Get yer hot trends here


In July, I asked you all to help me imagine what next year’s garden trends might be. I was prompted by a questionnaire that wound up in my mailbox from the Garden Media Group.

Here’s a sampling of what you said: Lisa looks for eco-gardening, more veggies, and fewer firepits. Kim would like to see Victorian trenches and mixed evergreen screens, while Michelle hails more and better water conservation strategies, and Craig predicts real “sweat and seeds” gardening. The Shibaguys proposed vertical gardening and urban gardening integrated into architectural design. There was more, an interesting mixture of actual prediction and wishful thinking.

This is the list of trends GMG eventually came up with, based on a National Gardening Association survey as well their own observations and analysis.

1. Eco-Boosting is In! Conspicuous Consumption is Out

2. Grow It Yourself (GIY) is In; Doing it ALL for Me is Out

3. Blended gardens are In; Segregated gardens are Out

4. Locavore is In; Big carbon footprints are Out

5. Water is In; Water is Out

6. Outside is In; Inside is Out (But not “out”)

7. Info Lust is In; Lack of Knowledge is Out

8. Quick & Simple is In; Over-the-top gardens are Out

9. Global Colors are In; Safe colors are Out

10. Worldly is In; Cookie-cutter is Out

11. Bubbling is In; Excess is out

Well, there are no surprises here, and certainly much of it reflects what we’ve been noticing and discussing. Just a few caught my attention. Like: Inside is Out (but not “out”). What this means is that moving more plants inside is in as well as using “inside” plants outside. I did not, however, notice much talk of outdoor kitchens complete with appliances, just the creation of relaxing family spaces. The word “staycation” was used.

And while water conservation is important, mainly through plant choice, they hasten to add that water features will remain equally important. I can go along with that: love water sounds in the garden. I particularly liked the word nativar, as used by contributing Ranter Allan Armitage: “Nativar is a cultivar and/or hybrid of a native species and should rule the garden.”

In case you’re wondering what “global colors” are, these make up a tapestry of vibrant colors, textures, and patterns in the garden, through plants or otherwise, thus evoking sort of a world music style of gardening. You can read more explication of all this on the site.

So that’s the GMG trend report. I’m not a big fan of trends, but if there have to be trends, I’m fine with these. But maybe these guys are prone to wishful thinking too! What do you think? They’d like to know.

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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 regular 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


  1. Well, I hope these are lasting trends rather than ephemeral. Like the “trend” to buying small cars – I heard on the radio yesterday that people are going back to SUV’s as gas prices decline and the SUV’s are heavily discounted….Americans are a fickle bunch.

  2. Funny… I don’t think of gardening as being “trendy” process 🙂

    I know… I’m “out of it”…

    But for me, it’s just growing flowers and vegetables, and living within a green world.

    The only “trend” I care about is a trend toward more people gardening!

  3. I do kind of wonder how the current economic situation will affect things. People who might have said they were not going to do it all themselves may have no choice but to. I did a giant project this spring that I am *still* paying for. I enlisted the help of a local landscaper, and also spent the entire day outside working with the crew. I am not certain if I could have done it myself, but I do know that I could not afford the help now! It will be interesting.

    I am also curious to see if more people start kitchen gardens. That was a trend talked about by the Timber Press book publishing session at Garden Writers–the trend of more, younger people getting into vegetable gardening. Anything that gets more people into gardening!

  4. “global colors … thus evoking sort of a world music style of gardening” I’m still snickering … this one just cracks me up. So that’s what I’ve been doing in my garden? I had no idea!

  5. Interesting list. I’m delighted with #7. Enough with dumbed-down gardening advice. Let’s hear it for the geek in all of us – hooray!

    Love nativar – leave it to Allan Armitage to come up with that clever take.

  6. I’m hearing from more and more readers about edible gardening. Edible edible and more edible: people are taking the Eat Local mantra to a very local level, of all ages, really. I love it.

  7. I am puzzled by the use of the term “bubbling” (#11). I see it is listed as in as oppposed to “excess”. Ah well, just another example of how out touch I am with current trends.

  8. I saw the same ino today in Garden Decor magazine. Excellent to see YOUNG PEOPLE GEN-Xers and Milleniums getting into REAL honest to goodness get your hands dirty love the smell of dirt and roses GARDENING!!!!!!!

    Hooray for those of us in the industry who have been told for years young folks hate to get their hands dirty.

    I think three months of $4.50 gallon gas has changed the mind set of this country FOREVER.

    Now for real pay cash, buy only what you need,buy it local, grass roots capitalism to come back!!!!

    The (tore up the credit cards sold the vacation home( really I sold my dream cabin in the Adirondacks))


  9. I locked onto number 7, info lust is in. I prey that’s true. I’m not taking about learning the botanical name for a common plant. I’m talking about people wanting to be smarter about how they garden, the plants they choose and where they plant them, how and when they use their water, why tree topping is horriffic and why feeding the soil is better than feeding the plants. ‘We’ know these things but of the 90 million or so ‘gardeners’ in this country, those of you reading this are the minority of people who already know these things. Info lust is a good thing.

  10. WOW! Great feedback. We received some wonderful input from you all when we were putting the 2009 GMG Trends Report together. It’s always good to see these are happening across the board. Roof gardens and rain gardens are coming on strong, too. We update our trends regularly so we’ll have to incorporate some of these ideas. We just read, for example, that Pantone is calling sunny yellow the hot new color for 2009. Thanks for starting such a great dialogue! Suzi McCoy

  11. I was really impressed when network television used the idea of a locavore Thanksgiving on NBC’s Lipstick Jungle. I later learned it coincided with the network’s Green Week 2008 where their website hosted a collection of ideas on how to ‘green your routine’. I picked up a few good pointers!

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