Let’s be real and recognize that many new trends typically do not pop up suddenly, but instead are due to multiple factors; evolve and develop. Consumer behavior, interests, and the economy truly influence our green world of gardening. Some trends were evident in the last several years, and some may prove to be a sign of what’s to come. Overall, some trends are no surprise, some are worth noting, and others could prompt action.
- Using wildlife-friendly plants – look for those species that attract hummingbirds, songbirds, and butterflies. Plants that are pollinators for bees and other insects are vital and in demand.
- House plants – the bringing “outdoors – indoors” continues. There is a trend towards up-sizing to larger plants with big, bold blooms and foliage. Forget the little potted plant on the windowsill and roll in the large Alocasia, Crotons, Ficus, and Dracaena. In some homes, these large specimen plants are considered a form of art or living sculpture – as their aesthetic value is significant to a room.
- Return to mother earth – getting dirty. Many of us delight in the rich, primordial experience of sinking one’s hands into the garden soil. But did we know the health benefits? Garden publications are buzzing with recent findings from the Royal Horticulture Society, with research indicating that a naturally occurring soil bacteria can be beneficial to our immune system. Great news – who’s up for a mud-wrestling match?
- Fresh color trends coming our way – it’s truly fascinating where the new favored colors originate. Are the fashion shows and runways in Paris a source? The colors touted in wedding and bridal shows certainly have merit for annual color selection as well. Regardless of the origin, the color we found acclaimed as topping the lists for 2020 is “Mint”, (or better refined as Neo-mint green). The floral industry will waste no time complimenting with appropriate foliage for bridal and formal events. Greenhouse growers should note that Pantone announced their Color of the Year is Classic Blue. That should boost sales of Delphiniums, Hydrangea, Blue Anemone, Limonium, Scabiosa, and the other great plants known for bloomin’ blue.
- Online plant sales – bound to increase; this may be good for some, but detrimental for others. For many, “shopping” is evolving, being redefined as sitting indoors and clicking on the desired item. Granted, some businesses have made this work, but for the garden centers who depend on the in-store visits, the on-line plant purchases can be damaging. Current economic reports show revenue continues to rise for the nursery and garden center industry, while the number of businesses is dropping. Survival for the smaller garden centers may result from their demonstrating what the on-line shopper doesn’t have. Though more are shopping online, their front-line, face-to-face with the consumer, and helping answer questions about gardening needs, could be what keeps their business afloat. The experience of walking through aisles with rainbows of color abound and the fragrances drifting from a multitude of flowers is incomparable. Chat with an expert who hands you a Lavender plant. Gently stroking the foliage, she invites you to lean in close to smell it. She breathes in and says,” Heavenly, isn’t it?” Try to get that experience shopping on the internet – you can’t.
-Rob McCartney, Horticulturist
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