As the enduring backbones of our landscapes, gardening trends don’t often affect trees
and shrubs. These plants represent major investments that are not usually replaced unless
they die or suffer irreparable damage in a storm. What happens in the understory is a
different story. Your planting beds are, or should be, changing all the time.
Arguably, the major, branded plant growers influence what annuals and, to some extent,
perennials will be planted each summer. These nurseries are constantly introducing new
plant varieties, and these are the plants many people want.
Twice a year, the Garden Writers Foundation commissions a random, nationwide,
gardening trends study. The fall 2012 study, which was just published, found that the
majority of Americans (52%) have some form of lawn or garden. This year, they plan to
spend an average of $100 more on their green aesthetics than they did last year.
Where are they going to concentrate their effort (and funds)? Most (40%) will go to
maintain their lawns and grass. Fruits and vegetables follow with 39% and annual flowers
Veggie growing has been expanding over the past few years, according to this survey.
With the increased interest in growing your own food has come some interesting trends in
vegetable gardening. One trend has been going on for awhile. That is mixing veggies in
the same planting beds with annual flowers. After all, veggies flower and go to seed just
like any plant, and some are actually quite attractive. A few exhibitors have done this in
their Gardenscape booths.
While I, personally, prefer buying fresh produce at farmers markets to growing my own,
this concept is the one I would try if I were to grow veggies. You don’t have to devote
landscape space to a dedicated veggie garden. You just go out and pick the bounty from
your flower beds. I even know of someone who planted the whole bed beside the front
door to his house with veggies.
Another veggie trend that I just read about recently is called “intercropping.” This is very
new and quite complex, so it may be subject matter for another blog. The short version
is that you don’t plant crops in rows. Instead you intermingle them so that they set up a
symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship.
Gardening is the art and science of growing plants. So, it is only natural that tastes should
change and new trends take hold, and we will keep you apprised of them right here.