I don’t need to read tea leaves or get out my crystal ball to figure out what is bubbling up in the horticulture world for 2015. Traveling to lots of nurseryman’s and flower shows, cutting edge gardens, and keeping up with my blog, gives me a good handle on what is up and coming in the gardening world. Some of these are trends have been around and are still going strong, while others are just getting a foothold, like smoking or drinking your garden! Or one of my personal favs, Orange is the New Black!
For a read on the 2014 trends, go to Top 12 Garden Trends For 2014. What was trending a year ago still is gathering steam, like grafted vegetables, especially tomatoes. I grew 3 grafted tomatoes last season and I need to grow some more to say for sure if the extra work (grafting when young) and expense is worth it.
1. Native Pollinators-Pollinator gardens are still going strong for native pollinators such as mason bees, honeybees, and butterflies. But in keeping with back to nature gardening, people are thinking about plants that sustain pollinators as well as birds, so we are looking for and planting multi-use/season plants. The newest wrinkle is creating a monarch way station to feed the monarchs on their long migration. Go to Monarch Way Station to see how to set your own up.
2. Bambi Proof– With the skyrocketing growth of deer and the distress of seeing your hard-earned cash become salad, people are demanding low maintenance deer resistant plants.
3. New Cultivars- The pace of new cultivar releases increases every year so that I can’t keep up with all the new varieties rolling off the plant benches. But think colorful foliage plants, dwarf plants, and new varieties of old fashioneds on steroids like the new gomphrena ‘Pink Zazzle Gomphrena’. Plant breeders are looking to amp up the size and color of flowers to appeal to consumers. Oodles of color and larger flowers, are the order of the day.
4. Food in Jars- Definitely, not your grandma’s canning! Preserving food in small designer batches like chutney and tomato jam, make growing veggies fun and creative. Go to my post All Jammed Up! Easy Tomato Jam to make a delicious chocolate-laced jam. People are having a new kind of party-preserving ones! I know because I have had several, like Jam Session for strawberry jam.
5. PPA-Geranium ‘Biokovo’- Finally a perennial Geranium made this coveted list, the Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year. Geraniums are the unsung heroes of the perennial world – tough, attractive during most of the season, long-lived, and an underused deer-proof ground cover. Not a glamorous plant by any means, but I would not be without these workhorses. See Choosing the Right Ground Cover For Shade for more examples of under-used ground covers.
Growing your own food organically still tops the list of most gardeners and is intimidating to newbies. Start small, take it slow, and don’t bite off more than you can chew, is the best advice I can give. As you grow more confident and are successful with a small garden, move on to larger projects. Talk to any gardener in August, and they will wish that they didn’t have such a large garden to weed and water! Many people are buying organic veggies at the local farmer’s market if they don’t have access to space for a garden, or alternatively growing edibles in containers.
7. Slow/Thoughtful Gardening-Growing plants that need less water, are more pest resistant and better for the environment just got pushed up the garden trend list. People are becoming more responsible in plant selections, educating themselves about the varieties before going to the nursery, or looking it up on their smart phone while at the nursery. There are tons of plants that don’t have pot appeal in the spring when most people visit the nursery, that languish on the benches. Instead these plants should be jumping in the cart, because they are a better choice than a spring fling plant. Good examples are fall blooming perennials like Monkshood-Deadly Blue Beauty or Autumn All-Stars.
8. Growing Super Foods/Edibles-The ever-increasing interest and use of edibles in containers and in the garden is still up there. Think berries, fruit, and lots of kale(dinosaur, preferably). Okra is another super food that is coming into its own. Go to Okra-Superfood Superstar for more information. The only problem for me is that I don’t like okra!
So many people don’t have the time or space to devote to a large vegetable growing operation, but when the edibles are contained and automatically watered, it becomes doable.
8.Water Friendly Gardening- I know, I know, this has gotten a little long in the tooth in gardening worlds. But really, as a landscape designer, water friendly gardening besides deer proof plants, is the number one request. Rain barrels, rain gardens, and using natives that use less water are high on client’s wish lists. See Rain Barrel Eye Candy.
9. Cool Nurseries-Nurseries are becoming a destination, not just a place to buy tomato plants. Look at Flora Grubb (yes, that is her name!) at Grubb Heaven in San Francisco who says “My goal is always to provide a fascinating encounter with the natural world”. It is not just a gardening store, it is an experience. See Annie’s Annuals and Escape to Surreybrooke, for more destination nursery adventures.
10. Sedum/Succulent Mania-It has just begun; Look for colorful fantastic shapes and new ways of using them. Succulents are tough, can take abuse and neglect, and come in a dazzling array of shapes and textures. See Succulent Creations for ideas.
11. Small is Big- Miniature/Fairy Gardening–Predicted by many to have run its course, this is still running strong with smaller versions (terrarium sized) of regular sized plants. My most popular blog by far is still Home For A Gnome. When I posted this, I was getting more than 2000 hits on my blog a day, where normally I get around 200. I will be doing a fairy/miniature gardening demo at the Philadelphia Flower Show this March, so people are still enthralled with the miniature idea.
Outdoor miniature garden
12. Drink and Smoke Your Garden-Growing your own organic herbs to muddle in a drink, or adding a sprig of lemon thyme in a drink, or making tea from culinary herbs is all the rage. But I am seeing another related trend just beginning and gathering a little steam, and that is growing marijuana. With the decriminalization of weed in many states, growing your own is not far behind. Growing is legal with the recent passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado, where you can cultivate up to 6 plants per adult in your home. Just think of the grow lights and plants that will be flying off the nursery shelves when this hits!
13. Repurposing/Old Meets New-Personal style is reflected on how you design and decorate your outdoor spaces. Whether it is a bottle tree that you created or pallets repurposed to build outdoor furniture or containers, this is both an interior and exterior trend.
14. Orange is the New Black
When I visited Portland this summer and toured some cutting edge gardens, the frequent use of orange flowers and accessories struck me. Black plants used to be the “in” flower and foliage color, see 50 Shades of Black, but I think orange has overtaken black for the hottest shade. Maybe it hasn’t hit the east coast yet, but we are always behind the trendy west coast. See Orange is the New Black post to see how orange has come a long way.
It seems that Christmas decorating goes hand in hand with miniature gardening. For the frustrated gardener who looks outside and there is snow on the ground, there are lots of indoor gardening options.
Miniature Railroad Gardens
Train gardens, miniature landscapes, or edible gingerbread ones, are great subjects for using your gardening and landscaping skills to make the holidays come alive. You can’t garden outdoors, so the next best thing is to garden on your windowsill.
When I make my gingerbread house each year, it usually has a garden theme. I have done potting sheds, farm scenes, three little pigs, Hagrid’s house with his pumpkin patch, and topiary gardens. I saw some good examples of landscaped Gingerbread houses at The Festival of Trees this year.
Train gardens are fun to put together with live plants, or make use of the life-like colored foam for bushes and trees… a lot less care!
After spotting a Christmas miniature garden at a local nursery, I was inspired to create some fairy gardens as Christmas presents, but on a smaller scale. Shopping for plants, buying little miniatures, flaky snow, gravel, and moss was fun, but the best part was putting them together. Go to my post on basket gardens for Christmas at Mini Garden in a Basket for the ultimate gift for a gardener. For miniatures, I search the Christmas ornament aisles at a local craft store. I found this perfectly scaled snow man for a garden.
I love the dish gardens decorated for Christmas with balls, glittery gravel, and mini Christmas trees. When Christmas is over, you can remove these things and substitute spring miniatures to get you ready for spring. I replace with bird baths, benches, tiny turtles and frogs, and watering cans.
The hardest part is finding a wide shallow container, and in searching for the perfect container, I spied clementine boxes and found them the right size for a small landscape. Look for the wooden ones- not cardboard. Already prepped with drainage holes in the bottom, the only thing left was to remove some labels off the ends, and cover all four sides with hot-glued sheet moss. I have had one of these planted for about 2 years, so they do hold up.
The big box stores are full of small houseplants for landscaping. Sometimes, I buy a larger multiple plant and split it up among different gardens. The pink polka dot plant in the right hand corner and the mini sheffalaria on the left are some of my favorites. The polka dot gives foliage color and the sheffalaria gives some height for the garden. The above garden also has a miniature conifer, a seedling lavender, and a creeping ajuga. As these plants grow, I will trim them back to keep them neat and tidy. In the summer, I will transplant the lavender and ajuga as they outgrow the space, to the outdoor garden and fill in the box garden with something else. These mini gardens are not static and need to have plants trimmed or reused somewhere else, to keep them maintained to a miniature size.
Bird Bath Gardens
Bird baths are a great opportunity to plant mini gardens in the winter also. I saw this example at a local nursery.
For the gardening challenged, these enclosed globe gardens are perfect! Low maintenance, and they last for months and months with minimal care. Hang them up in a window with fishing line so you can enjoy them. Go to Green Up Your Winter With a Terrarium to see some more examples of terrariums and how to create a unique one.