Public relations firm Garden Media Group has just released its annual trends report to show what they anticipate will be hot for 2010.
"Just look around you," says Susan McCoy, trend spotter and outdoor living expert. "Our relationship with money has changed. Hard work, common sense and a return to small-town values are causing a shift in priorities from boardrooms to backyards.
"The rewards of growing your own – from basil to berries to flowers - are boundless."
Here is a glimpse of what McCoy and her team of trend spotters see for 2010.
1. Main Street is in. Wall Street is out.
There’s a shift of priorities between balancing practicality with comfort and fulfillment. "Core values of responsibility, meaningful relationships and connectivity to neighbors and communities are surging," says McCoy, president of Garden Media Group.
That "can-do" spirit empowered by a new sense of self-sufficiency is fueling a renewed appreciation for our land— defined more by nostalgia rather than geography; caretakers rather than developers.
Yard-sharing with people -- dividing resources, skills, space, tools, and time – is popping up to support our need to "go local," strengthening neighborhoods.
2. Edible gardens are in. Lawns are out.
Growing your own groceries is hotter than ever and is transforming homes and communities. A recent survey by the National Gardening Association shows a 19 percent burst of new hobby country farms and urban edible gardens over last year.
"It’s time to reclaim our land for our greater good," says Margie Grace, the 2009 International Landscape Designer of the Year, awarded by the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. "Take that food-producing garden from the back 40 and put it wherever we want. Reunite the ornamental with the edible—roses beside tomatoes, beds edged with herbs, and veggies used as annuals."
Grace is one of many wanting to "de-lawn" America. Front lawns are being transformed into vegetable and rain gardens.
3. Slow Gardening is in. Instant gratification is out.
Domesticity is back. People young and old are returning to a simpler life of cooking, gardening and even raising chickens!
Produce sharing with community-supported agricultural farms and produce exchanges are springing up throughout urban and suburban and rural communities. The take-home message is: urban farming is cool; urban wastelands are not.
With the rising demand for locally grown food, organic and energy efficient products, people are gardening for the greater good. According to LOHAS –Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability- seed sales are up 30-50 percent and canning saw a whopping 45 percent increase. Along with vegetables, people are planting and picking fruits and berries-especially blueberries and raspberries for their nutritional value and ornamental good looks.
4. Mindful is in. Bling is out.
The collapse of greed and self-indulgence is ushering in a new culture of giving, creating and collaborating. Reflected in the Reputation Economy, sharing a passion and receiving recognition has replaced "taking" as the new status symbol.
A new patriotism of spirit - volunteering and a shift from ‘Me’ to ‘We’ - has trumped greed. The Ascendant generation of ‘GRUPS’ (30-to-50 somethings) are redefining adulthood with their young-at-heart lifestyle, driving demand for products made from recycled materials in sync with their focus on social and environmental issues.
According to National Marketing Institute, four out of five people say they’re still buying green products and services today, which sometimes cost more, even in the midst of a US recession. More than two thirds say they will select green over traditional-- "if it works".
Many new products on the market are designed to help sustain the environment. Space-age technology saves gardeners time and water. AquaLok™, a sustainable hydration system from Costa Farms is a self-watering system for plants made from recycled soda bottles, allows plants to thrive without drainage, and reduces watering needs by more than half.
5. Eco-Boosting is in. Chemical Dependent Gardens are out.
Get used to terms like eco-bounty and eco-frugal, eco-metering and eco-concierge that are sprouting up in blogs and social media. Green is the new black as consumers seek products that work with nature, not against it.
6. Multi-tasking is In. Single-Purpose gardening is Out.
From California green buildings to New York high-rises, living (green) walls are allowing people even in cramped urban apartments to use a greater range of plants.
Roofs are no longer just for parties. Green roofs are springing to life in cities and small towns, transforming barren space into lush gardens that help cool buildings, absorb rainwater, filter air pollutants, and create wildlife habitats.
Rain barrels and rain gardens continue to remain popular as people seek ways to conserve water and reuse and recycle. Businesses and homeowners are setting up rain gardens that collect runoff from buildings and landscape and helps absorb polluted runoff that threatens waterways.
7. Perennials and Shrubs are In. Divas are Out.
Sustainable landscapes, water conservation, perennials and small edible shrubs are hot as gardening with natives attracts needed pollinators and birds, critical for the balance of nature.
Consumers are looking for plants that are easy care, have great color, and are pest and drought resistant.