In a video and article published last week, Wendy Bounds from The Wall Street Journal found herself in Marysville, Ohio, chatting with Jim Hagedorn, the CEO of lawn and garden Goliath Scotts Miracle-Gro. A no-nonsense former U.S. Air Force pilot who peppered this interviews with profanity, Hagedorn believes that running a business “is like old-school, Roman fighting.” He’s now taking his well-plotted, militaristic business approach to natural lawn and garden care, which is, well, a change for Scotts, an EPA-targeted company deeply ingrained in the practices of chemical-based weed-preventing, pest-killing, plant-feeding, lawn-fertilizing, mouse-trapping and the like.

I read the article and watched the video interview a couple of times and I appreciate Hagedorn’s non-BS approach to folding in natural alternatives in a market so reliant on potent synthetics (out of the company’s $3 billion annual revenue, only a fraction, $100 million, comes from natural products like the EcoSense line). I don’t agree with a majority of the products Hagedorn’s company creates and sells (and I certainly didn’t agree with the absurd lawsuit against TerraCycle) but I do understand Hagedorn’s consumer- and shareholder-based business savvy. He’s a businessman, not an environmentalist, and he makes that clear at the beginning of the interview.

Since the article/video hit the WSJ website last week, I’ve noticed some eye rolling around the green blogosphere and read some snippets of criticism here and there along the lines of "too little, too late," "PR stunt," "ack!" and "don’t forget about TerraCycle!"

Do you think Scotts' maneuver to brand and sell more and more earth-friendly and effective lawn and garden products is kosher? Or do you think the company — the longstanding king of chemical gardening — even has a place in the natural lawn and garden market?

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Gro-ing green too little, too late?
Green-thumbed Wall Street Journal scribe Wendy Bounds visits Scotts Miracle-Gro HQ to talk 'natural' with CEO Jim Hagedorn.