• Sandi Manna

Garden Trends for 2019

6 Influential Garden Trends for 2019

The past few years have seen an awareness in the shift toward nature as far as gardening trends are concerned. Now that may sound a little funny considering that a garden IS nature. The trend has been more towards working WITH nature and letting nature do what it wants to do instead of fighting so hard to make nature do what we would like it to do. Wildflower meadows have become more popular instead of perfectly manicured lawns. If you're not ready to give up the American Dream of the perfect lawn, make a switch toward native plants in your garden. You know the weather here in Connecticut can be very unforgiving. Winters can be cold and rainy, and summers very hot and humid, bringing with them long periods without rain. We can have wildly swaying temperatures that vary as much as 40 degrees in a day or two. Native plants are better at handling these extremes than their more cultivated counterparts.

In 2019 the trend seems to be more of an awareness of how plants and gardens affect our lives, and how they connect us to something both ancient and modern – the rhythm of the natural world. It's a small part of our ever increasing awareness and the beginning of change in how we view ourselves in relation to the world - and what we can do to protect our world.

Plant growers and breeders are constantly providing new varieties that can keep pace with our ever changing climate. The Garden Media Group (http://grow.gardenmediagroup.com/2019-garden-trends-report) recently reported that amidst all the pressure we have in our lives -work, stress, and the internet – nature, both indoors and outside, has become an oasis. The “social clock” society is online 24/7, yet somehow we find a place to unplug when we reconnect with nature.

Personalized Style

This is a trend that for me, is not so much of a trend but a philosophy I've had for a long time. That philosophy is creating a garden that reflects your personal style. Gardens that are personalized spaces feel more like a sanctuary in a busy and difficult world, and offer greater satisfaction than those that are less personalized. It's a garden that incorporates elements that are important to you. It may be a favorite flower from your childhood, or a bench that memorializes a loved one or a pet. They may include elements such as flowers for cutting that you can bring inside, or a space to spend time and make memories with family or friends. Anything that calls to you for whatever reason, is good to incorporate into your garden.

Architectural Appeal

Gardens that have intriguing shapes, forms, or textures, along with unique branching habits that are nestled amongst naturalized gardens create an overall more interesting visual appeal. These create an anchoring focal point. Contorted Filberts (Harry Lauder's Walking Stick) with their interestingly contorted branches along with weeping white pines and blue atlas cedars to mention a few, create an easy focal point. Incorporating a topiary here and there has also become part of this visual appeal. The addition of a trellis, obelisk, or other architectural feature is a feast for our eyes. Our eyes are so busy in a world assaulted by social media and a 24 hour online presence, that it's nice to have a simple focal point for them to come to rest on.

Desperately Seeking Season

The seasons are becoming less predictable. Longer summers, winters that infrequently sugar our gardens with snow, and autumns that even in New England that seem to have changing leaves one moment and leafless trees the next. Gardens that visually evolve over the season are becoming more prized. As many of you know, this is a core part of my own design style. Celebrating the seasons. Plants that display a stark winter beauty in terms of the plant form, bak, or color (such as red twig dogwoods) with high contrast to emerging leaves in spring, have become highly sought after. There is also a trend to have plants that do more during the duration of our warm weather, such as ever increasing varieties of hydranges, roses and lilacs. Reblooming shrubs are also sought after. Both of these trends are a reflection of our changing climate.

Time is precious

As our lives get more and more scheduled, sometimes gardening can be just another task on our already too long “To Do” list. It's hard to have your garden be your sanctuary when you go out there and all you can see is all

that needs to get done. That pressure tends to defeats the purpose of a garden. According to one study put out by the Proceedings or the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America https://www.pnas.org/content/114/32/8523 buying time results in happiness. More than 40% of Americans turned to professionals last year to help them maintain their gardens. This resulted in greater overall satisfaction. If you enlist a professional to help you maintain your garden, that can allow you to allocate time to other things you also enjoy, and more time enjoying your garden rather than working in it.

Working Overtime

Americans are requiring more an more out of their plants. Most Americans want plants that do double-sometimes even triple duty! There is a growing mindset about utilizing plants that attract wildlife (such as pollinators) that are also attractive to our human senses, and can produce flowers, fruit, or both. This can help attract birds and create privacy. Americans are wanting plants that are water-wise along with plants that are native and that produce beautiful fall foliage. That translates into a large demand on plant breeders and growers to provide new plants that can achieve multiple tasks. As plant breeders continue to push the limits of what our ordinary plants can do in a landscape, you can expect to see more and more of these plants that offer multiple purposes.

Welcoming Woodlands

Many gardeners are now conscious of the sense of peace and calm a woodland garden can bring. Woodland gardens are now often looked to as a respite from digital overload. A palette of soothing greens and soft textures derived from ferns and mosses among coral bells, hostas and anemones to name a few. A woodland garden offers a serene space in high contrast to the busy urban and suburban areas of our lives.

Consider adding a few "Super Plants" to your garden. A few that I like are Red Twig Dogwood (Native), Echinacea (Native), Virginia Sweetspire, Butterfly bushes and more! Spring will be here before you know it. Take some time to dream up your own list of plants you can add to your garden.

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