Scotts Miracle-Gro, you can stop asking.


scottsDear readers, I went through my in-box and discovered some delicious hate-reading!  Ready? First, from somehow actually hired by Scotts Miracle-Gro to promote them, pasted below with commentary in brackets.

Hi Susan, I’m reaching out on behalf of Scotts Miracle Grow [SIC!] to see if you have 30 minutes to meet with Scotts Miracle-Gro representatives on Nov. 18-19 to talk about some new product offerings for 2015. We will be in New York [sure, because I’m only 200 miles from there] and would love to share three new products in the lawn and garden field that will be available nationwide beginning January: [and sure, I’ll take the time because garden bloggers are so handsomely compensated for sitting through marketing spiels.]

–          [name deleted so as not to promote it] – this new product line was created as an answer to the growing interest in edible and organic gardening.  All products are OMRI certified so we can help consumers enjoy the garden to table lifestyle.

–          [name deleted, ditto] – This new line of ready-to-plant seed pods includes everything needed to start a delicious garden – and are guaranteed to grow! [They] are also great for those with a lack of outdoor spaces – i.e. New Yorkers! [I’m not a seed-pot user but what are the chances those claims aren’t total BS?]

–          [deleted] — The new patented technology of [this product] automatically mixes the right amount of nutrients for feeding – using any watering device – and acts as a reminder for users to feed their lawns and plants. [Great.  Because we all know the same amount of fertilizer is right for every plant and every situation.  Thanks for doing the thinking for us, Scotts!]

That’s all especially funny to me since I’ve bashed the company, its products, its president and its “sustainability officer,” repeatedly on this blog.  Here’s my summary of the case against Scotts Miracle-Gro, where I first used the photo above and used again here to remind us that Scotts was found to have knowingly sold poison bird food.

Last week I got another email, this time from Scotts’ own “digital marketing manager,” though sent to me by someone else, a photo researcher.

Since 1982, The Ortho Problem Solver from Scotts Miracle-Gro has been one of the most trusted references for gardening enthusiasts and professionals. With over 2,500 photos of insects, pests, animals, diseases, plants, hosts, and weeds, it is a comprehensive and easy to use resource that helps gardeners:

1) Diagnose lawn and garden problems correctly;

2) Understand what is causing the problem; and

3) Find the right solution for the problem.

We would like to expand our use of and access to the Problem Solver content and we would be honored to have your photo ( be a part of our expansion plans.  In addition to continuing to expand the content within the Problem Solver tool, we intend to expand thyme damagedistribution of the content through the internet and through various applications such as mobile apps and future developed technology, and to use the content in other ways to support Scotts Miracle-Gro’s business activities.  In addition, we are partnering with our retailers to build lawn and garden tools of their own using these resources. In conjunction with these initiatives, we would like to request permission to use your image in connection with Scotts Miracle-Gro’s business plans outlined in this letter, including the development of retailer lawn and garden tools.

No, I don’t want you to use my photo – of diseased-looking thyme – but two points about the photo request.  Good that you asked for permission but seriously, you can’t afford to pay for photos? And I was distressed to read how well your “problem-solver” is selling, and that you’re working to spread the information therein to understaffed retailers. Though a defense of the book would surely rely on its inclusion of both “chemical” and organic products, the bottom line is – buy products.  Most gardeners solve garden problems with smart practices and plant choices, not by buying treatments.   orthoThe email did pique my interest in this treasured resource (to read the glowing reviews) and I noticed two things about the book on Amazon.  First, it’s 984 pages!  Second, it costs $5,396.01 (very precise) for a new copy and used ones start at $119.  Wtf??


  1. Did you not include your email responses because your language was so strong it wouldn’t be appropriate for public viewing? I hope so! The Scott’s lawn products “feed it” series of TV ads have surpassed Christmas car commercials as my most hated. My blood pressure goes up just looking at the spokesman!

  2. I’m not a fan of Scott’s, but in all fairness, the book as you show it was published in 2003 and is no longer in print. It is only available from third-party sellers. The outrageous price for a new copy (the only one showing as currently available) is being asked for by a used bookstore in Colorado, in the Amazon Marketplace. (Good luck to them in actually selling that.) It looks like the latest edition is the 7th, published in 2008, and also no longer in print.

    But that wasn’t really your point. 😉

  3. Thank you SOOOOO much for continuing the negative ad about Scotts company. They felt no remorse in KNOWINGLY poisoning millions of wildbirds and have never apologized for their actions – just accepted the fine and kept on selling products. It’s companies like these that give all businesses a bad rap and every time I see a Scotts advertisement, I respond on facebook what the company has done.

    Thank you for your diligence in this matter. Now, please write a letter to the company also – would love to hear their explanation!

  4. One of my fondest memories of my former life in retail, is of having to dive into a dumpster to retrieve a copy of the Problem Solver that I had put there. Apparently the garden center had bought enough product to merit a new one, and I saw no need to keep the old one with its broken spine. The owner of the store was not happy with me. Two years later after it had sat on the shelf unopened, I threw it away again, without consequence.

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