Once again writers from The Garden Writers Association along with the folks at Garden Media Group have tracked consumer garden purchases for 2006 in order to predict trends for the upcoming year. Here is how gardeners voted with their dollars in 2006 and how that translates into gardening trends for 2007.
A recently release survey from Better Homes and Gardens confirms this trend. A major garden or landscaping project now ranks as the second most popular home improvement choice for consumers. As Susan McCoy, President of Garden Marketing Group puts it, "Outdoor living is no longer a noun. It's a verb." According to McCoy, consumers have discovered that outdoor living is more than dressing up patios with a few containers. Instead, people are transforming their ordinary backyards into "specialty rooms" complete with kitchens, bars, TVs and even heaters for cool nights.
As people become more pressed for time, more of them are turning their backyards into personal sanctuaries-including borrowing ideas from their favorite travel destinations. New advances in plant breeding are enabling gardeners to "push the zone" with tropical plants that don't normally grow well in their climate. Add in some exotic furniture and themed accessories, and gardeners are escaping to paradise in their own backyards.
Gardeners appear to be looking for more modern, simple lines with design trends moving toward the contemporary. Sophisticated, structured looks with strong architectural elements are in. Garden design in 2007 is going to be more about bold lines and colorful, well-defined foliage.
Personally, I don't like the term "Eco-Chic." I prefer to think of "green" gardening as common sense and not a fleeting trend. Apparently more gardeners are going green. The trend is toward using products with "earth-friendly" ingredients like certified-organic deer repellants and products like LazyMan liquid soil amendment. Personally, I hope this is one trend that never goes out of style.
The trend toward downsizing garden space continues in 2007 as consumers grow more using less space. Whether growing up or trailing down, vertical gardening is in. So are dwarf-sized annuals, perennials and shrubs that have been specially bred for smaller spaces.
Gardeners are choosing to create bold impact with a few large plants and accessories rather than integrating several smaller-scaled elements into their garden design. This year it's all about big plants (agaves, conifers and cannas) and colorful, oversized pots.
Last year the trend was plants as architectural features. This year the foliage trend continues, only expect to see a greater range of color options and interesting shaped leaves that are planted as companions and used to spice up containers.
Another trend in 2007 is to integrate edibles and ornamentals. More gardeners will be utilizing plants that can serve dual purposes like the new "Red Romaine Lettuce" from The Cook's Garden (www.cooksgarden.com). It is as tasty to eat as it is to look at and can be planted as a border in a perennial bed or along a kitchen path.
The demand for rare and exotic plants continues to explode. Gardeners are turning into "plant collectors" and using rare and exotic plants to create a one-of-a kind garden that is different from everyone else on the block.
Orange carrots are out. Purple or white carrots are in. Gardeners continue to look for vegetable varieties that come in distinctive colors, sizes and flavors. An interest in growing your own fresh, healthy produce continues to be popular and designer vegetables are becoming the new status symbol of luxury.
Colorful hydrangeas, roses and other flowering shrubs are starting to replace the once popular evergreens used for landscaping and containers. The trend is moving toward low maintenance landscaping with non-stop color from spring until fall.
Gardens are becoming outdoor rooms capable of providing 24-hour enjoyment. Lighting, comfortable furniture and plants that glow in the moonlight are being used to transform our backyards into a comfortable places for entertaining or relaxing even after the sun goes down.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
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