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Garden trends: what's in and out for 2010

An industry observer showcases seven garden trends for 2010.

By Suzi McCoyGarden Media Group / February 22, 2010

Earlybird Cardinal daylily is an example of an easy-care plant that is interesting in more than one season.

Photo courtesy of Garden Media Group

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Change has come to America. Now, along with belt-tightening and down-sizing, there’s a welcome trend emerging: A return to Main Street American values. Our relationship with money has changed. Hard work, common sense, and a return to small-town values are causing a shift in priorities from boardrooms to backyards.

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Here are just a few of the trends we at the Garden Media Group are seeing for 2010.

1. Main Street is in. Wall Street is out. Priorities have shifted to balancing practicality with comfort and fulfillment. That “can-do” spirit of self-sufficiency is fueling a renewed appreciation for our land.
Yard-sharing with people -- dividing resources, skills, space, tools, and time – is popping up to support our need to “go local,” strengthening our neighborhoods. We’re connecting to the soil and with each other, sharing the bounty and giving families food that’s more nutritious, tastier and less costly.

2. Edible gardens are in. Growing your own groceries is hotter than ever and is transforming homes and communities. Margie Grace, the APLD 2009 International Landscape Designer of the Year, says, “It’s time to reclaim our land for our greater good. And take that food-producing garden and put it wherever we want.”

Ms. Grace is one of many wanting to “de-lawn” America and transform it into vegetable and rain gardens. ‘Hell strips’ are lining the wasteland between the sidewalk and the street with sustainable planting.

3. Slow Gardening is in. Domesticity is back. People are returning to a simpler life of cooking, gardening, and even raising chickens! According to LOHAS – Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability – seed sales are up 30 to 50 percent and canning sales saw a whopping 45 percent increase.

Produce sharing with community-supported agricultural farms and produce exchanges are springing up throughout urban and suburban and rural communities. The take-home message is: urban farming is cool; urban wastelands are not.

4. Mindful is in. The collapse of greed and self-indulgence is ushering in a culture of giving, creating and collaborating. Sharing a passion and receiving recognition has replaced “taking” as the new status symbol. A new patriotism of spirit - volunteering and a shift from ‘Me’ to ‘We’ - has trumped greed. And the ‘GRUPS’ (30- to- 50-somethings) are driving demand for recycled materials products in sync with their social and environmental values.

5. Eco-Boosting is in. According to the National Marketing Institute, four out of five people are still buying green products and services today. More than two thirds say they will select green over traditional -- “if it works”. Green is the new black as consumers seek products that work with nature, not against it. Demand is up for earth-friendly, sustainable and organic garden products.

6. Multitasking is In. Green roofs are springing to life in cities and small towns, transforming barren space into lush gardens that help cool buildings, absorb rainwater, filter air pollutants, and create wildlife habitats. Rain barrels and rain gardens continue to remain popular as people seek ways to conserve or reuse and recycle water.

7. Natives are in. Sustainable landscapes, water conservation, perennials and small edible shrubs are hot as gardening with natives attracts needed pollinators and birds, critical for the balance of nature. The National Wildlife Federation's Backyard Habitat programs are helping connect families with each other -- and the earth -- as purposeful gardening for wildlife catches on.

Consumers continue to look for plants that are easy care, have great color for at least three seasons, and are pest- and drought resistant. From the looks of things, America’s seeing green as we all plant something for our future.

For a complete list of 2010 garden trends, visit Garden Media Group [pdf].

Editor’s note: For more Monitor gardening, see our main gardening page and posts of our blog, Diggin' It [keep scrolling down]. Both of these have new URLs, so we hope you'll bookmark them and return. Want to be notified when there's something new in our gardening section? Sign up for our RSS feed.

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