At this time of year, there’s plenty of discussion about what’s hot, what’s new and which trends will influence gardening this year. Some of the trends are fun, if superficial. Expect to see even more hot orange flowers now that Tangerine Tango is the color of the year. More gardeners are also playing with succulents and a few are heading back to the 70s with terrariums. (We’ll have an article on terrariums in Northern Gardener later in 2012.)
But beyond what looks good and what is fashionable, gardens reflect some underlying social shifts. For instance, interest in food gardening continues to be on the rise, including among young people, who traditionally are nongardeners. (According to a Garden Writers Association trend report, 59 percent of homeowners are now growing some food.) Whether trend watchers call them Urban Knights or The New Beginners, these are folks who want to eat healthy and to know what they are eating. They are concerned about food miles, eating seasonally and growing really tasty, clean food. To help these young gardeners, you’ll see even more information about small-space gardening and plants that are easy to grow as well as organic methods and heirloom seeds. Renee’s Garden Seeds, for example, recently introduced “Easy to Grow Seed Collections,” one for a container kitchen garden and one for a colorful kitchen garden.
Another trend can be loosely called concern for the earth. After growing food, the issues homeowners want information about most included earth-friendly gardening (49 percent) and native plants (41 percent). Planting for butterflies, bees and birds — pollinators — is motivating plant selections by more gardeners and more gardeners are committing to heirloom plants and organic methods.
Another not-exactly-surprising change is that more gardeners are seeking information about growing plants on the Internet. About 25 percent of gardeners turn to the web for information. (Only 8 percent turn to garden blogs!)
In many ways, these are continuations of trends from as far back as 2008. I’m excited about all these trends (even the terrariums!) so it’s an good time to be a gardener.