So I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a few gardening predictions for 2016 and beyond (the fudge factor is allowed because of the aforementioned time it takes to change a garden).
1. EDIBLE GARDENS WILL CONTINUE TO REIGN, BUT THEY WILL GET PRETTIER
For a few years now, edible gardening has been seeing a great resurgence. People are interested in eating better, healthier food and they are turning to gardens—big expanses in the back yard, a plot at a community garden or just a container garden on a fire escape—to grow their own. But gardeners know that growing crops isn’t necessarily about beauty. In fact, a productive edible garden can look downright horrible some times of the year. I think that will change as people begin to dedicate more of their yard to growing food and they’ll want their gardens to be both productive and beautiful. We’ll see more “arranging” of crops that goes beyond rows and a lot of reference to potagers.
2. GARDENS WILL GET MORE FORMAL
Tightly clipped hedges with a few flowers in a limited palate seem to be everywhere right now. When I go to Pinterest, those are the gardening pictures I’m seeing most, so to continue on that theme, I think we’re going to see more straight edges and more formal planting (even if they include more informal plants) vs. curved beds with a more cottage-garden feel.
3. WHITE GARDENS WILL BE HOT
The whole world seems to be in love with white gardens right now. Hydrangeas seem to feature prominently these, but so do roses and clematis and other pale-colored blooms. Vita Sackville-West’s white garden at Sissinghurst inspired thousands of white gardens in the 1930s and, fittingly, it seems to be doing it again. Pictures of the famous garden are prevalent on the Internet.
4. SUCCULENTS ARE ON THEIR WAY OUT
More than any other kind of plants, succulents have been at the top of the popularity list for the past few year. As a relatively low-care plant (notice I said “relatively,” people give them credit for being far more carefree than they really are), it’s easy to see why succulents have been all the rage. But I think soon they will fall out of favor as people tire of the look or at least look for something a little softer to incorporate into their gardening.
5. GRASSES ARE BACK IN
I think grasses are going to be the next “in” plant. I’m not sure they were ever really out, and I know that I can’t imagine a garden without them. It’s difficult to think of a more care-free plant than grasses and with so many new cultivars introduced every year, they can fill almost any role in a garden. They can be floppy and free in a garden or stand at attention. A thick grouping of them can be used as a hedge or smaller varieties can live happily on the edge of a bed.
6. CONTAINER GARDENING WILL GET EVEN MORE POPULAR
My affinity for container gardening is no secret and I think it will continue to be a huge part of the gardening market next year and beyond. There is simply no better way to instantly transform an outdoor space than with a container garden. Nurseries are starting to catch on, offering container design workshops and an abundance of annuals specifically bred to show off in containers.
7. GARDENS WILL GET MORE FUNCTIONAL
Gardeners are discovering the wonderful things plants can do that go well beyond just looking beautiful and tasting good. I think that more and more, gardeners want their plants to serve a purpose, so flowers that can be used for herbal remedies (calendula comes to mind) will gain a foothold in the garden. Herbs grown for uses beyond eating will gain in popularity. And gardens that help pollinators, attract wildlife or aid in water management will all be big topics.
What do you think the future of gardening in 2016 and beyond looks like?