Do gardeners go by the trends? Probably most of you don’t. It seems a little funny to me that there are gardening trends, as if they were like fashion trends. I do think it’s quite interesting that trends come and go like lasts seasons fashions. The truth is, these yearly trends are presented to you in seed catalogs, gardening magazines and even at your local greenhouses. These are some of the current leanings from the world of gardening!
1. Color of the Year
From paint chips to fabric swatches, color trends rule the commercial world. Believe it or not, these fads do influence growers and not just the latest color of your phone case. This year, the Pantone color to watch is called Ultra Violet. From petunias to purple podded vegetables, this shade of violet will be popping up in greenhouses everywhere. I’ve seen some of the accompanying color palettes to go with this color and they look something like a roll of Necco wafers! I have to say that all shades purple have always been welcome in my gardens.
2. A Home Sanctuary
With the stresses of life mounting around us, a home garden can be quite the respite from the outside world. An hour here and there to dig your fingers into the earth. Some time to sow and then to harvest. Take that up a notch with some al fresco dining on an outdoor table. Perfect for entertaining and relaxing! If the bugs aren’t out that is!
Making your outdoor space, no matter how big or small, a sanctuary need not be a huge task. A brick patio, a fire pit, a few potted shrubs. Some torches or string lights. How about just an outdoor table and chairs in a shady patch of lawn? Simply eating or even reading outside can really make a difference.
3. A Water Feature
Some homes have a natural water feature, whether it be a stream or a pond. If you have either, have you designed your landscape to show it off as a focal point? What if you don’t have this characteristic in your yard? If having a water feature is what you really want, you could go big with a hole and a pond liner. Add a waterfall and you’ve really got something!
On the other hand, simplicity may call for a fountain or tabletop water feature. An elegant birdbath may be just the thing to bring that liquid element to the garden. Another idea is to put a pollinator watering station together. All you need is a low plant pot saucer and some stones or glass marbles. Put in some water but leave the rocks or glass sticking out. This will provide a landing spot for bees and butterflies to take a drink!
4. Up-cycled Garden Decor
Garden junk, garden art…whatever you want to call it. Old urns and vacant receptacles used for garden containers. A retired wheelbarrow spilling with ivy geraniums. Dented watering cans, corrugated metal, antique tools. A few creatively placed pieces can put a touch of whimsy to the garden.
Turning old items into functional ones is a great way to recycle and an inexpensive way to give a structural feel to the yard. Take a look around your garage, you never know what may be transformed into something grand! Of course, this is not a new idea for the garden but using these treasures can take your space to another level.
5. Small Gardens, Small Spaces
Just because you have a small property doesn’t mean you can’t grow a few things. A doorstep or deck container garden could be just the thing. A mixture of showy flowers and container loving edibles would make a welcoming sight at your doorway. With a wave of urban gardening sweeping the nation the last few years, consider having less lawn and putting in more garden space.
Growing vertically in a small space can also help you achieve your gardening goals. Just one stationary panel at the end of a raised bed could allow you to grow cucumbers, beans, peas, squash and the list goes on! We installed cattle panel arches between out raised beds last year and added a lot more growing space to the beds. Sometimes, just putting a little thought and planning into your small garden can make all the difference.
6. Cater to Pollinators
Welcoming pollinators of all kinds is always a good idea. How do you do it? Grow what they like. Mix in flowers such as zinnias, calendula and marigolds into your vegetable gardens. Grow flowers in masses. Imagine large landing spots of echinacea, bee balm and butterfly weed. Herbs such as chives, borage and lavender.
Another way to keep them around is to keep a steady flow of blooming plants in the garden. Plants with a variety of bloom times will provide continuous fodder for all pollinators.
7. Imperfect Gardening
If the idea of garden toil and immaculate gardens scare you away from the tasks, why not try ‘imperfect gardening’? Some even call it ‘Bed-head gardening’. With a focus on mass plantings of native and low care plants, the idea is to just sort of let things go with minimal tending.
What if you designed your landscape like this in the first place? You could simply chop it down once in a while.
8. Have a Few Houseplants
It’s no secret that a few well chosen houseplants can contribute to the air quality in your home or office. IToo many tired, dusty plants in the house can really be a terrible sight. How about a few manageable and attractive plants instead of many unruly ones?
Some have great success with orchids while others enjoy succulents. The old standby spider plant is a good choice. Ferns, pothos, Baby’s Tears, snake plant, aloe…the list goes on. I like them all but I now try to choose just a few. I’ve really weeded out the amount of indoor plants that we have. I could probably even get rid of a few more. It’s amazing how much time it takes to dust and care for so many. Careful placement and proper care can ensure a gorgeous display of indoor plants!
9. Grow Your Own Food
It would not be very realistic for a home gardener to grow all of their own food unless they made it their full time ambition. Most of us just simply don’t have the time. Even a small garden filled with a few prolific veggies can supplement your vegetable intake. Salad greens, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes can be harvested over long periods of time.
Starting plants from seed, buying seedlings and direct sowing are all ways to get a productive garden. Don’t try to make it too difficult. Stick with what works and try something new each year. Even growing a little of your own food can make you feel like you’ve really done something.
10. Food Trends
It’s hard to think about certain veggies and fruits going in and out of style. I recently read that kale is on it’s way out. Kale was king for a few years there. Whether it’s so last year or not, I’ll still be planting kale of all sorts in my garden for years to come. Plus, it’s way easier to grow than cauliflower! According to the Organic Produce Network, broccoli crowns, button mushrooms and oranges are also out. Grapes and rutabagas too! We would not want to be caught with unfashionable produce would we? Instead, the previously mentioned cauliflower, interesting mushrooms, chard, berries and turmeric lead the way. Avocado is also right up there.
I don’t know about you, but I eat what I like. I don’t usually allow fads to dictate what I grow or eat but trends will always be coming and going. What are you growing this year? Will you incorporate any of these ideas into your garden? These are just a few gardening trends that caught my eye while doing a search. I thought it would be fun to share with all of you. There are of course many gardening fads out there and I guarantee some of them will quickly be “so last year”! Happy garden planning!