What’s the buzz? Nothing you didn’t know already


A pretty gourd picture I borrowed from my friends at Urban Roots.

But it’s still fun to talk about.

Courtesy of Garden Center Magazine’s   regular enewsletter,  I have the 2010 gardening trend report from Garden Media
Group to share with our readers. It contains a lot of talk about “small town values,” tradition, and the
prioritizing of Main Street over Wall Street.

I won’t get into the big picture rhetoric—I don’t pretend to
have any particular value system, at least not one that I want to talk about,
and I have no idea of what traditional Main Street America is, as an entity. Do

But I do understand the brass tacks of the GMG trend
analysis: edible gardens, yard-sharing, backyard chickens, urban farming, CSAs,
native plants, rain barrels, and green roofs. There was even talk of people
revisiting houseplants as ways to clean the air inside—as an avid indoor
gardener, I’d love to see more people bringing plants inside, but I’m not sure
if it’s really happening.

Most of these other trends are real though; I can see that
just by looking around me at my fellow Western New York gardeners, most of whom
have no idea that anyone would even report on garden trends. Nonetheless, they
are buying rain barrels or starting rain gardens, growing more vegetables,
getting rid of or at least encroaching on their lawns, and patronizing CSAs. Some are developing urban farms and, as I've reported, we just won a big chicken fight in Buffalo, where they are now legal.

I’d like to think that more people are using native
plants—certainly more are available at the nurseries now—and at least people
around here know that green roofs exist. A few have them and local landscape
designers tell me they are getting more inquiries.

Many of us are so in the midst of it that we don’t think
about it, but there has been change. And it is exciting. 

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com


  1. I’d like to have houseplants, but we’re heading south for nearly 3 weeks. It’s difficult enough to ask a neighbor to feed our fish every (other) day, how could I ask her to try and keep my houseplants alive when I struggle to do so myself?

  2. I thought the article was simplistic and overstated. I know it was making a point in that bulleted marketing kind of way. I don’t think these articles on trends and cultural change have much value except as sociological, cultural and economic snapshots. And they are snapshots- a moment in time, despite the use of the word “trend.” I don’t really know why I feel so irritated. Perhaps it is the idea that we are transformed in “herds” of behaviors.

  3. I agree, these are exciting times for gardening. But I am not sure if this is just the latest fad, or a real change.

    Also, I have not really seen an increase in interest in native plants. I blog about vegetable gardening and native plants, and get little response to my posts on natives, like this one, for example: http://2greenacres.blogspot.com/2009/09/native-plant-seminar-woods-in-your.html

    I also find very few bloggers writing about natives. If I am wrong, and they are out there, let me know!

  4. An assortment of comments:

    * We (my wife and I) sell plants we propagated in our backyard at a public garden plant sale in the spring and a large number of people were asking us which ones were native or edible.

    * I teach organic gardening classes in the winter and late summer–all are well attended, but the ones on growing your own food have been SRO.

    * We recently helped lead the effort in Durham to legalize hens. Looked dicey at first, but got a unanimous ‘yes’ vote in the end. Scuttlebutt now is that most people are getting coops and hens on the QT because the city’s rules are excessive. You can read about it in my story in Backyard Poultry magazine’s Dec. issue.

    * I chucked (er.. I mean, gave away) all my boring, non-flowering houseplants and replaced them with indoor plants that have fragrant flowers and even some fruit: night blooming Cereus, arabian jasmine, a coffee tree and 3 dwarf citrus. Okay the citrus, coffee and jasmine live outdoors in the summer and come in before Thanksgiving (zone 7). but you can’t beat the fragrances and we dice up the Meyer lemon, skin and all, spread them on crepes and sprinkle brown sugar on, roll them up and eat them with juices flowing down our chins. Let’s see your spider plant do that ! 🙂

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