Editor’s note: The annual Garden Trends Report is one of the most published garden studies in trade and consumer news. This is the 20th anniversary of the report compiled by the Garden Media Group, a public relations and marketing firm from Philadelphia. A summary of their findings for 2021 is presented here. In addition, Garden Media has graciously allowed us to use their images in this summary. To read the Trends Report in its entirety, visit: grow.gardenmediagroup.com
This past year has presented us with an unprecedented experience that has been closely shared by neighbors next door as well as across the planet. And it’s not just the global community that is connecting, local and virtual communities are banding together now more than ever; resulting in never- before-seen collective action. The shift in community cooperative is real and it is powerful.
How the world will change post- Covid-19 remains to be seen. It appears, however, that we are in the middle of A Great Reset. In the first half of 2020, something ended. But something new is starting. A lot of positive energy was born from this disruption; what will you do with it?
One of this year’s trends was born of necessity. Others are a groundswell of ongoing dialogues. All present opportunities to be better stewards of our planet.
IMPROV ERA –
From delivery to curbside pickup, the supply chain has changed forever. Successful businesses of the future will shift their models and be open to quick change. People are still shopping, just differently. In fact, 1⁄4 of Americans spent more money while social distancing. This shopper wants convenience and speed. Their goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible.
There will be an increase in electronic payments and touchless transactions. Customers have been retrained to shop differently using technology. People want to have confidence in a product before they buy, and they want to buy from someone they trust.
BROADACRE CITIES –
One hundred years ago, famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a settlement called Broadacre City. These were super grids of 1+-acre homesteads designed to help communities thrive. However, this model never truly took off, and our cities grew and grew. But today, the coronavirus is challenging the assumption that Americans must stay physically tethered to high-cost small-space cities to access the best work opportunities. In fact, many newly remote workers prefer somewhere closer to family or fresh air. If enough remote workers vote with their feet, Broadacre-type cities such as Usonia, NY, or Civano, AZ—with emphasis on community—will be more critical.
In addition, there will be even greater demand for houseplants – and home office plants – whether people are setting the stage for virtual meeting backdrops or just wanting to improve concentration.
BACKYARD AFICIONADO –
More than half of American adults are spending two additional hours a day outside than before the pandemic. Research indicates 16 million new people—many under the age of 35—started to garden during Covid-19. Many in this group are raising a family, own a home, and have established a career. This new gardener is ripe for education, from simple plant lists to consulting services geared to newbies.
Also, with the surge in home cooking and the fear of food scarcity, many Americans are discovering the joy of growing their own food. These greenhorn gardeners are also interested in reducing their lawn. From pools to pollinators, the lawn is going bye-bye.
IMPATIENT GARDENING –
Gardening is hot, but specifically mini plants are hot, especially in edible gardening. New gardeners are still learning the ropes, so provide them with tiny or fast-growing varieties.
DESIGN ABUNDANCE –
Garden design will move away from mulch and eco-dead plants to co-creating with nature.
Claudia West, ASLA and co-author of Planting in a Post Wild World (also speaker at the CT Hort 2018 Symposium) fervently believes, “that wildness and nature are renewable resources and every single plant we put in the ground can make a difference. If you don’t know it, you don’t care for it, and you don’t protect it.”
Claudia continues to explain that nature doesn’t live ‘out there’ anymore because ‘out there’ is gone. Nature now lives in our backyards, in our developments and parking lots or rooftop gardens—or it doesn’t live. That’s the reality.
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS –
According to Nature’s Best Hope author, Doug Tallamy, we should all be building a conservation hardscape and the best way to do that is to turn out the lights. Concerned about security? Install a motion sensor so lights come on only when provoked. Even simpler—change out the bulbs and put in yellow LED bulbs. They’re the least attractive to insects and save energy.
Lighting up the sky at night is one of the major causes of insect decline. White lights draw insects all night long, exhausting them and making them easy prey for bats and birds. If each of the millions of lights we turn on in this country kills just a few insects each night—well, you can do the math. In 5 minutes we could literally save billions of insects every season.
Take care of life on your property. It seems a lot easier than trying to save the entire plant but really, it’s the same thing. If we each do our small part, we can not only restore insect populations but also create the largest collective conservation effort in history.