Top 3 Gardening Trends for 2014
by Rob Sproule
While the beautiful essentials of gardening never change, the specific, cutting edge ways we tap into them are always shifting. A gardening trend happens when savvy gardeners put a new spin on an established idea that offers people the chance to experience the joy of growing in an original way.
Gardening trends tend to spread like wildfire because they give people vast amounts of creative potential within the security of a broad guideline. Whether edible containers or miniature gardening, gardeners can experiment widely within a trend knowing that there’s an overall philosophy to guide them.
I see enough trends come and go that I get a good sense of what we can expect the next big thing to be. Here are my picks for the top 3 trends to watch for in 2014.
Edibles in Containers
The days of hiding your vegetables in the backyard like some crazy uncle in the attic are over. In 2014 gardeners across Canada will declare that home-grown vegetable, fruit, and herb plants are as gorgeous as any flowering annual, and they will edible-up their front yard patio pots to prove it.
Edible plant breeders are tripping over themselves to get the next best container-optimized cucumber, pepper, eggplant, or tomato into your containers. Expect varieties that are more compact, produce an insane amount of fruit in proportion to the plant size, and cost more than old-school varieties (although the extra yield pays for itself).
We’re all used to browsing container recipes for flowering annuals. Watch for edibles-only recipes to be popping up across the internet and in glossy magazines everywhere. You’ll be able to plant containers to make salsa, to cook Thai food, or to have make a salad.
As many heat loving edibles like tomatoes, cucumbers, and figs, prefer the warm roots that containers offer, you’ll enjoy higher yields in pots than in the ground. Being in smaller spaces will make for tiny, very frequent harvests (like cutting just enough salad greens for tonight’s dinner), instead of the traditional model of having nothing until the September deluge.
We’re all familiar with organic and bee friendly gardening. In 2014, conscientious Canadians are going to push that a step further into what’s known as “purposeful gardening.”
Gardeners are taking the white gloves off and getting addicted to dirt. We’re understanding how gardening connects us with nature’s hidden rhythms in a profound way. Purposeful gardening arises from the exciting maturation of that understanding.
The goal is create a garden spot that offers sustainable habitats, healthy edibles, and a strong connection with nature. To be chemical-free is a must, as is the presence of native species to attract bees and other pollinators.
Unlike container grown edibles, the edible varieties found in Purposeful gardens tend to be organic or heirloom, the former for health reasons and the latter, usually, in order to keep the seed. While container veggies move towards the pretty, compact end of the spectrum, heirloom vegetables are unabashedly big, shaggy, habitable ecosystems all to themselves.
Nope, it’s not just about fairies anymore. Miniature gardening has evolved from revolving around attracting elusive forest creatures to a fresh, creative medium where anything goes!
Mini gardening is entering that exciting time in a trend’s life where everything is new and anything is possible. From dinosaurs to aquariums to hobbits, experimentation rules the day.
Most large Garden Centres will now offer some kind of miniature gardening section (although many of them are still hung up on fairies). Often it will be a smattering of under-sized plants, but sometimes you’ll find both living and non-living accessories that are almost criminally cute.
If you’re just starting out, look for the ever expanding selection of workshops you can take, both at Garden Centres and through courses and online how-to-tutorials.