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The numbers have been crunched, the receipts tallied, and the survey responses read. Once again, based on consumer behavior, Garden Media Group has released the top gardening trends for 2011. So put your garden gloves on and join the fun because apparently 'Gardening with a Purpose' is taking root.
Gardeners are mixing it up by adding food producing plants to the landscape which also provide ornamental value. Small fruits like blueberries, for example, are growing in popularity - not only for the health benefits of their berries, but also the for three season value their foliage provides. According to the GWA, more than three-fourths of the respondents surveyed feel that growing their own food not only saves them money, but also produces food that tastes better and contains a higher nutritional value.
The trend towards growing vegetables and herbs in containers also continues to grow - especially for folks with limited gardening space. One interesting trend from last year is the 20 percent decrease in the sales of Annuals. Maybe it's the economy, but many gardeners are starting to see Annual plants as "luxuries". Once the undisputed kings of container gardening, Annuals are now being replaced with long-blooming perennials like daylilies, roses, and ornamental grasses. After adding a double pink Knock Out(R) Rose bush to my own container garden last year, I can understand why. Why spend money on Annuals every year when you can plant low maintenance perennials that deliver all-season color and last for years?
A greater focus on conserving water has resulted in succulents making a comeback. These easy sustainable plants produce showy flowers, along with thick, fleshy leaves that store water. Despite the wide variety of shapes available, succulents are remarkably consistent in their needs. Drought-tolerant and able to thrive in a variety of conditions (and withstand a great deal of neglect), succulents are perfect for small gardens, large landscapes, and gardeners of all ages and skill levels.
The desire to bring the outdoors in can be seen in the continued popularity of houseplants. Orchids, ferns and palms are the current "it" plants for indoor gardening. All are easy-to-grow and a great way to add a sense of style and decor to any room. Plus, these pretty plants work double-duty by helping clean indoor air of volatile organic compounds while providing your living space with an ample supply of fresh oxygen.
From vines and veggies growing up from containers to vertical walls blooming with edibles, plants are growing up. Gardeners are multitasking with climbing plants - producing food, providing privacy, screening eye-sores, and drawing the eye upward to create the illusion of space. Even businesses are seeing the productivity, environmental quality and return on investment that indoor plantings and vertical living walls are bringing to their interior and exterior spaces.
Each year Garden Media Group, a public relations and marketing firm for the gardening industry, forecasts gardening trends for the coming year based on consumer spending habits from the previous year. According to this year's trends, America is seeing green. Most gardeners already have a sense of coming trends, because they are the consumers doing the spending. Nevertheless, here are Garden Media Group's seven new predictions for the 2010 gardening season.
According to Susan McCoy, president of Garden Media Group, in 2010 we are going to see the return of Main Street American values. There's been a shift of priorities between balancing practicality with comfort and fulfillment. It seems that most people, including gardeners, are taking a hard look at what is important in life. "Core values of responsibility, meaningful relationships and connectivity to neighbors and communities are surging," says McCoy.
If you've been looking to grow your own groceries, you're in good company. According to the National Gardening Association, 2009 saw a 19% increase in edible gardens-including space-squeezed gardeners transforming their front yards into vegetable gardens. The great American "de-lawning" has officially begun.
The simple life is making a comeback. People are doing more cooking and gardening-even raising chickens. Due to increased demand for organic, locally grown food and increased energy efficiency, community-supported agriculture programs (CSAs) and produce exchanges are popping up throughout urban and suburban communities. According to LOHAS-Lifestyle of Heath and Sustainability, seed sales are up by 30-50% and canning and preserving food has increased by as much as 45%.
Included in the return to more traditional American values is increased volunteerism and a shift from a "me" to "we" mentality. Most gardeners are demanding "green" products and technologies that are long-lasting and save time and money. People are looking for value, price, and performance in products designed with sustainability in mind.
Gardeners are demanding more products that work with nature, not against it-and the industry is responding. This year gardeners will see more organic and earth-friendly products that are safe for people, pets, plants, and the environment.
Rain barrels and rain gardens continue to be popular as gardeners seek ways be good stewards by reusing rainwater and reducing run-off. Urban roofs are being transformed into green spaces that not only absorb rainwater and filter air pollutants, but also grow food and create habitat for wildlife. More people are using houseplants for decorating indoor environments and cleaning and purifying the air.
It's all about the balance of nature. Gardeners are favoring sustainable landscapes, water conservation, and perennial plants that have high-impact but require minimal maintenance. Native plants that attract pollinators and birds are catching on, as are small edible shrubs that produce fruit and berries, while still looking great in the garden.
Every year a leading garden research group releases a report citing the gardening trends for the upcoming gardening season. You and I actually create the data for this report, according to how we spend our gardening dollars over the previous 2 years.
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.
Every year writers from the Garden Writers Association and the Garden Media Group conduct research on consumer garden purchases to predict the latest trends in gardening. Here's what their research says about trends in gardening for 2006...