Garden Trends for 2012

Carla Allen
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As the last few grains of sand trickle through the hourglass of 2011, let's take a two-part look at what's coming up in the world of gardening for 2012.

From raising chickens to harvesting rain water and composting, “urban knights” are establishing a ‘new good life’ by getting grounded with the Earth.
Carla Allen photo


The Garden Media Group delivers a Garden Trends report annually and it always contains some interesting observations.

Plants are being appreciated more than ever before in that people can tap into them to cultivate a "good life, according to the report.

“Plants are no longer a luxury, but a necessity for our lives,” said Susan McCoy, trend spotter and outdoor living expert. “Plants can live without us, but we can’t live without plants.”

For a growing army of environmentally conscious members of Gen X and Y, plants are an important part of a new lifestyle that includes recycling, re-purposing and up-cycling, and blending old with new, to preserve and protect the earth’s resources.

These rural and urban “curators of culture” are planting home and community gardens and renewing urban spaces, with an eye toward functionality and artistic design.

According to Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson, we have an innate bond with living things and nature. It’s something called biophilia.

McCoy expands on this. "Studies prove that plants are more than just a pretty face. From the power of healing to restoring neighborhoods, plants are vital for healthy, balanced lives.”

She and her team of Garden Media trend spotters see several things on the horizon for 2012 and beyond.

Generation X and Y are taking up the mantle to protect and defend the earth.

“These new ‘urban-knights’ are creating oases wherever they can find a patch of earth,” said McCoy.

“They’re planting shrubs, flowers, edibles and pop-up gardens on balconies, in alleyways, and on street parklets – even in abandoned buildings and walk-in shipping containers.”

At this year’s Chelsea Flower Show in England the youth urban-grit influence was apparent. Commitment to the earth’s resources was punctuated in reclaimed materials mixed with windmill turbines, metal sheds, water-saving plants, and vertical walls that challenged formal gardens.

From raising chickens and goats to step gardening, harvesting rain water and composting, urban knights are establishing a ‘new good life’ by getting grounded with the Earth.

From rocks in the garden to rocks in the living room, nature’s influence can be found both indoors and out.

“Borders are blurring between indoors and out as nature becomes more important in our lives,” said Bobbie Schwartz, president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.

 “Many people want their gardens and their homes to be sanctuaries of tranquility, reflecting their ideal concept of nature.”

Next week: the importance of farmers’ markets in trend setting, the growing popularity of garden apps and planting seeds in youth.

Organizations: Garden Media Group, Gen X, Harvard Association of Professional Landscape Designers

Geographic location: England

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