Top 3 Gardening Trends 2015
by Rob Sproule
Few things are more fundamental to the human experience than putting a seed in the earth and nurturing it to maturity. While the essentials of gardening are so deeply ingrained that they never change, the ways we express ourselves in the garden come and go with the world around us.
Trends come and go in gardening just as they do in fashion or home decor. While some trends appear and vanish as quickly as bellbottoms, others, like container gardening in the early “˜90s and food gardening 10 years ago, become so engrained that they shift the entire paradigm.
The trends I’ve chosen this year are manifestations of fundamental changes in the gardening world, namely the grow-your-own movement, eco-friendly gardening, and peoples’ desire to be more creative with their plants. While far from exhaustive, I hope my short list helps provide a snapshot of how we’re evolving to express our fundamental drive to sow, nurture, and reap.
A “Millennial” is anyone born after 1980. These massive generation, which outnumbers Baby Boomers, are fast-paced, plugged in, intensely informed, and they love to garden. Young people are the fastest growing group of gardeners in Canada, and they’re getting their hands dirtier than any other recent generation did at their age.
Every generation strives to redefine their world, and Millennials are doing just that with gardening. Increasingly concerned about the healthy of themselves and their planet, they’re leading the charge towards more organics, local food, and eco-friendly gardening, sometimes taking innovative, though subversive, approaches to get there, like Guerrilla Gardening.
Amongst the Millennials, young men are picking up the trowels in record numbers. From stay-at-homes dads growing food for their families to hobbyist wine and beer makers growing grapes and hops (and in some US states, now marijuana plants), these hip gardeners are breaking every stereotype.
Imagine the immaculately pruned, geometrically structured, high-maintenance and ever-thirsty gardens of Versailles”¦ and now imagine the opposite. “˜Bed-head’ gardening is the shaggy, random, hands-off and drought-tolerant answer eco-friendly gardening, and it’s catching on in a big way.
“˜Bed-head’ gardeners favour native plants, grasses, and perennials that need little or no supplemental watering. The layout is outside the classical garden box, with randomness, intuitiveness, and adventure taking the place of repetition and grouping. There’s always another treasure or splash of half-hidden colour to discover.
Straight, functional walkways are giving way to the curving paths you’d expect to find on a nature hike. Instead of being constantly pruned, plants are allowed to reach mature heights and only pruned for health and vigour (ie. to remove disease-prone deadwood).
Not only do bed-head gardens reduce the time, fertilizers, and water you need to spend, but the wilder environs attract bees, beneficial insects, and birds. These animals will turn your yard into a healthy ecosystem, which is the best pest control of all.
A few years ago these dazzling architectural beauties starting appearing on the covers of gardening and home magazines everywhere, and they haven’t stopped. Watch for the succulents reign supreme as their perfect storm of versatility, ease, and tantalizing beauty keeps claiming converts.
Among other things, succulents owe their fame to sites like Pinterest which showcases their creative potential to keen gardeners everywhere. From terrariums to miniature gardens, window frames to wreaths and shadow boxes to bridal bouquets, succulents are easily adaptable to almost any container.
Gardeners are rediscovering succulents’ unique form and crisp, elegant aesthetic in their gardens. Hardy succulents thrive on neglect, need no supplemental water, and they’re perfect in your hottest areas with soil so poor that nothing else survives. Expect to see a host of new cultivars in the coming years as hybridizers rush to catch up to demand.