In today’s instant media fueled world people are searching for balance and purpose, and tapping into the power of plants to cultivate the ‘new good life’.
According to Susan McCoy, of the U.S.-based trend-spotting Garden Media Group,
Plants play a vital role in our lives. Besides beautifying our homes and gardens, they’re vital to our health and well being. Plants elicit powerful positive emotions, revive neighborhoods, and influence everything from what we eat, to life’s milestones. Plants are “no longer a luxury, but a necessity for our lives. Plants can live without us, but we can’t live without plants.”
For a growing army of eco-conscious Gen X’s, re-cycling, re-purposing and upcycling is now a lifestyle. These new generations of environmentally-conscious gardeners believe in the power of plants and are â€œembracing a connection with plants based on economics, environmental impact, health and wellness.
Here are some standout trends for 2012:
The Front Yard
Increasing emphasis on the front yard versus the rear yard. Having the pride in your garden on display and a direct connection to your neighborhood community are of increased importance. Statistics are showing that people like their hard work to be more visible, which in the U.S. has meant a steady increase in the number of front gardens over the last two years, according to Garden Trends Research Report’s spring 2011 survey.
Small Space Gardens
With more people living in smaller spaces it becomes important to make intelligent decisions about what to grow and how to best use the outdoor space we have available. Small patios, dwarf conifers and native vegetation for low maintenance and easy care.
As a part of the small space gardening trend people are looking to maximize all plant-able surfaces. This means climbing vines and vertical plants that can grow on trellises, arbors and screens as well as plants in wall garden containers and pockets.
Gardeners are increasingly concerned about drought tolerant plants as well as innovative ways to collect and reuse water.
According to Sharon Coates of Zaretsky and Associates – one of the largest landscape firms in the U.S. – people are moving away from large ponds and toward smaller water features. “Now people prefer a cut piece of stone, a boulder or beautiful glazed urn with water bubbling out of the top. People either have to be really into ponds and all the maintenance they take or they have to hire someone to do it for them.”
Low-risk, high-value plants
Just as consumers are being more careful with their water usage, they’re also shopping smarter. In particular, they’re looking for low-risk, high-value plants that not only look good in the garden center, but have a tried-and-true reputation. Plants that have been bred to resist disease and pests as well as climate and soil extremes provide a better value and less worry and maintenance.
In colder areas, where the blooms are gone and deciduous leaves have fallen, more people keep their ornamental grasses instead of cutting them back, so they can provide winter interest. For the same reason, people are looking for plants with winter berries, evergreens, barks of different colors and textures or deciduous trees and shrubs with dramatic forms. But they’re also adding plants that change with the seasons, offering new interest with each.
Stone and Metal
Water features and objects of natural or carved stone are very popular. Copper and other metals are also favored for garden statues and other garden focal objects. Having a piece of art or other object mixed in with your plants adds a new dimension as the seasons change.
Go even smaller
Miniature gardens for inside your home. Terrariums both wet and dry are popular for interior gardening. There are many containers suitable for creating mini indoor gardens from reusing glass dishes and bell jars to hand blown glass bubbles and fanciful domes. Pick your vessel, some groundcovers and a small focal plant, the appropriate soils and the right light conditions for your chosen plants and create a tiny green world.
Posted by Arlene, Lifestyle Landscapes design team.