The Garden Of The Future

Patio containers, patio gardening

The more I look at the direction landscaping, gardening and consumerism is taking, the more I know I am right. For years we have heard that gardens are getting smaller, young people are too busy and distracted to garden and annual and perennial gardens are just too much work.

As someone firmly entrenched in the commercial side of our business and rooted in the gardening side of our industry, I believe all these statements to be true. In fact, I will take this one step further: tomorrow’s garden will be on the deck — or the porch or the veranda or the balcony.

The Rise Of Small-Space Gardening

This statement makes a few assumptions that may or may not be so. The first is that everyone who has a garden has a deck, which is to say an outdoor living area. It may be tiny or enormous. It may be wood or cement. It may be balcony off the living room in a 17th floor apartment, but wherever that space is, it will be the outdoor living area.

That is not to say that future homeowners will not have plants in the ground, but we will see more “landscapes” than “gardens” in the future. We will see more plants used simply for decoration or curb appeal than to satisfy any desire to get one’s hands dirty. One of the words that people used to cite when asked why they gardened was therapy; people viewed dirty hands, hard work and planting by flashlight as therapeutic endeavors. There are fewer of those people all the time.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I give lectures all over the country to rabid gardeners, hundreds of them at a crack. They are wonderfully addicted to our plants and fill every square inch of their gardens. They even remove every blade of grass to cram in one more phlox or another new hellebore. However, I don’t see these crowds getting any younger, and boy, do I see more “mowers, blowers and goers” in neighborhoods than ever.

Is this a gloomy picture? Absolutely not. Just as Ikea has made a business of showing how people can live comfortably in small spaces, so do our retailers have to display plants that fit in tomorrow’s garden — the deck.

Growing Plants To Fit The Trend

What can we provide? We are not doing a half bad job now. We just need to repackage. Mixed containers, hanging baskets and patio vegetables are already here, and I am trialing dozens of them. Let’s get them on decks where they belong. And let’s bring affordable containers, decent quality bagged soils and irrigation ideas to the new garden area.

I love the concepts forwarded by the likes of Confetti, Kwik and Trixi; these mixed baskets have already proven their value to growers and retailers. Now let’s get them on decks where they belong.

Mixed containers with patio vegetables and colorful flowers are admired, even eaten, by people sitting in their garden furniture surrounded by the aroma of their barbeque. The deck will be populated with bird feeders, furniture and umbrellas. We must make the case that hanging baskets of roses and lobelia and colorful, elegant containers of perennials, shrubs and annuals are also part of the new garden.

We have it all. We just need to bring relevance to the gardener of tomorrow. Changes are occurring rapidly all around us. The 30 and 40 year-olds are too busy with work and kids to be digging holes, and the older folks are just getting tired. Repackaging is kind of a murky word, so let’s just call it realignment of products and rethinking the garden space.

As for me, I am also a little tired, but I am going to my deck to watch the birds, drink a little wine and enjoy my containers of color.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “The Garden Of The Future

  1. I don't see that trend myself. I see folks getting rid of grass lawns that they are tired of mowing. THat needs to be part of a landscaper's client education. The lawns are chemical dump sites. I see clients who want the flowering beauty of perennial xeriscaped plants that they don't have to tend as much as they do annuals or "deck gardens" that require constant watering in our climate in Texas. If a landscaper knows natural gardening for natural beds , infilled with hybrid xeriscaped plants, shrubs, flowers, vines, trees that DON"T require much care, they are MORE inclined to add more garden and less grass. Add flagstone, brick, gravels , boulders, CHARM by building handmade garden items, not manufactured in China ……..voila…..far more attractive, nurturing, healthy environments that provide what most clients want, but had no clue how to get. I'd like to see the end of Blandscaping myself.

  2. I suspect Mr. Armitage's insight is trending true. Many retirees downsize to condos to become 'balcony gardeners' as I have. I appreciate new varieties designed for such a garden. Younger condo members, harried workers with children, have no time for a garden, alas, not even one potted plant. My 40-something kids, nieces, nephews, etc. allow for a potted plant or two but have no time for a larger garden. They seem to prefer no-brainer yards freeing up time to spend with the family.

More From Varieties...

March 4, 2015

Nexus Corporation’s Cheryl Longtin Encourages Women To Seek Volunteer Leadership Opportunities

When Cheryl Longtin came to the horticulture business in 1994, she applied her experience in the automotive industry to promote the adoption of more technology in greenhouse production. Longtin says horticulture, with its rich family tradition, has long promoted women in the industry compared to other industries, but women in horticulture must continue to seek out opportunities to provide volunteer leadership in organizations that shape the future of the business.

Read More

March 4, 2015

Second Annual GreenhouseConnect Will Bring Growers and Suppliers Together in San Diego This October

Following a successful inaugural event in Tampa last fall, Greenhouse Grower has announced the dates of its second annual GreenhouseConnect: October 26-29, 2015. Representatives of an expected two dozen leading greenhouse operations from across the U.S. will join senior-level suppliers at Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego for several days of one-on-one strategic meetings, a growers-only roundtable, informational sessions and a variety of networking events.

Read More
cultivate'15 logo

March 4, 2015

Cultivate’15: AmericanHort Announces What’s New

In an industry that has seen major changes occurring at a fast pace, many industry professionals leave Cultivate with their heads spinning and no clear idea of how to regroup and strategize. Cultivate’15 is “Changing the Game.” As this year’s focus, Changing the Game will call your attention to the ways in which our industry has changed and your opportunities to compete successfully.

Read More
Latest Stories

March 4, 2015

California Spring Trials Preview: 32 New Perennials For…

Perennials are hot and if this preview of the 2015 California Spring Trials is any indication, there are going to be some great new perennial introductions for 2016. We contacted the breeders who will be displaying their new varieties in California in April, and they gave us a sneak peek. Check out the slideshow to see some of the new perennials making their debut to the trade this spring.

Read More
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years …

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More
Heuch Pink Fizz_featured

March 2, 2015

Intergeneric Crosses Are A New Perennial Trend

Intergeneric crosses, oddities some botanists say are an impossibility, have made serious inroads in the perennial world.

Read More
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The G…

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More

February 18, 2015

California Spring Trials Sneak Peek: New Annuals For 20…

If you're like us and you can't wait until the 2015 California Spring Trials to see some of the new genetics that will be hitting the market in 2016, never fear. We contacted the breeders who will be displaying their new varieties in California in April, and they gave us a sneak peek. Check out our slideshow to see some of the new annuals making their debut to the trade this spring.

Read More
Athena Brazil Salvia 'Brazilian Purple'

February 18, 2015

ForemostCo And Athena Brazil Unite To Supply Unrooted P…

ForemostCo, Inc. and Athena Brazil have forged a working relationship to support each other in the unrooted perennial cuttings market for North America. The partnership, geared toward accommodating increasing demand for unrooted perennial cuttings in North America, adds diversity to a recently consolidated market.

Read More

February 17, 2015

Poinsettias Had Their Best Year In Many In 2014

Poinsettia growers report a strong year in 2014, thanks to a few conditions. Growers were encouraged by high plant quality, enthusiastic shoppers and a stronger, less saturated market for poinsettias throughout the selling season. Seasonal cold at just the right time put consumers in a festive mood to buy early and often, and with no big snowstorms to hold up shipments and a reduction of supply available in the market, the season was strong from start to finish.

Read More
Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

February 17, 2015

Geranium Hybrid ‘Biokovo’ Dubbed 2015 Peren…

Geranium xcantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,' a naturally occurring hybrid of G. dalmaticum and G. macrorrhizum, is the Perennial Plant Association's top pick for 2015 Perennial of the Year. Learn why this tough, landscape geranium took home the prize.

Read More
Costa Farms' Season Premier 2015

February 4, 2015

Costa Farms’ 2015 Season Premier Reveals Newest V…

The annual Season Premier at Costa Farms in Miami, Fla., is the industry's very first peek at new varieties for debut the following year, even before the California Spring Trials, heralded widely as the jumping off point for new varieties. This year's event revealed breeders' best and brightest new varieties for 2016, shown in field trials, landscape trials and containers at Costa Farms tropical trial gardens. Plant breeders presented their new varieties to buyers and members of Lowe’s grower panel. Growers, brokers and other allied industry members, including Home Depot growers and buyers, were also able to peruse the grounds to see how the new varieties fared in the winter trials. Later this season, the hot and humid conditions at Costa’s summer trials will help identify the true performers.

Read More

January 28, 2015

All-America Selections Introduces Additional 2015 Winne…

All-America Selections has announced more 2015 AAS Winners, bringing the grand total of introductions for the 2015 gardening year to 25. The seven winners join the 12 announced last November and six announced last July. This year, AAS has had the most winners in one year since 1939.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Holiday Plant Trends And New Varieties

Growers had mixed feelings about the 2014 poinsettia season according to Greenhouse Grower's 2014 Poinsettia Survey. Read about their plans for 2015 and stay up to date on 14 of the newest cyclamen and poinsettia varieties on the market.

Read More

January 21, 2015

Pantone Marsala Plants To Grow In 2015 [Slideshow]

Marsala, an earthy wine-red color, is the Pantone Color of the Year for 2015, and it presents a great marketing opportunity to showcase Marsala-colored plants for outdoor and indoor decorating. Enjoy this round-up of plants with Marsala hues.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Liven Up Indoor And Outdoor Living With 24 New Tropical…

Uniquely colored foliage and vivid blooms are just two of the great features new tropicals and foliage plants add to energize indoor and outdoor spaces.

Read More

January 13, 2015

Take Purdue University’s Survey On Vegetatively P…

Do you have problems callusing or rooting vegetatively propagated perennials? The Purdue University Floriculture Lab would like to help you with these problems, but first the research team there needs your help.

Read More
Poinsettia 'Charon Red'

January 6, 2015

Dan Schantz Farm 2014 Poinsettia Trial Recap And 2015 D…

The 2014 Dan Schantz Poinsettia trials featured more than 170 poinsettia varieties. Here's a summary of the event, as well as a 2015 date for your calendar.

Read More

December 31, 2014

Engage Busy Consumers With Modern-Day Tropical And Foli…

Contemporary tropical and foliage plants fit right in with the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century. Their versatility lends itself to countless uses both inside the house and out on the patio.

Read More

December 30, 2014

2015 California Spring Trials Are Just Around The Corn…

Are the California Spring Trials on your schedule for 2015? Before the busy growing season sidelines your plans, use this handy resource to get a jumpstart on registering for your trip.

Read More

December 29, 2014

Top 5 Slideshows Of 2014

These popular slideshows from 2014 highlight everything from new perennials, to new veggies, to California Spring Trials.

Read More