Who doesn’t love a new year trend report? A little crystal ball gazing can be wonderfully entertaining. Granted, most predictions shouldn’t be taken too seriously unless it’s your doctor or your accountant who’s doing the predicting. But a garden trend report can be practically life-giving when enjoyed in the middle of a long, cold winter. So many experts and specialists are willing to put their reputations on the line declaring what’s going to be a thing in the garden some time soon.
Here are my top 5 favourite predictions (made by other people) and what I think is really going to happen:
1. GOING TO THE MAX
Maximalism–as in taking an idea way over the top (in a good way)–is a trend that changes from ‘in’ to ‘out’ with such speed and frequency in the worlds of fashion and interior design that it’s a wonder pundits don’t get whiplash. But, according to Sunset, a print and digital magazine focusing on living in the western United States, gardening with a more-is-more mind-set is now back (again) in a big way. Deanna Kizis expanded on this idea in a recent article she entitled (with admirable confidence), “I’m a Garden Editor, and I Know All the Big Trends for 2023“. In her opinion, maximalism in this year’s garden will appear as “bold and playful decor details” such as eye-catching multi-coloured tiles covering the wall bordering a swimming pool.
Garden Design magazine’s 2023 trends report includes colour and plant maximalism. They predict that tastefully coordinated garden beds will be replaced by a crazy-quilt of coloured blooms for “making outdoor spaces cheery and bright”. They also see a resurgence in cottage gardens where close plantings result in “a sea of colourful blooms”. “Swapping lawns for meadows” will be a big thing this year, too, they say. Good-bye swath of monotone grass, hello undulating fescues and wildflowers.
I’ll argue that maximalism has always been a thing. Just look at Egypt’s pyramids or one of King Henry VIII’s dinner menus or the rides at Disney World. Exceptional excess is a particularly wonderful and perpetually enduring trend in garden design and decor. Take the popularity of making tables and seating areas out of mammoth pieces of stone which I first wrote about back in 2014. These gigantic pieces of outdoor furniture take the idea of big and permanent to a whole new level–once they’re in place, they’re not going anywhere until the apocalypse.
I predict, no, I declare that maximalism is and always will be a gardening thing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re composting or moss-growing or mosquito-fighting or laying tiny pebbles into wet cement to make unique and oddly mezmerizing mosaic stepping stones. When you take on a gardening project wholeheartedly and have the sore back and dirt under your fingernails to prove it, well, that’s taking it to the max every time.
Plus, garden trend reporters will regularly hail maximalism as the next new big thing because who doesn’t love flying the flag for sheer exuberance.
2. GOING CRAZY FOR BROCCOLI AND ORCHIDS AND AMARYLLIS AND….
Evidently, there are some plants in particular that are going to make a big impact on your life in 2023. The National Garden Bureau has selected six as their “Year Of The _____” crops: one annual, one perennial, one bulb, one edible, one houseplant and one shrub. This year, it is:
• The year of the Orchid
• The year of Celosia
• The year of Broccoli
• The year of the Amaryllis
• The year of Spirea
• The year of Rudbeckia.
I can totally appreciate the allure of orchids but it’s interesting to learn why these flowers have garnered attention this year, and not just from the NGB. 1-800-Flowers.com believes orchids are this year’s houseplant star because, after the pandemic, we’re in need of things that bring us together and the orchid does that. As explained on the Meet The 2023 Flower Of The Year page of the website, “The qualities of unity, beauty, and love that the orchid embodies are much needed in today’s world, and they permeate any household that this unmistakable flower inhabits.” Hmmm. Anyone else think this may be a bit of a stretch?
Interestingly, over in England, the Royal Horticultural Society also spotlights the orchid in its 2023 gardening predictions but their reasoning seems to me a bit worrisome. They point out that because of climate change and a warming environment, home owners will be turning down their furnaces (and presumably cranking their air conditioning if they have it). Hence, houseplants that love cooler temperatures, like the orchid, will be evermore popular.
Celosia, Broccoli and Spirea are, um, good choices, I suppose. I must admit I’m intrigued by the seemingly randomness of it all.
But Amaryllis? Now there’s a plant I can get behind!
Every fall I pot up some Amaryllis bulbs with the hope that this will be the year they bloom close to Christmas. It has never happened. But they do, finally, light up my windowsill in January. I nominate the Amaryllis as the Flower Of The Year Ahead because as far as I’m concerned it certainly doesn’t bloom in the year you want it to.
Rudbeckia also gets a nod from The Perennial Plant Association. They go so far as to single out Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush’ as 2023’s perennial star.
I think the one thing we can all predict about these predictions is that we’re going to be seeing a lot more sales promotions around them. Yes, this is a blatant marketing scheme with most of the gardening industry in cahoots, but we can join in on the fun. These particular plants were chosen, evidently, because they’re considered easy-to-grow, adaptable, and versatile. If they also happen to be featured at garden centres with extra low price tags, what’s not to love?
3. GOING FROM HARD AND GREY TO SOFT AND GREEN
Also in the Royal Horticultural Society’s trend predictions for 2023 is the idea of Green Landscaping, citing “the cost of hard landscaping soaring and its contribution to localised flooding” as reasons for using plants and organic material rather than construction materials and paving to add structure to a garden. This is not a new concept, of course. Much earlier, (2014), the U.K.”s Independent published an article about how “Paved gardens massively increase risk of flooding in your neighbourhood“.
Forbes Magazine agrees going softer will be a trend with a “newfound focus on immersive gardens” that highlight the beauty of an “imperfect look”. This idea is also referred to as “curated wilding” and “nature-scaping”.
Interestingly, in the same article, Forbes predicts artificial grass will be a big thing. You might think (as I certainly did) that naturalness and re-wilding don’t quite jive with fake lawns. But Forbes touts a fake lawn for easy maintenance and “overall cost-effectiveness”. You’d think that from an eco-friendly perspective, fake grass might be a good choice in some circumstances. If you have a local water ban happening, for instance, well, fake grass doesn’t need watering. Ever. And I thought artificial turf might be permeable enough that it would be a good solution for the issues raised about hardscaping (see above).
But fake grass, as it turns out, can have serious environmental problems that can impact wildlife and soil health. If you want to know more about this complicated issue, check out The New York Times’ article called “Why We Don’t Recommend Artificial Grass for Most People” on the pros and cons of artificial turf.
I predict going soft and green has been trending for some time and will only grow in popularity. There are so many things in the world today that are hard, including news that’s hard to hear and statistics that are hard to bear. We’re going to need all the softness we can gather around us, not only to nurture ourselves but wildlife and the environment as well.
4. GOING OVERBOARD ON MUSHROOMS
I didn’t know Pinterest was such a successful trend predictor. As it turns out, the search data gleaned from all those Pinterest users posting their inspirations amounts to a “window into the future” that’s a whopping 80% correct. Not to point out the obvious, but that means that 8 out of the 10 trends predicted by Pinterest will actually come true. And 80% of their predictions have come true for the past three years in a row.
Of the 27 trends predicted for 2023, one in particular caught my eye: Mush-rooms. As in, mushrooms will be a huge design element in home decor. I’m loving the idea that our fun, fruiting body of a fungus will finally have its moment. A while back, I shared a post about how mycologist Paul Stamets lists 6 ways the mycelium fungus can help save the universe. Oh, yeah.
Mushroom-shaped lamps and mushroom-patterned wallpaper aside, I just want to say that any way mushrooms–that wonder of the rainy garden–can pique the interest of non-gardeners is a very good thing. Because mushrooms can indeed save the world. Six. Different. Ways.
5. GOING FULL-ON “YOU”, ALWAYS
The Garden Media Group, a company that offers lawn and garden industry insights to journalists and retailers, pinpoints “the two most significant driving forces” [in garden trends for 2023] as “individuality and accessibility”. This includes the horticultural industry catering more conscientiously to SuperAgers.
Honestly, I had to look up SuperAger. According to the Harvard Medical School, a SuperAger refers to “people in their 70s and 80s who have the mental or physical capability of their decades-younger counterparts.“
Aha! Presumably, as more people grow old longer, there will probably be more super agers. Or at least more older people with the wherewithal–in mind and body–to garden well past their ideal sell-by date. So individuality (read: room to be your eccentric self, however cantankerous) and accessibility (read: whatever it takes to continue gardening regardless of mobility issues) are highly likely to be a really big thing.
I’d go one step more on this prediction and it’s more of a hope than a prediction. I’d like to see gardens and gardening to be more accessible to all people regardless of their age, their physical abilities, where they live or their income. That’s actually a trend that we can make happen.
2 thoughts on “Trend retorts”
Thanks for the chuckles! I LOVE your trend retorts – in my book, you are spot on. I agree with the NYT about the fake grass. Actually wrote about it back when there were discussions about fundraising for a school field. Our local Nike has been known to sponsor schools with financial help to install artificial turf fields. I argued that it would be better if Nike pay their taxes, so the City and the school district could actually afford maintenance of actual green spaces. The fake field never happened, thankfully, but I feel I got wiser researching it. https://thecreativeflux.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/the-grass-really-is-greener-but/
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I’m so glad you got some chuckles. Your battle over artificial turf is very impressive. I had no idea that fake grass could bring such problems before, during and after installation. You’re right! You’ve got to do some research. I was really shocked. Good for you for pushing back.
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