Park Seed’s Got a Blog, and the Blog has Rules


Park Seed Company sponsors this blog; however, the bloggers will not use this as a forum for hard-sell marketing.

Recent entries:  Safe Spinach in a Snap, which is oddly reminiscent of the "Scared of Spinach? We Have the Answer!" marketing e-mail Park’s recently sent out.  Also, Dark Side of the Garden, and whatdyaknow but we’ve got a "Dramatic Black Plants" marketing e-mail from Park’s subsidiary Wayside. 

Humor will be used carefully and appropriately (i.e., no crude or suggestive material, no insults)

Whew!  Finally, a family-friendly garden blog!  And we certainly applaud a careful approach to humor!  Humor, like gin, can be dangerous when used to excess.  Take it from somebody who’s been there.

Names of people outside of the company will be used only with permission.

Used?  You mean, like, if I wanna say GEORGE BUSH GEORGE BUSH GEORGE BUSH I need permission?  From Bush? OK–I guess.

Now it gets kind of strange:

Our bloggers represent people and personalities at Park Seed and Wayside Gardens. Some posts may be a composite of information from multiple sources or may be written under pen names. We respect our employees’ right to choose pen names for their posts if they so desire.

Yes, the right to choose a pen name is a hard-fought victory for employee bloggers everywhere. So Nadia Vanderhall and Anita Dover, whoever you really are, we salute you.

Now, lemme just say that we are totally behind the idea of companies using blogs to simply post new product updates and other events and newsy bits.  It’s OK.  You don’t have to keep a diary that tells us your innermost thoughts.  But when Nadia and Anita, presumably trusted Park employees, are writing notes to each other like, "Wonderful. I can still eat a salad and feel safe by using homegrown lettuce! What about spinach — can it be grown as safe and easy?"  it does make you wonder whether this whole deal is just a put-up.

Remember the Number One Rule of Dealing With Gen X that you learned at that seminar, right before the Get a Blog rule?  It was this:  "Gen X can smell bullshit from a mile away.  Don’t try to fool them."  (they forget to mention that we learned this trait from the expert bullshit detectors–our parents, the Baby Boomers!)

Now’s the part where we say something nice.  This behind-the-scenes stuff could be cool:

We have two rooms where all of the seed action is:  the seed storage room and the packaging room. Our seed isn’t harvested on the Park Seed campus, so we take the seed from bulk and put it into our "Park’s Pak." To make sure the seeds don’t germinate, we control the temperature (about 60) and humidity (22.5%). Needless to say, it feels great in the seed area, cool and dry.

and on it goes about how the seeds are sorted and packed and checked.  But how about some candid photos?  Some real day-to-day stuff?  Frustrations?  Failures?  Surprises?

Or don’t.  You know what?  Never mind.  It’s fine.  Forget I said anything.


  1. I chose a pen name when I started my blog because, well, my name doesn’t matter. I’m not a public figure, I have no name recognition, my job and career are unrelated.

    It’s just a “handle”: an online name. I’ve used a couple of different ones over the years. Each meant something to me and expressed something about my identity and journey at the time:
    – Spaced
    – Crazy Diamond
    – Doubting Thomas

    and now, Flatbush Gardener.

    Oh, and “Xris” is an alternate spelling of my real first name. It was bestowed upon me by a bar buddy, so I could have a unique handle to write my name on the chalkboard waiting list for the pool table. I used to be the only “Xris” online, back in the early days of the Web. Now there are hundreds, it seems. So I couldn’t just use that any more.

    Another reason: My last name has been subject to so many mis-spellings and mis-pronunciations, it’s not even worth it. I’d need a stage name for the marquee, anyway.

  2. “My last name has been subject to so many mis-spellings and mis-pronunciations, it’s not even worth it.”

    Same here. I dithered over using a real name until an “old friend” from high school found me because I am listed on the mastheads of a couple of subscriber-only nursing journals, and the mastheads are posted on the publisher’s Web site. There’s so little privacy on the Internet already that I just feel more comfortable with a handle.

    If it’s good enough for Atrios, it’s good enough for me.

    As for “Anita” and “Nadia,” however, does anyone else catch the near-anagrams going on there … ? I think I smell a composite marketing personality disorder.

    And gmail accounts? What, Park Seed couldn’t spare the bandwidth on their servers?

  3. i loved this post. every time i think i’m tough, i come to garden rant to see what tough really is. thank you for your continued commitment to calling it straight.


  4. My apologies, but now having visited the blog in question (sorry for commenting prior), it all becomes clear. The Park Seed blog is not a blog at all. It’s a thinly (very thinly) veiled marketing scheme masquerading as a blog. Not to get all high-horsey and such, but this really is an outrage, a perversion if you will (and i’m normally all about sordid behavior)…but this crosses the line.

    What good is a blog without comments, interactiveness, feedback? What good is a blog when the posts read like advertisements?

    The most maddening thing is the whole spinach posting episode over there reads as nothing more than profiteering over people’s fear of E. Coli infection in commercially grown spinach. Playing upon people’s fears in order to make a buck is morally corrupt.


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