Meet The Garden Counselor

What Exactly Is A Garden Counselor?

You might expect a garden counselor would be:

  1. A source of credible help to answer gardening questions;
  2. A person who can explain the cause of problems and offer solutions that are feasible;
  3. Someone who understands the difficulties of being a do-it-yourself gardener when you don’t have much experience or knowledge;
  4. A guy who offers therapeutic sessions to your garden, like a plant whisperer?

O.K., forget the last option, but the first three are appropriate!

Hello! My name is Dan and I have designed this website to combine my love of gardening with a desire to help others in a useful way. Most people do not have access to a knowledgeable friend or professional garden expert for every difficult garden issue. My intention is to fill that gap with practical, easy to understand information.

It is expensive to purchase books on individual gardening topics every time you need gardening advice.
General topic gardening help books are often too vague, but you don’t discover that until you start a project.
The gardening tips found in them are often great reminders, but poor teachers.

I know from personal research that it is a tedious process to access information on the internet. Much of what you find repeats the material on a dozen different sites. A lot of the ideas are not explained in detail. Often they don’t match your abilities or budget, or just don’t apply to your situation.

That is why most people would prefer to have a knowledgeable resource person to answer their questions. This need gave birth to the Garden Counselor concept.

Where The Garden Counselor Learned His Trade

Most recently I practiced my gardening advice profession as the manager of a retail and wholesale gardening supply center. For more than eleven years I listened to homeowners and professionals alike share the problems they faced as they dealt with the challenges of gardening.

I could relate to their difficulties, from my own experiences as a homeowner with a life-long interest in gardening as a hobby. I also had owned and operated a landscaping maintenance business for the better part of five years. Gardens don’t just happen, but problems do!

Gardening is the most popular leisure time activity in the United States, especially in Southern California where I reside. But it is also a chore of necessity for countless others. What makes the difference between a pleasant pastime and dreaded drudgery?

Frustration. Frustration has a tremendous impact on a person’s perspective about gardening. Lack of knowledge and experience contributes to that emotion. How many times have you purchased a product to solve a garden problem while having no hope that this time it would work?

Customers at my store were pleasantly surprised to find someone who would take the time to inquire about their difficulty, ask questions of them, listen to them, and then share a range of possible solutions.
Once they made a decision on the method they preferred to try, they would get a detailed explanation on what to do, what to expect, and why certain factors would make a difference in this approach.

Would you like that type of interaction when you need gardening tips? They certainly did, and the referrals we received from them bore testimony to that. As a result I had many opportunities to speak and conduct seminars at various garden club meetings and for other civic organizations.

So how did I get from that environment to posting gardening information on a website?

The Garden Counselor To The Rescue!

I had to leave my position at the garden center, and it was not long before I started getting phone calls at home. Customers who knew me by name, and others who spoke of me as the “tall guy with glasses who took care of my problem” were encouraged by my former colleagues to contact me personally.

I enjoyed helping them with their questions, but kept thinking it was a shame they didn’t have any other source of assistance. I decided to put together a list of websites about gardening so I could offer it to these gardeners as a ready reference point when they had future questions.
Guess how long was my list?

There are some good information sites, particularly those provided by the university extension programs in each state.
However, I soon realized that even the good sites left people at a disadvantage, because they only offered one perspective or one solution.
The less than good sites were troublesome because of their incomplete strategies and all too often suggestions that were quite bad, even harmful!

I became the frustrated gardener at this point.
People should know they have options.
Gardeners should understand the consequences of certain choices to avoid additional problems at a later date.
Nice average homeowners should not be at the mercy of advertising geniuses to figure out what to use in their yard.

One day while shopping at a local big box store, I offered to explain a product to a perplexed customer (because of the typical non-existent customer service there). He couldn’t believe his luck in running into me, since he had spent hours searching on the computer but came away too confused to know what to do. He remarked that he wished someone online could explain things as thoroughly as I just did.

Light Bulb Over My Head!.. Drum Roll!… I can do that!

Why A Garden Counselor?
Is That Just A Gardening Consultant?

Gardening can rejuvenate a person. It should not leave you aggravated or irritated. When you are uncertain about what approach to take, many people procrastinate. This can let a gardening problem get worse.

Masterful advice develops your ability and your confidence. That's your path to success, and your key to enjoying your garden. Can a garden consultant do that?

Perhaps, but usually this type of professional is engaged for a particular project, and once the initial service is provided, you are on your own again. Can you be constantly in touch with a consultant who is not on a retainer?

I see myself providing a personal service to the home gardener, without sacrificing depth of topic or professional insight. More along the lines of a gardening coach, which is becoming a popular niche business opportunity. Just like people get a personal fitness trainer, in some areas you can hire the services of a gardening coach.

I want to take that a step further. A coach usually shares expertise and the trainee learns and responds as instructed. Would that work for you? Don’t you prefer to ask questions, to offer input, to get clarification, to know what is the sensible as well as the daring?

That’s why I decided to develop my approach as a personal garden counselor.
A counselor helps you comprehend the situation you face.
A good counselor encourages you to make the best choice.
A great counselor motivates you to do it!

The Garden Counselor desires to bring a sense of satisfaction to the average homeowner who has the opportunity to garden. When the proper resources are available, the benefits to your garden and to your own personal well-being are remarkable.

What Kind Of Gardening Help Can You Get On This Site?

The average or remarkable homeowner, the novice or avid gardener, even a lawn care professional can find useful information on this site. There is always a new development that will test your abilities.
I have just had opportunity to be exposed to more of them, so I can help you find your way. (Occasionally articles will be submitted by guest writers who offer expertise in particular areas, if you see a reference to the Garden Counselor staff.)

The primary, or at least immediate, focus of this site is on solving common problems. The topics are chosen for inclusion based on a priority system, rather than according to a logical outline. As people inquire about certain situations, I respond with appropriate articles. Higher demand gets first attention.

As a personal counselor, I am able to respond fairly rapidly to individual requests. Please use the available Contact Form (click here) if you have a question. (Note: I once was able to reply within 24 hours to most requests. The impact of popularity has pushed that back to 2-3 days at this time.)

Ask for advice when you don’t know where to start. Inquire about an evaluation of other advice you have received. Get explanations of concepts, and the reasons behind different procedures. Learn why certain practices are recommended and when there are practical alternatives that are feasible.

Don’t hesitate to contact me. The question you have is quite probably being faced by others. Your garden problem may lead to a detailed article that helps many other gardeners.

One important note:
This site is labeled as focusing on Lawn Care… BUT you can ask questions on ANY gardening topic.
So you might wonder why I made the distinction of 'lawn care' when naming my site? Well, as I researched, I found that the lawn care area was seriously lacking for authoritative or detailed information.

More importantly, I had help determining what was the most productive approach to take in setting up a website, and it wasn't what I expected.
If I had merely started writing about general gardening topics, my articles would probably be so lost in the Internet jungle that you never would have found them.
That would be a bummer, for you and I!

The main reason why I designated this as a "lawn care" site came as a result of discovering a business model that changed my perspective about using the Internet, and it also changed my life.

I wanted to have my own business again, but not with a hands-on gardening or landscaping business. (Nor would I ever go back to the demands of retail management!)
I was disheartened with every venture I investigated, until I found a sensible plan for generating income by sharing the information that I have absorbed over the years.

A web-hosting company named Site Build It presented the concept of building a business by generating content-based articles that give people useful information, instead of pushing a "get-rich-quick / sell anything that somebody will buy" approach.

I had investigated plenty of those, even wasted money on a few of them. I waited a long time before I was willing to try it, but nothing else made as much sense, or offered as much in the way of helping me actually set up a business.
It was the best decision I ever made (oops! I mean after marrying my lovely wife!) and we are both thrilled with how it is developing.

Those who have looked into starting an internet business, or actually tried it, know how confusing it gets, and how you can spend a lot of money and time with nothing to show for it.

If you have wondered how is it possible to make money through a website, even if you don't want to sell stuff, you should check out SBI and learn how they help us to actually set up a successful business instead of just hosting a website that no one visits.
They offer a step-by-step process and all the research and reporting tools to generate a lasting business based on your interest, experience or just a hobby.

I wrote a separate article about how SBI taught me to put my knowledge to practical use and you might find that it offers you some stimulating ideas for developing your own secondary income source.

People have also used the SBI approach to replace their dreaded job with a source of higher income while doing something that they love.

Site Build It! If your self-talk includes "I'ts foolish to think I could make a home business work, let yourself be foolish for 10 minutes more. (I'm glad I did!)

Oops! ...back from the soapbox!

The Future of Gardening With The Counselor = Coming Attractions

Other Garden Counselor sites on other specific gardening concerns will be developed: pest control; planting and pruning; organic gardening, and more.

Until that is accomplished, I intend to offer gardening help on all topics through the Garden Counselor Newsletter - “The Plant Slant”.

A Frequently Asked Questions Page will provide diverse gardening tips of general interest to anyone with a budding green thumb.

A Customer Contribution Center will welcome all of you folks to send in photos, ideas, helpful hints and encouragement to give a helping hand to young sprouts who want to grow up big and strong like you!

Using Garden Counselor Material

The Garden Counselor articles are free access to the general public for personal use only. They are copyright protected. They are available for reprint on other sites, with certain stipulations. Please send an e-mail request to webmaster [AT] to inquire, or to submit articles for possible inclusion on this site.

Other Services Provided By The Garden Counselor
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