Eight Trends Influencing Gardening in 2016

“Gardeners will wow the neighbors with plants that have supersized returns such as larger blooms, number of blooms, a tendency to bloom two or three times each year, intense fragrance or flavors, or bi or tri-color flowers. They’ll continue to adapt to wild weather, smaller lots, changing lifestyles, and less free time by planting landscapes that are easier to care for,” says Jonathan Pedersen, spokesman at Monrovia. “Mobile apps, the power of social media, and the sharing economy will continue to change the landscape of gardening, making everything from getting the scoop on the must-have plants to watering, lighting, and giving away excess bounty that much easier.”

Here’s what was on our radar for 2017.

Grow to Give: New Technology and a desire for connection inspire sharing the bounty

Record numbers of homeowners are growing edibles combined with interest in health and food security and readily available technology has led to a surge in groups helping to facilitate sharing excess backyard-grown crops. Apps such as ripenear.me allow gardeners to interact one-on-one to giveaway extras. Dozens of organizations such as Nextdoor.comAmpleHarvest.org and Sharing the Bounty connect home gardeners with extra produce directly to their local neighborhood food banks. Friends with Flowers is leading the movement to transform flowers gleaned from neighborhood gardens into arrangements for local hospices. Seeds are also a hot trend for sharing with Seed Swaps and Seed Libraries showing up across the country.

Lighting Innovations: Cool new stuff has an illuminating effect

Reports from Houzz and the American Association of Landscape Architects (ASLA) confirm the surge of interest in upgrading outdoor lighting to enhance the garden experience. New innovations such as brighter and more efficient LED bulbs, the convenience of lighting systems controlled by mobile apps, and the trend toward larger and more individualized outdoor spaces are spurring sales of outdoor lighting. Homeowners are using solar LEDs to uplight important trees, specimen plants and architectural features, using wall-washers to emphasize the effect of climbing vines, casting a hedge or foundation planting with pin-point laser lights, or adding drama to porchscaping with café lights. And, the new fire pits coming out of Europe are not your daddy’s DIY. Trust us, you’ll want one.

Mini-Me: Compact without compromise

Gardeners, mindful of using space wisely and once and forever in love with containers, are turning to compact and dwarf versions of beloved plants which have been bred to have the same winning characteristics—flower size, bloom cycle, culture and habit—but in a more manageable form. Shrubs such as Petite Pillar Dwarf Boxwood, Little Ragu Bay, Petite Plum Ninebark, and Coco Krunch® Weigela have been reimagined to fit smaller garden spaces. Climbers such as Boulevard® Parisienne™ Clematis or spillers such as Oo-La-La® Bougainvillea are ideal for containers. Look for new and more compact hydrangeas and shrub roses going forward.

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