A silly way to talk about some cool stuff


Wisteria has surprisingly nice fall color.

Agreed. Trend surveys are little more than marketing fodder and often are blatant advertising of certain products. However, I still like to look at them because I always found something interesting, or something that, regardless of why it’s named as a trend, I happen to promote in my own gardening practice. So here is the latest list I saw from this group.

1.   Gardening with a Purpose
2.   Eco-scaping
3.   Edible Ornamentals
4.   Sustainable Containers
5.   Succulents
6.   Indoor Gardening
7.   Growing UP
8.   Urban Farming
9.   New Urbanism

Edibles, yeah, eco-scaping, whatever—yeah, yeah, whatever, whatever.  (Well there must be something to all this. Last night, my husband turned to me and said, “I was thinking of starting a vegetable garden.”  I nearly died.)

Plants doing their best to compete.

But wait. Growing UP. Now there is a trend I can get with. I have long been drawn to verticality in my plantings and I love almost any kind of tall plant. Even the bizarre tall mums they have every year at the Botanical Gardens mum show.  You see, I am surrounding by walls. Some of them are my neighbors’, so I can only grow tall things against them. But other are mine and I love to cover them with jungle-esque foliage and flowers, whether these include ambitious rose or a voracious wisteria. There are also trumpet vine, clematis, climbing hydrangea, Boston ivy, and—yes—porcelain vine, which happens to be the most timid of all my vines, regardless of the scary press it has gotten. I am still waiting for it to achieve 3 feet.

I would also embrace the green walls, at least the small ones, but succulents require sun.  (This is also what keeps me out of the edible game, pretty much.)

And here is our friend Dr. Allan with just the book for me, his new Armitage’s Vines and Climbers. I think it came out last year.

In any case, a horizontal garden would be a sad and limiting thing for me. So if this “trend” means that more cool vines and tall plants will be available, I am all for it.

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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. Trends, shmends. All I know is that I love your second picture — the angle, the composition — and in my next life I want a house made with those red, red, red bricks.

  2. Cucumbers are ‘up’ plants, and don’t mind a little shade. And what about sugar snap peas — yummy, yummy. I can’t imagine a garden, up or otherwise, that didn’t have food in it.

  3. I thought gardening always had a purpose. Who would bother to go to the trouble for no reason, even if just the act of doing is the purpose?

    Does having chickens count as urban farming?

  4. I am afraid if my husband said he wanted to put in a vegetable garden I would say in whose yard? Certainly not in mine. I already have a vegetable garden(s). Ok, only if I picked out the location and size, and shape. He could pick the plants. And he would have to keep it weeded.

  5. I never thought of myself as trendy, but dang ! Might just be getting there if this list is anything to go by. Have to go see what is really meant by “Eco-scaping” & “Sustainable containers” to see if I fit those, too.

  6. Combining the “garden UP” trend with some recycling frugality, I’ve just built a trellis using a bunch of old picture frames. Worked great this season with some annual Thunbergia! How can I send you a picture?
    Now I’m hunting for some old wooden chairs to stack into a trellis tower……

  7. If you are looking for a Rose that can climb 3ft in a single season look for a Rambler. I have one that covered the Trellis in it’s first season,the side of the shed in the second and now it is on the roof of the shed.
    And,would’nt you know it,I lost the Tag so I dont even know what it was called.I call it Cinderella Rose, seems fitting.I will show upload some pics for you tomorrow.

  8. This last couple of years has really opened my eyes to how much peer pressure gardener’s are under. If your not involved with the latest trend there must be something wrong with you. You cant just grow plants for pleasure or somebody is beating you on the head about ripping out lawns, you must grow veggies or heaven forbid your into collecting ornamentals.

    I allowed myself this last summer to be influenced by a couple of different trends and was sorry for it. I almost felt like a teen again being influenced by the “In Crowd”. Sorry for the awkward comparison but it was how I felt. Gardening for a purpose? How about just the joy of it?

    Well I tell you what come this next summer I wont be paying much attention to the “In Crowd”. I’ll be following my own trends.

  9. Well, you KNOW I’m a huge fan of the trend Gardening Up – I just wish someone would write a book about it (wink wink). You’re a brave soul, too, for publicly mentioning Porcelain Berry Vine. I’m waiting for the backlash… 😉

  10. If it wasn’t clear from Rebecca’s comment above, the two of us co-authored a book on vertical gardening that will be out this February. One of our challenges has been combating confusion, as it’s not a picture book of living walls (well, one chapter is) but rather creative ideas on making the most of vertical spaces. Just like you, almost everyone has at least one problem area in their garden where thinking up instead of out is the way to go.

    So as you point out, the terms might be trendy, but in the end, most “new” ideas are just glamorously packaged solutions to typical garden challenges. Not that you asked, but here’s a link to the book’s video:


  11. I first read about these in the Baltimore Sun…another group of trends from Clint Albin via Garden Chic (a publication geared towards Garden Centers) has a different take…these actually hark to a larger trend on the upswing…the Slow Home movement…

    –Vintage garden furniture
    –Increased use of specialized outdoor lighting
    –A continuation of water-conscious landscape options including water harvesting
    –Mixing it up–vegetables as ornamental particularly in containers
    –Food Coaching for those new to vegetable gardening that incorporates gardening and cooking

  12. I bet you could grow beans up your walls. Some of them are quite beautiful and they don’t need a ton of sun. I’ve grown them successfully in spots that only receive sun for a few hours a day.

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