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...
FleuroStar Award Ceremony

June 20, 2016

Begonia Hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’ Takes Home FleuroStar Award

The award from Fleuroselect was announced at the Green Inspiration Event in Amsterdam.

Read More
Caryopteris 'Beyond Midnight Bluebeard'

June 20, 2016

Keep The Sales Coming With 16 New Blooming Varieties For Fall

Plants that put on a show from first frost long into fall and offer the color options consumers want for their gardens go a long way toward extending sales further into the season and can help maintain your sales momentum going strong. Check out these 16 new blooming varieties, both traditional favorites and new alternatives, for your fall crop selection.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 18, 2016

Mark Your Calendar For Sakata Seed Trials In August

Sakata has set two dates for its California-based trials: Aug. 15-17 in Salinas, and Aug. 17-19 in Woodland.

Read More
Latest Stories
FleuroStar Award Ceremony

June 20, 2016

Begonia Hybrid ‘Miss Malibu’ Takes Home FleuroStar Awar…

The award from Fleuroselect was announced at the Green Inspiration Event in Amsterdam.

Read More
Caryopteris 'Beyond Midnight Bluebeard'

June 20, 2016

Keep The Sales Coming With 16 New Blooming Varieties Fo…

Plants that put on a show from first frost long into fall and offer the color options consumers want for their gardens go a long way toward extending sales further into the season and can help maintain your sales momentum going strong. Check out these 16 new blooming varieties, both traditional favorites and new alternatives, for your fall crop selection.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 18, 2016

Mark Your Calendar For Sakata Seed Trials In August

Sakata has set two dates for its California-based trials: Aug. 15-17 in Salinas, and Aug. 17-19 in Woodland.

Read More
Tomato Congress Logo

June 15, 2016

International Tomato Congress In Mexico Will Focus On G…

The event, which takes place in San Luis Potosi from July 20-22, will feature discussions on production strategies, cost management in protected structures, and optimizing your greenhouse environment.

Read More
Nir Nursery Wax Flower Pot Plant

June 14, 2016

Danziger Reaches Deal To Distribute Nir Nursery Varieti…

With the agreement, Danziger becomes the exclusive distributor of Nir’s product line, which includes cut flowers, foliage, pot, and garden plants.

Read More

June 14, 2016

Dümmen Orange Expands Its Succulent Offerings Through N…

According to Dümmen Operations Director Kate Santos, succulents are an attractive growth category because of their ease of use, shelf life in stores, drought tolerance, and versatility in application.

Read More
'Osaka' Flowering Cabbage (Sakata Ornamentals)

June 14, 2016

New Cool Season, Vegetable, And Foliage Crops For Fall …

Whether you’re providing pansies and violas to the garden center for fall color or decorative edibles to grace patio containers, consider these 16 varieties for fall crop sales, newly introduced for 2016 and hitting retail in 2017.

Read More
Calibrachoa Chameleon Sunshine Berry (Westflowers) - Feature

June 9, 2016

Fall Crop Alternatives That Can Increase Your Sales

There’s a lot of competition for grabbing your share of fall mum sales. Give your program a boost with new varieties that complement traditional fall crops.

Read More

June 7, 2016

It’s Time To Rethink The Value And Timing Of Cali…

Fourteen years ago, Greenhouse Grower saw an opportunity to bring next-day coverage of California Pack Trials (now California Spring Trials or CAST) to your inbox. The objective was to be your eyes and ears on location, to report the debut of the newest varieties and marketing programs, and report major breeder announcements, especially for those not attending. We continued to develop new story-telling tools with video capabilities, slideshows, and more. And once social media took hold, everyone attending CAST became reporters of their favorite varieties and displays at trials. So we’re left with the question — how should we continue to evolve our coverage, to bring the most value for you? It’s easy to fall into a certain pattern, to stick with what works — or seems to work. And just because you’re working really hard at something that you’ve had success with in the past, it doesn’t mean it’s […]

Read More
Carex 'Eversheen' (Hoffman Nursery)

June 7, 2016

Hoffman Nursery Has A New 30-Year Anniversary Look!

The new redesign of the Hoffman Nursery website packs in more content than ever with updated resources and 30 years of experience growing grasses.

Read More
GG June Cover image

June 6, 2016

The State Of Plant Breeding In 2016

Breeding companies look to strengthen their competitive advantage, easing the way for growers to procure new plant varieties and for consumers to grow with confidence.

Read More
Petunia Queen of Hearts

June 1, 2016

Danziger Introducing New Petunia Amore Series, And More…

Danziger “Dan” Flower Farm is planning to introduce 60 new varieties from its 2016-17 collection at the annual event, including petunias, bidens, and calibrachoa.

Read More
Nathan Lamkey Chuck Pavlich Allan Armitage talk about muckgenia

May 31, 2016

Allan Armitage: Three Trends (Good And Bad) That Caught…

We need to put the same energies we invest into California Spring Trials to get plants into consumers’ hands and encourage young people in the industry to attend.

Read More
National Garden Bureau California Vegetable Summer Trials

May 26, 2016

California Summer Vegetable Trials In August Will Cover…

The National Garden Bureau is once again organizing summer vegetables trials this August in California, giving attendees the opportunity to visit with several breeding companies.

Read More
Eason 2017 Perennials Guide

May 25, 2016

Eason Horticultural Resources Releases New Perennials G…

The two guides are available in digital and print versions and offer information from several breeders.

Read More
Echinacea ‘Butterfly Rainbow Marcella’

May 25, 2016

15 New Perennials For Bees, Butterflies, And Other Poll…

These 15 new perennials, available for retail in 2016 and 2017, will produce colorful flowers and foliage year after year, providing habitat and food for bees, butterflies, birds, moths, and other pollinators.

Read More
P.Allen Smith Cut Flowers

May 25, 2016

Sakata Seed America And P. Allen Smith Extend Partnersh…

Sakata is taking its partnership with plantsman P. Allen Smith a step further to create the P. Allen Smith Home Grown Cut Flowers Collection, a selection of premium cut flower seed hand-picked by Smith and bred exclusively by Sakata.

Read More
Coleus Fancy Feathers Pink (Terra Nova Nurseries)

May 23, 2016

Take A Sneak Peek at Terra Nova Nurseries’ New Coleus F…

A brand-new collection of Terra Nova Nurseries coleus varieties called the Fancy Feathers Series is now available to growers for online orders. The series produces narrow, feather-like leaves and offers a mounded habit.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]