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Garden Advertising Both Reflects and Shapes Our Gardens

Now that gardening is in full swing with the summer’s warmth, we can enjoy the fruits of our hard work in the garden.

Do you ever wonder how you continue to learn what you need for the garden?

Often I turn to advertising for the garden.

Ads appear regularly online, in newspapers, magazines, and of course in email from some of my favorite companies like Proven Winners, Monrovia, White Flower Farm, and Colorblends. They show me the newest both in plants and garden fashion.

Garden ads teach what is the newest plant but also define gardening in its current form.

Why do you think all the recent emphasis on growing your own vegetables? Surely seed companies that supply such seeds promote that form of gardening as not only important but also the current fashion in gardening imporant to so many people.

Stephen Fox wrote in his book The Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and its Creators, about modern advertising that began at the end of the nineteenth century. He said “Ads necessarily reflected the times, and as an independent force they helped shape the times.”

This week I came across an ad for a Portsmouth, NH restaurant called Cava that featured a vertical garden on its outside wall. It called itself “New Hampshire’s first Vertical Garden.” [below]

Downtown's Portsmouth, NH Cava Restaurant
Downtown Portsmouth, NH’s Cava Restaurant

Yesterday I received an email ad for vertical garden products from the company called Living Ledge. [below]

An ad from Living Ledge Company for its vertical garden
An ad from Living Ledge Company for its vertical garden

Coincidence? Not really. Vertical gardens are all the buzz at the moment. Advertising fosters that fashion and lets gardeners know what is the latest trend, what you need to be a modern gardener.

Thus advertising both reflects and creates the culture by providing the kind of garden we cultivate.

It was no coincidence that Philadelphia seedsman W. Atlee Burpee (1858-1915)  once said, “No business can succeed without advertising.” He wrote his own advertising copy, which sold both seeds and garden fashion.

The trade journal Printers Ink wrote about Burpee in its June 17, 1915 issue in these words: “Starting with a modest business in 1876, the House of Burpee has grown into the greatest mail order seed house in the world. Like many other Philadelphia enterprises this establishment is of international importance. Mr. Burpee will tell you that he has built up this great business by advertising, and to a great extent that is so, but back of it all has been the integrity and the enthusiasm of the founder of the House of Burpee.”

If Mr. Burpee were alive today, he certainly would provide ads in social media forms, thus keeping his customers aware of the newest plants and trends in gardening.

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