The world of garden products may be somewhat safer these days, but it’s also a helluva lot more confusing. I lack even a smidgeon of the scientific knowledge necessary to do chemical breakdowns on the various products made by Bonide, Ortho, and the new organic upstarts of the garden pesticide, fungicide, and herbicide industry, but one thing I can analyze without special training is the packaging and price tags of this stuff.
Clearly, there are new do’s and don’t’s in terms of the new regime of gardening products. Here are some of the ones I’ve noticed:
-Black is out. Green is in.
-Curvy, sixties-esque graphics make the grade for “organic” products. Stark, rectilinear imagery—not so much.
-Don’t show pictures of the bugs you’re killing—or repelling. We don’t want to see that.
-Rather than hiding the elixir behind an opaque plastic façade, show it off in a clear bottle. To be honest, I’m not sure whether I should spray that pink stuff on my roses or use it as a spritzer for my martini.
-And, as always, the higher the pricetag, the better the product. Any bottle of garden goodness priced over $20 should be taken very seriously.
I’m glad there are alternatives out there. But are they so much safer or do they just look that way? If the peppermint oil in the pink spray doesn’t get rid of any insects, will it at least not burn foliage or do other harm? Who the hell knows?
We’re all still victims and guinea pigs of market forces here, whether the products are green, blue, black, or red. Add to that the fact that so-called gurus are still telling us to spray cola or beer on our plants and the confusion multiplies. As a magazine editor, I see “green” employed as an engulfing marketing tidal wave. I hope that some of its rivulets actually do good.