Predicting gardening trends is anything but daunting for Suzi McCoy, founder of Garden Media Group, a marketing and public relations company in Kennett Square, Pa.
For the past several years, McCoy has polished the crystal ball to look for trends among the gardening public. McCoy scours surveys, interviews experts and analyzes data to come up with her predictions.
She recently shared her findings for 2011 at the Perennial Plant Association’s annual meeting in Portland, Ore., last month. Here are some highlights:
- Urban farming, growing plants vertically, indoor gardening, succulents, sustainable containers, edible ornamentals and eco-scaping are among the top 10 trends.
- Fifty-four percent of consumers are “highly interested” in native plants as well as perennials in general, plants that rebloom, old-world earthen tones for pots, natural stone and smaller, more affordable garden makeovers.
- Gardeners are planting more food among the ornamentals, including vegetables and herbs, and using food crops as ornamentals, such as fruit trees. They want landscapes that are wildlife friendly and do more than just provide a green lawn.
- Consumers’ interest in sustainable practices for the home and garden continues to grow, and they want the retailers and services they patronize to embrace environmentally friendly products and practices, too. Consumers are more keenly aware of water as a valuable resource; 57 percent say they plan to always recycle plastic pots and trays; 45 percent plan to always mulch or compost garden waste.
- Consumers continue to want low-maintenance plants, low-chemical landscapes and in areas where conditions have been dry, drought-tolerant plants.
- The No. 1 gardening trend is “gardening with a purpose.” This could be growing your own food, flowers for cutting, working at a community garden to feed the hungry, or volunteering at a park to beautify a neighborhood. Consumers have a greater appreciation of the relationships between how the landscape enhances our environment, whether it’s the backyard, neighborhood or city.