The National Gardening Association (NGA) has begun promotions for National Garden Month 2004. Nationally, National Garden Month will be held in April, "but regionally, we tell folks to celebrate it when it works in your area," said Rose Getch of the NGA. The national kick-off event is March 26 in the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.
National Gardening Month debuted in its full-month format in April 2003, an extension of the National Garden Week celebration proclaimed by Ronald Reagan in 1986. Since 1986, interest in gardening has exploded, with more than 85 million households doing some form of gardening. "We thought one week really was not enough," Ms. Getch explained.
"Gardening has the power to make a difference in people’s lives. There are so many messages about gardening: promoting the stewardship of the earth, promoting one’s physical and emotional health, bringing beauty into people’s lives," Ms. Getch said. By celebrating the efforts and contributions of gardeners and how gardening touches many aspects of society, National Gardening Month attempts to emphasize the potential of the green pastime to gardeners and non-gardeners alike. According to the NGA, 79 percent of America’s households participated in one or more types of do-it-yourself indoor and outdoor lawn and garden activities in 2002. Consumers spent $39.6 billion on their lawns and gardens that year, an average of $466 per household. Over the past five years, average annual spending on green activities has grown by about 4 percent per year and total lawn and garden sales have increased at a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent.
National Garden Month is a collaborative initiative between the NGA and numerous green groups, gardening organizations and lawn and garden companies, Ms. Getch said. The National Garden Month Web site, www.nationalgardenmonth.org  (due to be active for the 2004 initiative on November 26), serves as a gateway for National Garden Month activities. The site features a directory of supporting organizations, a searchable calendar of events across the country and resources for gardeners and those in the gardening industry.
Organizations already on-board for National Garden Month 2004 include America in Bloom, American Community Gardening Association, American Horticultural Society, American Nursery & Landscape Association, Green Guerillas, National Garden Bureau, National Wildlife Federation, People-Plant Council, Plant A Row for the Hungry, "Remember Me" Rose Garden and United States Botanic Garden. Organizations wishing to participate in National Gardening Month should contact Rose Getch at the National Gardening Association, firstname.lastname@example.org .