On days like this I wonder why I live in the Northeastern United States; it’s become suddenly cold after some very mild weather–finally winterish–but I can’t stand to be cold. I shiver as I watch the Juncos hop about after the seed I’ve left, the Chickadees hang in a variety of poses on the seed bell as the wind snaps it back and forth–they don’t mind the cold at all. The pumpkin stack that graced my front porch in October, now in the garden bed, feeds the squirrels, who also seem unaffected by the cold. All this considered I am grateful to hear the chimes ringing and that I’m indoors. There will be hot yoga later.
Garden Media Group, along with other companies interested in market trends, research lots of people to compile what will be on the garden “hot” list this year. To their lists and in reference to another garden writer’s comments, I will add both some predictions of my own plus comments. At the end of this blog will be the links in case you want to read them. Note: you will have to provide your email address to download the Garden Media Group’s report.
First off, I would like to discuss the trend for garden gnomes. I understand their history and maybe that is charming, but I will not be adding one to my garden nor suggesting them to any of my clients. Don’t get me wrong: I love whimsy but to me, gnomes reach a point somewhere past that. I also imagine Katie might be frightened of one and she’s a fearful enough dog as it is. Maybe I don’t like them because the colors they are typically painted don’t seem to go much in the garden and are therefore not harmonious. If you are so moved to leave a comment on this blog spot, please at least do so on the gnome-as-garden-decor-trend; I’d love to hear what you have to say. Maybe it will sway my opinion.
Next, there is the concept of using more and more technology to help with the garden. I think this is great. I am happy every week that I get to write some lines that might be helpful (and maybe witty) to people who love gardens and gardening. I think the downside is that there is SO much information at hand that sometimes it takes a long time to read all that the internet has to offer. My prediction is that as more people use the references, they will find resources they can trust. I know I use them plenty–from taking online courses, crafting my own online class, sourcing plants, and reading the blogs of other garden writers–something that would not have been available just a couple of decades ago. My bookcases are also very full, so not always having to buy a book is a good thing. All this said, I read the following in Writing in the Garden: A Literay Conversation Across the Centuries by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers: “We must pause here for a moment to wonder what will be the effect in terms of archival longevity as well as the tenor and tone of garden writing in the new information age. What happens when email has replaced pen-and-ink correspondence and there are no actual letters in libraries? In terms of the writer’s voice, is the Internet’s capability of reaching a much larger audience through social networking and blogging fair trade-off for a more intimate form of communication? It seems fair to assume that letter writing, whether to a personal friend of the presumed ones garden columnists address as fellow gardeners, strikes a more candid note than a Facebook posting.” I’d love to know your thoughts on this, too.
There is the trend for layers in the garden instead of, as one of my professors used to say, “shrubbing things up.” I still laugh at that expression. I think of layers in the garden the same way I think of how a room appears or how a mannequin is displayed in a store. A room might only have a sofa and a chair, the mannequin might only have a blouse and a skirt. But then the interior designer opens the wall to add a window, paints the room an appropriate hue for the orientation, hangs a framed photo, drapes a cozy afghan over the arm of the chair, and places an art book on the coffee table. Now we’re talking. The room is starting to be a place. To the mannequin a cashmere scarf is added, a wide leather belt, a statement bracelet; the outfit is complete and visually interesting. The next season the same blouse and skirt might have a string of pearls and a bright-colored clutch. Gardens are three dimensional with the sky literally being the limit, unlike a room with a ceiling. We humans are way down at ground plane but it doesn’t mean we can’t look up as well as down. Plants fill in the low, middle and high places in a variety of colors, textures and shapes, not just hulking rows of shrubbery. This is what layering means. Plants like annuals, that change like accessories over different seasons, as do other garden ornaments (not gnomes) and containers.
The trend for gardens to be “maker-spaces.” Everyone is a “maker,” in my opinion. We make and create all the time–whether this is supper in the evening, a story we tell, a photo we take that we share (yes on social media, text message etc.) Gardeners “make” things grow or at very least, help things grow. Maybe it is better said that we “make” the compositions and decisions as to how the garden grows together, with gardeners joining nature in the process. It my prediction that more people will head to the outdoors to “dig in” to the garden, understanding that participating in the garden in its entirety is an active, not a passive, venture, one that promotes health, provides habitat for small birds and mammals and adding value to the property. Maybe even some herbs and veggies to eat. In my mind, life doesn’t get much better than this–to take a plain or empty space and make it beautiful.
I’d love to hear your comments–especially about the gnomes and the technology aspects of the trends. Please post in the space below.