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Brian Minter: New gardening trends will make for an interesting year ahead

Opinion: I would like to give Katie Dubow and the Garden Media Group a huge shout-out for identifying some key trends for the new year.

by Brian Minter

Sasquatch sighting! Go ahead, add a little whimsy to your garden this year. jpg

We’re all affected by the many changes taking place today, but what is fascinating are the trends evolving from these changes. In the world of gardening, Katie Dubow, president of the Garden Media Group in the U.S., has given a number of lectures about seven developing trends that their organization predicts will have a significant impact in 2023.

The essence of these trends is how we react in a world of uncertainty. According to Dubow, there seems to be a new sense of self-empowerment and self-determination. While we can’t control everything that’s happening in the world around us, we can control what we do and what we buy to align with our own values.

In our gardens, we can do a great deal to help support our food security, aid wildlife and provide pollinator habitats, as well as doing many small things to be far more environmentally friendly. How we collectively choose to do things is how trends evolve, and it’s an interesting process. Dubow has identified these trends in seven areas.

Garden Media has identified the first trend as the ‘Tesla effect’. This trend is synonymous with innovation and technological adaptation. For example, the green industry has adopted electric and battery-powered options more than other industries. From electric mowers and battery-operated leaf blowers, there has been a significant movement away from gas-powered equipment.

The 2023 Colour of the Year is Terra Cotta, which is such a rich, warm tone to add to your garden. Minter Country Garden

Consumers of garden products have also moved into omnichannel shopping and are making fewer trips to stores. When they choose to go out to shop for their garden needs, they’re selecting larger stores where they can do one-stop shopping. They’re also looking for apps to help them succeed with everything from starting seeds to growing vegetables and perennials.

The ‘backdoor revolution’ is the second new trend. What this is really about is the housing crisis facing our younger generations, and the reality of living in rental units or, as Dubow points out, living in ADUs (accessory dwelling units) — small, self-contained units that are either attached to or detached from existing homes. Many municipalities across the U.S. are now developing special zoning to allow for the development of these smaller units. This is where garden features, like privacy plantings and innovative planting techniques, will be very important.

Very active members of the Boomer generation are now being identified as Super Agers. This group of seniors act as if they’re 30 years younger, and they’re still significant players, both in the workplace and as consumers. These folks have always been very engaged in the gardening world. They want to enjoy the benefits of gardening as long as they can but on their terms of accessibility. Dubow has identified this trend as ‘accessible gardening’.

In spite of the TikTok controversy in the States, the average user — of which there are over one billion per month — spends 52 minutes a day watching this platform. It plays a significant role in revealing current trends, including those in the plant world. Dubow has identified this trend as ‘PlantTok’.

Fresh herbs are hard to beat, and many perennial herbs can be enjoyed year-round. Minter Country Garden

TikTok is very much about self-expression, and it provides information on everything from cooking, financial education and investing tips to garden advice and book recommendations. Two of the more unique trends becoming popular are Gnomecore and WitchTok. Gnomecore features coziness, self-care, the whimsical and the eclectic, and gardens filled with bold colours and textures. WitchTok, is a sharing of ancestral knowledge and ceremonies passed down through the ages, including the use of herbs, magic and even witchcraft. Moon Gardens, another trend, are also on the rise.

‘All Things Greek’ is how Dubow identifies another trend. Garden design is becoming a huge trend, especially among the younger generation Z. From stone walls, archways, statuary and terracotta planters to a greater use of roses, boxwoods and succulents, these are just some of the new, trendy garden looks. Olive trees are a must-have in this style of garden. Gravel gardens are also part of this Greek revival. Using more-drought-tolerant plants, like grasses, perennials and shrubs, is part of this xeriscaping design. Native plants, too, play an important role, especially those that help pollinators and wildlife.

‘Redrawing the Zoning Maps’ is going to be huge. Climate change is forcing the rethinking of these maps. For both cold and heat zoning, the criteria is based on the average annual maximum and minimum temperature in a given area. In the U.S., nearly 50 per cent of the country is at least half a zone warmer since the map was last updated in 2012. A new zoning map is now in the process of being created. This is a significant development that will directly affect the types of trees and plants that should be planted in each zone, allowing them to be more tolerant of the changing weather patterns.

The Garden Trends Report has identified terra cotta as the ‘2023 Colour of the Year’. This colour will add warmth and an earthy tone to both indoor and outdoor décor. Plants, like all the new orange shades of echinaceas and achilleas, would look great in our containers and garden plantings. This colour choice will work well with today’s very popular desert-themed gardens.

I would like to give Katie Dubow and the Garden Media Group a huge shout-out for identifying some key trends for the new year.

As we grapple with so many changes beyond our control, it’s nice to see folks of all ages and demographics making choices and taking actions in alignment with their values and the needs of our environment. It will certainly be an interesting year.

Brian Minter writes on gardening in The Vancouver Sun – Life/Gardening. This article originally appeared in Brian’s column on January 6, 2023 and has been reprinted with permission from:

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