Are we educating people to love plants?

melissa_thefarm(NItaly)February 20, 2014

"I like your enthusiasm, Fanny. It is a lovely night, and they are much to be pitied who have not been taught to feel, in some degree, as you do; who have not, at least, been given a taste for Nature in early life. They lose a great deal." from 'Mansfield Park'

We're living in a period of low enthusiasm for I hear, and I believe it. So, why?
Smaller yards, or no yards; people are busier; people are poorer; there are abundant entertainment alternatives: who remembers the era of no computer and three channels on the television, two of them with poor reception?
People also have less contact with plants and with the natural world than they used to. Fewer people live in or close to the country. Suburban neighborhoods vary considerably, I would guess: some rich in gardens and plant variety, others regimented and relatively sterile. Schools don't help, at least, not here in Italy. I remember Marianne saying that schoolchildren in Sweden learn the common wild plants of their area. Here they study biology, but never a word about the native flora. DD, certainly not a shining light when it comes to botany or horticulture, says she knows more about plants than any of her high school classmates, and I believe it. She is one of the few, perhaps the only, person in her class who lives in the country.
The media are supersaturated with stories about the digital age, technology, and entertainment, and allow room for, at most, one modest column on gardening or plants. Considerable attention does go to such issues as climate change, but it doesn't seem to get down to such nuts-and-bolts issues as what grows and how to grow it.
Part of the problem on the level of communications is that plants and gardening are highly local. They don't lend themselves to globalization. A South Korean rapper can produce a video that becomes a world-wide hit, but the plants I grow in the shade garden don't necessarily work in the sunny garden a hundred yards away. In fact this is part of the importance, as well as the charm, of gardening: that it can't be done--done well--with industrial methods.

These are some of my thoughts on the subject; what do you think?


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As a product of the younger peoples' generation, I whole-heatedly agree with everything you said. I personally feel that the reason gardening seems to be fading is due to a improperly perceived lack of necessity, convenience, and a lack of exposure. You already talked about two of these, so I'll speak to necessity.

People in my generation would never dream of gardening because it simply isn't done! They don't need to do it cause the grocery store provides all of their culinary needs, not to mention gardening is "an old lady's hobby" (Have you ever seen a Miracle Gro commercial that didn't have a kindly grandmother wearing a sun hat who was wielding a spade in one hand and a tray of petunias in the other?). The kids in my generation don't feel like gardening "applies" to them. It's best left to their grandmothers and the landscapers their parents hire. "Normal" kids don't grow stuff, they spend their time consumed with social media and pop culture. And even if they had the urge to try out growing a plant, it is usually quashed by the view that you have to grow plants to consume them and they aren't farmers. With the rampant commercialization of gardening as well, there's a social wall between the common population and gardeners. These kids which have grown up in the suburbs where the houses are all cut and paste, and their only experiences with plants is the twice a year when the mow and blow guys come around to snip at everything haphazardly.

In addition to all of this, gardening also requires time, effort, careful consideration, and patience - all character traits which many in my generation are terrifyingly short on. Who wants to take the time to enjoy nature and grow things when there are parties to be thrown, constant media distractions, and a lack of instant gratification? The priorities simply aren't there. I will sheepishly admit that there have been many times when this same beast has reared its ugly head in me and I have become exasperated. But I am thankful that as I've spent time communing with nature and learning how to slow down, shut the noise out, spend time by myself, work diligently, and do something more noble than frivolous socializing. It's made me mature some (still have a long ways to go). In a way, roses have helped raise me. It makes me sad that my peers may never give themselves the opportunity to learn from the earth.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 3:43AM
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Mendocino_Rose(z8 N CA.)

All of what Josh said is true. I think we can work to change it though. Stephen Scaniello has a program that has inner city kids planting heritage roses in Harlem. It seems that they've gotten a lot out of it. Last year at the Celebration of Old Roses Gregg Lowery gave a short talk to kids and gave away free roses to them. In California many elementary schools have vegetable gardens. Almost every time I have had open garden a young person comes to me all fired up with the idea of planting his /her own garden. With just a little encouragement I think the joys of gardening speak for themselves.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 8:50AM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

I have to disagree somewhat about Miracle Gro and other garden-supply companies. Have you ever seen the commercial featuring the young adult woman (I'm guessing in her 20s or 30s) which starts off with her saying "My home is where plants came to die"? It promotes the company's soil mix as an "easy" medium for growing plants, trying to convince people who think they have "brown thumbs" to get back into gardening. I've seen other ads from other companies trying to reach out to non-gardeners and turn them into gardeners, but that was the first which came to my mind.

A great form of learning occurs when people provide themselves (and their work) as examples to emulate. Those with any natural inclination toward gardening will be attracted by good examples of it. Don't think that the younger generation simply doesn't care. It's more likely that they simply haven't been exposed to gardening.

How to spread the addiction? Be friendly and say "hello" to any passersby as you're working in the front of your home. If you have neighbor kids, ask if they'd like to pick a few flowers for Mom, and throw in some plant lessons and identifications. Also look to neighbors who seem to "need a little help" with their own yards. Successful gardeners will usually have divisions available for passing on, and "free plants" offers can inspire future gardens. And don't forget the "keeping up with the Joneses" principle which follows when one neighbor starts making a yard more beautiful.

If you have even more time and energy, consider looking into "beautifying" neglected areas in your neighborhood. If the spaces aren't privately owned, perhaps you can gain permission from your town to put in a garden plot. There's also the idea of "renegade gardening" -- dig out a small weedy area and put in more attractive low-maintenace plants. This can be another way of passing on divisions from your own yard.



    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Campanula UK Z8

Well, the evidence is mixed - although gardening has been knocked off pole position as the nations favourite hobby (cooking, specifically baking, is in the ascendant), there has also been a big rise in civic gardening, with a 30% increase in Britain in Bloom applications and allotment waiting lists are in the stratosphere. What is undeniable is the decline in educational horticulture, either through the closing or restricting of colleges and courses, the ending of botany as a degree subject (all subsumed under 'plant science') and the terrible shortages of apprenticeships in the horticulture industry.Courses which are available are invariably over-subscribed, so there is still an appetite for horticulture.
Anecdotally, I am not really seeing much to discourage me......all my children are gardeners and I know a number of young people who have signed up for various courses on offer. Traditionally, in economic recession, people frequently retreat into the comfort of nostalgia - the last UK recession in the 80s coincided with a resurgence in allotments, growing vegetables and backyard poultry keeping.....along with a plethora of traditional crafts which, crucially, require neither immense capital nor great expertise in order to participate. This scenario is very familiar today.....although we are seeing new developments of apartments with no gardens at all apart from communal green areas which are not cultivated by residents.............while there seems an almost visceral yearning to reconnect with the earth, the soil, growing and harvesting one's own produce and engaging with the therapeutic aspects of gardening.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Everyone, great comments. Also, I love Jane Austen, so the quote is wonderful! I hope hope hope that kids are getting exposed to plants and gardening as plants are very important members of our planet, both for their sake and for ours.

I am completing the wonderful master gardening program in my area and we have to complete a number of volunteer hours to get certified. There are numerous opportunities to work with kids in various settings (schools, community gardens, habitat restorations areas, etc), so I'm very glad to see that.

Josh, it is so great you are getting involved with plants and nature, even though your peers are not. Kudos for going with what YOU find rewarding, regardless of what others think!!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 12:08PM
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I have some random thoughts on this issue. Here are the ones that come easily to mind, not in a particular order that leads to a conclusion.

Vegetable gardening is actually rather trendy just now. It fits in with the green movement. It is ornamentals that are not so widely popular.

People have come to accept that one has a "landscape" that is "maintained", and that is done by a contract service if the budget will allow. The pleasure of tending of a garden is less on the radar. I'm not sure if it will come back or not.

Two career families are the norm. In my own family my father was the gardener, not my my mother, and that was not unusual; but in any case the competition for people's leisure time is intense. Most families I know where there are children spend the weekend ferrying the kids from one scheduled activity to another. There is little time for tending a garden, a slow and contemplative activity as well as work.

Few people think of work as fun and satisfying unless it produces money or out-competes others in some way, preferably financial.

None of these alone are the one and only, or even chief, reason, but perhaps they come together to form a perfect storm.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 3:10PM
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I have to say, being in Washington state (even over here on the east side, almost 300 miles from Seattle) there is an interest in turning front yards back into garden spaces. It's mainly with the 'younger' group of 20+ but I think it's wonderful to see.

There are those, who will always want covenants and grass-only front lawns, but at least there is a desire to eat healthy and grow some veggies in the front yard. Almost a 'stick it to suburbia' mentality, but it's still gardening! LOL

The nice thing is, there is also Northland Rosarium in our own backyard, so to speak and people are discovering that old fashioned roses do well in our cold winters. Once they grasp that roses look beautiful surrounding a vegetable garden (rather like a potager) I think we may create an entire new generation of gardeners :)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 3:41PM
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titian1 10b

I can't speak on a wider scale, but only tell of my surprise and delight in my daughter's (33) sudden interest in gardening. This has largely to do with 'free' food, so she helps me plant vegetables. But yesterday, as we were planting leeks, she announced that every day should contain some time spent gardening, as it was a great way to be outside, satisfying, and she didn't have to dress up!


    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 4:24PM
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I wouldn't underestimate young people's interest in gardening. Like Rosefolly said, vegetable gardening is hip these days. I'm in my 30s and lots of my friends grow veggies and fruit trees. Owning your own home can make a big difference - it is hard to garden when you rent an apartment! Some people aren't considered "young" anymore by the time they own a home or find a rental that lets them tear up the lawn to build raised beds.
Being able to grow something for it's beauty is also privilege that some can't afford. That doesn't mean that people don't appreciate it, in fact I see a number of people enjoying our regional parks and botanical gardens.

I will admit though, I am the only person my age I know of that is into roses. Which is why I'm here talking to you all...ha!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:27PM
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Thanks for your responses everyone.

When I was speaking about generations, I was referring to kids my age (22 years old) and younger. I agree that not owning your own space makes it difficult to garden. However there still exists a rabid disinterest or ignorance of all things plant like. In the environmentally aware parts of the country, Austin, Texas is this for my state, there is a markedly greater interest and awareness of the earth and the good of gardening. Where I live, though, kids aren't taught to be aware of the green things around us.


This post was edited by JoshTx on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 4:29

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:45PM
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"However there still exists a ranks disinterest or ignorance of all things plant like. "

Theres no reason to have an interest in gardening if you don't have the space or means to do it.

Today's 20-somethings are significantly less likely to own their own home than a decade ago's 20-somethings. They're more likely to still be in school. They're more likely to be living with their parents.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 9:51PM
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AquaEyes 7a New Jersey

Josh just made me feel old -- he's the same age as my parrot, Sammy.



    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 11:33PM
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The original post Melissa made was addressing more than just gardening. Regardless, I disagree with your post. I still live at home with my parents since I go to school and I found my way into gardening. My cousin still lives at home with my uncle and she attempted lilies a few months ago. I think it has little to do with being at home or really even exposed to nature. My brothers and I hail from the country and grew up in the outdoors camping, fishing, etc. However there was always an understood agreement that even though we mowed the lawn and weeded the flower beds, landscaping and gardening was not something kids our age did.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 4:35AM
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In our country people are returning to nature, gardening and farming. We are in deep recession. In past two decades farming was abandoned because of trend for living in the cities. But now, when people have no jobs (especially young between 20 and 30) , they are buying properties in countryside. Because our country is so small, organic gardening is becoming more and more popular. Our primary schools are trying very hard to teach children the importance of nature, organic food production and eco living.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 5:28AM
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Campanula UK Z8

Must echo Soncna - this is also happening across the UK where not just gardening for food, but also simply to lift the spirits, is on the up. Recession is always a driver of projects which appear to be rooted in a more bucolic past....but also have longevity, in that they (gardening, plants in general) have been part of the culture for numerous generations. Memories continue, changing to be sure, but always surviving. I have no fear that plants or gardening are in any danger of dropping off people's agenda anytime soon.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:33AM
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Yes, gardening certainly seems up in some ways and down in others. Camp--good ol' England and its hortucultural enthusiasts! So many beautiful gardens that I saw when I was there. Josh, my experience in TX does match yours. In my opinion, the Dallas area and its burbs have been slower to catch on to the wonders of gardening--as opposed to the wonders of sheared shrubs along the foundation and lawns rolling to the street. And young men who garden in North TX do seem to be a rare...very rare...breed! I see an increase of interest with home ownership and have witnessed many front garden installations along the lines of Lavender Lass' description. Dallas has some very active garden clubs and my sis reports seeing youngish faces in the crowds. Yippee! Kids that I taught didn't know a trowel from a weeder, or a pitchfork for that matter, but our school staff somehow managed to drag them into our empty lot to install a community vegetable garden. I took the opportunity to introduce old roses into the mix and our classes actually visited the forum to assist with garden design plans and research rose breeding! Ingrid's garden was a favorite among the girls. Two of my boys found Kim's and Paul's work to be great discoveries. High school kids seem to be dumfounded by the fact that people create garden roses! One student said he was fascinated with the idea of playing Dr. Frankenstein with flowers. The idea of creating black flowers was a big hit, of course. Time, money, unearthy culture and lack of soil space all have negative impacts on gardening and, as others have mentioned, prepackaged food and other goods ingrain the notion that what sustains us is not grown or created. This thread has nudged me and reminded me to remain involved and become more involved in opportunities to instill the love of gardening in kids. I think my daughter and I will go prune some roses and pick some violas..... Carol

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 2:59PM
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One thing I'd like to add....a year of two ago, I posted a question on the Cottage Garden forum, asking how people plan their gardens...and who do they want to enjoy them. Do they plan for kids/grandkids, etc.

Most people answered that they plan their garden for themselves and that it's an escape for them. The last thing many seemed to want were kids, animals, neighbors, etc. in their garden.

I always plan my gardens to be beautiful and bring in lots of beneficial insects, birds, etc...but mainly as a place for my nieces/nephews to enjoy the garden and become inspired to someday want to garden themselves. They aren't always old enough to do much work, but they love looking at the plants (and looking for fairies LOL) as they walk around the beds.

If you don't invite them into the garden and make it one, kids, bugs, birds, neighbors, etc. are going to want to spend time there or notice all the hard work and beauty of your garden :)

This may not apply here, but I just thought I'd mention it...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 5:23PM
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"Josh just made me feel old -- he's the same age as my parrot, Sammy.

Sigh. I have some cacti I grew from seed who could be his grandfather. (Well, of course he'd have to be a member of the Cactaceae.)

I of course could only be his brother. ;-/

    Bookmark   February 21, 2014 at 6:10PM
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JenniferinFL(9B Florida)

Unfortunately I believe a good many people believe roses to be environmentally 'unfriendly.'

We are late to home ownership, buying a house only a couple years ago, in our early thirties. The trend with people I know is largely veggies or natives. It seems there are two extremes, either the shrubs and manicured lawn crowd or the organic veggie and natives crowd with little in between.

Roses are perceived as something that must be constantly sprayed with toxic chemicals. For the lawn and shrub people, they are too much maintenance as usually those maintenance teams charge more for roses, for the veggie and natives crowd they are a manmade abomination.

And what else would someone believe had they purchased a rose at a big box store? I've purchased over 20 heritage roses over the last few years. I still have all but one of them, lost a Louis Phillipe that I somehow forgot under an overhang where it received no water at all. But, now and then I give in and buy a rose at the big box stores on the wrong root stock for my area and then watch it slowly die. What a bitter experience! I enjoy them in a pot for as long as they last and really only buy them on clearance. But, if I knew nothing about roses, I would be disappointed and believe them to be too fussy to grow.

If there is a death of the hobby of gardening, the blame is partially on those big box stores offering plants that can't grow in the area they are selling them in. I actually work in a Lowe's and shake my head at some of the selections we offer with a one year guarantee. It's a waste of money for the store, we generally lose money on live plants, and it's a waste of money for the consumer who buys these plants which quickly die. Such a giant waste of resources and a souring of the hobby!

For what it's worth, I would say that the young who own houses do at least try to garden briefly. They just lose the enjoyment of it when their first $500 worth of plants die in the first 6 months. It becomes an expensive hobby to enjoy.

I'm not sure how we find those people before they are soured by losses. I know that I am upfront about what will not live here. I shouldn't be because I could probably get fired for it, but I will tell someone that the rose they are buying at Lowe's can't grow here in Florida unless they keep it in a pot, or plant it by concrete, or keep it in a raised bed, or mulch it heavily.

I think too that when you are new to gardening, you think losses equal a personal failure when in fact it may just not have been a sturdy plant. I lost a Spectra to some sort of fungus early on. It was the last rose on Fortuniana at the nursery towards the end of the summer. It was one sad branch and a bunch of blackspot, but I bought it anyhow. It lingered probably a year before it was finally dead all of the way. But, Spectra is a hardy rose. Though, that individual one was not. I have another one that is beautiful, from the same grower on the same rootstock, so, go figure. But, a lot of people quit after the first one.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 8:24PM
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I've been enjoying these comments, but have had trouble formulating my thoughts. I'm not just interested in how our society isn't rearing much of a new generation of gardeners, but in how people in our society seem to be moving away from contact with nature, and losing those qualities that are necessary for gardening as well as for a love of nature: patience, time and attention given to the world around us, physical contact with it. I'm bothered by the way I see people using the powerful media we possess. Every time I take a train I look out the window to see the world passing, while three quarters of the passengers are plugged into music, checking their cell phones, or bent over a computer. Why I think this is important is expressed by a study I once read about: it concluded that people who have no contact with the natural world also have no interest in environmental preservation. When on my walks here, in the most beautiful country in the world, I see trash thrown down in every gully and ravine, I think that Italians have little interest in environmental preservation. I also think that activities like gardening and long walks in the country are good for people, but of course the people in question have to believe that as well. At least I've reared DD with little time in front of the numerous seductive screens our society offers. She has a good attention span and a liking for hands on activity and so, though she did eventually discover computer games and Internet movies--and loves them--she also plays piano and draws and paints and cooks and runs around outside, so I think she's doing okay.
It's good to hear of all the positive activity everybody has reported here. Italy may be lagging behind in certain respects, and of course Italy too has its environmentalists and gardeners, perhaps not as many as in England.
Jaspermplants, nice to meet another Austen fan! I've loved her books all my adult life.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:04AM
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nippstress - zone 5 Nebraska

This is an excellent topic, and one that we need to keep in mind if we want to see a robust future of gardening, much less rose gardening. I agree that we seem to be growing into a much more "indoor" culture, which to me transcends the concerns about too much device time in the younger generation (as I sit here typing this into a device...). It seems like outdoor time is compartmentalized into particular uses, mostly sports or commuting, and spending time in the yard for fun isn't usually a consideration. Goal oriented sorts may indeed get hooked with vegetable gardens, and that's a great hook for economic benefits as well.

I think the key reminder for us here is the word "plants" rather than necessarily "roses" as an entry into the love of gardening, and to take to heart Josh's other post about enabling people he runs into casually. Every time I see someone new move into the neighborhood at large, I make a point of bringing them fresh produce and inviting them to stop by my yard and browse for free divisions of the many perennials I have to share. I figure it's a multiple benefit - getting something free means that there's no loss to trying, seeing something work in someone else's yard makes it more likely in yours, it makes people think that they COULD do something more than boring with their own yards, and I'm offering my help as a fellow gardener for advice. We ran into a new neighbor this weekend as my daughter and I were selling girl scout cookies up the street, and even though I didn't have any produce to offer at the time (duh - back to zero this week again), the new neighbor did look grateful at the prospect of being able to do "something" with her yard.

The other thing we can do is literally as well as figuratively plant seeds with our own contacts in the next generation. My own kids are firmly convinced of the benefits of gardening in at least the tangible sense of food and smell and visual impact, though they're variable in wanting to help very directly. Regardless though, I keep throwing out information on basic garden problem solving when the opportunity comes up, and I know from my own experience how well some of that can stick in later years. I mostly learned gardening from the vegetable plots with my father, and didn't have my own yard till nearly 20 years later, but I could still hear his voice coaching me in techniques that have held through the test of time. I make sure to pass these along to the neighbor children, some of whom have parents who appreciate yards but are self-proclaimed "non-gardeners" (they even broke down and sold a beautiful greenhouse when they bought the place that I would have given my eyeteeth for). One of these days, those kids may grow up to want their own vegetables and flowers, and I haven't given up on passing along extra plants (including roses) to those neighbors yet either. I've basely corrupted every other neighbor on every side of me with roses and other plants, so I'm watching for my opportunities to share the love of plants when they're ready.

Like every other aspect of gardening, encouraging others to love plants takes patience, but I'm never willing to give up on the challenge.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 3:22PM
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I think that most young people have an innate fascination with plants and animals, but if it isn't "cultivated", they may lose interest as they grow up. Sometimes, even if their interest is cultivated, they may get away from it for a time, since anything mom and dad does is probably lame, but hopefully they will return to it when they're older. I know I wouldn't be into gardening if it wasn't for my two Italian grandfathers who always had tomatoes, figs and peppers growing in the yard, and for my mother who I always helped plant the impatiens and geraniums.

I remember my first year teaching high school biology, for Earth day I decided to bring in some of my unused seeds from previous years and have the kids sow and tend them. I brought in all kinds of seeds and let them pick what they wanted to grow. While this is an activity that's usually done with younger school children, these 14 and 15 year olds had a blast. The plants did well, and when it was warm enough for them to take them home, surprisingly, most students actually did. Additional reward came the following school year when one of my old students told me about the delicious tomatoes her family enjoyed all summer.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Sadly I think it may be a generational and economic thing. Many parents are working long hours and spending weekends and free time taking their children to competitive sports, dance and gymnastics class. Later they come home, update social media, do homework and play video games.

When I was young I lived in a suburb that was mostly devoid of trees to keep yard upkeep to a minimum. I was lucky enough to have a father who liked to garden and we had the only front yard tree on the block. Can you imagine that? I grew up craving nature and have created beautiful ponds and gardens. This was a huge turn off when I went to sell my home last year. So beautiful they said....but so much work. And it really wasn't, the pond and yard were designed for minimal upkeep. I had to fill in the pond and rip out much of the garden to create a square, easy to mow yard and then the house sold.

Initially I was sad that my daughter did not seem to love plants and nature like I did. But she bought a house with land and now she takes a great interest in plants and wildlife. We had great fun last spring planting flowers and shrubs and she had so many questions about soil, plants, and sun.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 12:50PM
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Desertgarden- NW Las Vegas Z9a @ 2300 f

Growing up in Southern California, year round my mother was always tending to something in her garden. I paid no attention and besides lilies which I remember, I cannot tell you about a thing she grew. Fast forward a couple of decades and I found myself in my ex mother-in-law's garden. She had prize winning avocados and roses that a friend's girlfriend was enamored with, I paid no attention whatsoever to her roses. Within 2 years I was tasked with beautifying my own space; which is something I enjoy. I wanted fragrance and color. In my search, I saw Mrs. John Laing on the cover of a magazine and was smitten. I have not looked back since then. Sometimes due to lifestyle changes ( having a yard to beautify) a love of plants can just grab you.

Yesterday I was at my local garden center looking at annuals, and there was a little girl who was so enamored with the flowers that she caught the attention of all who were near her. She was selecting flowers and referring to them as "beautiful ". She was 4 years old at the most. I would be surprised if she doesn't gravitate toward flowers.

The grammar schools here often teach students about plants, and encourage them to grow plants. My stepson, who is 14, in JROTC, and plays football for his high school always has a plant growing in his room, and helps me dig holes for roses. He also stops to smell them when they are in bloom.

I sat with my daughter, and while flipping through the David Austin catalog, elicited comments from her.

For many, I believe the key is exposure and for the fearful, knowledge.


This post was edited by desertgarden561 on Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 18:15

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:21PM
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Finding the right plant for your space...oh, that does save so much money! LOL I've tried hybrid tea roses a few times (what a fragrance!) but they were annuals, for me. So, when I found OGRs and then Northland Rosarium...I've had a wonderful time! :)

By the way, you CAN get some wonderful flowers (and roses) at Big Box stores...but you have to know what to buy. A few years ago, I found John Cabot roses (zone 3) on sale, along with a beautiful John Davis the next year.

They have been as low as $3.99 because no one seemed to know what they were..or realize they are perfect for our location.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 6:31PM
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I think Chris209 makes a good point- kids are fascinated by nature; they seem to understand that the division between "nature" and "us" is mostly imaginary- just try not taking out the trash for a week in the summer and watch nature move in! Sometimes it seems that kids are trained out of caring about such things rather than there being a failure to teach them to care. Kids are taught, both explicitly and by example, that what matters is the "indoor*" stuff.
*(I'm sorry I don't remember which post coined that phrase- it's perfect, thank you whomever.)

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 10:28PM
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aviastar 7A Virginia

What a great discussion! I agree with many of the points already made, but especially 1) gardening is on trend where I live (semi-rural mid-atlantic) and 2) home ownership seems to be a huge push into gardening.

I did grown things at my parents home, but it wasn't mine and I had varying levels of success. Owning my own space has been a huge change; we're in our early 30s and newly-ish weds and don't have a lot of money. So I do spend time researching cause I can't waste money; I also asked for plants and gift cards to local garden centers on our wedding registry, which several of our guests were generous enough to give. I can't afford a landscaper, so it's learn to DIY or have an ugly bare yard, haha!

Much to my delight, I have found many other plant enthusiasts around my age here. I'm part of a large plant swap group that trades things all around every year; a good friend who is a horticulturist started it and she's happy to come out and show you how to take cuttings or identify what you have. She's been invaluable to me! It is truly people like her who share their time and knowledge that get and keep people excited about growing things.

I'm very lucky; my area is into nature, so to speak. The Appalachian Trail runs through our county, there are many century farms that still operate today, viticulture is absolutely huge here, so we have acres and acres and acres dedicated to grapes and the gardens that accompany their event spaces. Farming is absolutely something that the young folks do around here- they grow up doing it and hearing about their friends doing it. But, I've also not had to buy eggs for the past year I know so many people with backyard chickens, and I have a freezer full of venison from a neighbor who got too many does to keep this year. The point I'm rambling to make is that geography and the prevailing culture in the area does play a huge part, I think. Kids in cities don't have the opportunities that I did to ramble in the the woods every afternoon, to make friends with the creek, or appreciate found natural beauty. That must make it harder to develop an affinity for growing.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 6:15PM
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Great post-------


    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 7:34PM
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