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Trending in the Aisle: Plant People

Part of my job is answering questions for customers and helping them solve garden and plant mysteries, the ultimate question for me is when someone asks….”what should I plant” or “I need help…what plants do you recommend”?  I wait for those very questions.... that is when something inside of me goes into a calm, serene, customer service state, and then  I begin to ask my series of questions: What kind of sun do you have? How is the soil? Do you have any pictures of the site? And so it begins… the million question scenario, it is a back and forth format. I can see it in their eyes, these are passionate plant people they want to do what is best, they want some reassurance and some suggestions, and then, after several minutes into the interrogation of site, soil and sun…. I can see a spark ignite, something is awaken from the core of people, it is basic, they just want to plant and nurture, and become a successful plant parent.

Each customer is different, some customers are quick and go with the first suggestion that I make, yet others agonize over each decision and cannot commit to a specific plant, it takes quite a while in some cases to finalize a landscaping decision but each step in the processes is worth taking. I love watching the customers push off with their flat bed carts filled with plants driven by commitment and conviction.

I do believe that at some point people, (most people) are drawn into the world of plants and some sort of gardening, it is in our DNA to connect with the earth; and statistically that is true: 75% of households in the United States have gardens, five million millennials ages 18-34 care for plants or a garden. Gardening is the #1 hobby or pastime around the globe! One more fact: Gardeners live longer, centurions have the real dirt on what keeps them living longer, a high percentage of people that live to be 100 years old and older a common link between them all is that they are gardeners, they share a passion for the earth.

Everyday that I work in the West Roxbury, Ma. Home Depot store I meet passionate plant people whether they are season gardeners or newbies, landscapers or vegetable gardeners, annual planting people , true tropical plant lovers, or committed perennial folks they all seek something that can only be found with the purchase of plants.

Selection is key and we have it at the Home Depot!

Perennial people are particular they only will allow for the best preforming plants, the plants that are worthy of the sacred space in their gardens. In most cases I hear them say “I don’t have an inch of space left, but I just cannot leave this plant behind” or “I will have to squeeze this plant in”. Perennial gardeners are usually seasoned with experience, they know what to invest in and a plant will have to stand out for them to consider purchasing. Some perennial customer tour the perennial plants on a bi-weekly basis to just see what is new and worthy of a purchase, and when they find a new specimen they want to chat about it, and they have questions. Perennial people are usually very patient people, they learn to be patient just waiting for their green friends to come back year after year…and when some perennial plant does not return perennial people are truly sad, and of course they have questions….why??? After a summary of symptoms, and events they realize they now have an empty space to plant, and all is right with the world.

Annual people are easily excited people they are in for the color, something that will bring joy to planters and window boxes, plants that will last and flourish in beds for the season and will shout summer is here and it time to shine! Customers seek flats and big bunches of annual plants that will co-exist in combination pots or a simple statement of a mass marigold planting that will last until the frost makes them curl and die, hanging basket that gush oodles of color that drip out of the pot…. Annual people are special, they come year after year to buy flowers that will last several months, they plant every year and expect that the plants to bring them color but will not return and they are fine with that, annual people drive the season. the service dog in the top photos was totally on board with the annual selection!

Tropical plant purchasers are wishful folks, they wish that lived somewhere tropical or once lived in the tropics, they long once again for the feeling of the tropics. Patio topicals are a much sought after category of plants. Tropical gardeners wait for the tropical hibiscus, Mandevilla, palms, ferns to arrive so they can escape into a tropical world, surrounding themselves with plants that they either grew up with or creating a space that makes them feel miles away. Now the Home Depot offer a line of “Rio” tropical plants the Dipladenia tropical plant is on almost every patio and porch in the region, we all have a spec of the tropics in our plantings this year. When the first frost approaches in October tropical gardeners must surrender to the reality of the zip code, and wait and wish for next season


Vegetable gardeners are a sacred breed, they plant the earth in hopes of a harvest. Herbs and vegetable are an investment in hopes and dreams of an edible crop that they have nurtured from seedlings; they have a certain concern for plants that is like no other gardener. Impacts on vegetable and herb gardeners are many, the weather is most impactful, bugs, disease and the crazy bunny and squirrel population may keep them awake at night. I find that vegetable and herb gardeners are the most giving and resourceful gardeners of all. Herb and veg gardeners will find a space to plant even if it is in a pot on a fire escape, I have one customer that moves her herbs from one window to the next following the sun because she lives in a condo with no outdoor space. Vegetable gardeners share…. not only do they share the bounty of their labor at harvest time but they also share stories and suggestions among the Bonnie Plant racks. I hear the stories of how they foiled the squirrels and protected their crops from the ravenous   bunnies. I also hear vegetable stories about families and how customers grandmothers and grandfathers planted, for some people vegetable gardening is a legacy and the season is not complete unless they grow a tomato. Vegetable gardeners get it: time, energy, sun and water will produce so much more than fruits and vegetable they harvest gratitude.

Shrub and tree people are considerate and loyal people, they choose a plant that is a forever investment, a plant that they hope will live for years and years. Shrub customers consider form and growth habit, is it flowering, is it evergreen, will it enhance the beauty of the home? Shrub customers ask loads of questions and consider all options until they make a decision and then they are invested, for the long haul. The Home Depot partners with Hopewell Nurseries here in the Northeast  to provide the ultimate selection of shrubs and trees, the quality is supreme and the selection is always rotating there is something new and fresh arriving weekly!

Tree people are caring, guardians, trustees of the earth. Tree people do not take their purchase lightly they understand that they will be planting something that will last and effect the surrounding area for years to come. Planting a tree is a serious decision and is not a spontaneous purchase, it takes much consideration and thought to commit to purchasing and planting a tree, with all of that, there are so many trees being purchased every day at West Roxbury, Ma. Home Depot, the specimen selection is spectacular!

During the month of May I spent many hours helping customers with tree purchases my most memorable is of a lace leaf Japanese maple, the tree just magnificent,  it graced the plant coral for only one day when it was discovered by a wonderful customer, “the tree found me” she said. Three years previous a car veered off the road across her front lawn and struck her prized green, lace leaf, Japanese maple. The tree actually stopped the car from driving right into her home, but the tree was irreplaceable…until a Saturday in May when she came to the, WR Home Depot, to get some leaf bags. She told me she had been looking for a replacement tree for three years, (tree people are serious) and this beautiful tree called to her from across the parking lot, this was not a spontaneous purchase, this was a meant-to-be purchase!  

The lovely customer called her husband who came with flatbed trailer and we loaded the tree with care, they were so happy! The couple had waited patiently for the perfect tree to find them and now it is planted in their front yard.

The month of May brings so many customers and so many questions, our Home Depot stores are filled with beautiful plants of all kinds…annuals, tropicals, succulents, perennials, shrubs, and trees it is awe inspiring, as we enter the month of June and the season is in full swing our section is in full swing too, we have so many plants and advice to offer.

Stop by your local Home Depot, become a passionate plant person, bring a friend and bring your questions we are here to help! Home Depot is rooted in customer service, cultivating community connections, we are growing strong together!

Happy gardening season 2019,




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Posted 2019-06-06T17:23:31+0000  by Maureen_HD_BOS Maureen_HD_BOS