Biodiversity (noun), pronunciation: (bī′ō-dĭ-vûr′sĭ-tē) – the existence of a large number of different kinds of animals and plants which make a balanced environment.

For most consumers, the topic of biodiversity feels like a vague and overarching concept. News headlines tell us about how many acres of football pitches are deforested in the Amazon region or how companies and governments try to take steps to increase biodiversity or – at least – limit the loss. Such vague concepts don’t create a major personal awareness. Of course, people understand our planet is in trouble but not how to tackle the issue. This is where you, as a garden centre, can step in.

Sticking to the football pitches comparison: an acreage of around 17,600 football pitches of gardens in the Netherlands is tiled. The mostly given reason is that a tiled garden is so easy to maintain. But what if consumers with tiled gardens understood that a biodiverse garden is just as (relatively) easy to maintain? Wouldn’t that be music to their ears? Let it grow! Apart from that, climate change and all the problems it causes have created an almost collective sense of responsibility to do something to support mother nature.

And that’s a wonderful gap in the market to tap into. After all, apart from biodiversity, wouldn’t it be great to explain to your customers that birds don’t shun tiled gardens because they cannot nest there but because these gardens are devoid of insects? These gardens are empty plates! Or to explain which flowers attract bees and other pollinating insects in which months? Wouldn’t you like to be the instigator of countless new bird nests? We promise you, it is a great feeling knowing that you help people breathe new life into their gardens where butterflies hover, birds build their nests, and bumblebees hum and pollinate to their hearts’ content. And people may be extra motivated knowing that they contribute to an improved water drainage system, increase biodiversity, and ultimately create a more sustainable world.

Make sure your clients know that they can get personally engaged in increasing biodiversity and that you offer them the means to do so. Give them the power to do something about biodiversity. To actually contribute. Biodiversity - make it personal. As personal as their garden. You are the expert your customers turn to when they realise that their gardens can or should be more biodiverse. Because, one thing we can be sure of, sooner or later people will have to take action. So don’t wait for imposed regulations but claim your position as a biodiversity expert now, before it is too late.

Do it yesterday, so you can reap the rewards of this trend tomorrow!
Do it yesterday, so you don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Do it yesterday, cut the ground from under your competitors’ feet, use that to fertilise your own garden, and set the cycle to your store in motion before other sectors intervene and interfere!
Do it yesterday, so you will have many happily chirping customers at your garden centre tomorrow.

Handtekening Kees de Haan

Kees de Haan, founder of De Haan Group