Gardeners shunning big-box stores?

walmart artCleaning up some old email today, I ran across a teaser news release from the Garden Writers Association Foundation (GWAF) announcing the release of their 2007 Summer Gardening Trends Research Report. I see these from time to time and find some of their questions of the ‘duh’ variety or just not of interest. But this one caught my eye:

In early spring, the GWAF asked consumers where they planned to buy most of their spring plants. In a surprising response, more households indicated they planned to shop at garden centers and local stores (47%) as compared to DIY and mass merchants (44%). This change in planned shopping patterns represented a significant shift from prior years.

In a June survey, The GWAF asked consumers where they actually purchased most of their spring plants. Consumers confirmed that garden centers or local gardening stores got most (43%) of their business while mass merchants and DIY stores came in second (39%).

Maybe gardeners are starting to understand that everyday low prices aren’t necessarily a bargain. The survey also reminded me of this infographic from The Onion:

onion walmart pr infographic

Most popular posts

beatles classic hitsOne of usability guru Jakob Nielsen’s The Top Ten Design Mistakes for blogs is Classic Hits are Buried:

Hopefully, you’ll write some pieces with lasting value for readers outside your fan base. Don’t relegate such classics to the archives, where people can only find something if they know you posted it, say, in May 2003. …

Also, remember to link to your past pieces in newer postings. Don’t assume that readers have been with you from the beginning; give them background and context in case they want to read more about your ideas.

So to comply with Nielsen, I’ve added a popular post page accessible from the top navbar.

I haven’t paid much attention to web stats for this blog — mostly because I’m painfully aware of the shortcomings of webstats. (How many hits are we getting? is a question that I frequently get at work, as if that directly measures the impact of your web communications.) For me, a successful post doesn’t just get hits. It fosters some discussion. Or it just let’s me get something off my chest.

But I got curious this weekend and went through the reports to see which postings were most visited. (Not that that necessarily means they are the most popular.) I had to do a little weighting as the older posts had a lot more hits from spam and robots. (Akismet spam filter is on pace to have deleted 50K spams comments this year.)

I wasn’t surprised that some posts got a lot of visits: postings about organic lawns, global warming and gardening, helping pollinators and of course the classic Garden Footwear Review.

I was happy to see that some of my snarkier posts were visited often, and surprised that some of the music posts were high on the list. (After ‘Ellis Hollow blog’ and similar, the search string leading most often to the site was ‘supertheory of supereverything lyrics’.)

My favorite posts — picture dumps and bloom day scans — didn’t rise to the top. But judging from comments, they are among the most appreciated. That confirms my preconceived notion that the web is a visual medium, and gardeners looking for entertainment love to look at pictures of plants.

July bloom day scans

I’m actually early to the party this time. With rain headed our way, I thought it good to go ahead and do this month’s scans. Click images for larger view. Apologies for lazy nomenclature and mis-IDs.

Update [7/15/2007]: As Layanee and Carol both pointed out, there’s a big article on scanning in the latest Horticulture (which has been sitting in my huge stack of unread gardening magazines). It’s by Ken Druse, so you know it’s gotta be good. (Print’s not dead. Sign up for a free issue of Horticulture.)

Monarda, Asian lily, sedum, spiraea, lychnis, Rosa ‘Cuisse de Nymphe’, allium, daucus, stachys (the other one), Scotch thistle.

july bloom day scan 1

Astrantia, viola, sorbaria (about to pop), verbascum, sedum, that weed that looks like fried eggs, digitalis, Verbena bonariensis, Verbena hastata, coneflower, teasel, rock garden campanula?, wild composite (aster?).

july bloom day scan 1

Digitalis, Asian lily, allium, astilbe, monarda, sorbaria (popped), astrantia.

july bloom day scan 1

Study Paints Dire Picture of Warmer Northeast

Northeast climate change mapThat’s the title of an article in this morning’s NY Times about the release of a new report by the Union of Concerned Sciences. According to the Times:

The impact on New York State’s $3.5 billion-a-year agricultural industry could be devastating, said David W. Wolfe, a professor of plant ecology in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University and one of the scientists who contributed to the report.

While higher temperatures might at first be welcomed because they would extend the growing season, they would bring new plant and insect pests like the corn earworm that could ravage crops.

Unless emissions are reduced, the scientists warned, Long Island lobsters would disappear or move to cooler waters up north. Without a hard frost to set buds, New York apple trees would not produce as much fruit as before. Under stress from invasive species, maple, beech and birch trees could disappear from certain regions of the state, including the Adirondacks.

And since it would often be hotter than dairy cows like, milk production could decline by 15 percent or more in late summer months.

[Full disclosure: David’s office is just down the hall from me. He’s a smart guy, serious scientist and a talented writer.]

I find this graphic representation (above) from the report the most powerful representation of what we’re in for if we don’t respond. It’s like all of us here in Upstate New York are going to be gardening like Pam — or at least our kids will.

Wine tastings gone wild

Doug Kuntz for The New York TimesOh Oh no. Long Island’s North Fork wineries are finding winos and oenophiles don’t mix, according to the NY Times.

inebriated group at the Palmer Vineyards here who hopped off a hayride and began gallivanting naked through the vines. Then there were the drunken customers at the Pugliese Vineyards in Cutchogue who jumped into the shimmering lake next to the elegant outdoor tasting area. And the bachelorette parties that often culminate in tabletop dances, to the horror of nearby oenophiles sniffing or sipping the local chardonnays.

Apparently they’re a problem here in the Finger Lakes, too, spurring the formation of “… the Safe Group Wine Tours Initiative. The program issues warnings to groups that are considered out of control and will bar repeat offenders.”