Story and photos by Donna Iverson
So what's new in gardening? Turns out, quite a few new trends are emerging.
For example: According to the National Gardening Association, gardening has reached an all-time high, according to their 2019 survey. Thirty-five percent of us have either home gardens or are members of community gardens ..that is 1 in 3 Americans.
Other facts and trends include:
1. There is a growing interest in potted succulents, like cacti and aloe, in cute pots. These succulents can be grown indoors or outdoors, are low maintenance needing little water and make attractive displays. You can find numerous vendors for these plants at any farmers market.
2. There is a rise in Millennials gardening compared to the Baby Boomers, with these younger gardeners being more interested in organic growing and sustainable practices. But the Baby Boomers are the biggest spenders averaging $500 a year on gardening plants, supplies and tools.
3. Urban farms now account for 15-20 percent of the world's food and urban farms a growing trend in all 50 states. This is really nothing new. During WWII, backyard gardeners produced 40 percent of this country's food in their Victory Gardens. There is also a growing interest in front-yard vegetable gardening, although I haven't seen evidence of it in this part of Michigan.
4. According to the Farmers Almanac, more of us are interested in Wild Gardening, letting a portion of our yard grow wild, to provide habitat for pollinators and native insects
5. There is also a growing interest in native plants, those plants that evolved in the local area. In Michigan, these include Black-eyed Susan, Columbine, Bee Balm, Butterfly Weed, Purple Coneflower, Primrose, Wild Rose (Rosa Rugosa), and Astilbe.
6. Technology is making gardening inroads including the use of smart watering irrigation systems, solar lightning, home weather stations, gardening apps of one kind or another, and robot lawn mowers and weed whackers.
7. People are gardening in even the smallest of spaces, like fire escapes (see photo ) and any nook and cranny they can find.
8. Interest in Moon-phase gardening, just won't quit. Moon-phase gardening is an ancient agriculture practice whereby you plant and harvest by moon phases. This also includes planting moon gardens with white or light-reflective plants or night-blooming plants like evening primrose.
9. The color most popular right now with gardeners is mint green. This explains the trend toward people buying more and more ferns as indoor house plants. And even the appearance of lots of mint in the garden, which can be used for cooking, drinks, as well as food for pollinators, repelling mosquitos, and reputed healing benefits.
10. The increasing popularity of farmers' markets, which are opening more and more days of the week in more and more towns and communities, and offering everything from locally grown fruits and vegetables to morel mushrooms (in season) and other foraged edibles.