What's flourishing, what's shriveling

The hottest trends, from simplicity of design to planting for the needy

In the Garden

January 04, 2004|By Mary Beth Breckenridge | Mary Beth Breckenridge,Knight Ridder / Tribune

Gardening is like fashion. Styles go in; styles go out.

The Garden Media Group, a public relations firm that specializes in horticulture, compiled its forecast of gardening trends for 2004 for the Garden Writers Association. Here are some of the trends the firm foresees:

What's hot: simple chic.

What's not: over the top.

Tres Fromme, a planning and design specialist at Pennsylvania's Longwood Gardens, says simple, serene designs with interesting use of color and texture are the new look. He recommends creating a garden of one color or similar colors, such as pinks, lavenders and purples. Create a mass of color by planting 10 to 12 plants of a single type rather than a mixture of plants.

What's hot: mono-impact containers.

What's not: mixed containers.

Too much variety in color and texture can make a mixed container look overdone. Elvin McDonald, garden editor of Better Homes & Gardens, recommends "one outstanding color, one fabulous container."

What's hot: extending the planting season.

What's not: planting just in spring.

Spring-flowering bulbs and autumn mums have long been garden staples, but gardeners are finding other ways to add color in the spring and fall. Cool-season annuals, biennials and perennials that can be planted for fall color, then emerge in late winter to decorate the garden once more, are catching on with gardeners.

What's hot: making a splash.

What's not: still water.

The threat of West Nile virus is increasing the popularity of water features with movement, such as waterfalls and fountains, which discourage mosquito breeding. Free-standing fountains, which require less maintenance than ponds, are expected to be big sellers, especially those with simple lines.

What's hot: "green" gardening.

What's not: chemical attacks.

Americans' increasing interest in health is spilling over to other parts of their lives. Witness the $30 billion we spent on organic produce and cosmetics in the last year. That natural movement is also affecting our gardening habits, with interest in organic gardening methods expected to increase.

What's hot: gardening with others.

What's not: gardening just for yourself.

Programs such as the Unity Gardens promoted by the National Gardening Association and the Garden Writers Association's Plant a Row for the Hungry program are focusing people's attention on using their gardening skills as a way to interact with or care for others. Plant a Row encourages people to designate a row of fruits or vegetables in their gardens for the needy.

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