Why did you visit the garden center?

I know what you are thinking – stupid question right!  Obviously, you went to the garden center to buy plants, or any number of things you find at the garden center.  I recently posed this question in an online forum directed at garden industry retailers.  To be exact the question I asked was …

Why do gardeners need the garden center?

In the age of broadband Internet access, eCommerce and smart phones why do gardeners still need the garden center? What is it about the garden center experience that cannot be duplicated via an Internet connection?

To my surprise this question generated a lot of thoughtful debate. The following are excerpts from some of the 31 responses I received so far …

“you can’t replace the benefit of touching the item to see how it feels for you, for example hand pruners aren’t one size fits all, [nor] can you replace the scent of a garden center. “

“That face to face discussion with the people who know how to grow and care for the plants they have in stock is hard to replace.”

“It is difficult to reproduce the look, feel, health, and/or actual size and shape of the real item in a photo or from a description.”

“Those who make a physical appearance are, shopping for something specific or are looking for design guidance. ”

“People are ‘social’ beings. They like the ‘one on one’ personal attention they get at a garden center, often times working with someone they’ve come to trust and depend on for the right information pertaining to their specific needs and desires.”

“[People] see garden centers as not only place to buy products, but to gain guidance and knowledge. ”

“I visit the garden center just to walk around and drink in the surroundings because I love plants. The beauty and green life lifts my spirits.”

More than just a place to buy plants

To summarize, people visit the garden center because …

  • They want to connect with nature
  • They need expert advice.
  • They prefer to use all of 4 senses when selecting plants for their garden (including sound?).  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but apparently it still does not compensate for the scent of a rose.
  • They like the “Experience”.



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