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Garden Media - Press Release
by Susan McCoy
March 3, 2002

September 11 has compelled many of us to re-examine our lives in order to connect or reconnect with people and the world around us. We now want to get closer to the ones we love and the things we've come to see that really matter. Surprisingly - or maybe not - many are looking to their gardens for that connection. 
Gardening was hot even before September 11, according to Bruce Butterfield, Research Director for the National Gardening Association (NGA). 
"Gardening ranks in the top three of all outdoor leisure activity, "Butterfield says. "As many people garden for exercise as walk or swim."
The latest survey from the NGA shows some 64% of all Americans garden, spending upwards of $50 billion annually on plants, gardening supplies and landscaping services. 
To put it in another perspective, consumers spent $16.5 billion on flowers, seeds and potted plants. That's almost triple what was spent on the movies and double what was spent on spectator events like football and baseball. Gardening's roots run deep. But since September 11 there has been a deepening reluctance to leave or homes.
Years ago that desire to remain at home was called "cocooning" or "nesting." The question of what to do now that we're determined to spend more time at home is increasingly being answered at our garden centers and home improvement stores. 
"Gardening is the hot trend for 2002," says Susan McCoy, president of the Garden Media Group. "Growers of plants, the media that follow the industry, garden centers and gardeners tell us the urge to be in the soil and growing something is stronger than ever before.
"We are hearing that everyone is going to be spending more time gardening and in gardens in an effort to heal from September 11," she said.
That's partially because of "flower power." Researchers at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, have proven scientifically that flowers help people feel less depressed, anxious or agitated. In addition, the presence of flowers led to increased contact between family members and friends.
Ken Druse, author of Making More Plants, for which Druse garnered the coveted 2001 Award of the Year by the Garden Writers Association of America., feels it goes even deeper than that. 
"We're never too young or too old to discover the emotional power that comes with connecting with the earth," he says "Feeling soil, helping something grow - we can identify on the most basic level, because we're made of the same stuff. The healing power of gardening is tremendous."
Ball Seed Company researched why people garden and found relaxation to be second only to beauty. "Gardening is a simple respite from our hectic lives," says Cees Boonman, president of Ball Seed. "More and more people who know the least about how to grow things are interested in gardening because they enjoy being surrounded by nature and beautiful plants." 
To help even the most novice gardeners select and care for the plants to achieve the greatest success without a lot of work, Ball is rolling out a new line of annuals - called Simply BeautifulR. More than 260 annual plants, including the popular Title Wave┬«  petunias and Fiesta┬« double impatiens, will add instant color to any yard.
Gardeners are also expressing an interest in the revival of the old World War II Victory Garden, according to Robert LaGasse, executive director of the Garden Writers Association of America (GWAA), gardeners "We are witnessing a surge in interest in GWAA's "Plant a Row for the Hungry" since Sept. 11," says LaGasse. "People want to find a way to help each other by growing their own food and sharing it with neighbors or those in need."
The old Victory Garden is taking on a whole new meaning - the look of freedom or remembrance. According to Pennsylvania-based Conard-Pyle Co., one of the world's largest growers of roses and hybrids, there is a renewed interest in the famous Peace RoseT, introduced at the end of World War II, and any of its hybrids. These roses, combined with the new War War II Memorial RoseT, Bronze StarT and Silver StarT roses make a wonderful statement in a peace or memorial garden. 
Flower bulbs, too, are showing up in memorial gardens. "Planting bulbs is a universal symbol of hope," adds Tulipworld.com's Pim Bouwman. Thousands have already been planted in New York City. The on-line store from Holland is offering patriotic red, white and blue bulb packages to plant in memorial gardens.
And they are putting more than plants in their gardens to help them heal. According to Joseph Cilio of Campania International, manufacturers of classic garden structures, statuary of religious nature -from St Francis to Buddhas - are being used to create "sacred spaces for mediation and reflection."
Ed Neff, co-founder of SoilSoup, Inc., a company specializing in a natural liquid compost, believes what we're seeing since September 11 is a desire to reconnect with the family member we all have in common. 
"That family member is Mother Earth," Neff says. "Since that day, it seems as though people have been spending more time in parks, gardens and with nature in general, and why not? It's a very healing experience."
Certainly, more healing will occur over the months, even years to come, than what we've been watching at ground zero for the last four months, but with Mother Nature on our side, we will all, hopefully, find our own sense of peace in 2002.

 

Email: susan@gardenmediagroup.com
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