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...
Geranium Combos feature

February 27, 2017

Tips for General Combination and Hanging Basket Production

Bell Nursery’s Head Grower Tom Wheeler provides his recipe for success when growing premium combos that put on a show at retail.

Read More
Portulaca 'ColorBlast Tangerine'

February 26, 2017

2016 University of Georgia Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University Of Georgia trial gardens in Athens, GA.

Read More
University of Wisconsin field trial gardens

February 25, 2017

2016 University of Wisconsin Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Wisconsin display gardens at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in Verona, WI.

Read More
Latest Stories
Geranium Combos feature

February 27, 2017

Tips for General Combination and Hanging Basket Product…

Bell Nursery’s Head Grower Tom Wheeler provides his recipe for success when growing premium combos that put on a show at retail.

Read More
Portulaca 'ColorBlast Tangerine'

February 26, 2017

2016 University of Georgia Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University Of Georgia trial gardens in Athens, GA.

Read More
University of Wisconsin field trial gardens

February 25, 2017

2016 University of Wisconsin Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Wisconsin display gardens at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in Verona, WI.

Read More
Poinsettia 'Christmas Joy Marble'

February 20, 2017

5 New Varieties Shaking Up the Poinsettia Tradition

With poinsettias trending toward non-traditional colors, growers may find new opportunities to spread sales beyond the winter holidays. Here are five of the newest euphorbia varieties to hit the market that may play a role in redefining the future of the poinsettia market.

Read More
University of Tennessee trials overview (2015 University of Tennessee Field Trials)

February 19, 2017

2016 University of Tennessee Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Tennessee Gardens in Knoxville and Jackson, TN.

Read More
Reiman Gardens field trials

February 18, 2017

2016 Iowa State University Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, IA.

Read More
Syngenta Obsession Cascade

February 15, 2017

Syngenta Introduces Two New Flower Series for 2017

‘Sunfinity’ Sunflower produces multiple branches with numerous flowers that bloom all season long, while ‘Obsession Cascade’ Verbena quickly fills containers with vibrant flower patterns.

Read More
Euphorbia 'Gold Rush'

February 8, 2017

5 Ways to Tie Poinsettias to Lifestyle Trends for Incre…

With poinsettia planning upon us, here are a few ideas to incorporate them into upcoming lifestyle and home décor trends to help increase sales.

Read More
Table setting with begonias for decoration

February 7, 2017

Seasonal Plant Trends for 2017 and Beyond

Aligning your plant sales with popular lifestyle and home décor movements will engage your customers and multiply your profits.

Read More

February 7, 2017

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Presents a First Look at Ne…

The annual event brings breeders, growers, and retailers together to compare new plant varieties and evaluate their performance. Here's a look at some of the new varieties featured in the trial gardens.

Read More
Grateful Heart Rose feature

February 5, 2017

Flower Breeders Making Donations for Heart Disease and …

Companies such as Jackson & Perkins and Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs are donating portions of their sales to groups such as the American Heart Association and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Read More
Tyler Beasley

February 1, 2017

Allan Armitage California Spring Trials Scholarship Win…

Beasley, a junior at Oregon State University’s Ecampus who also manages a local community college greenhouse, will join Armitage and a team of Greenhouse Grower editors in attending and reporting on the 2017 California Spring Trials.

Read More
IPM Essen Plant Innovations Winners

January 31, 2017

Top New Plants Recognized at IPM Essen in Germany

Winners were announced in several categories in the Innovations Showcase, from flowering houseplants to cut flowers.

Read More
Allan Armitage San Marzano tomato plant feature

January 25, 2017

Allan Armitage Describes Veggies, Shade Plants, and Cli…

Here's a look at plants that could help you with successful growing in 2017.

Read More
Hibiscus Hollywood Gossip Queen

January 24, 2017

29 New Flowering and Foliage Plants from TPIE 2017

The Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was the place to be Jan. 18-20 to catch a peek at some of the new plant introductions making their first appearance on the market.

Read More
Quick Plug

January 24, 2017

Dümmen Orange Acquires Quick Plug, a Cutting Compost Su…

Quick Plug technology is designed to open up opportunities for automation and robotization of several product groups and add quality to rooted products.

Read More
EPCOT Suntory Princettia Euphorbia

January 23, 2017

Princettia Euphorbias Charm Vacationers at Disney Resor…

Suntory’s Princettia euphorbias have brought a new color palette to the holiday landscapes at Walt Disney World’s resorts and theme parks in central Florida.

Read More
Youngs Plant Farm Trial Garden feature

January 21, 2017

Don’t Miss the Southern Garden Tour This June

Growers, retailers, and all industry professionals are invited to the 2017 Southern Garden Tour, which is hosted by Young’s Plant Farms, Sakata, and Metrolina Greenhouses, and will be held June 6-8.

Read More