“I think we are taking the next generation’s perceived lack of interest in plants too seriously. There is a growing number of younger people who are very interested in growing plants as a diversion from high-stress lives. I think more people are seeing the value of what they can create with their own hands and find those things to be treasures.”

Lloyd Traven
Ken Blaze

— Jeff Edgar, co-owner, Silver Creek Nurseries, www.silvercreeknurseries.com

“As an owner, you’re used to doing everything your way, but when you merge, you’ve got to realize there are other people more competent and knowledgeable than you are.”

— Ben Helton, owner, Total Maintenance Solutions, on company merger with Cutting Edge Lawn Company

“It doesn’t matter if you have been in business for 50 years. If you are doing the same thing over and over again, you’re not adapting. Our hallmark is we are always adapting ... trying new things, looking at some trend that’s five years away. By the time people identify something as a trend, it’s already over. So we don’t go there. We need to move on.”

— Lloyd Traven, co-owner, Peace Tree Farm

“Hydrangeas, I think, are sometimes more beautiful when they’ve died than when they’re alive.”

Thinkstockphotos.com

— Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, discussing inspiration for the 2016 PANTONE Color of the Year.

“We think [independent garden centers] are meaningful — and we don’t think we are less meaningful to Millennials than we were to Boomers — but gardening is no longer the No. 1 hobby. We’re not only competing with people in terms of selling plants, but we are competing with things that are taking up people’s time and attention. The context is different, and we have to figure out how to serve these different audiences and meet them where they are. We cannot just wait and say, ‘Well, they are going to mature to a certain place to their life where they’re suddenly going to start gardening.’”

— Julie Kouhia, CEO, Molbak’s Garden + Home

“This is a great time to be a horticulturist, but my professional needs have not been met by traditional trade shows and exhausting association meetings.”

— Brie Arthur, professional plant propagator and landscape designer in Raleigh, N.C.