Earlier this week, I had a chance to attend the Northern Green Expo, the annual educational event for members of the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association. It’s a great event for hearing about new products and garden trends. National trend-watchers have spotted some larger trends, including a greater sense of purpose about gardening and a move toward mixing edible plants in ornamental gardens — a great idea, though I haven’t seen much beyond Swiss chard in these gardens.
The folks at the Green Expo offered a few other trends to look for at garden-centers this year.
1. Succulents everywhere. Drought-tolerant and sculptural, succulent plants are showing up in container gardens, either as an accent or as the main focus of the container. You’ll see a wide assortment of succulents in small pots at nurseries this spring.
2. Blooms that pop. More and more of the newer flowers, especially the petunias and calibrachoas, have two-toned or multicolored blooms. Streaked, with center eyes, or fading from light to dark at the center, these plants look striking in containers, hanging baskets or window boxes.
3. Pre-made gardens. One nurseryman — a real plant expert — told me more and more of his customers want a set of containers rather than a flower bed around their patios and other outdoor living spaces. Gardens are too much work, they figure. I would dispute that contention: Containers require more water and more care than any garden I have. But, there you have it. It’s what folks think, so expect to see more finished mixed pots, too.