BeyondFountains (the blog)

Last night, as I was looking for an email someone said they sent me, I wandered into my SPAM folder. There, among the sales pitches, I saw an email from the KCRA A-List Contest. It's been a very busy Spring. I had not even realized that the contest was underway. I followed the links and soon realized that without any fanfare or participation on my part, The Secret Garden was sitting in 11th place out of 32 contestants. Not bad, but not where I wanted to stay. I tend to be a little competitive. I like to be liked. Heck, I'll admit it, I like to win! So I copied the link to the voting platform and posted a note on our Secret Garden Facebook wall asking for help getting me in the top 3. I watched a few people respond with a "Like" and a few made comments that they had voted. Awesome! When I woke up this morning I was impressed and thankful for my social media followers that they had indeed voted and pushed me up to 2nd PLACE! Wow! Double Awesome!! All a silly game? Definitely not! Back in 2007 when this A-List Contest started we placed 3rd out of 10 entries. In 2008 and 2009 we placed FIRST with 18 contestants. The most important part of winning wasn't the certificate (although that's fun to have). No, the MOST IMPORTANT thing was how it drove our web site up higher in search engine results. A little mom and pop store like ours doesn't have the big budget to run ads that place you on top of the search engine page and our web site did not have the traffic history to get to page one in a search organically. BUT, by being part of KCRA's page, and being recognized as #1, well that made a HUGE difference.   Ten years later there are 32 contestants. My original goal yesterday was to end up in the top 3. Today, after looking at the numbers that I'm privy to as a contestant, I see I only need 51 more votes to move into 1st Place.......  51 votes!.......... I have 3900+ customers that receive emails. I have 2900+ Facebook fans, I have 1200+ Instagram followers........Imagine the possibilities.....Do you remember what I said about being a little competitive? We're not talking about needing 1000's of votes. We're talking about needing maybe 100. Please don't rely on the other customer to vote. I NEED YOUR VOTE! And so I ask you....Would you be willing to do your part to support a local, small business by spending a few minutes voting for The Secret Garden in this year's KCRA A List Competition?  And if you do decide to help us out, would you please also leave a comment about what you like about our store as well. It's one thing when I say something in print. It's 100 times more effective when YOU say something about us in print. Maybe you enjoyed taking a class, or attending a special event. Or maybe your daughter was here for a Girl Scout outing or your family found their Christmas tree here. Whatever good memory you have, we'd love for you to share. I can't thank you enough for your help. Click here to cast your vote: Remember, it takes a village to support a small business. You're my village! Jennifer
In ancient times we lived with the plants. Then as we domesticated we moved indoors and plants were left outdoors. For most people through history, homes were too dark and cold to sustain plant life. It is said that the Emperor of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzer, was one of the first to formally domesticate plant life when he built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for his wife.So while in ancient cultures it was generally only the very wealthy who could have plants indoors, plant lovers today keep them not only for the sheer beauty, but also for their proven health benefits. Recent studies have shown that having plants in your home reduces stress, reduces air pollution, reduces allergens and reduces toxins.Remember those grade school science classes where you learned about photosynthesis? And I thought I'd never use any of that information! So quick recap - we take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Plants and People; Perfect Partners. At night when photosynthesis ceases, most plants then respire like us, taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. However, a few plants, like orchids, SUCCULENTS and epiphytic bromeliads (AIRPLANTS) do the opposite. At night they take in the carbon dioxide you're exhaling and release oxygen. These are excellent plants to place in your bedroom to help refresh the air.Plants also release 97% of the moisture they take in. They do this by releasing moisture vapor and thereby increasing the humidity around them. Studies show that simply by placing a few plants together in a room you increase humidity and thereby decrease the instances of dry skin, sore throats and dry coughs.And what about claims that show plants reduce the toxins in your home? Studies show that plants do indeed remove up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research. VOCs include substances like formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke and grocery bags), benzene and trichloroethylene (both found in man-made fibers, inks, solvents and paint). The NASA research discovered that plants purify the air by pulling contaminants into soil, where root zone microorganisms convert VOCs into food for the plant. Plants and people; Perfect Partners! Do you need some Plant Partners in your life? Visit me at The Secret Garden and I'll help you get started. Jennifer
You know those tiny perfect 4" potted roses that are sold everywhere for Valentines Day and Mother's Day? Did you ever wonder how those roses got to look so perfect when your roses at home haven't bloomed out yet? And seriously do roses naturally bud and bloom when they are 4" tall? The answer to that question is NO, they don't. There is nothing natural about it. So here's something you probably didn't know. Growers use an arsenal of Plant Growth Regulators to achieve the 4" blooming rose and others plant wonders. These regulators are synthetic hormones made to mimic the plants natural hormones. These are then administered to the plant for the purposes of rapid growth, or delayed growth, whatever the grower's needs may be. Let's say you're growing a crop of plants that need to be ready for market in April. You need these plants to be fully leafed out and budding when the buyers need them in April. Relying on nature, even temperature controlled greenhouses, often isn't enough control. They won't be full enough or perfect enough in their 4" pot for the buyer to perceive them as worth the price. So in comes Plant Growth Hormone Regulators. The grower can play with how the plant grows by administering one or more "regulators" to achieve the end result he or she wants. Science controlling nature. Remember, a 4" potted plant needs to look full but not leggy, and be budded and ready to bloom. All with a root system that is approx 3x3". So what's the big deal? Well, have you ever noticed that you take your 4" pot home and put it in the ground and nothing happens. The plant doesn't grow for a year or more. Then finally, if it makes it through the heat of summer and the next winter, then it starts to take off. This is because the plant has been programmed through these regulators to NOT grow. Remember, the grower wants the plant to stay little, compact and contained in a 4" pot, The plant doesn't know it's been purchased and put outside in the soil and sunlight and you're now ready for it to grow. It's doing what it's been programmed to do. Sit tight and stay cute. Last summer I had the privilege of helping a customer landscape their front yard. They purchased all their plants from The Secret Garden. Six months after installation, I stopped by the house to take some pictures of the garden all grown in. The homeowner was thrilled with how everything was growing in nicely. All except three of nine guaras that lined a walk way. Hmmm, I wondered, why would those three not be doing as well as the others? Well it turned out that we hadn't had enough to complete the walk way and the homeowner had purchased three from another store. Different grower. Plant Growth Regulators? I'd bet my money on it. Today I was talking to a grower of houseplants while purchasing for the store. We were talking shop and discussing different fertilizers and lighting conditions and generally geeking out on our passions. He asked me if I used "regulators" to which my replay was NO. Then he showed me some of his plants that were regulated against the same type of plant without use of regulators. The difference was extreme. The unregulated one was actually bigger but not quite as full. Beautiful in its own right, but not "Picture Perfect". And the color of the regulated one was so much more vivid. It looked like it was photo-shopped with a filter. I was momentarily intrigued. But that's where it ended. Because next he told me that if I was going to use it, we had to tent an area so it wouldn't stray where it shouldn't and we'd need to be fully suited up to not breathe the material or have skin contact. It's a known carcinogenic. Nope! Not at our nursery! I'm happy to report that while we do grow a lot of our own plants, we only use organic fertilizers and no plant growth regulators. I'm ok with slightly less than picture perfect plant specimens because that's how nature intended for them to be. Love us or leave us, but we're choosing the non-carcinogenic growing options thank you. There, I'll get off my soap box now. Jennifer

The Secret Garden
8450 West Stockton Blvd
Elk Grove, CA 95758

Phone: 916-682-6839



10a-5p Sunday & Monday

10a-6p Tues thru Sat


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