Published on March 20th, 2013 | by Doug


The Range of Choice is Our Responsibility

As we move further through February, the garden catalogues continue to thump onto the porch mat with the rest of the mail. As spring throws open its windows to welcome us to another fulfilling season of planting, nurturing, sustaining and appreciating, in a myriad of ways, the garden suppliers make their last attempts to take our attention with their various special offers. All good marketing! All designed to reap rewards! But rewards for whom?

Garden Catalogues
This is not to be some moan about the big suppliers but more of a clarion call to us all as gardeners. Remember, what appears in garden centers and catalogues is actually driven by demand. Our demand! If a plant doesn’t sell well then its presence on the shelf is a waste of retail space and it won’t be there for long. The economy is currently struggling and sales will, of course, reflect this. Consequently, your standard garden centre is unlikely to risk business opportunity by diversifying away from known, reliable sellers to offer us the rare or exotic.


This is perhaps where we could begin to take a degree of shared responsibility. Maybe our own lack of knowledge about what is available breeds a lack of adventure on the part of the retailers.


While it is unlikely that people, including ourselves, will stop buying from catalogues and local outlets of nationally represented nurseries, we need to be the ones to diversify. We need to be the ones to look outside, to look further afield and to find those more unusual plants somewhere in the various plant collections of the specialist nurseries. As we diversify the range of plants within our gardens, that will naturally help sustain these important sources of ‘something a little more unusual.’ It may also indicate to the larger suppliers that our needs are becoming more diverse.


About the Author


who has a background in Agricultural Research has been based at the Global Retreat Centre since its inception in 1993. As well as managing the 55 acrres of garden he also plays a key role in building management. Alongside this, Doug runs Values Development, Positive Thinking and Enlightened Leadership seminars for professional and community groups around the UK and abroad. Since 1996 he has, in particular, been involved in the university’s outreach work in prisons, running courses for prisoners and contributing to seminars and educational programmes for Prison Service personnel.

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