Are you following the current gardening trends or are you an individualist? Trends develop because of changes in the rest of the world, such as COVID-19, or gradually evolve as friends, family and neighbours do something which provokes interest from others. Of course, the media plays a very important role in establishing trends too. Trends in 2019 – 2020 are rather different from those in 2018 – 2019.

Growing your own food

While productive gardening was high on the list last year, it wasn’t at the top. But now, almost certainly because of worries about running out of food and people having more time during the coronavirus lockdowns, growing your own food has become the leading trend. It goes under many names – productive gardens, Victory gardens and foodscaping.

Return of Victory Gardens

Due to the loss of supply of vegetable and flower seeds from Germany during World War I, ornamental gardens in Britain, America and elsewhere were converted to growing vegetables. This occurred in both public and private gardens to support the supply of food for both those fighting the war and those at home. The importance of such gardens arose again during World War II and the term “Victory Gardens” was given to them and popularised in the USA and the UK. As well as in back gardens, they were located in parks, railway reserves, backyards and even bomb craters. Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the USA’s President at the time, planted a Victory Garden on the lawn of the White House.  The idea was revived a little more recently by Michelle Obama.

They were promoted not only to boost the food supply but also to improve mental wellbeing of citizens by providing them with a sense of participation in the war effort, opportunities to cooperate with others and share food with neighbours.

In Australia, in 1942, the then Prime Minister started a campaign “dig for victory”.

After world War II was over, these gardens were no longer essential as commercial food supplies were restored, so the focus on productive gardening diminished.  Currently, the crisis created by COVID-19 seems to have reactivated backyard “Victory” gardening and people have started to worry about food supply even though Australia’s commercial food growing has not been affected. Garden centres and seed suppliers have been swamped by demand so that many were out of stock quite quickly. SGA has observed a dramatic increase in the numbers of people viewing our website for more information about how to establish and maintain a productive garden.

Accompanying this trend, perhaps because of concerns about income security during lockdown, there is more interest in minimising waste, recycling, composting, repurposing various items in garden construction and “double purpose plants” e.g. plants that are attractive but do something useful such as marigolds to attract predatory insects to attack pests.

Relaxation and Peace

In both Australia and overseas there is an increasing emphasis on landscaping which aids relaxation and a feeling of calm. So there is more interest in a focus on creating an urban oasis using swimming pools and fountains with the sound of trickling water to create a place of beauty. This trend has been reported in Australia, North America and Europe.

Low Maintenance

Associated with busy lifestyles (before the coronavirus has kept us at home and reduced incomes) and with efforts to create a relaxing atmosphere are attempts to minimise upkeep by planting perennials and planting densely to reduce weed growth.

Using more surfaces for plants

Here we see a variety of feature walls perhaps with a few cascading plants or with a series of pots containing flowers, herbs, fruits e.g. Strawberries or vegetables. There is also more interest in rooftop gardens.

Other trends

Varying more in predominance in different countries, a number of other trends can be observed:

  • More sophisticated plant palettes with more species variety – aesthetically pleasing and adding to biodiversity
  • Custom build garden furniture
  • More professionally designed gardens
  • Indoor plants – as we become more aware of the health benefits they provide in cleaning the air and, if we live in apartments, some contact with nature.
  • specialised lighting to allow us to enjoy the garden at night.

So are you a trend-setter or a trend follower?

You can tell us and others in the FOSGA General Discussions – just go to Your Account, scroll down and click on General Discussions to respond to the topic.