by Amber Kanuckel
Gardening season is only a few weeks away, and the time to plan is now. What’s your plan? Grow vegetables and herbs, or more flowers? Are you going to switch it up from what you did last year? While gardening may not seem like something that’s subject to trends, tastes do change from year to year, especially your own. Here’s a quick look at what you’ll be seeing more of in gardens this coming year.
1. Designs with Natural Materials
You can say so long to plastic planters, concrete pavers, and plastic chairs. Natural design has been a growing trend for many years, and 2017 will be no exception.
•Terra cotta and clay planters are popular, inexpensive and easy to find at gardening centers.
•Stone, hollowed logs and other natural materials are also trendy planter materials
•Stone and railroad ties are two great ways to border garden beds while sticking with the natural theme.
•For patios, consider using natural paving stones. Gravel is a great low-maintenance material for pathways.
•Wooden patio furniture is popular in both traditional and modern designs — anything from wicker to curvy ultra-modern teak.
2. Bursts of Color
This year, it’s all about the green, so much so that Pantone chose the shade “Greenery” as their 2017 Color of the Year. This is a gorgeous yellow-green shade that is common in plants like hostas, coleus, and hakone grass. For hostas check out varieties including “Aspen Gold,” “August Moon,” and “Piedmont Gold.” “Wizard Jade” and “Wizard Golden” are two common yellow-green coleus cultivars, and hakone grass is most popular in the “All Gold” variety.
For added depth and interest, consider mixing a few reds and blacks with your greens. “Black Pearl” coral bells stand out in the shade with dark purple leaves. Ornamental cabbage, Japanese maples, purple smoke bush, and even edibles like Swiss chard will give you plenty of red.
3. Botanics, With A Twist
Herbs and spices aren’t just for meals. More and more, gardeners are taking up “botanics,” which is an up-and-coming trend of growing your own herbs, fruits, and vegetables for making cocktails. Herbs are the most popular cocktail ingredient to grow, starting with mint for drinks like mojitos and mint juleps. In addition to mint, you can also grow coriander, basil, lemon verbena, beebrush, dill, lavender, rosemary, and other fragrant herbs, all of which can be used in today’s trendy cocktails.
If you want to grow as many of your own cocktail ingredients as possible, then you’ll need to venture into the realm of fruits and vegetables. Make coolers with homegrown watermelon or cucumbers, or if you have the space, consider landscaping with fruit trees like peaches. Gardeners in warmer climates (USDA zones 7 and warmer) can grow all the lemons, limes, and oranges year-round. Learn how to start a lemon tree indoors!
4. Gardens With Around a Purpose
It’s not enough to create a garden that is pretty to look at. That’s why edible landscaping has been a major trend over the past several years. You name it and people are planting it among their annuals and perennials: herbs, tomatoes, eggplants, carrots, cabbage, spinach, salad greens and more.
This trend no longer stops at edibles. Dye plants are also increasingly popular. If you make homemade yarn, fabric or other fiber arts, then a dye garden is a must-have.
• Grow woad for blue shades.
• Madder plants give you a range of shades between orange and purple.
• St. John’s Wort creates golden, maroon and green shades.
• Loosestrife is used for black dye.
5. Succulents Are Hot, Even in Cold Climates
Succulents are incredibly popular garden plants because they are low maintenance, drought tolerant and they come in a wide variety of unusual shapes and colors. Best of all, these plants aren’t limited to warm climates. Many varieties of sedum and hens and chicks do well in colder climates, as will jovibarba and orostachys. Succulents also do well
in pots, which means that you can decorate your gardens with potted tender succulents in the summer and then bring them indoors when the weather turns cold.