May 10, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) – As spring rains usher in the warmth of summer, there is a mountain of trendy ideas awaiting the gardener in just about every homeowner.
From splashes of color on fences and arbors to more subtle shades of plants and flowers along with fresh veggies that can be grown in or outdoors, there is a myriad of ways to show off your ability to grow things in style.
The trends of the past few years…drought tolerant plants, edible gardens, and container plantings are here to stay replaced by some novel ideas just for 2016.
Subtlety in the garden. Turns out the plants and flowers you plant around your home, don’t have to be a rainbow of bright colors. New York landscape architect Jan Johnsen says today’s “gardens don’t have to be over the top.” Johnsen suggests more subtle color ranges, all white, or even one color gardens. She says we want to take our gardens through the summer and into a mild fall so more rustic colors of oak leaf hydrangeas and grasses that flower late into the season are gaining in popularity.
Growing veggies indoors. The idea of taking vegetable gardening indoors, especially in the winter and early spring, is becoming more and more popular. Helen Battersby of Gardenfix says that is particularly true with the advent of compact and ornamental cultivars like the tiny heart-shaped cherry tomato called “Sweet Valentine.” The little tomato plant looks chic on a tabletop or in a window box according to Battersby. She also suggests “a frilly dark basil that makes a decorative foliage plant in mixed containers along with some showy flowers you don’t have to snip off.”
Color up structures. The trend coming straight out of Europe and taking hold in U.S. gardens is dramatically colored structures including fences, arbors, and even houses. Susan Cohan of Susan Cohan Gardens says, “Rather than white, brown or gray fences, we’ll see fences painted dark green or dark blue.” She has already seen U.S. homes painted in darker colors like deep blues or navy blues as a foil for lighter and brighter garden plants.
Native plants do not equal a messy landscape. A well-designed yard using native species of plants like regional trees, shrubs and perennials can be indistinguishable from the traditional ornamental plants. Anna Brooks of Arcadia Gardens LLC suggests there is currently “a greater understanding that the use of natives in the landscape doesn’t equal an overgrown, messy ‘weed patch’ for a yard or garden.” In fact, the choices for native gardens these days include contemporary, modern farmhouse, and classic traditional themes in addition to the prairie style most gardeners have come to associate with native landscaping.
Keep in mind that even the trendiest gardens need to be maintained so you’ll want to think about how much time you can devote to that task as you design your natural space for 2016. Darcy Daniels of eGardenGo and designer with Bloomtown Gardens says, “For example, natural gardens or gardens with a relaxed style can be tricky to maintain and still meet our aesthetic desires. People want beautiful and eco-sensitive outdoor spaces but they’re desperate for it to be manageable over the long haul.” Daniels tells people to follow these simple design principles for manageable maintenance: make thoughtful plant selections; choose a planting scheme that matches how you want to live in your garden; and select a manageable plant palette, characterized by a fewer number of plants with each plant well-chosen and doing its job.