By Linda Ly
It wasn’t too long ago that vertical gardens, container gardens and edible gardens were fresh and exciting trends making their rounds at flower shows and on blogs. Now it seems they are firmly entrenched in the gardening sphere as tried-and-true ideas for spaces large and small–and we give a big (green) thumbs-up to that! What else caught our eye in 2016 as fun, funky or otherwise earth-friendly trends we hope will live on?
As this popular trend and Pinterest favorite proves, gardening isn’t just relegated to those with backyards (or even dirt). Tutorials abound for regrowing some of your favorite vegetables and herbs (such as lettuce, scallions and celery) from the ends you may have typically tossed. All that’s needed is a vessel of water to plunk your vegetable scrap in, a few weeks of letting the plant do its thing and voilà–you have a handful of fresh leaves sprouting on the kitchen counter!
We’re all familiar with the term “farm-to-table” and even “garden-to-table,” when it comes to the burgeoning homesteading movement. But what about garden-to-glass? This trend is a boozy spin on edibles that’s suitable even for the tightest of gardening spaces.
Cocktail connoisseurs and budding mixologists are growing their own garden-fresh ingredients in container gardens, including mint, basil, elderberries, key limes and Meyer lemons, to put into crafty elixirs and bar concoctions.
Classic ornamental annuals like pansies, petunias and zinnias that are planted primarily for seasonal color are taking a back seat to splashy edibles like red leaf lettuce, purple kale and rainbow chard when it comes to plants for container gardening. These leafy greens are easy-grow, easy-care and have the benefit of being extra nutritious to boot, thanks to the antioxidants that deepen their color.
The terms “native landscaping” and “drought tolerant” no longer carry with them connotations of messy, overgrown weed patches or dry and drab front yards. Water-conscious gardeners are turning to native plants to landscape their yards, rather than ripping up their lawns and replacing them with rocks. Not only are native plants attractive and low-maintenance, they support the local ecosystem by providing food and habitats for birds and insects.
Gardeners are realizing the role of insects not just as pollinators, but also predators and decomposers. Instead of eliminating problematic bugs from their gardens with synthetic pesticides, they’re introducing and encouraging populations of beneficial bugs like ladybugs, hoverflies and parasitic wasps.
These “good guys” are drawn to nectar-rich plants, and while they don’t get the same fanfare as bees and butterflies, they’re no less an important part of a healthy ecosystem. Check out our tips for using companion planting for pest control.
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