As seen on TV



My friends must be cheap. Otherwise, how did I NOT end up with an AeroGarden® ($150, about) this Christmas? Unless you haven’t been inside a Target, Walmart, K-Mart, or any department store for a year, you know what I’m talking about. It’s that thing that kind of looks like a deconstructed George Foreman grill, but with plants in it. This past quarter, the folks who make this device saw record growth: 185% more than last year added up to almost $14.5 million over the last three months. AeroGrow founder/CEO Michael Bissonette triumphantly sums it up: “We have succeeded in every retail channel of distribution we’ve rolled into, including independent culinary stores, national department store chains, independent lawn & garden and hardware chains, and have just concluded successful tests with multiple big box retailers, including Target.”

I love the website recommended in one of the British AeroGarden articles I saw. Go to, it advised. The motto of this site is “Stuff you don’t need … but you really, really want.” I guess that applies to most of the stuff I buy most of the time. But, the thing is, I really don’t want one of those. It should have thrilled me to see this thing that would (apparently) let me grow more plants during the long, gray, season, but Aerogarden looks too antiseptic, too fake even for me. Hence, its popularity. Obviously, I don’t have my finger as firmly on the pulse of consumer trends as Bissonette. To me, it looks cramped on one hand and like it takes up too much counter space on the other. But now that I’ve trashed it, what about you, dear readers? Anyone have this? Is it worth 3 easy payments of $49.50—but wait!


Now, here, on the other hand, is something else I really don’t need, but could easily begin to really, really want. Other than its unfortunate name—Smeg (it’s Italian, stands for Smalterie Metallurgiche Emiliane Guastalla)—this is one stylin’ piece of plant-growing design. It can be used for herbs and other kitchen plants, like the AeroGarden (with or without its legs), but I think they’re on the right track with orchids.


I can see this in my plant room, I really can. What was I thinking, drooling over those Wardian case houses. How passé. I also admire its description. Here’s an excerpt: The Home Garden provides shelter for plants, allowing them to thrive in homes that do not have an outside space. It is a home within a home where the plants are the protagonists. For more, see their site.

I wholeheartedly agree that my plants are the protagonists, but, sadly, at $1800 they may have to fight their battle without this. For now.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at