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CULTURE WATCH : Green Thumbs Ripen With Age

September 30, 1993|THE WASHINGTON POST

When people get to a certain age--market analysts say the magic number is 39--they start to garden. Seriously. Or, at least, more seriously than just mowing the lawn.

"Cocooning out of doors" is what Bruce Butterfield calls it. He should know. He's the market researcher for the National Gardening Assn.

Since 1980, the group has grown from a tiny nonprofit organization with zero members to 220,000 today. It offers a wide base of services including a magazine and extensive educational programs.

"A gardening lifestyle is the new trendy buzzword," Butterfield says. "It reflects more outdoor living, exterior decorating.

"Of course there's also a greater emphasis on health and fitness," he says. "Remember when salad bars began about 10 years ago? Now people want a salad bar in their back yards."

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