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Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full?

My personal feelings about the cornoavirus

by Jim Shepard

Editor’s Note: Circumstances have changed dramatically over the several days since Jim wrote this piece, but we nonetheless appreciate his positive outlook and good advice in difficult times.

Many of us, like myself, have been in this business a long time! We’ve encountered every stumbling block imaginable: severe Drought, downturn economy, horrendous rainy springs, lack of labor, plant disease epidemics, locusts, lantern flies, huge competition, even hurricanes and many other events. Many of us are still surviving. I guess we are a very resilient bunch of plant lovers.

On the empty side of the glass, the stock market is dropping, but as always it will recover. That’s all the media is discussing. Travel industry will be hurting for a while, but it will recover. Large gatherings are being avoided temporarily. Let’s look at the full side of the glass.

  1. This will eventually pass over and or a vaccine will be found.
  2. If people aren’t traveling, they may spend more time at home and spend extra income on their houses, including landscaping.
  3. Since people are home and very health conscious, they may spend more time doing actual gardening for the exercise benefit.
  4. Since they’re home and more health conscious, they may do more home cooking and using vegetables and herbs grown in their own garden.
  5. Since folks may avoid big crowds in malls, where will they buy those plants? Where else?! Their local garden centers!

Going into the spring, I believe we should all think positive. Use common sense ourselves, eat healthy, lots of veggies, avoid big crowds, and use excellent personal hygiene. We all need to get the message out about the true benefits of gardening! We need more than ever to get this message out to millennials and our younger generation. For folks in my age bracket, who may postpone that cruise, let’s have some small classes on easy container gardens or raised bed gardening, etc.

We are all going to be fine and our season will flourish!

About the Author

Jim Shepard began his long horticultural career at age 7, in 1954, helping at his Mom and Dad’s roadside garden center in Menlo Park, NJ. For over fifty years, Jim has been involved in many phases of the industry, from commercial and residential landscaping to annual and perennial growing. He’s also managed several New Jersey Garden Centers, including the prestigious DuBrow’s Nursery and Garden Center in Livingston, NJ.


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