Burpee Chairman and CEO George Ball discusses the future of gardening in this interesting piece
by Dean Fosdick of the Associated Press on where the gardening industry is headed in the year
2020 and beyond.
Original article appears under the title "Climate of Change Ahead for Gardening". You can read
the original Associated Press article here.
“Climate of Change Ahead for Gardening”
While many gardeners scan the newly arrived seed catalogs to plan their next growing
season, the industry's visionaries are pouring talent and resources into products and ideas
they hope will be sown in years to come.
Evolutionary biology is just one aspect of flora development; plant resiliency, landscape
design and education also are part of the creative mix.
So what are the prospects for gardening in the year 2020 and beyond? Some responses from the
Coach Mark Smallwood, executive director, Rodale Institute, Kutztown, Pa.:
"Organic gardening won't be simply a niche market. It's a $31 billion industry now and growing
in double digits every year.
"There will be more food and fewer lawns. Urban food production will be up because a lot of
open space is becoming available. With all the empty homes, you can create parks; you can
create food production. Detroit is rebounding using not only open land but creating vertical
hydroponic food production in abandoned industrial buildings."
Jose Smith, chief executive officer, Costa Farms, Miami:
"We're trying hard to bring more color to houseplants. Green is not a color. We're also trying
to create plants so they're more of a lifestyle — a living home decor."
Greg Ina, vice president, The Davey Institute, Kent, Ohio:
"We're working to quantify the benefits of trees. People are beginning to go beyond the
anecdotal understanding that trees are good — beyond beautification to natural functions like
pollution and wellness.
"Another big scientific topic is resiliency. Improving early detection. Dealing with the
invasion of exotic pests. Building resistance to climate change. That impacts what we plant and
where we plant trees."
Anthony Tesselaar, president and co-founder, Anthony Tesselaar Plants, Silvan,
"The gardening industry has been looking at plant size and multi-use aspects with increasing
urbanization, and also such factors as increased disease resistance to reduce the needs for
pesticides and other chemicals in a closed urban environment.
"Dwarf and clump plants are being developed for smaller-space gardening. There is also work on
establishing more fastigiated (slender) trees and shrubs."
George Ball, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, W. Atlee Burpee & Co.,
"All roads lead to the garden. Almost everybody is into gardening and vegetable gardening is
the focus. Flowers are almost on the sidelines.
"Gardening feeds spinoff hobbies like cooking. People who grow things tend to become amateur
cooks. If you cook at home, look at how much money you save.
"Gardening also impacts health. If you go to any clinic and talk to any dietician, the effects
of vegetables are obvious. Choosing a diet high in vegetables makes you a lot healthier."
"Parents of newborns are increasingly shying away from processed foods and are forcing
companies such as Burpee to research high-yielding, relatively bland-tasting — still retaining
all nutritious elements — soft-fruited elements.
"More than just an accent, herbs will soon occupy a more prominent role in American home-cooked
cuisine, with far more flavorful leaves that will change recipes and food for the table. We see
this happening at top-tier restaurants in major cities.
"Spurred by less space and the need to protect gardens from exploding populations of deer,
every major home gardening company is working on developing a portfolio of vegetables for
cultivation on patios and limited areas. Plants will be smaller but their yields higher."