Garden Trends for 2016

It’s fun to see all the garden trends that marketers and other soothsayers are predicting. Another way to  find out about what’s new in gardening is to see the kinds of presentations that are being made at garden shows and hort days around the state. You can get a sneak peak at many of the events around Minnesota at the MSHS event listing.

After reviewing the national predictions and what’s going on in Minnesota here are six trends we’re seeing for 2016:

Concern about butterflies, bees and other pollinators is the top trend we are seeing in 2016.

Concern about butterflies, bees and other pollinators is the top trend we are seeing in 2016.

1) Make Friends with the Pollinators. Our Kitchen Garden columnist Rhonda Fleming Hayes recently wrote the book on Pollinator-Friendly Gardening. And, this is one of the most common topics being covered at hort days this year. Whether you plant more native plants, add milkweed to your garden, add other kinds of habitat for pollinators creating gardeners that bees, butterflies and other pollinators love is definitely a trend.

2) Container Vegetables. Small-space gardening has been on the trend radar for some time as more folks live on small lots or in town homes or condos. But containers are not just for annuals anymore. You can grow vegetables in containers, if you pick the right varieties, the right pots and keep them watered well. Hint: If you grow tomatoes in a container, make it as big as you can and choose varieties labeled “patio tomatoes.”

3) Garden Kits. Many new gardeners are looking for instant success in the garden, and garden kits are a good way to get that. (Of course, we’ve been helping gardeners get started with our Garden in a Box program since 2008.) We’re seeing companies offering trays of pollinator-friendly gardens, seed collections for vegetable lovers, and even kits for those who want a cutting garden.

4) Layered Landscapes. I’m not sure why this is exactly a trend—knowledgeable gardeners have been planting in layers since….well, doesn’t Mother Nature plant in layers in the forest? Anyway, the good people at Garden Media Group, who track trends every year, have noted that the idea of layering a garden with trees, shrubs, perennials and ground covers is gaining traction. This is a wonderful, lower-maintenance way to plant a landscape. For ideas, check out this book, which offers lots of particulars on how to landscape in layers and photos that show how it can look.

Photo courtesy of Gardeners Supply

Photo courtesy of Gardeners Supply

5) COLOR! Very few gardeners want a shades-of-green garden, but for those who have that or who just can’t get enough color, garden marketers are offering more pops of color through fences, benches, art and other structural features. Even tools are getting a coat of bright paint for 2016.

Kale is an attractive ornamental plant in mixed plantings.

Kale is an attractive ornamental plant in mixed plantings.

6) More Kinds of Kale? While there are some who think there is already too much kale in this world (my hubby among them), hybridizers have come up with some new kinds of kale. Kalettes® is a non-GMO cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. Like Brussels sprouts, it grows up a stalk, but instead of little cabbage heads, the plant grows little kale bundles. Kosmic™ kale is a kale that can be grown for both ornamental and edible purposes. The plants are prettier than your average kale with cream-colored edges and a ruffled texture. The plants would look pretty around a border.

What trends are you spotting as you look at seed catalogs this winter?