GARDENING Seeds of new year's trends



Simple, stylish and colorful gardens will be popular, according to observers.
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- If you adopt the "in" life and chuck the "out" each new year, you'll get a kick out of the gardening forecast for 2003.
Here's what's trendy and what's outdated, according to the Garden Media Group, which sought the input of members of the Garden Writers Association of America and other experts in the gardening industry:
UComplicated is out. Simple is in.
People are downsizing. People are doing yoga. People are looking for peace and simplicity, according to Jeff Gibson, marketing manager for Ball Horticultural. The company creates Simply Beautiful plants ideal for container gardens and is best known for premiere plants such as Tidal Wave and Double Wave petunias and Double and Dazzler impatiens. (www.simplybeautifulgardens.com)
"The No. 1 reason people garden is relaxation and stress reduction -- it's a therapy," he says.
USelf-gratification is out. Self-awareness is in.
Self-gratification for the Yuppie crowd is on its way out, according to Michael Petrie, designer of four award-winning display gardens at the Philadelphia Flower Show (www.theflowershow.com; March 2-9).
"The feng shui movement was the first inkling that people were searching for more meaning in the garden. Like any hobby, as you get more interested, you get a deeper understanding, and then you get to the heart of it," he says.
UIf it moves, it's in. Otherwise, it's out.
Anything in the garden that moves attracts attention, Petrie says. Wind chimes have been hot items for years, but you can use a simple whirligig to create eye-catching movement among plants. Others are more attractive, such as a spinning spiral copper piece of sculpture or folk art.
Railroad gardens will become more popular because they cross all age brackets and offer a great way for families to entertain themselves with a backyard hobby, according to the Garden Train Association (www.gardentrains.org).
UNo color is out. Four seasons of color are in.
People want color in their yards, says Steve Hutton, president of The Conard-Pyle Co. His company develops award-winning roses such as Knock Out, a red rose that won one of the 2000 All-America Rose Selections (AARS) honors (www.starroses.com).
"The palette of color in the garden is broadening to all plants that have color. From tropical plants to flowering shrubs, if it doesn't have a flower on it at some point, it is considered filler.
"The basic trend is to add one season of color. As gardeners become more sophisticated, they want four seasons of interest -- starting with bulbs, then perennials and finally fall foliage and winter berries or bark."
URows of bulbs are out. "Anything goes" is in.
Just like fashion, floriculture also has its trends, says Jacqueline van der Kloet, a Dutch bulb expert with www.TulipWorld.com.
"We saw two color trends at Floriade," the flower festival held every 10 years in The Netherlands, she said.
"First we saw a tone-on-tone preference -- combinations of the same color tone such as bright yellow combined with dark yellow. One of my yellow combinations is yellow dahlias, begonias, buttercups, chlidanthus and callas.
"The second color trend goes against the tone-on-tone trend, and involves a more daring use of multicolored species, such as a variegated use of flowers that have more than one color. For instance, red and pink or lavender and blue. Species such as Ixia, Sparaxys, Tritonia and Leucocoryne are summer bulbs that have two or more colors."
UPastels are out. Bold colors are in.
You'll see more use of color in the landscape, says Tres Fromme, planning and design specialist for Longwood Gardens, sometimes called DuPont Gardens, in Kennett Square, Pa. (www.longwoodgardens.org).
"Designers are looking at the whole color package, not just the plants. Color is becoming more important, with the structures and the accessories a lot of boldly painted trellises, houses and furniture.
"People are looking at the garden in terms of the whole function as a living space, not just a yard full of plants. "
UPlain pots are out. Exciting containers are in.
Container gardening is still the hottest segment in gardening, but it's evolving, says Joseph Cilio, vice president of marketing for Campania International. His company makes and distributes gardening pots and art (www.campaniainternational.com).
Look for more antiqued stone finishes and glazes that blend the gardening look into interior and exterior designs.
UGardening above ground is out. Gardening underground is in.
Gardeners are learning what goes on underground is more important than what happens above ground, so they are learning to take better care of soil, says Ed Neff, president of Soil Soup, an organic compost (www.soilsoup.com).
According to the Organic Trade Association, retail sales of organic products are expected to reach nearly $20 billion by 2005.
USoil is out. Pre-formulated mixes are in.
Gardeners are realizing that the "good dirt" in their yards has been scraped off and sold, and what is left is a hard, infertile soil that is difficult to manage, says Ed Bloodnick, director of product development for Premier Horticulture, which makes soil mixes (www.premierhort.com).
Look for more ready-to-use soil mixes that contain biological enhancements to help stimulate growth and minimize disease without the use of pesticides.
UTraditional lawn care is out. Organic grass is in.
In the move toward organically based gardening, lawn care has been mostly ignored, says Jeremy Brunner of Espoma Co., which makes organic gardening goods such as Holly-tone, Bulb-tone, dried blood and green sand (www.espoma.com).
That's changing, he says. You'll see more and more organic products geared for grass care because people still want lush lawns but they also want to help protect the environment.
UInstant gratification is out. Real gardening is in.
When you garden, you grow along with the plants, says Ken Druse, photographer and author of "Making More Plants."
He also won the 2001 Garden Globe Award of the Year from the garden writers association.
"A beginner is only a beginner that first time he or she buys a plant and digs a hole," he says.
"After that, they're on their way to learning more and looking for reliable sources. The next trip to the nursery won't be to buy that same first plant again, or even just to buy more plants. Growing gardeners are looking for help, ideas, information -- when to plant, how to plant, what's new, what's interesting?
"The gardening industry will have to look beyond the short-term goal of selling the first plant, tool or paving stone. Growers need to present new and unusual varieties to meet customers' growing appetites.
"Beginners may want instant results, but growing gardeners have no trouble planning for the future. As gardeners grow, their involvement grows, they develop new areas of the garden, and they hope to find more ways to feed their interests. Gardeners are always looking toward the future, and the garden industry must, too."
USloppy is out. High style is in.
America is entering a high-style trend that will dominate the fashion industry for at least a decade, according to The Trends Research Institute (www.trendsresearch.com).
This sense of style should, according to Tres Fromme of Longwood Gardens, translate into the garden.
"I hope to see a movement toward more style, more basic design. The trick to having freedom in the garden is to understand the design process, to know how all the pieces fit together functionally. The more we learn about design, the more freedom it gives you to be creative and do your own thing."

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