Takeaway thoughts inspired by the Philadelphia Flower Show are simple: Try something new this year.
Sometimes the new idea or garden practice is really just the old idea making a comeback. It’s not really a trend, but a good idea whose time has come to re-surface.
Trend 1: Be sustainable in your gardening endeavors. Even though I have heard this term over and over again, it doesn’t always resonate with me. Simply, what is sustainable for one person may not be a solution for another. Clearly, the goal is eco gardening or eco-friendly no matter how you achieve the end results; the basic principle is the same. Be kind to the earth by practicing a do-no-harm philosophy. Consider your neighbor and the next generation. What will your garden legacy be?
Sustainability practices may include becoming an organic gardener or, at the very least, reducing the herbicides and pesticides used.
The movement to help the pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, beetles, ants and birds, by planting foods for their survival, both larval stages and adults, is reaching around the globe.
Planting native plants for the journey along migration routes and for the increasing length of the growing season, early spring through late fall, are key factors to assist pollinators and therefore safeguard our own food.
One in every three bites we take needs a pollinator.
Taking care of water resources by keeping stormwater on-site is becoming common practice, if not yet written into the building code. Keeping water clean and safe from toxins and conserving water should be a priority. Why? The human body is 90 percent water. Plants and animals need clean water, too.
Plant something to keep our human carbon footprint in check, especially trees.
Trend 2: Integrate the natural world into the built environment; a lesson from the Dutch designers on mixing architecture and landscape for balance and beauty. Nature heals. A walk outside restores the soul, reduces stress, invigorates the senses, clears the mind and increases productivity.
Studies show that a walk in the woods elevates mood, decreases blood pressure and allows our bodies to absorb oxygen, counteracting the toxins from harmful indoor air quality. Imagine if we all had access to woodland out our back door. Let’s strive to integrate natural surroundings into our daily routine, and within work or school surroundings.
Trend 3: Foodscape rather than lawnscape. Add edibles to your ornamental landscape. No longer must we separate the garden by function; one for food and the other for entertainment. Land is precious and every square foot should provide a benefit for us.
Think about where you could tuck in some lettuce along your annual border, or change out an invasive shrub for another that would be more beneficial to humans or wildlife. Edible landscapes are beautiful, whether annual (tomatoes) or perennial (asparagus) plantings. Dutch designer Bart Hoes’ urban living exhibit highlighted the creativity possible when blending herbs and vegetables with spring bulbs. Brie Arthur introduced the concept with her new book, “The Foodscape Revolution: Finding a Better Way To Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden” St. Lynn’s Press 2017.
Trend 4: have fun in the garden, and especially with children. Gardening is hard work, but also enjoyable and rewarding. Learn to play in the garden. Encourage children to participate in growing flowers and veggies. Teach them about insects and animals in the wild. Even if the wild is your own backyard, there can be much to view from a child’s perspective.
Spring is here. What will you do differently this year?
Gloria Day is president of Pretty Dirty Ladies Inc. Garden Design Maintenance; a member of Gardenwriters and the Pennsylvania Landscape Nursery Association; and serves on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence Horticultural Advisory Committee. She lives in Berks County and can be reached at Gloria@prettydirtyladies.com.