Good times beget bad times, and vice versa. Rather than get caught up in the noise, over the last few years, I have taken up gardening, and it’s grown into a passion. Like paint colors and fashion, gardening trends come and go.
For 2017, gardening trends range from clean, healthy living with fewer chemicals and more organic food to “sound-scaping” with trees to buffer sirens and birds to bring song.
“We see a lot of growth in the coming years for gardening,” said Katie Dubow, creative director at the Garden Media Group, a marketing group that tracks and promotes national gardening trends.
“Whatever you’re growing, wherever you’re growing it, the ability to garden year-round just makes this category so much more relevant. And access to healthy food, year-round, will be a game-changer.
“Uberizing is my favorite trend,” said Dubow. “In the next two years, experts estimate people will carry an average of eight subscription services. Do you know the two biggest reasons people don’t garden? Time and knowledge. The delivery model can solve both of those and get more people gardening. Gardening subscriptions offer a simple and convenient service for a beginner to start gardening without being overwhelmed by choice or lack of knowledge. Plus, they offer an experienced gardener access to unique or new varieties they hadn’t tried before. So many industries are playing the game, it’s time for gardening to get involved.”
Here, more gardening gurus share their thoughts on 2017 gardening trends:
Homegrown and organic
The important millennial market force that wants to grow their own food, teas, cocktails, beer and medicine is expected to continue, according to Tish Llaneza of Countryside Gardens in Hampton, Va. Llaneza shops in Atlanta and Baltimore annually and attends nationwide seminars to keep up with national trends.
“Five million of the six million new gardeners last year were 18-34 year olds, according to the 2016 National Gardening Report,” she said. “New technology makes growing 365 days a year easy, affordable and convenient.”
For instance, indoor gardening — growing under lights in soil, hydroponically or aquaponically — is becoming more common. From growing arugula to bok choy, clean fresh food will be available to plant, pick and plate every season. From herbal tea gardens on the window sill and healing herbs under lights to vitamin-packed microgreens on the kitchen counter, medicinal gardens are blooming indoors.
“At the other end, Baby Boomers are keeping only those things that speak to their heart,” she said. “They are taking the plunge and discarding all the rest. By doing this, they can reset their life and embark on a new lifestyle.”
Food reigns important with Americans, who now demand to know what is in and on their food — and where it comes from, Llaneza added.
“The demand for organic, locally sourced food now far exceeds the supply,” she said.
Landscaping is an expensive investment, whether you do it yourself or have someone create it for you. Your yard also is a natural reflection of the world where you live, so make it as natural as you can. Natural stone gives you the best of both worlds: value for your money and longevity in looks and feel.
Beautiful hardscaping, such as stone, will last a lifetime, said Peggy Krapf of Heart’s Ease Landscape & Garden Design in Williamsburg, Va. An added bonus is it doesn’t need water and deer never eat it.
Natural also goes well with mixing old with new and repurposing objects in the landscape, added Krapf.
“I love gardens with personality and gardeners who use things they love in creative ways,” she said
“Containers can become water features, fences can become areas to display collections, a child’s wagon can become a portable garden and old broken pots can be partly buried in the ground with flowers spilling out of them onto the ground.”
It isn’t always easy to eliminate the lawn in a yard, especially on a large property, Krapf noted.
But there are many ways to minimize the amount of turf grass used. Create large planting beds, exaggerate wood lines and natural areas, and create patios and walkways can all reduce turf in the landscape.
“In small areas, ground covers and low growing plants can take the place of grass, often in addition to stepping stones and pathways,” she said.
Whether you’re trying to attract pollinators to your yard or add more diversity to the overall species count in your neighborhood, sustainability experts are now urging home gardeners to consider which plants and planting combinations will provide continued food and shelter to wildlife, long after we humans have wrapped up the gardening season, according to Randy Schultz of Shultz Communications, a gardening public relations specialist in Santa Fe, N.M.
For instance, American Meadows offers many types of flower seeds and flowering plants that attract pollinators to your yard and garden. Bee the Change seed packets contain an assortment of wildflower seeds that bring hummingbirds and bees. On a similar note, the Monarch Magnet Perennial Garden attracts and supports monarch butterflies.
Be ahead of the trends
For gardeners who want to branch out into different realms, these trends are growing in popularity:
Growing your own hops is a natural step for the beer enthusiast who wants to experiment with the freshest, most local ingredients possible, according to Grace Chapman Elton, horticulture director at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Va. It’s also fun to watch hops grow; however, you do need to have ample space and provide a structure for support for the prolific flowering vines.
Succulents continue to be popular for busy gardeners because they have great form and color and require little maintenance. Many new varieties are entering the market.
And natural dye gardens are a thing, according to Elton. The do it yourself spirit now extends to growing plants to dye your own textiles and clothing. Whether it’s using marigolds for a golden yellow or cosmos for a bright orange hue, it’s just one more way to enjoy your garden.
And the best news is that many vegetables and pollinator-attracting plants also are great for dyeing.