of UK gardens (July 2010)

Gardening grows better kids
Research commissioned by the UK's Royal Horticultural Society indicates gardening in school helps develop a range of positive attributes such as confidence, responsibility, independant thinking and healthier lifestyles, as well as important job skills such as team work, communication abilities and an entrepreneurial spirit. RHS media release here: New RHS report says school gardening boosts child development. More information can be downloaded from the RHS site here: Research on School Gardening (June 2010)

The NZ Scene, 2010
So, what's hapening in NZ? John Liddle, CEO of NGIA in New Zealand, shares some thoughts:
The State of the Industry (April 2010)
Price increases not the complete answer (June 2010)

UK maintains interest in gardening, GYO strong
Although bad weather meant a slow start to 2010, The Horticultural Trades Association in the United Kingdom are hopeful that retail sales will pick up, with consumers indicating healthy interest in spending more time in the garden. It's expected that the "Grow Your Own" (GYO) categories will continue to dominate spending. Source: HTA GIM Market Update - All things GYO drive garden market (May 2010)

Would you pay more for sustainable pots?
In a study at Purdue University in the USA, participants were given money asked to bid in a silent auction on plants in pots made of various materials. Results indicate that consumers there are indeed willing to pay more for plants in "sustainable" pots, although pots made from rice hulls or wheat achieved a higher price than pots made from straw. Read more at the Purdue University website: Auction shows consumers will pay more for sustainable flowerpots (April 2010)

Study examines relationship of children to plants
A Finnish study suggests that "horticultural inverventions" could assist urban children establish a relationship with plants and the environment, and that access to natural areas enables play such as building huts and climbing trees. Girls were generally more interested in plants and had a greater appreciation of their beauty, while the boy's attitude toward planst was more utilitarian. Sources: Researchers say children need horticultural interventions and Children's Relationship to Plants among Primary School Children in Finland: Comparisons by Location and Gender (April 2010)

Previous news items related to the benefits of gardening and landscapes to the community have been archived at which may still be of interest at Benefits of Gardens and Gardening. Other bits and pieces archived in Older News.

You'll find other general-interest gardening news with an emphasis on Qld at


May 2010

Even if you believe that the global finacial crisis won't hit Australia eventually, or that there isn't a property bubble soon to burst, it would seem likely that the days of easy money and lavish spending are quickly passing.

What does this have to do with gardening? The problem is that gardens are considered a luxury by some - a cost that is easy to cut from both government and personal budgets.

Obviously, anyone directly involved in the garden and landscape industry will be worried about cuts in discretionary spending, even as they try to recover from the trauma of the the drought. Perhaps sales of big-ticket items will decline, but it doesn't necessarily have to mean the end of gardens. It may require, however, a change in product range and improved promotion (disclosure: I sell advertising) on the part of successful businesses. The garden industry as a whole could be trying harder to make sure the kind of information consumers need to use their products is readily available and easy to find by the public.

It's true that gardens can cost a lot of money, but on the other hand, tremendous long-term benefits can be had from small investments. There are a myriad of social, psychological and health consequences to the community as well as the more more practical uses of plants (shade, privacy, food etc). These have an economic impact, although they are a lot harder to quantify than mining royalties.

And don't forget the number of Australian jobs generated by the garden industry - wholesale growers, garden centres, landscapers, local manufacturers of garden supplies and so on.

If you love plants and believe in the value of gardens, I ask you to do what you can to promote the benefits of gardening, and share your knowledge and skills to children and grandchildren, neighbours and friends.

Don't call it a recession, call it the dawn of a new gardening era.

2010 garden predictions
International plants marketing company Tesselaar have put together a list of predictions for 2010 by various garden experts and trend-watchers. Not suprisingly, sustainability and related themes (vegetables, water conservation, natives etc) feature strongly. Other trends include the recognition of plants' effect on human health, both mentally and physically, with a return to greater use of plants indoors. Also, people are increasing looking for relevant, up-to-date information online, using a variety of applications and devices. Read more at the Tesselaar website: Top 10 Garden Trends For 2010

Recession influences garden trends in UK Research commissioned by the Horticultural Trades Association in the United Kingdom indicates the recession has taught consumers to value their time and money more, and brought about a distaste for "waste or excess of any kind". The HTA anticipate that this will manifest not only as a continuation of interest in "grow your own", but an interest in recycled products, wildlife, biodiversity and gardens generally. Source: Green it Yourself trend drives garden market (February 2010)

The growing business grows in Qld
A survey commissioned by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation indicates that inspite of drought and water restrictions, the lifestyle horticulture industry has grown "significantly" in the last ten years. The outlook for 2010 is optimistic. Source: A blooming great gift idea (December 2009)

Sunshine Coast residents keen to grow their own
Three workshops on fruit and vegetable growing being held in Sunshine Coast libraries in November were booked out even before the they were advertisised. More information here: Public hungry for backyard veggies (November 2009).

Australian garden poll
Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) have research findings of a Newspoll survey providing insights into the contemporary Australian backyard. Other highlights here: Newspoll results have strong implications for Industry. Notable is the strong interest in gardening in the 18-34 age group.

"Grow your own" means fruit, too
In the UK, recent research has indicated that while the "grow your own" trend has grown substantially in the last two years, interest in growing fruit has lagged behind vegetables. Lack of knowledge about fruit growing and lack of general awareness are factors. These will be addressed in the next phase of the Horticultural Trades Association's PlantforLife. More here: HTA's PlantforLife campaign highlights the next phase of Grow Your Own.... (October 2009)

UK gardeners - online and green
The UK's Horticultural Trades Association has released two new reports on the habits and attitudes of British gardeners. "Gardeners Online" looks at use of the internet by gardeners. The overview they provide (New HTA Garden Industry Monitor reports on 'Gardeners Online' and 'Green Gardening') suggests that this has been increasing. The "Green Gardening" report indicates that gardeners are indeed more concerned about the environment than non-gardeners. (October 2009)

Recycled water scheme could supply Cairns nurseries
Cairns Regional Council is beginning to plan a pipeline sysem that will eventually supply recycled water for industrial and horticultural uses. The water could be available to nursery owners as well as irrigation of the Botanic Gardens and residential properties. Source: Recycled water to be on tap (July 2009)

Gardening interest rates
The Horticultural Trades Association in the UK has put some numbers on the upswing in gardening that we're all hearing about. For example, the percentage of respondants who are "Very Interested" increased from 19% to 25% between 2006 and 2009, while those who are "Not at all interested" dropped from 28% to 19%. Read more at the HTA website here: HTA survey reveals greater interest in and enjoyment of gardening (July 2009)

Children help drive UK garden retail
The Horticultural Trades Association report "grow your own" is still going strong in the UK, with school gardens and children who take their new interest home contributing substantially to garden centre sales. Retail garden centre and nursery sales were up 10.2% for the March-May quarter, (the retail sector overall showed an increase of 2.4% for the same period). Source: Grow Your Own continues to drive sales as garden retail 10% up (June 2009)

Garden leisure goods have broad market
A survey conducted for The Horticultural Trades Association (United Kingdom) indicates that over three quarters of garden owners use their gardens for eating and entertaining. It suggests that there's great scope for more sales of garden furniture and barbeques, even amongst "marginal" gardeners. Read more at the HTA website: New research from the HTA highlights 'enormous growth potential' for garden leisure (July 2009)

Need for knowledge provides opportunities
Research by the United Kingdom's Horticultural Trades Association indicates that gardening knowledge has not kept pace with the public's increased interest and enjoyment of gardening over recent years. They suggest garden centres and nurseries are well placed to provide information and inspiration. Read more: HTA survey reveals greater interest in and enjoyment of gardening (July 2009)

Greening the leaders
You've probably heard about the Whitehouse vegetable garden by now, but the movement to make green examples of other official residences is spreading. Green the are calling on state governors to establish veggie patches and introduce more sustainable gardening practices into management of the landscapes surrounding their mansions. Influential garden blog Garden Rant often reports on this topic (as well as other U.S. garden trends). Meanwhile, the grounds of Buckingham Palace are once again growing vegetables. Read about it at The Guardian website: Queen turns corner of palace backyard into an allotment

Children help drive UK garden retail
The Horticultural Trades Association report "grow your own" is still going strong in the UK, with school gardens and children who take their new interest home contributing substantially to garden centre sales. Retail garden centre and nursery sales were up 10.2% for the March-May quarter, (the retail sector overall showed an increase of 2.4% for the same period). Source: Grow Your Own continues to drive sales as garden retail 10% up (June 2009)

Decline in Oregon nursery industry
Corresponding with a decline in construction of new homes, the Oregon nursery and greenhouse industry is experiencing a decline after years of growth. Some nursery operators, however, retain a positive outlook by focussing on sectors of the market where demand is still healthy. Read more at the Statesman Journal: Revenue wilts for nursery businesses (June 2009)

A view of the recession
The following article at the Home Channel News website gives an interesting overview of the U.S. market in their current recession. Lawn and garden trends and opportunities is by Rick Pontzof the The Lawn & Garden Performance Group.

Floriade forges ahead
A strategic plan for Canberra's Floriade has been designed to assure future growth and development of the event. Floriade 2008 recorded a total attendance of 407,667 and contributed some $25.3 million to the ACT economy. Source: Floriade looks forward to the future. The Floriade Strategic Plan 2009-13 is available from (April 2009)

Manchester (UK) parks get productive
Manchester City Council (United Kingdom) is introducing a scheme to plant fruits, nuts and vegetables in public parks. Overseen by the coucil in collaboration with local groups/volunteers, information and workshops will also be provided to educate the public, especiallly children. The produce will be available to the public for free. Source: City parks bear fruit (April 2009)

Gardens of of the future?
Husqvarna (which manufactures outdoor power tools) has released results of a survey conducted with people from eight northern hemisphere countries to gain insight into current and future gardening trends. A summary of U.S. trends is provided here: New Trend Forecast Reveals Evolution of Lawn Care in the 21st Century. (April 2009)

U.S. home and community gardening survey
The National Gardening Association, Inc. have released the results of study conducted in January 2009. Findings indicate that 31 percent of U.S. households participated in food gardening in 2008 and more plan to do so in 2009. Report available here: The Impact of Home and Community Gardening In America (PDF).

Recession news
A January 2009 article from Home Channel News on how the U.S. lawn and garden sector is being affected by the real estate decline: How does your garden grow?.

To move or improve?
A poll of Archicentre architects indicates outdoor living additions are becoming popular among Australian renovators (Daylight Saving a Boost to the Outside Room Trend). Archicentre suggest that homeowners, especially those nearing retirement, will show renewed interest in renovation in an attempt to add value to their homes. More on this theme from Archicentre here: Invest in Your Home, Create Wealth and Enjoy Life and here: Home Owners should have Confidence in Australian Housing Market. (October 2008)

Surveys show green attitudes (2)
Subsequently, a survey commissioned by Nursery & Garden Industry Australia as part of its Life is a Garden initiative reveal "green" attitudes towards private and public spaces predominate in Australia, especially among young people. The edible gardening trend continues to grow, although relaxing in the garden is still very important. Source: Young Australians lead the 'growing' demand for green spaces and News Poll Key Findings - July 2008

Surveys show green attitudes (1)
Results of a survey by the USA's National Gardening Association announced in May 2008 indicate that knowledge in the nation's households of how to manage landscapes in an environmentally friendly way, and implementation in practice, have considerable room for improvement. However, most believe it's important to. Sources: Environmental Lawn and Garden Survey Finds that America's Lawns and Landscapes Could Be Much "Greener" and Nine Out of Ten Households Believe It's Important to Maintain Their Landscapes in a Sustainable Way.

Local council encourages growing your own
There's no doubt that the backyard veggie craze is hitting Australia. Check out the following from Brisbane City Council, which includes gardening tips from the Lord Mayor himself: Start growing your own food to make Brisbane more sustainable (April 2008).

The American landscape
This news release from University of Illinois Extension (dated March 5, 2008), gives a concise overview of current trends in the USA: Spring Makeover for Your Landscape.

Garden voucher for Victorian elderly and disabled
Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria are promoting the health and quality-of-life benefits of gardens. The Victorian government funds Home Safety Inspections that help the elderly and disabled live in their own homes as long as possible. Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria, in collabaration with Archicentre (which conducts the inspections), will be providing participating homeowners with a $25 garden voucher. More information from Archicentre here: Active Gardening Boosts Home Safety for Older Victorians (February 2008)

Fear of Change
From Dave Cheong: Embrace change, your life depends on it (2007).


Modern Garden Marketing is a collection of news, opinion, information and resources for those working inside the Australian garden and landscape industry in the 21st century.

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