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Gardening This Season - What's Hot and What's Not

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. So here is what we decided would be "Hot" and "Not" for the 2008 gardening season.


Hot: Gardening for the Greener Good
Not: Gardening for Self-Gratification.

The overall trend this year is headed in a Green direction. Of course, we all garden for self-gratification (we don't do it because we don't like it), but concern and heightened awareness for the environment has finally reached its tipping point. Organic gardening is going mainstream in America! More gardeners are seeking ways to conserve water, use locally produced or recycled materials, and employ environmentally-friendly cultivation and pest control techniques. Look for some new "green"(drought tolerant) plant options at local nurseries this season.

Hot: Eco-Chic Gardens
Not: Chemically Needy Gardens

The new trend is "Eco-Ethics". In response to an overwhelming concern for the health of their families and the planet, gardeners and homeowners are saying no to chemically based pesticides and fungicides and looking toward safer and healthier alternatives, including selecting plants that are bred to withstand disease and insects. Even better news is that unlike the organic products of the 60s, today's products actually work.


Hot: Buying Local
Not: Big Eco-Footprints

We are becoming more aware of the environmental impact businesses have on the environment, and the health benefits of shopping for locally grown plants and seeds.

This year's trend is geared toward purchasing what we can locally to help minimize the impacts transportation and shipping have on the environment. When we do purchase garden supplies online, we'll be buying more from companies who take eco-friendly initiatives like recycled packaging, utilizing wind and solar power in their production process and manufacture their products from locally available materials.

Hot: Water Conservation
Not: Wasting Water

After last summer, this trend hits home with a lot of us. Not only is it environmentally (and economically) responsible, in many places it's mandatory. Check with your water district or local municipalities to see if they offer rebates for landscape water-saving devices. Many are starting to. If you are not doing it already, consider trying some drought-resistant native plants in your garden and look into purchasing or constructing a rain barrel.


Hot: Smart n' Easy Gardens
Not: High Maintenance Gardens

We're busier than ever-too busy for high maintenance gardens and budget-busting plants. The 2008 season will bring with it a new assortment of Smart Garden products. From regionally customized fertilizers, to disease resistant plants that require fewer pesticides, more products will save time, money, and the planet all at the same time. Novices rejoice! New, "fool-proof" plants like the Thai Delight Caladium collection require minimal care or expertise to grow successfully.

Hot: Corresponding Color Combinations
Not: All In The Family Color Combos

Simplicity remains a hot color trend, but this year the focus is on pairing one plant with a second plant, whose foliage provides the accent. For example, taking a plant with red flowers and pairing with another whose variegated foliage also contains some red. Imagine yourself wearing a multi-colored black, red, and yellow scarf, with a black pair of pants and a red sweater. Voila! You get the idea.


Hot: Curvaceous Gardens
Not: Square Gardens

Curves are making a comeback. As gardeners go "green", the trend in garden design is moving toward free-flowing lines and organic shapes. In 2008 you'll be seeing more circular patios, curved walkways and outdoor seating areas like gazebos, that serve to break up the space between curvaceous beds. More statuary will be used in landscaping to draw the eye around the garden in a way that is more visually stimulating.

Hot: Well Lit Gardens
Not: "In the Dark" Gardens

Our gardens have become outdoor extensions of our living space, and we spend a lot of time in them. It's no surprise then, that homeowners are looking for dramatic ways to illuminate their yard and gardens. From colorful submersible swimming pool lights, to stylish patio table lamps and "electrical ready" custom-made gazebos with chandeliers, lighted features have become an essential element for extending our time outdoors well past dark.


Hot: Gardening For The Birds & Bees
Not: Reckless Gardening

Gardeners are nature lovers at heart, and more of us are seeking to restore the natural ecological balance to our own backyards by attracting insects, and birds. Not only do they benefit our gardens by eating harmful insects, fertilizing and aerating our soils, and transporting seeds, but they are fascinating and a true joy to watch. Even in the smallest gardens, the trend is moving away from using insecticides and moving toward potting up evergreens, planting vines beneath decks and placing colorful containers of red flowers around the deck or patio to provide food and shelter for birds, bees, ladybugs and even bats.

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

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June 4, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks Elaine: I know I will be coming back to your posts/columns (I'm a new user). I love to garden & with your help will enjoy it even more.

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