Recently, while reading online, I stumbled across an interesting summary of gardening trends for 2019. Recognizing both the fun and functionality in the trendy read, I saw this report as not only an inspirational opportunity and window into planning our annual educational programming, but also a great match for my first column of the new year.
The Garden Media Group of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, whose vision is to “inspire 320 million Americans to live a healthy gardening lifestyle 52 weeks a year,” issues the digital report. It identifies eight trends for gardening in 2019. Here’s a quick snapshot of those trends and a few insights into each.
• Indoors is the new outdoors
Disconnected from nature and natural rhythms, the new generation spends a larger portion of time indoors, therefore increasing the need to bring the outside in. Common themes show an increased interest in houseplants, indoor plant searches highlighting cactus and tropicals, terrariums, and biophilic (nature-health relationship) design using natural materials and lighting.
• Screen age
Most of our free time is spent looking at a screen, not exploring or experiencing the natural world. Technology addiction is creating a new set of physical and psychological problems. Activities and practices that support a healthy balance between media and nature, engaging both youths and adults in hands-on gardening and natural experiences, continue to be popular solutions.
• Golden hearts
There is a movement among the generations, young and old, to re-establish the environmentalist in us all. People are more conscious and engaged in social and environmental impacts and movements, in a unified effort to preserve the world for future generations. Volunteering is on the rise, as is a stronger focus on sustainability and creating more livable futures.
• Root to stem
We are looking at recycling through a new lens, finding innovation in zero-waste, upcycling, recommerce and conscious consumption. Sustainable systems and solutions continue to become part of planning and management for brands and corporations, from the banning of plastics to the development of renewable resins. Practices like composting are making a resurgence.
• Silence of the insects
Declines in global insect populations continue to change the ecosystem. Invasive plant and insect species are establishing without natural predators. Natural models of care and preventive management such as defensive gardening strategy, habitat-specific planting, reduced pesticide use, native planting, and natural landscaping design and practices are growing as popular choices to combat the issue.
Rapid declines in insect populations, outpaced by significant growth in the human population, will require technology to be used in food production. Advances in precision technology from the field to the greenhouse, access to an array of smart apps and digital information, the utilization of drones to monitor changes in growing conditions, increased use of robotics to conduct standard gardening chores and quite possibly even address pollination are all growing practices.
Gardening by the moon, while not a new concept, is making a comeback, fueled by new ideas and concepts. The moon is no longer just a phase, reinvented in everything from design elements to gardening practices. Guides for planning and planting according to the lunar cycle are increasingly being sought, with increased interest in unique nighttime or moon-blooming florals and moon gardens that also create a habitat for nocturnal insect friends.
• Get minted
The cool, refreshing color of vintage mint green returns in both home décor and gardening as the new neutral. In the garden, mint is easy to grow and offers a host of benefits beyond its traditional use as a medicinal herb and in teas.
Heather Neikirk is a Stark County Extension educator in agriculture and natural resources for The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension. OSU Extension is the outreach arm of the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) with an office in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. If you have questions about healthy food systems, farm to school, food production, small farms, women in agriculture or food gardening, contact her at 330-832-9856 or email@example.com.