The top gardening trends for 2017 could reflect a yin-yang sort of year in the gardening world, according to Monrovia, a leading grower of premium garden plants in the U.S.
“2017 will be a year of surprising contradictions,” says Jonathan Pedersen, Plant Development Director at Monrovia. “Humble backyard edible gardens and no-fuss plants have never been so popular. At the same time, there’s an increased level of sophistication in landscape design and a rising interest in unique plants with an emphasis on rich, saturated color and a sense of luxury.
“This year’s trends are also breaking out of the garden, in a way,” Pedersen says. “Globally, ‘floratourism’ is at an all-time high as travelers seek a respite in a stressful world. We’re also seeing the issues of food security and climate change impact what and how home gardeners garden.”
Here’s a look at Monrovia’s top nine trends for 2017:
1. Smaller-sized luxury. As lot sizes shrink but the desire for the luxurious, traditional estate look grows, gardeners will snap up, in record numbers, a slew of new-to-the-market, improved, scaled-down versions of iconic plants such as hydrangeas, roses, berries, conifers, and clematis. These easy-care plants are part of a larger back-to-basics-with-a-twist trend.
2. Floratourism. New York’s High Line is just the tip of the iceberg. Millennials may have grown up tethered to technology, but as a generation, they’re reversing a decade-long trend by choosing nature as their recreational playground. Look for more record-shattering attendance figures at national parks, botanical gardens, and arboretums worldwide.
3. Backyard gardening influenced by no-waste food movement. With about one in three households now growing food, home gardeners, always on the leading edge of mindfulness, are poised to be a critical part of the solution to the urgent social and environmental issues of food waste, and the associated impacts on food security, food transport miles, waste-water, and depletion of arable land.
4. Color chameleons. Gardeners are seeking more seasonal change in their landscape, even from plants previously prized for consistent year-round beauty. Conifers that morph from shades of summery green to a rainbow of otherworldly hues in winter are leading the charge, selling out of nurseries nationwide. Expect to see a revival in the use of fuss-free conifers in general, and a boost in those that color-up for unexpected winter interest.
5. Extreme naturalism. In past years, gardeners have either embraced meadow-filled, freeform, wild gardens or, alternatively, landscapes dominated by hard textures and right angles. In 2017, expect to see extreme naturalism with gardens that merge these aesthetics by introducing statement-making natural elements such as rocks, boulders, and beautifully untouched hedges that impose a more integrated sense of structure.
6. Climate adaptation. Interest in the possible effects of climate change on landscapes has accelerated rapidly, leading to a surge on a national rather than regional level in consumer demand for beautiful landscapes that also save water. Look for a ramping-up of rainwater and gray water harvesting systems and more efficient irrigation. Plant selection will begin to change too, as the specimens that people typically have success within their regions are no longer as easy to forecast.
7. Bright, bold colors. Even as more consumers look to their gardens for a respite from a stressful world, they’re turning to celebratory color for the sense of vitality it brings, which is a major change from the popularity of last year’s cooler pink and blue hues. While serene hues are not going anywhere, we see a pivot toward more saturated colors such as brilliant oranges, feverish reds, neon yellows, vivid purples, deep, dark reds, black-purples, and lots of bi-colored versions.
8. One-pot wonders. Large pots filled with a single impressive statement plant are also on trend for 2017. Plant breeders have made this aesthetic easier to achieve thanks to boxwoods that don’t require as much shearing, a number of reblooming, compact hydrangeas that only need nipping off of spent blossoms, and new varieties of pomegranates, lavenders, succulents, and berries that do exceptionally well in containers.
9. Tough and tender mixes. In 2017, gardeners who spent the last decade loading up on easy-care, bullet-proof plants will make room for more delicate plants that imbue the space with heirloom charm, color, and fragrance. Keep an eye out for some perennial icing on shrub borders and more interest in peonies and wisteria. Even though they take work to maintain, thes plants have a short period of bloom, and can be expensive.
To read the entire 2017 top gardening trends report, go to Monrovia.com.