2014 trends view big picture
By Kathy Van Mullekom DAILY PRESS (NEWPORT NEWS, VA.)
MARIE BUTLER MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
Purposeful gardens — habitat, edible and sustainable — have been on the rise, and 2014 promises more of the same.
Chemical-free gardens for birds, butterflies and bees remain high on the gardener’s to-do list, and organically grown edibles are key for health-conscious backyard gardeners.
Here are some other gardening trends.
• Garden journals. Master gardeners across the United States are using Nature’s Notebook ( http://www.usanpn.org/ natures_notebook) to help track bloom times — which, in turn, gives scientists data on climate change, says LoriAnne Barnett of Nature’s Notebook and USA National Phenology Network.
Gardeners can also use phenology (the seasonal change in plants and animals from year to year) to know when best to manage pests.
• Concern about bees. Saving pollinators is gaining importance. Home gardeners should learn about keeping blooms coming; using easy and quick-growing cover crops to provide excellent habitat; and eliminating the use of chemicals, because even certified organic pesticides can be harmful to bees, according to Lisa Ziegler of the Gardener’s Workshop, an online garden shop.
• Container craze. Containers can spice up a yard without a lot of cost and effort, says Marie Butler, horticulture curator at the Virginia Zoo. For instance, bamboo stems, upside down brooms or even twisting, turning branches can be painted colors to match the season or a home’s exterior palette, then inserted into pots containing evergreens or annuals.
Male gardeners might like the look of ammunition boxes mounted on ladders — an idea seen in a Denver boutique.
• Repurpose, reuse. The focus on using recycled building materials is continuing. Indoor and outdoor garden furniture is being made with repurposed pallets, says Grace Chapman, director of horticulture at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Va. People are staining and painting them or leaving them natural.
Chapman has also seen vertical gardens that use recycled materials such as pallets, felt pockets and even 2-liter bottles hung from strings.
• Perfect plants. Re-blooming and extended-bloom plants are popular, according to Allan Hull, a nursery manager in Virginia. Plants that can provide color or interest in multiple seasons enable customers to enjoy their landscape all year.
• Acceptance of imperfection. Homeowners are increasingly relaxing their notions of what’s “right” in their landscapes to embrace seasonal drama and its disorder, says Sally Ferguson, a Pawlett, Vt., master gardener.
In spring, weeks of bright daffodil flowers are worth the unmown bulb foliage recharging for next year’s display. Winter landscapes are dotted with dried grasses and seed heads left for the birds.