"Why is 'This Old House' from the 1980s so important today? For the first time, people got a more wholesale presentation of design geared to the masses. Why is that important? There's a foundation of design knowledge and an understanding that design is important," Lesseigne said.
"For example, have you bought a can opener lately? They aren't just the little metal things with the butterfly twister. They are designed! They are using design to sell can openers. We must use design to sell gardens and gardening."
Gardens need to change with the seasons. The new generation wants to be bombarded with information -- it's what they are used to. The garden must do that. They want to see change, to see different things all of the time.
Color is important, Lesseigne pointed out. "Often garden centers are selling you a color, not a plant -- it's not an impatien, but a pink plant!"
He suggested garden centers look at color for marketing. "Sell the garden as color. 'For your red garden,' on the sign -- get them to buy the package. There's a white garden at Sissinghurst, a blue garden at Lotusland in California. They are famous, and they've been around a long time." The concept is not new, but marketing it is.
While the new and unusual are important to garden centers, Lesseigne warns not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
"It's not about plants being 'native'; it's about them being used! You can establish a regional identity and context to your yard and garden."
The Living AIDS Memorial Garden's annual spring cleanup will start at 10 a.m. May 15. Organizer Bruce Severino encourages anyone interested to bring gloves and tools. They will work until 4 p.m.
The beautiful garden, a bright spot on Charleston's East End, is at the corner of Washington Street East and Sidney Avenue.
Today (May 9) is our 23rd wedding anniversary, and I'm sure my husband will surprise me with something for the yard. I've received chainsaws, shovels, plants and bulbs. Wonder what he'll come up with this year? I'm hoping for mulch.
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.