Monday, July 30, 2012

On the Blog Again...

320 days.  That's how long my hiatus from blogging has run.  And it's not that I haven't had blog post topics on my mind, or the lack of encouragement from peers; life just took over.  My husband Nick got a much better job and we moved to a much nicer neighborhood closer to Philadelphia.  I found Pinterest -- follow me!  Spring came and performed above the industry's expectations.  My company patented a new hardy lavender.  We built an outdoor patio for a trade show booth.  Two weddings down and two more to go.

Working in the horticulture industry for nearly the past three years has opened my eyes much wider than my graduate student mind thought was possible when I started blogging.  Lately however I have been a bit confused about the focus of Generation X/Y Gardener.  I had a number of blog topics in mind that were focused more on the industry: how to effectively market to generations X/Y; why Generation X/Y buying power is focused on the tech and clothing markets and not plants; or branded programs and the difference between a brand and a package.  These topics to me sound as if they should be case studies for a marketing class at The Johnson School, not on a blog geared towards the cool kids.

Then GPN Magazine's 40 Under 40 happened.  On my mom's birthday in March I received an email from the editor congratulating me on my induction into the inaugural class of the 40 top individuals under 40 years old in the horticulture industry, hand selected from over 100 individuals who were nominated by their advisors, colleagues, bosses, etc.  I was floored.  Completely blown away that I had been included in a group of such amazing individuals; absolutely humbled that people other than my parents, husband, and bosses think of me as a future leader in the industry, a 'game changer'.  I needed to start blogging again.

I still was really unsure though about Generation X/Y Gardener.  When I started the focus was on the young, novice gardener and the blog was to act as an education tool for those wanting to know more about how to garden, what's new in gardening, and that it truly is easier than it looks in most cases.  I also wanted to voice to the industry that people in my generation are indeed interested in all things green, even if the interest and buying power are arguably not strong (yet) or visible in the traditional sense of large swaths of bedding plants and gaudy, grossly oversized hanging baskets.

Earlier this month I attended my favorite conference of the entire year -- OFA Short Course.  It's an all inclusive industry event which holds both education sessions and a trade show that covers over 8 acres.  It was a past Short Course that convinced me to return to the horticulture industry during my graduate school days, and I'm thrilled to now be a part of the Generation Next Committee.  It's a time when I get to recharge my batteries after the spring craziness, open my mind to new ways of thinking about business and the industry.  I love catching up with friends and peers -- it's like my annual therapy session for work, plants, and life.  A friend I have gained much appreciation for over the last year is Jared Barnes, a PhD candidate at NC State.  It was chats with Jared throughout the week that helped me regain focus on this blog and helped me develop the perfect topic for my next posting.  From here forward, Generation X/Y Gardener will be more of a dialog that is applicable to both folks involved directly in the horticulture industry and Gen X/Y'er gardening fans, to make us all think and gain a better understanding of the other party.

40 Under 40 Peeps and Jared -- thanks for getting me back into my blogging groove.

Rock on and plant on,
Stephanie

Song for the Garden: Welcome Back - Mase
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