A phrase that’s growing on me


From the local botanical gardens' new medicinal section; two trends in one, according to 2012 marketing  predictions.

End-of-year garden trend talk contains all the usual predictions about which plant colors will be most popular (black and amber), which edibles will leap to the fore (herbs), and what types of fountains consumers will prefer (smaller). There’s a stern bottom line to all this marketeering, however. Regardless of which products and practices are hot or not, the gardening industry’s numbers are down—as they have been for the last three years.

So it was refreshing to see an interesting and upbeat promotional idea from longtime garden writer C. L. Fornari, who proposes a new message to help get everyone gardening. The campaign is entitled “You Can Grow That!” The phrase is to be used as an answer to a whole range of questions, needs, and desires from outdoor color to fitness to stress management. It reminds me of the message behind Michele’s book, Growing the Good Life—that gardening can provide positive solutions to a whole range of basic needs.

Unlike most other garden promotions we’ve seen, You Can Grow That is not the focus of a multimillion dollar advertising operation. Rather, Fornari suggests that everybody who has skin in the gardening game—from the CEO to the home gardener—get behind this simple, optimistic phrase.

Will it work? I’m not sure, but I like it.

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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 yahoo.com


  1. I like it too, Elizabeth! I did a program some years back at Sonnenberg Gardens called “You Can’t Grow That Here!” that accomplished a similar purpose – I told the group that they could, indeed, grow these and many other things here, or anywhere for that matter. I’m all for getting gardeners to grow outside the box and be adventurous, no matter what their level of expertise. I’m in on this one!

  2. Told a friend I’m on a radio garden show soon, he said, focus on the word, affordable.

    Done correctly it also increases property value.

    I never like to say anything sounding like ‘work’. Done correctly landscapes are less work than keeping the status quo.

    Affordable is my 2012 mantra.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  3. Affordable is always good. Most people aren’t trying to see how much they can spend.
    But I think “You can grow that!” is brilliant and spot on. It takes a short cut right past the phases of I wonder if, I need to research it, I wonder if it will really work, etc. It uses that initial enthusiasm we often have for a new idea before it gets drained away.

  4. Elizabeth, I gather you like this idea a bit more than “The Dig, Drop, Done”, campaign by the bulb growers?

    Whether you think C.L.’s “You Can Grow This” is the right campaign or not, the big takeaway is how superior C.L.s idea is compared to the $1.6 million idea by the bulb folks.

    Check with your membership, or customers first before committing millions towards another “feel good” project. They might just have a better idea, for a whole lot less.

  5. I love this line–because it’s true! Wherever people live, something (and probably more than imagined) can be grown.

    But I’m stymied by your statement that garden industry numbers have been down for the last 3 years. Based on what I see around me, gardening centers seem to be booming. Granted, veggie gardening and the “grow your own food” movement seem to dominate sales, but can other types of gardening be far behind? Probably Tara is right–the emphasis on “affordable” will be important.

  6. Anne, the statement came from an industry report in one of their trade magazines. It makes sense. The numbers are down since 2008, which is when the housing bubble burst.

    Trey, I do like this because of the grassroots nature of it. It’s not just throwing money at a campaign that may or may not work.

  7. Certainly better than ALNA’s “Grow Something”

    And much better than the client slanted Garden Media Group and their 2012 predictions that Costa Farms and the Millenials will save the earth.

    One trend certainly missing from every trend spotters list is simply “Indoor Farming” the confluence of patio, container, window and hydroponic gardening.

    The TROLL

  8. “You can grow that!” inspires confidence. Great line. And, we need to get the message that gardening should be thought of as “Play” and not “Work”. (That is of course, you don’t mind getting dirty when you play.).

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