Each year Garden Media Group produces an annual Garden Trends Report, and 2019 is positioned to be a “Back to Nature” year. New, younger environmentalists are joining older, established gardeners and “going native” – rebuilding native habitats, fighting invasive species and using organic methods of control. Let’s take a look at some of these new trends for the coming year.
“From Me to She” – Many gardeners are rediscovering the joy of nature, and are committed to nurturing the Earth. They are stepping away from self-absorption (“Me” and my needs), and focusing on helping Mother Nature (“She”) thrive. Whether it is composting, recycling, planting native plants or encouraging pollinators, the trend-setter gardener is more interested in sustaining the Earth and restoring native habitats, than just designing pretty flower beds.
Gardening Defensively – Defensive gardening emphasizes identifying and eradicating invasive species (plants, insects, diseases) that threaten our natural habitat. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that invasive insects and diseases put 70 million acres at risk. Just consider the invasive, non-native, woolly adelgid, which has decimated stretches of Eastern hemlock trees in the Great Smoky Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway!
There is a new emphasis on encouraging beneficial insects to make our gardens their home. Many home owners don’t realize that the majority of insects are beneficial and destroy destructive pests. Only a handful of insects are detrimental, but when we indiscriminately kill all the insects, we do more harm than good. Bugguide.net is an excellent source to help identify the “good” beneficial bugs, as well as the “bad” pests.
Another defensive gardening measure is to plant more native plants that are in tune with our Georgia environment. Native plants help support our native pollinators and other good insects. For a great list of recommended native plants, check out the Georgia Native Plant Society’s website at: gnps.org.
Leaving a few “wild” spaces in the garden is not being lazy, but being kind to wildlife! Leaf litter, snags (dead trees), and wild areas help support the over-wintering of birds, insects and animals.
Outside = Good Health – According to an Indoor Generation Report, 93% of Americans spend 23 hours inside or in their cars. Our children spend less than one hour outside each day! Studies show that decreased time outside in the fresh air is detrimental to our health – leading to obesity, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, vitamin D deficiency and more!
The American Academy of Pediatrics warns the use of blue screens causes problems with sleep, yet children under the age of 8 spend an average of 48 minutes a day on screens, while middle schoolers use devices for 4 ½ hours and teens 7 hours! Adults average 11 hours looking at their screens, even checking phones every ten minutes.
The Children & Nature Network is part of a global movement to give all children access to nature and provide families with ideas for getting children outside. More gardeners are getting their families involved in spending more time outside together – whether it is growing vegetables together or simply enjoying being outside in nature, taking a walk or a hike. Outside time, away from technology is definitely a trending idea.
High Tech Gardening – While minimizing screen time and spending more time outside, gardeners are still embracing technology. A proliferation of new, high tech tools is helping gardeners use their time more efficiently. Smart phone apps can identify plants, insects and diseases. The SmartPlant app allows users to upload a photo of a plant they want identified or is diseased and needs a solution, and experts on the app will ID the plant or diagnose the problem for you. Smart sprinklers, connected to an app, can be switched on when needed and turned off when the moisture sensor lets the app know the soil is saturated. Drones are now being used to survey the health of tall trees and have even been successful in pollinating flowers!
Bringing Nature Inside – In an effort to combat nature deficiency, the houseplant movement has taken hold – with an estimated 30% of households indicating a purchase of a new house plant in the past year. The hot new “buys” in houseplants are succulents, tropicals and terrarium plants. Millennials have particularly embraced the house plant movement, since they are transient, and houseplants are portable! According to the National Gardening Association, Millennials are responsible for purchasing 31% of houseplants!
Moon-Phase Gardening is Back! – Connecting with the phases of the moon in gardening is not a new phenomenon, but is back in style. The Farmer’s Almanac has followed moon gardening for decades. The tradition of moon gardening specifies you plant flowers and veggies that produce a crop above ground during the waxing moon (new moon to full moon). Plant bulbs, vegetables and plants that produce crops below ground during the waning moon (day after full moon until day before new). An emphasis on night-blooming, light-colored, fragrant plants -white muscari bulb, evening primrose, moonflower, Angel’s Trumpet – is also trending, so homeowners who work long hours during the day, can enjoy their gardens at night.
Mint is the New Neutral – Inside the home, mint is the hot, new neutral color for your walls and decor. In the garden, mint is receiving renewed interest because of its multiple points of appeal. It’s fragrant, has healing properties, deters pests, freshens breath and adds spicy flavor to iced tea. Savvy gardeners know to plant mint in containers to keep it from becoming invasive.
For more information on gardening trends for 2019, go to: gardenmediagroup.com/garden-media-releases-2019-garden-trends-report.