The Garden Media Group, a PR and marketing firm out of Philadelphia, has released its 2018 Garden Trends Report. Their annual report is one of the most published garden studies in trade and consumer news. A summary of the report is presented below. To read the entire report, visit: http://www.gardenmediagroup.com/gmg-releases-2018-garden-trends-report
In today’s 24/7 connected society and public discontent, depression and anxiety are skyrocketing world-wide. By 2030, the World Health Organization predicts anxiety will be the #1 health issue, outranking obesity.
Analysts reported that the global wellness economy – wellness tourism & real estate, the spa industry & workplace wellness – reached $3.7 trillion in 2016 and is expected to grow 17% over five years.
And Gen-Y is the most stressed and anxious to date. According to Ypulse, 81% of 13-34 year-olds are making mental health a priority and want new ways to balance physical and mental wellness –and clear their heads.
Thanks to celebrities such as the British royals, mental health is no longer a stigma. Prince Harry believes there has been a “dial shift” in prioritizing mental wellness, urging young people who constantly check their phones to slow down and process their thoughts rather than rushing from one thing to the next.
In other words, it’s time to stop and smell the roses!
Wellness is no longer just about being healthy. It goes deeper, embracing positivity, relaxation and self-care. A happy mind leads to a happy body. Being surrounded by air purifying plants, finding a quiet place to meditate or eating a plant-based diet are all reflections of wellness trends that have become status symbols for people who make health a priority.
The new study of neuro-conservation from Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, an evolutionary ecologist and research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, says being in nature and around water shifts our brain towards hope and compassion and away from stress and anger.
Research today reinforces wisdom of the ages –from Cyrus the Great of Persia, who built relaxation gardens 2,500 years ago, to Fredrick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture – all types of gardeners continue to follow this ancient prescription for mental and physical wellness. And that’s good news for gardeners.
With this leading global consumer trend, the theme of the 2018 Garden Trends Report is Nature’s Rx for Mental Wellness.
The rising trend of wellness isn’t just about keeping the body healthy anymore; it’s about keeping the mind and spirit healthy, too, as you’ll see from the seven gardening topics that will be trending in 2018.
1. CLIMATE CONTROLLED
Since 16 of the last 17 years have been the warmest on record, it’s no surprise that unpredictable climate conditions are challenging the way we garden. And it’s not just drought. Intense rain storms, floods, hail, tornadoes, heat waves, mild winters, and wildfires are stressing our ecosystems. To reduce worry and work, gardeners are looking for resilient, weather-hardy plants that stand up to extreme weather conditions.
“We are in the unfortunate situation of being the first generation of gardeners, ever, who cannot rely on historical weather records to tell us what our climate is, or what to expect in the future.”
– David Wolfe
Department of Horticulture, Cornell University
Whether you’re growing on your kitchen counter or in a greenhouse, indoor gardening lets you control the climate and garden year-round. Glasshouses maximize free solar energy, use land efficiently, conserve water and reduce pest and disease exposure. Plus, you can grow your own food year-round.
Trees cool and reduce heat, especially urban trees, keeping cities habitable. New research says trees are stressed and more susceptible to damage. Stressed trees can’t fight pests and diseases, allowing pests to multiply and migrate faster and destroying more trees in wider geographic areas.
“The urban environment can be a tough place for trees,” said Greg Ina, vice president, The Davey Institute. “The changing climate is only going to make tree care and selection more complex. Our research and development teams are focused on creating strategies for resiliency and adaptation.”
If tree risks are not addressed and treated, we could lose the tree benefits that keep cities cool.
2. SOCIAL NETWORK
Instead of seeing plants as objects in a sea of mulch, think of gardens as social networks. Walk through a forest and you’ll see that every square inch of soil is covered with a mosaic of interlocking plants. A big shift in horticulture is from thinking about plants as individuals to looking at them as communities of interrelated organisms.
This changes how we care for our gardens to focus on management, not maintenance. When you plant in communities, you manage the entire planting, not each individual plant. Plant communities, once established, are more for enjoyment than work. Margaret Roach says, in a recent New York Times article, plants in combinations “solve challenges that many of us have: beds that aren’t quite working visually, and garden areas that don’t function without lots of maintenance.”
Future private and public gardens, such as the Delaware Botanic Gardens (DBG), will reflect this communal living by planting in “eco-tones,” plants that work in harmony, according to Gregg Tepper, director of horticulture at the DBG. Opt for “green mulch” where there is bare soil. “With sedge, you plant it once and it’s good to go,” says George Coombs, research horticulturist at Mount Cuba Center. Landscape Architect Thomas Rainer agrees and adds golden groundsel, rhizomatous strawberries, self-seeding columbine or woodland poppies. Also consider combining butterfly weed with low grasses such as prairie dropseed, blue gramagrass or buffalo grass.
3. IMPERFECT GARDENING
Wabi-Sabi is an ancient Japanese practice that appreciates imperfections in life and the ability to age gracefully. Wabi-sabi gardens imitate nature in a way that allows you to relax and appreciate their humble and imperfect forms – yes, even the weeds.
“The garden is a natural place to embrace wabi-sabi, the art of imperfect beauty, and practice the delicate balance between nature and nurture.”
– Ilana Goldowitz Jimenez, Ph.D.
plant scientist & writer, Gardening Know-How
According to Designer Julie Blakeslee at Big Red Sun, people are creating imperfect gardens with natural, sustainable and locally sourced organic materials. HGTV agrees homeowners are turning to quality, natural materials, such as metal, stone or wood, over plastic. Repurpose objects such as old iron gates or gardening tools that will change over time and weather with the seasons.
Growing clover and dandelions in untreated lawns is becoming a status symbol for conservation. In general, lawns are less sought-after each year, according to Architectural Digest. The survey found that new subdivision plans no longer include expanses of lawns. Think prairie-esque lawns and ground covers, tall golden grasses, even sedge, depending conditions.
Plants that look good, are easy to manage and provide food for pollinators serve a major role in ecological biosystems. Plant double duty natives, one for you and one for the birds and the bees. Plant perennials and self-seeding plants that will establish a social network over the course of years. Don’t deadhead. Allow plants to display their seed pods during the fall and winter.
4. BREATHING ROOM
The stress of being connected 24/7 is resulting in a craving for quiet, for “turning off ” the noise. Awareness of the harmful effects of indoor pollution continues to rise, with 52% of people in the U.S. using houseplants to clean the air. As a result, people are creating breathing rooms using plants that clean the air and clear the mind. These rooms enable people to connect with nature and create a small oasis or ‘pause architecture’ in our fast-paced society.
“Privacy is shorthand for breathing room, for time to develop our own unique identity free from ‘likes’ or ‘comments’ on social media.”
– Julie Cohen
Professor of Law at Georgetown University
Hanging gardens and flower pot pendants are the next big thing indoors. Create a green canopy in your home with palms, ferns, orchids, rhipsalis, philodendrons and other leafy plants, or in your kitchen with herbs. Zen up your breathing room and improve your mental health by adding a special space for meditation, reflection and relaxation.
5. MAKE A SPLASH
The overwhelming response to Longwood Gardens’ new $90 million, two-year fountain renovation proves water is bigger than ever. “Water, it’s not just a small ‘sound’ feature. Everyone seems to be going for big pools. There are a lot of reflective qualities, and that’s what people are looking for,” says Bloom award winning Irish garden designer, Alan Rudden. The majority of gardens at Chelsea 2017 featured elements of water, from smooth sided, stepped plunge pools and spiral metal chutes to more subtle water features in black stone dishes.
6. GROW YOUR OWN PROTEIN
Cara Rosenbloom of the Washington Post notes that “A new wave of concerned citizens, especially millennials, are turning to meat-free eating for better health – both for ourselves and the planet.” Plant-based foods require less land, water, fuel and other resources to grow, making them more eco-friendly than their animal-based counterparts.
Eating more plants has created a new consumer – The Flexitarian. There are 23 million Americans who identify as flexitarian. 30% are eating more plants and 38% go meatless at least once per week. Vegetarian products have doubled over the past five years as meat consumption per person has fallen 15% since 2006. Many who are eating less meat are taking control by growing edibles rich in protein at home.
7. PURPLE REIGN
According to the USDA, purple antioxidants, or anthocyanins, help fight cancer, have anti-aging benefits, reduce obesity, and protect the heart. And, purple food promotes mental strength. Nutritionists and celebrity health proponents are constantly advising people (and posting on Instagram) to eat more purple food.
Use pops of purple herbs and veggies in ornamental beds. Pop purple in borders and pots with lavender,catmint and rosemary. Substitute ornamental shrubs for compact, thorn-less blueberry and blackberry plants.