"Just look around you," says Susan McCoy, trend spotter and outdoor living expert. "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."
According to GMG's 2010 Garden Trends Report, "The rewards of growing your own - from basil to berries to flowers - are boundless," says McCoy.
Here is a glimpse of what McCoy and her team of trend spotters see for 2010.
* Edible gardens are in. Lawns are out.
Growing your own groceries is hotter than ever and is transforming homes and communities. A recent survey by the National Gardening Association shows a 19 percent burst of new hobby country farms and urban edible gardens over last year.
"It's time to reclaim our land for our greater good," says Margie Grace, the 2009 International Landscape Designer of the Year, awarded by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. "Take that food-producing garden from the back 40 and put it wherever we want. Reunite the ornamental with the edible - roses beside tomatoes, beds edged with herbs, and veggies used as annuals."
Grace is one of many wanting to "de-lawn" America. Front lawns are being transformed into vegetable and rain gardens. "Hell strips" - the patch of high-maintenance lawn or dirt between the sidewalk and street - are being planted with sustainable flowers, grasses and shrubs that need little to no care.
Gardeners with limited space are finding ways to have fresh herbs and vegetables in their kitchens. Innovative plant systems like Fertile Earth's new Simple Gardens come with soil, seeds and a how-to guide packed in stylish square containers that make it a snap to grow kitchen gardens in any bright spot. Just add water.
* Slow gardening is in. Instant gratification is out.
With the rising demand for locally-grown food, organic and energy-efficient products, people are gardening for the greater good. According to Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability, (LOHAS) seed sales are up 30 to 50 percent and canning saw a whopping 45 percent increase. Along with vegetables, people are planting and picking fruits and berries - especially blueberries and raspberries - for their nutritional value and ornamental good looks.
Many new products on the market are designed to help sustain the environment. Space-age technology saves gardeners time and water. AquaLok, a sustainable hydration system from Costa Farms, is a self-watering system for plants made from recycled soda bottles. It allows plants to thrive without drainage, and reduces watering needs by more than half.
For the do-it-yourself gardeners, add just a little GeoHumus, a new soil additive made from volcanic rock combined with state-of-the-
* Eco-boosting is in. Chemical-dependent gardens are out.
Demand is up for earth-friendly, sustainable and organic garden products, like the first OMRI-listed compost-based premium blend potting soil from Organic Mechanics Soil Company. The caviar of potting mixes, the all-purpose premier blend is easy to use for all your planting needs.
For all-natural garden products and animal and insect repellents that are environmentally safe for people, pets and plants, turn to innovative companies like The Liquid Fence Company. The company just released FreezePruf, a revolutionary spray that helps plants withstand fall frosts and spring frosts, extending the growing season by a couple of weeks in fall and spring.
* Multi-tasking is in. Single-purpose gardening is out.
Roofs are no longer just for parties. 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.
Folks are bringing the outdoors in with houseplants. Mini orchids from Costa Farms are affordable, easy to care for, and come in a wide array of colors that are perfect for decorating rooms and gift-giving. Indoor plants are living art accents that provide oxygen, and remove carbon dioxide and harmful volatile organic compounds, 24/7. Check out these natural air-cleaning machines at www.o2foryou.org.
* Perennials and shrubs are in. Divas are out.
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. Consumers are looking for plants that are easy care, have great color, and are pest- and drought-resistant, like the new hardy early and repeat blooming daylily - Jersey Earlybird 'Cardinal'.
Demand is up for sustainable hybrids like rhododendrons and grasses that provide great impact with little fuss. Look for a new hardy hybrid rhododendron and the first-ever tri-colored Hosta from Briggs Nursery. Rhododendron 'Trocadero' is a compact grower with bright red trusses and Hosta 'Trifecta' is a drought-tolerant stunner that helps shape landscapes with striking good looks and easy care.
Proceeds from The American Beauties Native Plant collection help support the National Wildlife Foundation's Backyard Habitat program. Families are connecting with each other - and the earth - as purposeful gardening for wildlife catches on.
# # #
For more than 18 years, the Garden Media Group has promoted plants and products to the outdoor living and green industries, generating consumer awareness and driving consumer demand, which, in turn, increases sales.