Friday, March 15, 2013

Trending in the Garden 2013

I may be a bit late in posting trends for 2013, but I figured since the active portion gardening season starts in spring, my timing is still relevant. I have been researching gardening trends for the year and have organized them in to three main themes. As with most things under the sun, none of these are new, but rather, many gardening resources and individuals are focusing on these topics.

1. The Sensory Experience in the Garden

Double Delight roses
The sensory experience of a Garden has become tantamount. Many gardeners are focusing on adding fragrant flowers, plants that bring vivid color year round, and use of textures that are delightful to the touch (and also release an enchanting scent). Striking variegated leaves are big this season as they provide pops of color when blooms are scarce. My favorite variegated plant is the Japanese mock orange hedge. I love the pale mint leaves with a creamy edging. The small flowers bloom February through April and are akin to citrus flowers. Gardeners are opting for fragrant flowers over minimally fragrant ones. Roses are following this trend; garden centers and nurseries are stocking more fragrant types of rose such as Peace, Mr. Lincoln, and Honey Perfume. Older, heirloom roses are popular again as well. My favorite heavily scented flowers are jasmine, sweet peas, and of course, roses. Children’s sensory gardens are now in vogue; check your local botanical garden or arboretum for potential offerings. These gardens focus on visual, scent, texture, and taste cues to get children excited about learning where food comes from and the ecology of land stewardship. Creating an herb garden (indoor or outdoor) with kids is a fun home activity to get them interested in plants.

Herbs bring sensory elements to the garden.
2. Urban Farming

Another main theme of 2013 gardening is the idea of creating and maintaining an urban farm in one’s backyard that gives the home owner a degree of self-sufficiency in bringing nutritious food to the table. This movement focuses on more intensive gardening methods (more production per square foot), raising farm type animals (mainly chickens for eggs, but rabbits, goats, and bee keeping are becoming more common), and use of strictly organic methods of growing food. In my mind, there is still a debate to be had between the labels of an urban farm versus urban garden. I think that using the label farm is a bit too ambitious for even most seasoned backyard gardeners and doesn’t represent the way the majority of American gardeners operate. But that is a debate for a later blog post. More importantly, I am very excited about the renewed interest in potager gardening, the design of esthetically pleasing, self-sufficient edible gardens that have their roots (pun intended) in early Mediterranean Europe. Again, more to come in a later blog post.

Flowers not lawns!
3. Ecological Gardening Design and Practices

Ecological practices will continue to influence garden design with a focus on planting native species to support native wildlife, planting of gardens that support bee and butterfly populations, and drought tolerant landscape design for dry areas. Meadows will be replacing lawns, growing heirloom plants and collecting heirloom seeds will pick up steam, and organic methods of pest control, soil enrichment, water collection, and composting should spread. I ditched my lawn years ago and now happily grow fruit trees, wildflowers, artichokes and squash in its place. I am finishing the organic soil amendment of my vegetable beds (with Hubby’s help, of course) with compost and pasteurized chicken manure. I have a pie in the sky dream of building a rain water collection system, but that will have to wait until more immediate needs are met (primarily the spring planting).  

I am anticipating a wonderful growing season this spring especially if the lovely pre-spring weather is an indicator of the future. Daylight savings is already a blessing in allowing me some week-day time in the garden. Did I miss anything? What is trending in your garden for 2013?

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