Master Gardener

Once again the garden trend report is out from the PR firm, Garden Media. It’s a wonderful report about 115 pages in length and full of information about more than just garden trends.

They are calling this year the Year of Happiness, finding ways to do things more simply, finding what makes you happy and content and finding peace within your environment.

An article on Huffington post by Dr. Larry Dossey entitled “Is Dirt the New Prozac”, states “There’s only one cure; take a hike, go camping or root around in my veggie garden. These activities are more than a hobby; they have become an essential part of my life and an important element in my personal health plan”. To read the entire article go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-larry-dossey/is-dirt-the-new-prozac_b_256625.html

With more people wanting to shrink their environmental footprint, the trend of sustainability is still holding on for the current year. Bill Doeckel of Ball Innovations states, “Sustainability is alive and well. People care about what they put in their mouths, what they put in their bodies and what is around them, in that order”. Use better fertilizer management, rainwater collection, and use recycled materials in the garden. Choose to make 2014 the year you pay more attention to sustainability and local matters.

Other trends to take note of are:

· Organic farms increasing 9% a year

· Sales of organic products increasing at double digit rates

· Products or services must truly be Eco-Positive

· Globally gardening is up 3% yearly from 2007-2011 and predicted to grow 1% annually from 2011-2016

· Lawn and Garden yearly spending is a whopping $58 billion

· Perennials have increased 10% in last 10 years while annual have dropped 10%

· National Gardening Association survey says DIY gardening is up 2% since 2011

· Food Gardening increased for the 6th straight year, and is now bigger in spending power than Flower Gardening

· The internet has become the newest friend and neighbor for gardening advice, utilizing websites, Facebook, Twitter and email

· Composting is on the rise – 25% of households do some form of composting. More and better education is needed for consumers on Food Scrap recycling. 97% of food scraps end up in the landfill, generating 35,000,000 tons annually of waste products. Lots of major cities across the country are implementing Food Scrap programs.

· Super foods such as blueberries, kale, variety of greens, herbs and berries are on the rise for the 3rd straight year.

· Drinking your garden, yep that’s what I said. One of the hottest new books out is The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart. Grow products in your garden to turn into juice, smoothies or homemade alcoholic beverages. The use of herbs and vegetables as a garnish is another way to add interest and more flavor to your drinks.

· Small scale gardening include; straw bale gardening, containers, microgardens and microgreens are more popular than ever.

· Outdoor living and decorating your space with fire pits, fireplaces, trellises, containers and all forms of hardscaping is up again from last year. A noted increase in outdoor entertaining and garden parties has raised the sales in the above products.

· The balance between the old and new – know your neighbors, eat locally, shop at farm markets or buy from CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture) and become a steward of the Earth.

An important issue is bees. Be aware of their existence and viability. One third of all honey bee colonies are gone. 85% of earth’s plant species require pollinators to exist. There is a definite rise of beekeepers across the county, but Colony Collapse Disorder is still a concern. Make a home for your bees, put in plants that attract them and buy your honey locally.

The benefits of trees are highlighted more than ever. Trees increase property values 3-10%, absorb noise, provide beauty and peace, vital to environmental health, filter the air and shade the lawn and your home.

During this cold snowy time of year, be thinking of all the new trends when you design your new gardens and landscaping ideas for the coming spring. Happy Gardening.

For a complete report visit: www.gardenmediagroup.com.

Susan Liechty is a Delaware County OSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer