How Do You Grow a Garden?

‘Gardens are a form of autobiography.’ ~Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, August/September 1993.

I read this quote the other day, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate to me at the time! Having just returned from spending four glorious days in Chicago doing the clinical study for my Graduate Certificate in Horticulture Therapy from Kansas State University, I had the opportunity to explore the uniqueness of many different varieties of gardens, each telling its own story through its distinctive style and personality!

I saw rose gardens, vegetable gardens, roof top gardens, enabling gardens, self-contained ‘earth box’ gardens, and a Japanese garden! The enabling garden was very special, as it was built specifically to accommodate those with disabilities. The gardening beds are built higher off the ground for gardeners in wheelchairs. Every person who visits the enabling garden has their own unique experience, no matter what their handicap or disability may be. They are all able to enjoy the garden in their own unique way.

My fellow students and I helped lead a game for a group of five-year-olds in the enabling garden. This garden has textured plants specifically for the visually impaired. These plants have endearing nicknames like ‘lamb’s ear’ and ‘bunny’s tail’ and the plants actually feel like their namesakes. You should have seen the excitement on the children’s faces as they explored and wandered through the gardens touching each plant along the way!

The Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital has the most beautiful roof top garden with a waterway running through it! This garden is used for horticulture therapy with the patients. And at the Chicago Botanic Garden the living walls were abundant! Living walls feature high vertical structures blooming with the most colorful flowers, vegetables and plants you have ever seen!

We also visited Cook County Boot Camp that is a boot camp for first time felony offenders. These gentlemen tend large vegetable and fruit gardens. The gardens provide food for the boot camp kitchen and the food is also sold at the local farmer’s market. So many of these men have never eaten the vegetables and fruits they grow. This offers a life changing experience, a sense of accomplishment, and vocational training for inner city males who have been accustomed to getting their fruits and vegetables from a plastic containers!

My experience in Chicago left me feeling connected with many people from many different walks of life. And the common thread bringing us all together was the garden. Not just one garden, but a variety of many diverse gardens. I believe that gardens, like people, come in many different shapes and sizes, each one as unique and distinctive as the gardener that nurtures it!

Gardens speak to us on so many different levels. They allow us to appreciate and embrace the differences and diversity in our lives and celebrate our similarities as well. It really doesn’t matter what type of garden you have, whether it is a rose garden, a vegetable garden or a roof top garden! We are all connected and yet unique, and the garden is a way for us to express and honor that individuality. It is a way to write our own autobiography!

Principles and Issues Behind Patent Production!

In product markets, the problem of imitation poses a great problem for innovators who are deprived of enjoying economic profits fully. If imitators are able to move in rapidly and capture a substantial share of the market, the initial profits earned by innovators may not be sufficient to cover their costs and risks in the long run. However, a substantial delay between the time of innovation and successive entry by competitors may provide the pioneers with decent profits and make invention and innovation a more attractive activity. The patent system, by establishing a period of time during which the firm faces reduced competition, increases the expected return for innovative effort.

A nation by stimulating research and development can increase the prospects of product and process innovations. Governments can encourage such innovations by granting patents. Three criteria must be satisfied to obtain a patent:

  • The invention must be new
  • It must not have been known to the public before the inventor completed it for more than one year prior to a patent application
  • It must be useful and must be non-obvious

Patents confer the exclusive right to the use of an idea for a long period (which varies between nations,say,in countries like India, it is seven to fourteen years, depending on the nature of the product) within which the innovator might be able to recover his initial investment. Another reason to grant patents is to provide for widespread disclosure of new ideas and techniques.

The main objective of patent protection is to encourage research and development. Patents:

  • Encourage research and invention
  • Induce an inventor to disclose his discoveries instead of keeping them as a secret.
  • Offer a reward for the expenses of developing inventions to the state at which they are commercially practicable; and
  • Provide an inducement to invest capital in new lines of production

The idea behind granting of patents thus is to benefit the society. Developing countries have to offer patent protection, the lack of which has made many foreign firms shy away from investing in core sectors like pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, in these nations. As a result, people of these countries are forced to buy life saving drugs like those for cancer and have to pay ruinous prices. Once patent protection is available, there is a possibility for manufacturing most of the drugs that are being imported, eventually leading to a fall in the price levels.

One of the difficult aspects of patent law is the principle that, whether a patent is to be issued to the person who conceives the idea or who first files for a patent. Another international issue involving patents is countries that allow firms to steal and copy protected ideas, due to lack of severe legal enforcements or lack of interest. Either way it proves detrimental to the interest of the patent holders and such violations have to be strictly prohibited.

How to Build an E-Commerce Website From Scratch in 8 Easy Steps

The unfortunate onset of the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in lockdowns and travel restrictions that are being enforced worldwide to curb the spread of the disease. Owing to this, many people all over the world have become less mobile and doing their physical shopping to meet their needs has become difficult. Hence, shopping online has become popular worldwide over the prevailing pandemic period and is expected to increase even after the pandemic is over.

It follows that many e-commerce websites have been set up to capitalize on this growing trend. As a result, the growth of e-commerce business has outstripped that of the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ businesses many times over in recent times. In fact, many of these traditional businesses, even the more established ones, have to take their businesses online in order to survive. However, many smaller ones face stiff competition from e-commerce businesses and those that were unsustainable had unfortunately closed down.

The success of e-commerce businesses has been so impactful that many individuals have started selling online using social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or Tik Tok. But the more enterprising ones are looking to dive into e-commerce in a bigger way instead of just using the social media platform. But first, to start an e-commerce business, it’s necessary to build an e-commerce website for a start.

Fortunately, there is a structured process in building an e-commerce website. Though a website developer is normally engaged in such a task, having some relevant knowledge could also help you in building a website for your online business.

Simply follow these 8 easy steps to build an e-commerce website from scratch:

1. Decide on the product niche for your store

When you search the Internet, you would have come across many e-commerce websites selling a variety of products. However, there are also many similar websites focusing on selling a specific line of products or services such as apparel, pet accessories, fashion wears, shoes or travel packages. Besides, there are some other e-commerce websites that sell many different products such as smartphones, cameras, home appliances, household items, sports and health items, lamps, laptops, books, and so forth. The latter is something similar to a hypermarket where you can find almost any stuff – you name it, they have it.

For a start, it’s significant to decide on the niche or type of services you wish to sell or provide on your website. In your decision, you need to find out the local demand for certain products relating to the niche or certain high-demand services you are interested in. Be mindful that buyers would normally prefer to buy products or obtain services from a local vendor whether online or offline. The local vendor would usually provide easy payment methods, faster deliveries, and faster replacements in case of the wrong or defective items.

2. Decide on your business model

As a prospective e-commerce business entrepreneur, you should first decide on your business model that best suits your need and budget. You can either sell your products solely on your online store, or you can sell your products on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc. If you decide on the latter, there is no need for you to build your own website. All you need to do is to sign-up for an account and list your products at its marketplace and start selling. You can also choose to sell your products on both the platforms in parallel.

3. Decide on a domain name for your business

If you have decided your business model to be an e-commerce online store as well as having chosen the niche and the range of products to sell or the type of services you wish to provide, you need to buy a domain name from any web hosting company such as GoDaddy, Namecheap, Hostgator, etc. Make sure that the domain’s hyperlink is “https” which ensures data security over the network. It’s preferable to choose a domain name that is closely related to the product niche or services you’ve chosen. For instance, if you choose to sell only pet accessories, get a domain like ‘’ or ‘’ depending on which is available. The domain name is also considered as your business name and should be easy to remember by your target audience. A domain provides a brand to your business and makes it easy for your audience to associate it with each other.

The hosting of the domain is easily done with the help of the web hosting company’s support team.

4. Choose an e-commerce platform

There is a multitude of e-commerce platforms on the Internet nowadays, such as Square Online, Weebly, Big Cartel, Constant Contact, BigCommerce, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, WooCommerce, and more. Some comes with a free plan while some comes with a free trial but for a limited period. Choose one that best suits your budget and requirement. Also, you need to make sure that the platform you chose is optimized for mobile phone usability to take advantage of the accelerated growth of smartphone usage worldwide. The online e-commerce platform can easily help you build your website in a couple of simple steps.

5. Set-up your e-commerce store

Your e-commerce website is your online store, and it needs an appropriate theme to represent your brand. You have to set it up properly so as to ensure that your potential customers will have a good browsing experience in terms of fast loading speed, navigability, user-friendly, etc. Your website should contain accurate details on your products or services, quality images, good descriptions and prices as well as options for customers to leave reviews and star ratings. All this should be included in your product page for the viewing of prospective customers so that they buy based on an informed decision and not to mislead them into buying in any way. You must make your website and its web pages eye-catching as it’s your brands’ representation to your online customers.

Besides, you need to include pages on your website with respect to About Us, Contact Us, Return Policy, Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, Shipping Information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These are very important in order to build trust with your customers where they will feel confident to part their money in exchange for your products.

6. Set-up payment gateway

For your online store, you must have a few payment options in place for your customers. Most e-commerce store builder platforms already have functions to allow you to easily set up the payment gateway. The customer should have options to make payments via PayPal, credit card, debit card, online wallets, Internet banking, etc.

7. Secure your website by installing an SSL certificate

For all websites that transfer data online, especially relating to payment, you must ensure that the network connection is protected by a Secured Security Layer (SSL). The SSL certificate keeps your website secure from website hackers and will help to build trust among your customers.

8. Choose your shipping partner

When you start selling products on your e-commerce website, you need to ship the products to your customers using shipping companies. You must choose those reliable ones that have good track records in fulfilling shipments within agreed durations and at the lowest available shipping cost, so that you can give your customers the best deal as well as maximize your profit.

There you have it, the 8 easy steps in building an e-commerce website from scratch and start selling your products or services online.