2022: Year of the Garden

We now take a break from our dystopia to announce happy tidings for the new year. Welcome to 2022: the threshold of the American gardening revolution.

The boom you’re hearing is not the launch of a billionaire’s ego-powered rocket or the sudden crash of a cryptocurrency. Reverberating across the country, the blast—a sonic bloom?—comes from the explosion in American gardening.

In 2020, seed and plant sales showed more than a 60% increase—unprecedented in our company’s 145-year history. As that year’s garden season came to a close, skeptics were already shrugging off the year’s bonanza crop of sales. It was most certainly an anomaly, we were assured, an out-of-the-blue miracle in a singular year, a unicorn in the garden.

Then, in 2021, the miracle happened again, a phenomenon rarely seen with miracles. We grew by double digits over the previous year’s peak. And now, low and behold, the volume of orders from late 2021 and feedback from gardeners themselves confirm that 2022 will be another double-digit record-breaker, the third miracle year in a row.

A recent survey of over 4,700 gardeners bears out our projections, with 86% excited to try out new plant varieties, and 92% planning to spend the same or greater amount on their gardens in 2022.

For 60 years, garden writers have anticipated the cosmic growth of new gardeners. The Great American Garden Boom was always just around the corner; for the time being, it was a horticultural sleeping giant no one could awaken. It took the COVID crisis to spur the giant to action, and to impel the population of American gardeners to multiply, grow and prosper.

The massive new interest in gardening demonstrates Americans’ ingenuity and determination when faced with an intractable crisis. For much of 2020 and 2021, COVID precautionary measures involved social distancing, masking, remote work, virtual schooling, and millions of Americans sheltering in place. The home, once the family castle, was now its penitentiary.

Americans soon discovered a green new world waiting for them right in their backyard. Creating gardens gave stir-crazy stay-at-homes a new focus, a fresh perspective, and scenic escape from stress and close quarters. In the garden they felt a sense of belonging, and a measure of control over untoward circumstances.

The American revolution in gardening is about more than monumental sales increases. Quantitative trends are about numbers, which can go up and down, and are subject to cancellation at any moment. Qualitative changes are structural trends which signify a profound shift in cultural values, priorities, and practices. This transformative development will shape American culture for generations to come.

Moreover, not only has US gardening grown to a permanently greater size, its appeal reaches across the proverbial aisle … as few things do in our current environment. Astonishingly, over the past two years, gardening sales growth figures are practically identical, with red and blue states both up 77%.

Since this miraculous gardening revolution touched every state and territory in the country in the same way, it has allowed, mirabile dictu, tens of millions of people to finally agree on at least one thing: that food for the body and beauty for the soul are within the grasp of a seed or plant, and a few steps from our door.

We have truly become a harmonious nation of gardeners. Fractiousness and conflict be gone. Goodbye, Digital Age. The Garden Age has begun.

A version of this article appeared in The Wall Street Journal on January 4, 2022

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022 at 2:52 pm and is filed under Original Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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