Monday, May 08, 2006

More about the decline of gardening

Oh, for crying out loud. Rocky Mountain News is on about it too. This story is also filled with vague, unsubstantiated claims.

It begins, believe it or not, with this earth-shattering observation: "Once upon a time, people worked in their gardens and yards..." and continues, "Unfortunately, the act of garden piddling is losing ground, so to speak, to our busier lifestyles..." without citing so much as a survey of a handful of first-name-only sources as proof. ("Jane, an accountant, said...")

The story goes on to claim that, "Current trends indicate" that we don't have time to garden anymore, and that "Specifically, careers, children, the Internet and a new generation spending less time outdoors than ever before are cited as the main reasons. "

Cited by whom? We'll never know. Because nothing to do with gardening is ever considered real news, it appears that no real editor took a look at this story before it ran. If they had, surely they would have required--what? Data? Sources? A point?

The story moves breathlessly onto a discussion of the "trends" brought about by this unheralded demographic shift. In just a few short paragraphs, the author manages to drag out every tired garden cliche I'd like to never hear about again, including:

Puchased gardens
Hired labor (this is often called 'do-it-for-me' as opposed to 'do-it-yourself')
Outdoor rooms, including kitchens, fire pits, seating areas and water features
Privacy
Instant gratification
Goof-proof plants
High impact
Low maintenance
Interesting foliage, flowers and color

and ends with this stunner: "All said, the drive for more bulletproof plants with a specific purpose benefits all of us, no matter what type of gardener. "

OK! Let me make sure I've got this.

1. People aren't gardening anymore

2. The result has been an alarming increase in the employment of professional gardeners, the purchase of "outdoor room"furniture and equipment, and a whole host of new plants bred to meet the demands of the market.

Yep, folks, it sounds like we've got a crisis on our hands.

Rocky Mountain News: Home & garden

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