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Voodoo Lily image from the Gentling garden, Asheville

There’s no doubt that independent garden centers and nurseries—like many businesses—have been seeing their sales decline over the last few years. The percentage dips have been in as much as the double digits, depending on where you are in the U.S. Many nurseries and IGCs have been forced to close.

Things could look up, probably as the stately pace of the economic recovery continues. But is it really all about the recession?

Not so much, says consultant Clint Albin, who regularly works with independent garden centers. Albin always has interesting things to say (In a Regency romance, someone would flirt their fan and trill “Such a rattle!” here.), so I was pleased that he was one of the attendees at last weekend’s Asheville bloggers’ meet. He’s lots of fun.

Albin’s theory is that a major recent impact on garden center sales has been a disappointing performance by the baby boomer set. Why? He says it was expected that aging baby boomers, sliding into their golden years, would turn to gardening—and other gentle home-related pastimes—more and more as they lost interest in the passions of their youth.

But then came … VIAGRA. Suddenly an activity that had become somewhat problematic was very much on the menu. Who needs a hobby? And there you have it. Garden centers were the hapless victims of a renewed interest in sex on the part of older Americans.

I can’t say I really buy this. It doesn’t fully explain the female part of this equation, and—well—I’m sticking with the recession. But I like the originality; kudos to Clint.

There is one irony here that has always struck me. I think it is true that many of us got into gardening somewhat later in our adulthood. I am certainly one of those people—I really didn’t start seriously gardening until after forty. But it just seems so unfortunate that I initiated an activity that requires the worst kind of lifting and bending you can imagine just when my body became more vulnerable to the damage that can inflict.

Clint, can you explain this?

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on May 25, 2012 at 5:14 am, in the category Ministry of Controversy, Unusually Clever People.