January 26

10 gardening trends

What’s hot now points to a movement toward ‘purposeful’ use of the landscape

By Kathy Van Mullekom
McClatchy Newspapers

Purposeful gardens – habitat, edible and sustainable – have been on the rise and 2014 promises more of the same.

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Containers are popular with gardeners because of their good looks and relative low cost.

Chemical-free gardens for birds, butterflies and bees remain high on the gardener’s to-do list, and organically grown edibles play their own harvest-to-table role with health-conscious backyard gardeners.

Gardeners are also more cost-conscious, turning discarded items like packing pallets into planters, planting from seed and composting kitchen scraps. In fact, composting is the new recycling, according to Peggy Krapf, a member of the Virginia Society of Landscape Designers and owner of Hearts Ease Landscape and Garden Design.

“Garden supply companies sell attractive containers to pre-compost on the kitchen counter and you can purchase worm composters that do the job in a box in a closet or basement,” she says.

People in general want to restore balance to their lives, so frivolous spending on more “things” is out, according to Susan McCoy, president of the Garden Media Group and a national garden trends spotter.

“They are beginning to truly understand the relationship between gardening and connecting with nature – and how this can lead to a fully satisfied, purposeful life,” says McCoy.

Here, more garden gurus forecast their own idea of fun and purpose in the garden for 2014:

CHICKEN CHIC

Chicken keeping continues to attract more who want fresh eggs for their table and cute chickens for backyard buddies. The Peninsula Chicken Keepers had 30 people at its first meeting in September 2010 and now include about 320 backyard chicken enthusiasts, some of whom now open their coops for an annual Coops of the Peninsula tour. – Carol Bartam, chicken keeper in Yorktown, Va.

MANLY MOVES

More masculine colors and styles in home and garden decor are showing up at markets and in stores because there’s a “role reversal of fortune,” where 40 percent of women are the sole or primary income earner for the household and the number of stay-at-home dads continues to increase.

In addition, fairy gardening is a trend that’s morphed into miniature gardening with expanded product and plant selections for both indoor and outdoor gardening. With the name change alone, there’s an increase in men taking up the hobby. – Tish Llaneza, owner of Countryside Gardens and just back from a buying spree at the markets in Atlanta

GARDEN JOURNALS

Master gardeners across the United States are using Nature’s Notebook to help track bloom times on sentinel species to make bloom calendars, which, in turn, gives scientists data on climate change. Gardeners can also use phenology (seasonal changes in plants and animals from year to year) information (and recording) to understand the relationships between garden pest outbreaks and timing of the plant phenology to know when best to apply Integrated Pest Management strategies. And, having it become part of the National Phenology Database also furthers scientific research, not only regarding a changing environment, but also for horticulturists and land managers to make management decisions. – LoriAnne Barnett, education coordinator Nature’s Notebook and USA National Phenology Network

EDIBLES AND MORE

Several things come to mind: Integrating edibles into woody ornamental and perennial gardens – a cultural shift, not a trend; planting native species to benefit bees and other insects; recycling objects into creative plant containers; and using Pinterest to share ideas and inspire others to garden. – Nicholas Staddon, director of new plants for Monrovia, a plant brand sold at garden centers nationally.

BEES MATTER

Saving our pollinators is big and getting bigger. Organic farmers have been all about this for a while, but now that the public is becoming aware of the desperate state of affairs, it’s spreading like fire – thank goodness. Everyone needs to read the Aug. 19, 2013, Time magazine with the cover that spotlights “A World Without Bees: The price we’ll pay if we don’t figure out what’s killing the honeybee.”

(Continued on page 2)

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